By Jason Hart | Ohio Watchdog
Labor unions donated money to 31 current Republican members of the Ohio House last year, dimming prospects for labor reform this session.
At the state and national levels, labor unions are known for their generous support of Democrats. But Republican supermajorities in the Ohio General Assembly have union bosses hedging their bets.
The top House Republican recipient of union money in 2014 was Majority Floor Leader Barbara Sears. Sears received a total of $27,350 from 13 different unions.
State Rep. Anthony DeVitis received $25,700 from 12 unions. State Rep. Mike Dovilla received $24,450 from 10 unions and state Rep. Dave Hall received $23,700 from 13 unions.
State Rep. Cliff Rosenberger, who is now the speaker of the House, received a total of $17,000 from seven different unions and was among 12 House Republicans paid between $10,000 and $20,000 by unions last year.
House leaders, who did not respond to an Ohio Watchdog inquiry about their 2015 priorities, have indicated labor reform isn’t on the radar.
The top union donor to Ohio House Republicans in 2014 was also one of the state’s most vocal opponents of union reform. In addition to putting up highway billboards calling right-to-work poisonous and communist, theInternational Union of Operating Engineers Local 18 donated a total of $96,350 to House Republicans.
The IUOE chapter operates its campaign against right-to-work through Keep Ohio’s Heritage, a nonprofit funded with $1 million from IUOE’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. Right-to-work laws let workers opt out of paying union bosses.
“Whether Republicans utilize ‘Paycheck Protection,’ ‘Workplace Freedom,’ or other Right to Work tactics, opponents remain dedicated to ensuring the voting public knows the underlying nature behind the GOP’s divisive agenda,” Keep Ohio’s Heritage said in a Jan. 8 media release.
IUOE Local 18 last year gave campaign contributions to 21 Ohio House Republicans and to term-limited Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder.
Other construction unions also donated large sums to Republican members of the Ohio House, who work with the governor and the Ohio Senate to set state infrastructure spending and labor policies.
Affiliated Construction Trades Ohio, funded and led by affiliates of union coalition AFL-CIO, gave $50,900 to House Republican campaign committees last year. ACT Ohio donated to Batchelder and all 31 House Republicans who received union money.
Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local 33 gave House Republicans a total of $29,500 in 2014, while Ohio State Association of Plumbers & Pipefittersdonated $25,500.
Ohio Nurses Association, the state affiliate of the American Nurses Association, donated a total of $30,000 to 16 Ohio House Republicans. Additional labor unions donating to Ohio House Republicans in 2014 and the total amount contributed by each included:
In 2011, both houses of the General Assembly — including many current House members — passed Senate Bill 5, a package of public-sector union reforms prompting a labor uproar. It ultimately was repealed by voters after a $40-million union smear campaign.
Public-sector unions such as the Ohio Education Association and Ohio Civil Service Employees Association contributed nothing to Ohio House Republicans last year.
Here is a complete list of current Ohio House Republicans receiving union donations in 2014.
|Ohio House Republican||Union Donations,|
|Rep. Barbara Sears||$27,350||13|
|Rep. Anthony DeVitis||$25,700||12|
|Rep. Mike Dovilla||$24,450||10|
|Rep. Dave Hall||$23,700||13|
|Rep. Anne Gonzales||$19,200||7|
|Rep. Marlene Anielski||$17,200||11|
|Rep. Cliff Rosenberger||$17,000||7|
|Rep. Nathan Manning||$17,000||9|
|Rep. Ryan Smith||$16,550||7|
|Rep. Sarah LaTourette||$13,500||7|
|Rep. Kirk Schuring||$13,150||8|
|Rep. Al Landis||$12,950||8|
|Rep. Terry Johnson||$11,950||8|
|Rep. Brian Hill||$11,200||7|
|Rep. Mike Duffey||$11,200||7|
|Rep. Tim Brown||$10,950||8|
|Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl||$9,700||6|
|Rep. Ross McGregor||$8,100||5|
|Rep. Cheryl Grossman||$8,000||4|
|Rep. Tim Derickson||$7,350||5|
|Rep. Wes Retherford||$6,700||5|
|Rep. Dorothy Pelanda||$2,500||1|
|Rep. Mark Romanchuk||$2,350||3|
|Rep. Ron Amstutz||$2,000||1|
|Rep. Jeff McClain||$1,500||1|
|Rep. Christina Hagan||$1,500||1|
|Rep. Bill Hayes||$1,000||1|
|Rep. Bob Cupp||$1,000||1|
|Rep. Robert Sprague||$1,000||1|
|Rep. Stephanie Kunze||$500||1|
|Rep. Stephen Hambley||$500||1|