|SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan|
As Dave Regan tries to use ballot initiatives to wrangle a sweetheart deal from California’s hospital bosses, a reader has sent along an interesting article about Regan’s prior ballot adventures in Ohio. (See the article below.)
In 2003, Regan launched a ballot scheme while he was president of SEIU 1199 Ohio... and suffered defeat. In fact, the Ohio Elections Commission reprimanded Regan for lying to voters. (Shocking!)
Here’s what happened.
At the time, Cuyahoga County officials were trying to renew a county tax that funds health and human services for the poor. Ohioans were suffering under a terrible economy as well as budget cuts from state and federal governments. The county’s health and human services tax was critically important, according to press accounts, because it raised $80 million a year for safety-net services like foster care for abused children, health care and meals for low-income seniors, and mental health services for the poor.
During the run-up to the election, Regan decided to try to capitalize on the county’s desperate situation. How?
Regan threatened county officials that unless they permitted SEIU to unionize their workforce, he would submarine the tax by waging an aggressive campaign to defeat it at the ballot box.
Genius move, right? What better way to improve the union's public support than to campaign for the elimination of safety-net services for foster children, working-class seniors, and mental health patients!
After county officials refused to bite on Regan's deal, Regan reportedly spent a half million dollars of SEIU members’ dues money on TV ads, glossy mailers and newspaper ads to attack the tax and those no-good foster kids. Regan peppered SEIU's "voter education” materials with blatant lies, which got his ass reprimanded by the Ohio Elections Commission, according to a May 6, 2003 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Regan also succeeded in alienating the rest of the labor movement, which unanimously opposed SEIU’s position.
On election day, the County's voters approved the tax... and Regan officially became the town idiot.
Here's an editorial -- entitled "Bald-Faced Lies" -- from the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It includes language like this:
The SEIU is purposefully trying to rip an $80 million hole in Cuyahoga County's safety net by denying basic human services for needy children, the working poor and those in desperate need of mental health treatment. For that, those involved in this campaign to defeat Issue 15 have forever earned this community's enmity…...the SEIU and the out-of-towners campaigning to inflict further suffering upon the people of this community who can least bear it… bald-faced lie… falsehoods and fabrications…
Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Bald-Faced Lies: The SEIU Wants to Beat a Levy and Cares Not a Whit for the L...