It’s been a whole day since I updated the Union Liberal Alter, but the events in Wisconsin scream for comment. First off a little recent history. In 2008/2009 we were repeatedly told that “elections have consequences” and that Democrats won and they could rule as they pleased. It turns out that the electorate was not very pleased and in 2010 we had more of those election consequences only this time the Republicans swept. The Republican sweep in the U.S. House was the primary focus of most news reports, but perhaps more importantly was the Republican sweep in the states. The Republicans now have 29 governorships and have “more seats in the state legislatures than they have had since 1928” and they are itching for real change.
Which brings us to Wisconsin where the new governor and the state legislature have proposed to strip state employees of their collective bargaining rights. That is how the media has portrayed the proposal, but the proposal ONLY applies to collective bargaining as it relates to benefits. Employees would be allowed to bargain for wages. I wonder if they would also lose their rights to strike and disrupt public services while holding taxpayers hostage. Another fact that doesn’t make it to the drive-by media reports is that Governor Scott Walker campaigned on this issue, got elected, and is now, hold your breath, following through with the help of his newly elected Republican majorities. Another fact not often reported is that Gov. Walker’s proposal will also allow him to prevent lay offs of at least 1, 500 workers and further have to cut 200,000 children off of Medicaid in order to make up budget shortfalls.
Here are some of the latest headlines about the turmoil in Wisconsin with links to the articles:
Protests swell to 25,000 people at Wis. Capitol [translation – unions busing in more union members, reportedly many are actually from out of state]
Scott Walker compared to Hitler. [Is this comparison by Democrats really a surprise?]
State Democrats absent for vote as Wisconsin budget protests swell [Novel Democrat strategy is to play hide-and-seek. I wonder if their paychecks will be docked for not showing up for work]
Budget Battle: Democrat Confirms Senators Have Left State [Did the Wisconsin taxpayers pay for the bus that took the Democrats out of the state?
Madison schools, others closed amid call for demonstrations [Union teachers showed up, but not for work as thousands call in sick forcing schools to close, forcing students to stay home, forcing taxpayers to scurry to find sitters for their children]
Obama On Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Law: An “Assault On Unions“ [Obama cannot stay out of state politics, but since unions PAID him hundreds of millions of dollars to help get him elected he needs to trash the will of the Wisconsin people – What was that phrase? Oh…elections have consequences.]
DNC playing role in Wisconsin protests [The Democrat National Committee and our Organizer-in-Chief have unleashed the hounds of the Obama group “Organizing For America” to whip up the frenzy in Wisconsin. Perhaps OFA paid for the Democrat legislator’s bus like they paid for those of the astroturfed protesters]
Shocker… Obama Administration Is Behind Chaos in Wisconsin – Students Used as Props [I would have used the word “dupe” to refer to the students and the parents who let their children be taken to the rally]
Unions want to overturn election result [I know how you unions feel. I had to wait two years to begin to overturn the election results that I did not like]
Facing Down the Unions [I don’t think that the conservatives will blink first – and furloughs will come sooner rather than later]
Public employees are not allowed to strike in Wisconsin and neither side is likely to give in and a recent quote from Christian Schneider of the Wisconsin Public Policy Institute exposes the unions’ playbook going forward;
“This isn’t going to be a bloodless move. [Wisconsin has] a long history of public-employee-union activism…[to] take their case to the public.”
Taking their case to the public perhaps includes calling off sick, teachers’ ceasing after-school activities, or correctional-facility employees’ refusing to work overtime. In a good economy these tactics usually work, but we are not in a good economy and patience with union “blackmail” tactics will backfire. I don’t think people care about public employees being union as much as the I guess that I must not understand the meaning of “strike.” Didn’t over a thousand teachers not show up for work to stage a protest about contract issues. In my book that is a strike. Hopefully some school district officials are watching tapes of the protests to catch truant teachers.
Wisconsin is perhaps the high water mark of public sector union influence. New Jersey’s Governor Christie has been very vocal about union perks, but the left has not really gone after him. The pot, however, is starting to bubble over in Ohio as new, Republican Governor Kasich is also facing union protests as he tries to balance that state’s budget. Astonishingly the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010 there were more public sector union workers as private sector union workers (7.6 million vs 7.1 million) and as you would expect from those numbers a much higher percent of public sector workers belong to unions (36.2 percent vs 6.2 percent).
My prediction is that I will be updating this post a few more times over the coming weeks.