Ohio Union Group Relies on Questionable 'Researcher' for Voter Information

If you’ve been following the Senate Bill 5 debate in Ohio, at some point you have surely seen the “We Are Ohio” union front group refer to studies written by Rutgers University professor, Jeffrey Keefe, for the Economic Policy Institute. “We Are Ohio” is the union front group who is spearheading the opposition to collective bargaining reform for Ohio’s public-sector employees. The legislation is on the ballot for Ohio voters this November. A “Yes” vote upholds the new reforms. The study is a comparison of private-sector versus public-sector compensation, and is frequently cited by the anti-Issue 2 crowd.

EPI Researcher Jeffrey Keefe agreed to publish a study for the Ohio Education Association

and to kill any information that would be contrary to the outcome that OEA desired.

In July, “We Are Ohio” spokesperson Melizza Fazekas steered Columbus Business First reporter Jeff Bell to Keefe’s study.

The folks I interviewed said those trying to save S.B. 5 will hammer us with information on how the benefits and pay for Ohio’s public workers are better on average than those of us in the private sector. When asked that question, Fazekas quickly steered to me to a study on the compensation issue completed this year by Jeffrey Keefe, a labor and employment relations professor at Rutgers in New Jersey.

“We will combat it with the truth,” she said.

And just this weekend, Fazekas was again using Keefe’s study to try to tell Ohioans that despite their generous health care and pension benefits, they are still less compensated than the average private sector worker. Per the Canton Repository:

Fazekas said while some public workers may pay only 5 to 10 percent of the premiums, they may have to pay higher deductible and out-of-pocket costs for health care than someone paying 20 percent. Also, the employer may have offered to pay more of the health care cost in return for the union agreeing to a wage freeze. In addition, she said a Rutgers University study found that public workers earn less in pay and benefits on the average than private workers.

Why is this important? Because James O’Keefe and Christian Hartsock have just exposed that Jeffrey Keefe is willing to accept cash to only write studies that reach a desired conclusion.

In fact, they have him on tape. Project Veritas called Keefe, posing as a member of the Ohio Education Association who wanted a study done that favored OEA’s positions. Keefe agrees to kill any information that would be contrary to OEA’s desired outcome.

OEA decoy: We really want to make sure, since we’re putting all these tens of thousands of dollars into this, we want to make sure that EPI, if they find evidence contrary to what our intended outcome is, we want to make sure that they’ll omit that kind of data.

Keefe: What they’ll do is they’ll not publish it.

OEA decoy: They won’t publish it?

Keefe: Right.

OEA decoy: OK, well that’s…OK

Keefe: You know, we’re not going to change the results of any study but if it’s something you don’t want published, we’ll kill it.

Keefe also says during the phone call, regarding EPI, “Policy institutes have a policy agenda. ” He also repeats that he agrees to “kill” anything contrary to what the OEA wants.

The thing about EPI is when they publish something, its highly reliable and credible, but if it’s contrary to what you want and what they want, they just, they pay for it and they kill it.

Later, while visiting Dayton, Christian Hartsock confronted Jeffrey Keefe and asked him if he agreed to kill research that was contrary to an intended outcome. Not knowing he had been recorded, he flatly denies it, and then gets agitated when he realizes he is denying the allegations on video. Watch below.

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Keefe wrote his study for EPI, who on their website, boasts that they “conduct original research according to rigorous standards of objectivity and, as a result, is a reliable source of information and analysis.” However, we now know that to be demonstrably false. In his own words, Keefe admits that they “have a policy agenda.”

We have highlighted the lies told by “We Are Ohio” over and over. They hired a self-described communist revolutionary to do their “youth outreach”. Now, it appears that there is strong evidence to suggest that they may have paid EPI to have Jeffrey Keefe write a study specifically to come to a conclusion that “We Are Ohio” asked for.

We’ll be covering this continually as more details come out, but the initial takeaway is obvious. “We Are Ohio’s” entire campaign has been built on lying to Ohio voters about reasonable collective bargaining reforms. Now it is revealed that they have based their entire campaign on the questionable work of an obviously biased “researcher”.

It’s clear that Ohio voters cannot trust what “We Are Ohio” tells them. Vote YES on Issue 2.

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