Wisconsin Teacher Union Officials ‘Have a Lot of Soul-Searching to Do’

Their recent electoral efforts, including one culminating just a few weeks ago, to install a majority of identified forced-unionism apologists on the state Supreme Court have fallen short so far.  But Badger State government union chiefs are still holding out hope that soon this court will overturn Act 10, the two-year-old budget reform that has sharply restricted their monopoly-bargaining power over Wisconsin’s public servants.

Meanwhile, Act 10, especially its provision restoring the Right to Work of the vast majority of public employees without being forced to pay union dues or fees as a job condition, is taking its toll on the government union brass.

An account appearing late last week in the Madison, Wisc.-based Capital Times (see the link below) briefly assesses how the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC/NEA) teacher union is faring now that its hierarchy can’t force school employees to join or pay dues:

WEAC needs dues-paying membership, says Mike McCabe, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. He said campaign contributions from WEAC’s PAC dropped by more than half from the 2009-2010 election cycle, when it sank more than $2.3 million into state campaigns, to the 2011-2012 election cycle, during which Act 10 went into effect and WEAC contributed just shy of $1 million to election campaigns.

“They used to be one of the proverbial ‘800-pound gorillas’ in Wisconsin politics — their capacity has been gutted,” McCabe said.

WEAC has acknowledged a 30 percent drop in membership — to about 70,000. But teachers in big districts like Milwaukee and Madison are under contracts constructed outside of Act 10’s restrictions, and those unions could see members drop out when those contracts expire this summer and next.

Without rank-and-file members to pay dues, WEAC doesn’t have the capacity to be the player it once was, McCabe said. “They have a lot of soul-searching to do.”

WEAC delegates gather to map shape of teachers union after Act 10