Winners in Wisconsin: Taxpayers

Winners in Wisconsin: Taxpayers

Subscribe to The National Right to Work Committee® Website Updates by Email Wisconsin demonstrates the monopoly power of government unions can be broken and the Wall Street Journal takes notice: Congratulations to Wisconsin Republicans, who held together this week to pass their government union reforms despite unprecedented acting out by Democrats and their union allies. Three weeks ago we described this battle as a foretaste of Greece come to America, but maybe there's hope for taxpayers after all. The good news is that Governor Scott Walker's reforms have been worth the fight on the policy merits. The conventional media wisdom is that Mr. Walker "overreached" by proposing limits on the ability of government unions to bargain collectively for benefits. But before he offered those proposals, Democrats and unions had refused to support his plan that public workers pay more for their pensions and health care. Only later did they concede that these changes were reasonable and will spare thousands of public workers from layoffs. Unions can still bargain for wages, but annual increases can't exceed the rate of inflation. Unions will also have to be certified each year, which will give their dues-paying members a chance to revisit their decision to unionize. No longer will it be one worker, one vote, once. Perhaps most important, the state will no longer collect those dues automatically and give them to the union to spend almost entirely on politics. The unions will have to collect those dues themselves.The collective bargaining reforms also mean that this won't merely be a one-time budget victory. Government unions know that financial concessions (and layoffs) they agree to during recessions are typically won back when tax revenues increase and the public stops paying attention. They merely need to elect a friendly governor. Mr. Walker's reforms change the balance of negotiating power in ways that give taxpayers more protection. If Mr. Walker's effort can be faulted, we'd say it's for not stressing enough the value of these collective bargaining changes for taxpayers, and how public unions too often end up on both sides of the bargaining table.

The Real Issue in the Government Worker Union Battle

The Real Issue in the Government Worker Union Battle

NRTW President Mark Mix from the Investor's Business Daily: In Wisconsin, union officials — with support from the Obama White House — continue to orchestrate illegal teacher strikes, lead angry mass protests at the state capitol and picket the residences of legislators to safeguard Big Labor's government-granted monopoly bargaining power over hundreds of thousands of Badger State public employees. Raucous union rallies and intimidation of elected officials and their families in support of Big Labor's purported "right" to unchallenged monopoly bargaining control are occurring in other states as well. Americans learning about organized labor's battles in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states from TV, radio and newspaper reports may understandably be confused about what is at stake, especially if they have no personal experience with unions themselves. From afar, it's easy to draw the conclusion that public employees' right to join a union is at stake. But that is hardly the case. Public employees' freedom to join and pay dues to labor organizations is already legally protected across the U.S. and is not being challenged anywhere. What reform-minded elected officials are seeking to curtail, and in some cases even abolish, is government union chiefs' legal power to force public servants into a union as a condition of employment. Under the current labor laws of nearly half of the states, government union officials have been explicitly authorized to force all public employees in a workplace to pay union dues or be fired, as long as a majority of their fellow employees (among those expressing an opinion) support unionization. Such forced-unionism laws, which Big Labor is now fighting furiously to keep on the books in the face of increasingly intense public opposition, actually trample on, rather than protect, employees' freedom to make personal decisions about unionism.

Codependency

Subscribe to The National Right to Work Committee® Posts by Email Why are Democrats in Wisconsin and Indiana fleeing the state rather than vote on reform measures? It's because Big Labor and the Democratic Party are completely codependent upon each other, the Investors Business Daily opines: The fleeing Democrats in Wisconsin and Indiana say they are protecting state workers, but they have plenty of self-interested reasons to hit the road. Their self-imposed exile and national Democrats' support show just how key Big Labor is to their fortunes. Unions have long been a backbone of support for the Democratic Party. They have become even more important in recent years as they ramped up campaign efforts. Without them, Democrats have no chance of reversing the GOP's 2010 gains. The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, the top public-sector union, spent a reported $87.5 million nationally in the 2010 election cycle — 99% for Democrats. The Chamber of Commerce, by contrast, spent $75 million. The National Education Association spent $40 million, and the Service Employees International Union spent $44 million. That doesn't count the unions' importance in get-out-the-vote efforts, in organizing rallies and in other election activities. There will be 91 electoral votes at stake in the seven upper Midwest states from Minnesota and Iowa to Pennsylvania (excluding President Obama's home state of Illinois). In 2008, Obama won all those states, including a narrow victory in Indiana. But in 2010, Republicans in the area had their best election in decades, picking up 16 House seats, two Senate seats, and five governorships. Only Minnesota's governorship flipped from Republican to Democrat.