“Under Governor Walker’s 2001 union-reform law, a majority of union members have to vote each year to recertify the union as their representative. If less than 50% of members vote to keep the union and pay union dues, the union effectively loses its ability to bargain for wages,” says an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
It looks like there’s a rush for the exits.
“A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state affiliate of the NEA, said recently, ‘It seems like the majority of our affiliates in the state aren’t seeking recertification…’”
To date, 13% of Wisconsin’s school districts and 39 state and municipal units have been decertified since the law went into effect.
Wisconsin’s experience confirms that, when given a choice, many public employees – and especially teachers – don’t see the value of belonging to a union.
Kudos to Governor Walker for giving them a forum to make that choice.
In a speech to a room full of government researchers, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker made some bold predictions: If Detroit had passed the same public union reforms as the Badger State did, it wouldn’t be bankrupt today. And if Chicago had done so, its public school system would be in much better shape.
Later this week Walker is hosting the National Governors Association in Milwaukee, and he plans to deliver a simple message: “Worry more about the next generation than the next election.”
Absent Walker’s track record, it would be an empty bromide. But with it, the phrase introduces a formula for success that Americans nationwide may be willing to try after eight years of economic futility under President Barack Obama.
In an editorial by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we have even more proof.
One of Walker’s first acts as governor was to sign into a law a series of big changes on how public employee unions operate. The three biggest were limits on collective bargaining, requiring unions to recertify each year and prohibiting automatic collection of union dues.
According to analysis by the paper, in the two years since the law passed the Milwaukee affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees “has gone from more than 9,000 members and income exceeding $7 million in 2010 to about 3,500 members and a deep deficit by the end of last year.”
The old saying goes that “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Well, last night’s Wisconsin recall election must have been a really explosive hand grenade, according to the Washington Post. Drudge has been making fun of the Post for sub-heading its story on Gov. Scott Walker’s victory a “close vote.” Well, I went the extra mile and compared this “close” election to the Post’s handling of another one with very similar results.
In reporting on Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, the text of the Post story called it a “Democratic rout.” And what was Obama’s margin over John McCain? It was 7.2 percent. What was Walker’s margin over Tom Barrett last night? A nearly identical 6.8 percent. Yet the first was a “rout,” while the second was a “close vote.”
Hmmmm….. maybe what the Post meant was that last night was “close to being a rout.”
Byron York explains why President Barack Obama is not campaigning on behalf of Tom Barrett, the Democrat running against Republican Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s recall election on Tuesday:
The latest poll on the recall battle shows why Obama is staying away. It’s not just that he doesn’t want to appear with a loser. Perhaps just as importantly, there is no advantage for Obama to risk his own popularity by making a high-profile visit to oppose policies that are finding increasing favor with voters.
The new poll, from Marquette University Law School, shows Walker leading Barrett 52 percent to 45 percent. Beyond the horse race, the Marquette pollsters also asked about specific elements of Walker’s reforms. It turns out some of the key elements of those policies — reforms Obama strongly opposed — are now winning the day.
Those policies include:
75% of voters in favor of “requiring public employees to contribute to their own pensions and pay more for health insurance.”
55% of voters in favor of “limiting collective bargaining for most public employees.”
54% of voters thinking Wisconsin is better off in the long run because of the changes in state government
Greg Sargent: In case you were wondering how high the stakes are for the national right in the battle over Scott Walker’s recall, consider this: The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a branch of the conservative group founded by the Koch brothers, is sinking at least $700,000 into ads in Wisconsin defending Walker’s record.
Huffington Post reports that even though a Wisconsin state judge invalidated Republican Governor Scott Walker’s bill to remove collective bargaining from public union members, nothing is stopping Republican lawmakers from re-passing the stalled legislation.
Democrats widely expect Republicans in the state legislature to simply attempt to re-pass the measure as law, and this time, the Democratic state senators won’t be leaving the state to slow down the process.
“There’s nothing that we can do,” said state Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover). “Republicans have the votes to do this, and if they choose to do it, they can and they will.”
My guess is that if given the chance to follow normal procedures, Republicans will easily re-pass Governor Walker’s bill. When that happens, Wisconsin’s Democrats should stop wasting taxpayers’ time and money on frivolous lawsuits created by irresponsible lawmakers fleeing the democratic process.
With all the media attention being lavished on governors Mitch Daniels (R-IN) and Scott Walker (R-WI), it’s easy to forget another Midwestern chief executive: Ohio’s John Kasich.
Human Events’ John Gizzi reports that the Ohio governor is bullish on winning a statewide initiative over whether public employees must increase their percentage of health care spending from 9 to 15 percent. (Compared to the average 23 percent contribution in the private sector.)
Kasich is also preparing legislation with state Republican lawmakers to eventually eliminate Ohio’s income tax. If these and other reforms are successful, Kasich might start getting the attention his herculean efforts deserve.
Politico highlights how the budget battles between the Tea Party and Big Labor are threatening to shift firefighters and police officers into the Democratic Party, setting up a dilemma for fiscal conservatives.
The blowback from unionized first responders is being felt by Republicans in Ohio, New York, and Wisconsin. In the latter, Republican Governor Scott Walker tried to exempt police and fire from the ban on public employees collectively bargaining, but they still refused to follow his order to remove protesting teachers from the state capitol.
Ironically, Politico quotes one police union leader saying his members are going to hold pro-union Republicans “accountable” for the cuts being made to balance state budgets.
Apparently, it’s a different kind of accountability than one based on sustainable funding formulas. If the GOP is serious about reining in runaway government spending, it’s going to have to take on all public employee unions, and demand lower compensations (e.g. pensions, buy-outs, overtime, retirement eligibility, etc.).
We’ll see who has the stomach to make that case anytime soon.
If at first liberals don’t succeed, they plead their case to a friendly judge. Last Friday, a Wisconsin judge granted a temporary restraining order to block publication of the state’s recently passed union law. (State law requires the Secretary of State to publish the contents of the law to the public in order for the law to be valid.)
The law’s opponents claim Wisconsin Republicans violated the state’s open meetings law by negotiating the substance of the bill outside the normal committee hearing process. The judge says all Republicans have to do is re-pass the bill with adequate notice (i.e. 24 hours instead of 2).
Where were these process-conscience Democrats when their federal counterparts rammed through ObamaCare while violating almost every legislative procedure? Where was the outrage when the Reid-Pelosi gang used the budget reconciliation process and ‘deem-and-pass’ to thwart deliberation? At least Wisconsin Republicans gave their absentee opponents a heads-up.
Their howls of protest notwithstanding, Wisconsin Democrats – whenever they gain control of state government again – are likely to retain Republican Governor Scott Walker’s ban on collective bargaining by public employees.
For this reason, I am skeptical of Democrats’ vigorous hopes to retake Wisconsin’s government and repeal this new law. There is no clamor among Democrats in Virginia to give collective-bargaining privileges to public workers, nor have Democrats in Washington, D.C., shown much interest in empowering federal workers’ unions. This is because Democratic officeholders, quite rationally, prefer to write their budgets themselves, rather than hand over control of employee-compensation costs to unions. Once Wisconsin lawmakers get used to the new status quo, I think this is likely to be true there, too — why would mayors, school-board members, and state legislators want to give up a powerful new budgeting tool they’ve been given?
Eventually, Democrats will take power in Wisconsin again, and when they do I think they are likely to restore the “dues checkoff” — automatic deductions from public payrolls to pay union dues, eliminated in the just-passed bill. But I think they are likely to find the federal model of limited collective bargaining pretty useful, just as Barack Obama has. Under pressure from municipal officials, Wisconsin Democrats will be more likely to “reform” this law while retaining significant constraints on bargaining than to repeal it entirely.
In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino comments on the budget clash in Wisconsin between taxpayers and public-sector unions, noting that the standoff and issues surrounding it have the potential to completely change the shape of American politics.
If Republicans overreached with their budget-repair bill and unfairly restricted the rights of unions, then let Democrats go on record opposing the bill and make it the centerpiece of the next legislative election in Wisconsin. Under the circumstances, though, the Democrats who have tried to hijack democracy in order to dictate terms should be the ones who fear the next election the most.
The longer Wisconsin Senate Democrats delay action on legislative business, the more authority they lose to negotiate on any other issue this session. They also shouldn’t forget the lesson they’re teaching majority Republicans whenever they do return: lock the doors and monitor the whereabouts of every quorum-busting Democrat to make sure they don’t pull this stunt again.
Is that really the precedent Wisconsin Democrats want to establish?
No one should pity Wisconsin Senate Democratic caucus members from being harried hither and thither by Tea Party activists uncovering their secret hideaways from public responsibility. Nor should anyone doubt Republican Governor Scott Walker’s resolve to persuade them back to work. From the New York Post:
Under the plan detailed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, legislators who miss two consecutive sessions will have their direct deposits stopped.
“You still get a check,” Walker said. “But the check has to be personally picked up.”
But the checks won’t be sitting in a basket in some random government office. They’ll be locked “in their desk on the floor of the state Senate,” Walker said.
… what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.
If this is what makes it to print, one wonders what function it is exactly that Dr. Krugman’s ‘editor’ serves. The Grey Lady is on life support.
If you ever doubted the indivisibility of disparate Leftist causes, then for proof look no farther than Madison, WI. A community organizer-turned-POTUS is sending his minions to supplement Badger State public employee unions. Jesse Jackson is leading a march in support of workers’ rights. (Apparently, the only color in Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition these days is red.)
All we need now is a cadre of eco-friendly celebrities to descend on the Wisconsin state capitol and declare their love for collective bargaining (while demanding A-list treatment in their next film contract). With the battle over union overreach spreading to other states, this may the beginning of a very tense year in states across the country.