WP's Lane: Progressives Should Oppose Big Labor's Walker Recall

WP's Lane: Progressives Should Oppose Big Labor's Walker Recall

From the "progressive" Washington Post's Charles Lane, an exposure of public sector unionism and its unequaled influence on elected officials and the cost of government: Of course, collective bargaining in the public sector is inherently contrary to majority rule. It transfers basic public-policy decisions — namely, the pay and working conditions that taxpayers will offer those who work for them — out of the public square and behind closed doors. Progressive Wisconsin has a robust “open meetings” law covering a wide range of government gatherings except — you guessed it — collective bargaining with municipal or state employees. So much for transparency. Even worse, to the extent that unions bankroll the campaigns of the officials with whom they will be negotiating — and they often do — they sit on both sides of the table. More from Lane: The furious drive to oust Walker is the sequel to last year’s dramatic battle over his plan to limit collective bargaining by public-sector unions. Walker won that fight, despite tumultuous pro-union demonstrations in and around the state capitol and a boycott of votes on the bill by the Democratic minority in the legislature.

Union Bosses Hate Gov. Walker For His Success

Union Bosses Hate Gov. Walker For His Success

The Investors Business Daily nails it -- the union bosses hate and fear Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker because his plan is working and is a model for other states seeking to balance their budgets: Backed by a massive, well-financed Big Labor machine, the Democratic Party is determined to reverse the democratic election of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker. His crime? Fixing his state's economy. Democrats and their powerful [forced-dues funded] union allies got the more than half a million signatures needed to hold a recall ballot intended to remove Walker, a Republican elected in November 2010. The vote will be in just over two months. Or did they? "Adolf Hitler" and "Mick E. Mous" were successfully weeded out — plus tens of thousands of other invalid entries. But ABC-TV's Milwaukee affiliate was told by a man on the street that "I think I signed about 80 times" over two weeks. How many others like him were there? There have been two successful recall movements in American history. California Gov. Gray Davis, responsible for California's unprecedented electricity crisis, was replaced by movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003. And 1921 saw the grass-roots ousting of North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier, whose state takeover of farm-related industries rendered the state bank insolvent. [Unlike those recalls] The Wisconsin recall would undo the election not of someone who has been resoundingly successful, not who wrecked his state's economy. [Forced-dues] muscle, not popular discontent, is driving this movement. On taking office, Walker made it clear he meant business and dared to squash the unholy trinity of Big Labor, politicians and money, which poses such a danger to the entire nation. He had the guts to say, "Collective bargaining isn't a right; it is an expensive entitlement." Acting on that principle, Walker balanced a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, reduced the tax burden on entrepreneurs, reformed regulation and instituted what he calls "the most aggressive tort reform in the country" against frivolous lawsuits targeting businesses. Is it a coincidence that Wisconsin unemployment is its lowest since 2008? Did Walker devastate state government? Quite the contrary. His clampdown on collective bargaining ended seniority and tenure for public school teachers, replacing them with hiring and firing — and pay — based on performance. He gave each of the 300,000 Wisconsin state workers the right to choose on union membership — and financing Big Labor's political activities through dues. Speaking before the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in February, Walker emphasized why he is being targeted: "The big government union bosses are worried that workers may actually choose to keep the money for themselves." This explains the tens of millions of dollars they spent last summer on six Wisconsin state Senate recall elections.

Belling:  School Supervisor Orders Employee To Remove Pro-Gov. Walker Sign From Car

Belling: School Supervisor Orders Employee To Remove Pro-Gov. Walker Sign From Car

Mark Belling, radio talk show host (known nationally as an occasional substitute host for Rush Limbaugh), exposed political totalitarianism at Wisconsin’s Whitewater High School.  Documents show that specifically two educators, Kate Kolak, a Spanish teacher, and Deb Brigham-Schmull, an art teacher, wanted end Mary Taylor’s free speech.  Taylor’s supervisor, who ordered her to remove the Walker endorsement, is a signatory on a Recall Walker petition. Wisconsin teachers unions have been some of the most vociferous about recalling Gov. Walker; and they have not been shy about pour union dues in their campaign to recall the Governor. From Belling’s website: An open records request filed by me has produced records indicating at least two Whitewater High School employees, including the supervisor of custodians, requested that a private custodial worker be ordered to remove her pro-Scott Walker sign from her car in the school parking lot. The employee, Mary Taylor, says she was fired by her employer, Diversified Building Maintenance, for her refusal to remove her sign. Diversified acknowledges it sent Mary home and told her not to work the following day but says it would re-assign her to a different school. The company backed down after I reported on this two weeks ago. At the time, Whitewater District Administrator Eric Runez claimed no one from the school district directed Diversified to tell Mary to remove her sign.

Rep. Darrell Issa Confronts Big Labor's Refusal to Abide by Law

Rep. Darrell Issa Confronts Big Labor's Refusal to Abide by Law

Perhaps if journalists weren't union members or weren't signing recall petitions against Gov. Scott Walker, we would see more information about Rep. Darrell Issa's report on how workers are being left in the dark about their rights not to join a union and in some cases are threatened to pay union dues.  Thankfully PJ Media has the story: PJ Media has reported on incidents of workers residing in states without “right-to-work” laws being forced to unionize in order to keep their jobs. In some instances, workers have been forced to unionize simply to care for disabled family members. An additional angle to this story: unions have been misappropriating those dues to skirt laws restricting a union’s ability to spend that money for political purposes. According to a report released by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), unions spent more than $1.1 billion in dues to finance political and lobbying activities during the 2010 election cycle. In the 27 states which do not have “right-to-work” laws — which prohibit forced unionization — workers are allowed to resign their union membership, but must then pay so-called “agency fees” so that they are not “free riding” on the union members’ collective bargaining. However, federal law prohibits the use of agency fees to support political candidates and causes to which the non-member objects, and requires that portion of their fees to be refunded upon demand. According to the report, getting that money refunded is extremely difficult: Many workers are intentionally left unaware of their rights, and in some cases are subjected to a campaign of threats and extortion. Additionally, because unions do not have to submit agency fee determinations to an independent auditor, unions can get around a worker’s Beck right by inaccurately categorizing almost all union expenditures as representational expenses.

Rep. Darrell Issa Confronts Big Labor's Refusal to Abide by Law

Rep. Darrell Issa Confronts Big Labor's Refusal to Abide by Law

Perhaps if journalists weren't union members or weren't signing recall petitions against Gov. Scott Walker, we would see more information about Rep. Darrell Issa's report on how workers are being left in the dark about their rights not to join a union and in some cases are threatened to pay union dues.  Thankfully PJ Media has the story: PJ Media has reported on incidents of workers residing in states without “right-to-work” laws being forced to unionize in order to keep their jobs. In some instances, workers have been forced to unionize simply to care for disabled family members. An additional angle to this story: unions have been misappropriating those dues to skirt laws restricting a union’s ability to spend that money for political purposes. According to a report released by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), unions spent more than $1.1 billion in dues to finance political and lobbying activities during the 2010 election cycle. In the 27 states which do not have “right-to-work” laws — which prohibit forced unionization — workers are allowed to resign their union membership, but must then pay so-called “agency fees” so that they are not “free riding” on the union members’ collective bargaining. However, federal law prohibits the use of agency fees to support political candidates and causes to which the non-member objects, and requires that portion of their fees to be refunded upon demand. According to the report, getting that money refunded is extremely difficult: Many workers are intentionally left unaware of their rights, and in some cases are subjected to a campaign of threats and extortion. Additionally, because unions do not have to submit agency fee determinations to an independent auditor, unions can get around a worker’s Beck right by inaccurately categorizing almost all union expenditures as representational expenses.

"The Stockton Syndrome" Underfunded Pensions

California laws granting immense union monopoly power to union officials is creating cracks, fissures, and collapse across the state.  One manifestation of the growing problem is a pension crisis coming to a head as the city of Stockton faces pending bankruptcy. The Investor Business Daily notes: As one California city slogs toward bankruptcy, others may soon try to avoid the same fate by passing pension reforms — that is, if a pro-union state government will let them. The financial problems plaguing many of the nation's [Big Labor Boss-run] cities are taking a particularly heavy toll on Stockton, Calif., a blue-collar port city that struggles even in good times. Stockton is also a cautionary tale on how not to run a city. It seems to have committed just about every fiscal sin known to local government.In those infrequent years when things were good, it spent (and promised) like there was no tomorrow. Now tomorrow has come, and the city is broke. Its spiffy sports arena and its new $35 million high-rise city hall won't help it pay its debt. That debt includes, but is not limited to, a $400 million liability for its retirees' health care. It also has had to cut its police force by almost a third.

"The Stockton Syndrome"  Underfunded Pensions

"The Stockton Syndrome" Underfunded Pensions

California laws granting immense union monopoly power to union officials is creating cracks, fissures, and collapse across the state.  One manifestation of the growing problem is a pension crisis coming to a head as the city of Stockton faces pending bankruptcy. The Investor Business Daily notes: As one California city slogs toward bankruptcy, others may soon try to avoid the same fate by passing pension reforms — that is, if a pro-union state government will let them. The financial problems plaguing many of the nation's [Big Labor Boss-run] cities are taking a particularly heavy toll on Stockton, Calif., a blue-collar port city that struggles even in good times. Stockton is also a cautionary tale on how not to run a city. It seems to have committed just about every fiscal sin known to local government.In those infrequent years when things were good, it spent (and promised) like there was no tomorrow. Now tomorrow has come, and the city is broke. Its spiffy sports arena and its new $35 million high-rise city hall won't help it pay its debt. That debt includes, but is not limited to, a $400 million liability for its retirees' health care. It also has had to cut its police force by almost a third.