The great Ohio political blog Plunderbund had a great post about some stories appearing in the Columbus Dispatch recently calling for a compromise between the state GOP and labor unions in order to remove Issue 2 from the ballot. Issue 2 is the referendum over Senate Bill 5 that stripped collective bargaining from public employees. It turns out that the Dispatch was closer to the issue than they let on.
We have now been informed that it was they who called the meeting with a representative from the OEA and Ohio AFL-CIO to discuss a deal.
So, let’s recap. A major Dispatch honcho who has a history of using his status within the Dispatch to make news that favors his politics and then have his paper report it and editorial pages applaud it, sets up a meeting with some labor leaders to work out a deal on SB 5. The meeting doesn’t go well, likely because neither Steiner or Curtin can really promise the labor unions anything because they have no clear authority to negotiate a deal that requires the involvement of the GOP legislature and Kasich, and frankly, they have little leverage given the current polling on the issue.
Then the Dispatch follows up the editorial advocating for someone to try to attempt a deal . . . with a news story that such an attempt as advocated by the Dispatch was tried, but the labor leaders walked away… never mentioning that one of the most influential figures at the Dispatch just happens to be behind the attempt to broker a deal and then the editorial… lecturing labor to make such a deal.
This isn’t the first time the Dispatch has inserted itself into political issues. The Dispatch, using its power as the only paper in Columbus, forced a vote to move the Columbus casino to the westside because it would have cut into their Arena District business that they own.