Hands Off -- Judge rules Wisconsin public union members must opt in on dues

Hands Off -- Judge rules Wisconsin public union members must opt in on dues

In a blow to Big Labor's continual push to make forced unionism the default position, unions will now have to ask people to sign up rather than require employees to figure out how to protect their paychecks from unwanted union confiscation. From Pioneer Press' Patrick Marley MADISON, Wisconsin -- State unions were dealt a setback Friday when a federal judge said they would have to get their members to opt in, rather than opt out, to having the state deduct union dues from their paychecks. What's more, the judge did not rule on dues deductions for unions that he earlier found the state improperly decertified. The state's largest unions were decertified, and the ruling -- at least for now -- will make it harder for them to get money from dues. But U.S. District Court Judge William Conley gave unions one beneficial ruling by saying that members who sign up to have their dues deducted from their paychecks can be required to make a yearlong commitment.

Will Big Labor Get Its Revenge in Wisconsin?

Will Big Labor Get Its Revenge in Wisconsin?

Union Bosses Plot to Recover All of Their Forced-Dues Privileges (source: National Right To Work Committee April 2012 Newsletter) Early last year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) infuriated the union hierarchy, in his own state and nationwide, when he introduced legislation (S.B.11) that would abolish forced union dues for teachers and many other public employees and also sharply limit the scope of government union monopoly bargaining. In response, teacher union bosses in Madison, Milwaukee, and other cities called teachers out on illegal strikes so they could stage angry protests at the state capitol and at legislators' residences. Government union militants issued dozens of death threats against Mr. Walker, his administration, and their families. Fourteen Big Labor-backed state senators, all Democrats, temporarily fled the state to deny the pro-S.B.11 Senate majority a quorum to pass the bill. But thanks in part to public support mobilized by the National Right to Work Committee's e-mail and telecommunications activities, pro-Right to Work legislators were able to withstand the Big Labor fury. Ultimately, S.B.11 was sent to Gov. Walker's desk, and on March 11, 2011, he signed into law the measure now known as Act 10. '[T]o Get Things Out of the Contract and Make Needed Changes Was Impossible'

Another Feather in Gov. Walker's Cap

Another Feather in Gov. Walker's Cap

Good economic news continues to flow from Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker's reforms are taking hold. The Wall Street Journal notes that by standing up to the union bosses, Walker was able to reduce the tax burden on home owners in Badger country: The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker's reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years. On Monday Mr. Walker's office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin's municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state's largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts. The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state's take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. In absolute terms homeowners won't see large dollar benefits year over year, but any hold-the-line tax respite is both rare and welcome in this age of ever-expanding government.

Another Feather in Gov. Walker's Cap

Another Feather in Gov. Walker's Cap

Good economic news continues to flow from Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker's reforms are taking hold. The Wall Street Journal notes that by standing up to the union bosses, Walker was able to reduce the tax burden on home owners in Badger country: The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker's reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years. On Monday Mr. Walker's office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin's municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state's largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts. The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state's take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. In absolute terms homeowners won't see large dollar benefits year over year, but any hold-the-line tax respite is both rare and welcome in this age of ever-expanding government.