Wisconsin Governor in Big Labor Gun Sights

Wisconsin Governor in Big Labor Gun Sights

  Union-Boss Bid to Regain Control Over State Senate Falls Short (Source: September 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) Early this year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) infuriated the union hierarchy, in his own state and nationally, 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 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. Government union militants issued dozens of death threats against Mr. Walker, members of his administration, and their families. Fourteen union-backed state senators, all Democrats, temporarily fled the state to deny the pro-S.B.11 Senate majority a quorum to pass the bill. In raucous demonstrations, union bigwigs and their radical followers actually suggested Mr. Walker's support for public employees' Right to Work made him similar to Mubarak, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, or even Satan.

On, Wisconsin

With teachers in Wisconsin having the ability to decline the payment of  forced union dues or fees, teacher union officials are reportedly laying off 40% of their staff.  The Wall Street Journal opines: The Battle of Wisconsin ended with a whimper on Tuesday as two Democrats facing recall elections for their roles in the fight over union reform hung on to their seats. Four of six Republicans up for recall did the same last week. After Greek-style protests in Madison, a judicial election and tens of millions of dollars spent, voters weren't in the mood for revenge after all. For all the hullabaloo, the great upheaval prophesied by the unions never came true. Republicans still control the state senate. The national unions went home. Badger State voters got a balanced budget without tax increases, and the spectacle of Democratic senators fleeing to Illinois to avoid a vote became an unpleasant memory. Life goes on. Since Governor Scott Walker's union reforms and budget legislation went into effect, school districts have saved money with competitive bids for their health-care plans. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the change will save Milwaukee some $25 million a year and as much as $36 million in 2012, more than compensating for the cuts in state aid to the city.

Taxpayer Funded Big Labor Cash Cow Hit by WI Reform

What Reform Was About Wisconsin Republicans put their careers on the line to reform the state's collective bargaining process for government unions -- standing up to entrenched special interests and back room deals that have dominated the political landscape for decades. Byron York of the Washington Examiner takes a look at one of the corrupt bargains that seems to be coming to an end thanks to their efforts. It appears the union bosses were padding their bottom line by forcing school districts to buy health insurance through a company they owned -- all at inflated costs. Now free of those constraints, schools are saving money on wasteful contracts helping teachers and students in the process. Other states should take note. The Hartland-Lakeside School District, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee in tiny Hartland, Wis., had a problem in its collective bargaining contract with the local teachers union. The contract required the school district to purchase health insurance from a company called WEA Trust. The creation of Wisconsin's largest teachers union -- "WEA" stands for Wisconsin Education Association -- WEA Trust made money when union officials used collective bargaining agreements to steer profitable business its way. The problem for Hartland-Lakeside was that WEA Trust was charging significantly higher rates than the school district could find on the open market. School officials knew that because they got a better deal from United HealthCare for coverage of nonunion employees. On more than one occasion, Superintendent Glenn Schilling asked WEA Trust why the rates were so high. "I could never get a definitive answer on that," says Schilling. Changing to a different insurance company would save Hartland-Lakeside hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be spent on key educational priorities -- especially important since the cash-strapped state government was cutting back on education funding. But teachers union officials wouldn't allow it; the WEA Trust requirement was in the contract, and union leaders refused to let Hartland-Lakeside off the hook. "It's going to save us about $690,000 in 2011-2012," says Schilling. Insurance costs that had been about $2.5 million a year will now be around $1.8 million. What union leaders said would be a catastrophe will in fact be a boon to teachers and students.

Union Bosses Out For Revenge in Wisconsin

Union Bosses Out For Revenge in Wisconsin

The implementation and retention of its new state public-sector Right to Work law are critical for Wisconsin's efforts to furnish relief for taxpaying individuals and businesses and reinvigorate private-sector income growth. Credit: Rick McKee/Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle  Pro-Right to Work Legislators Targeted in July 'Recall' Elections (Source: June 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) For at least a decade leading up to the election of Right to Work advocate Scott Walker (R) as governor, Wisconsin, like many other forced-unionism states, was on an unsustainable fiscal path. From 2000 through 2010, total taxpayer costs for compensation of Wisconsin state and local government employees grew by an inflation-adjusted 9.2%, to a total of $19.83 billion last year. By 2010, state and local government compensation swallowed up the equivalent of nearly 17% of all private-sector wages, salaries, bonuses and benefits in Wisconsin. And over the past decade Badger State government employee compensation grew more than two-and-a-half times as fast as private-sector employee compensation, in percentage terms. Upon Taking Office, Governor Properly Focused His Energy On Forced-Dues Repeal Measure

After months of Big Labor temper tantrums, WI Supreme Court OKs Walker Plan

After months of Big Labor temper tantrums, WI Supreme Court OKs Walker Plan

Wisconsin Supremes hand government employees, Gov. Scott Walker and state Republicans a solid win; and they completely rejected Big Labor's ace-in-the-hole Judge Maryann Sumi's ruling.  From the Journal Sentinel story by Patrick Marley and Don Walker: Madison - Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Gov. Scott Walker's plan to all but end collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers. The court found a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state's open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when they hastily approved the measure and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had struck down the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge. The majority opinion was by Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. The other three justices - Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks - concurred in part and dissented in part. The opinion voided all orders in the case from the lower court. The court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi's ruling, which had held up implementation of the collective bargaining law, was void ab initio, or invalid from the outset.

Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

'In a Sense,' We 'Elect Our Own Boss' (Source: May 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) An October 27, 1975 New York magazine feature article by journalist Ken Auletta examined the causes of the Big Apple's financial implosion that year. Three-and-a-half decades later, the article is still remembered for a remarkable quote from government union bigwig Victor Gotbaum. The then-head of the extraordinarily powerful, Manhattan-based District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union had "recently remarked," the story reported: "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss." Mr. Gotbaum was alluding to the fact that, in jurisdictions like New York, where union monopoly bargaining over the pay, benefits, and working conditions of public servants is authorized by law, union bosses negotiate with government officials over such issues. At the same time, government union chiefs funnel a huge portion of the (often compulsory) dues and fees they collect from unionized workers into efforts to influence the outcomes of local and state elections. And the outcomes of those elections often determine who represents the public at the bargaining table. "In city after city and state after state, union bosses wield their privilege to force public employees to pay union dues, or be fired, to amass huge war chests, with which they support and oppose candidates for public office," explained National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix. "Big Labor thus determines who sits on one side of the bargaining table, and heavily influences who sits on the other. It is a terrible conflict of interest, which Victor Gotbaum plainly recognized, even as he bragged about it.

Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

'In a Sense,' We 'Elect Our Own Boss' (Source: May 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) An October 27, 1975 New York magazine feature article by journalist Ken Auletta examined the causes of the Big Apple's financial implosion that year. Three-and-a-half decades later, the article is still remembered for a remarkable quote from government union bigwig Victor Gotbaum. The then-head of the extraordinarily powerful, Manhattan-based District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union had "recently remarked," the story reported: "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss." Mr. Gotbaum was alluding to the fact that, in jurisdictions like New York, where union monopoly bargaining over the pay, benefits, and working conditions of public servants is authorized by law, union bosses negotiate with government officials over such issues. At the same time, government union chiefs funnel a huge portion of the (often compulsory) dues and fees they collect from unionized workers into efforts to influence the outcomes of local and state elections. And the outcomes of those elections often determine who represents the public at the bargaining table. "In city after city and state after state, union bosses wield their privilege to force public employees to pay union dues, or be fired, to amass huge war chests, with which they support and oppose candidates for public office," explained National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix. "Big Labor thus determines who sits on one side of the bargaining table, and heavily influences who sits on the other. It is a terrible conflict of interest, which Victor Gotbaum plainly recognized, even as he bragged about it.