Governor Walker's Victory Spells Doom For Public Sector Unions

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    Jun 06, 2012 2:26 AM GMT
    This is open season for public sector unions.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrezza/2012/06/05/governor-walkers-victory-spells-doom-for-public-sector-unions/

    This fight is not without precedent. Progressive patron saint Franklin Delano Roosevelt—who more than any other president set our country on a course away from the founding principles of limited government—knew that public sector unions would be the death of the social welfare state he worked so hard to create. Hence, he consistently opposed allowing government employees to unionize. Today, Greece sets the example of what happens when public sector unions gain the upper hand.

    In 1959 Wisconsin became the first state to allow collective bargaining by government employees. The projected cost of supporting Baby Boomer union retirees now threatens to bankrupt the state, as it does many others. Scott Walker ran for office promising change. The fiscal medicine he is administering may be bitter, but it looks like it is starting to work. The state budget has been balanced. The unemployment rate has been dropping and is now below the national average. Property taxes are down. Fraudulent sick leave policies—which allowed employees to call in sick and then work the next shift for overtime pay—have been ended. The government has stopped forcibly collecting union dues from workers’ paychecks.

    Best of all, the myth that union bosses represent their members’ interests has been exposed as a lie. Now that union dues are voluntary, tens of thousands of union members have stopped paying them. Membership in the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) has dropped by half. Membership in the stat’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is down by over a third. Given unions’ influential role in most elections, the national implications of this trend are staggering.

    Walker’s message is clear: The key to bringing balance back to public sector labor relations and balance state budgets is to break the iron triangle of closed-shop mandatory unionization, compulsory dues collection, and oversized campaign donations to politicians that promise to do the unions’ bidding. If other governors take his cue and take up the cause, that giant sucking sound you hear will be the air coming out of union bosses’ bloated political action budgets.

    The work in Wisconsin is not complete. The controversial law exempted police and firefighters, a political concession to get the legislation passed. Federal courts have zeroed in on this anomaly, striking down certain sections of the law because they do not treat workers equally. This needs to be repaired— by rescinding the exemption for public safety workers. With the recall election behind him, Walker may be sufficiently emboldened to do just that.
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    Jun 06, 2012 2:30 AM GMT
    Democrats in the past understood the perils of public employee unions, but the Democratic Party of today is not what it was yesterday. Maybe after an Obama defeat the more centrist, responsible Democrats will take control of the party away from these radicals.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2420412/
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    Jun 06, 2012 2:36 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidDemocrats in the past understood the perils of public employee unions, but the Democratic Party of today is not what it was yesterday. Maybe after an Obama defeat the more centrist, responsible Democrats will take control of the party away from these radicals.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2420412/


    Well, now to start paying attention to the results in California...
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    Jun 06, 2012 2:36 AM GMT
    Fuck the more centrist/responsible democrats. They are the ones ruining everything. Look at the republicans. They are running far far far right and the democrats think running closer to them makes them appear more moderate. If anything what the democrats need is someone with some brains and BALLS who will stand up to the verbal bullies and call them on their bullshit and offer up some new ideas. Instead, you get Pelosi and dead guy Reid, know nothing plutocrats who just want to enrich themselves and the people who pay their bills, exactly the way republicans work. The system is broken because everyone plays the same game. Give me a left wing nut job in the same vein as a right wing Marco Rubio or Scott Walker, someone who gets elected and follows through on their threats to dismantle unions, except a democrat, like an Obama, who promises healthcare reform, but when elected, with control of both houses mind you, thinks he has to bend over for the right wing republicans to get anything done.
    The democrats have dug their own grave by being pussies and panderers.
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    Jun 06, 2012 2:52 AM GMT
    smartmoney saidFuck the more centrist/responsible democrats. They are the ones ruining everything. Look at the republicans. They are running far far far right and the democrats think running closer to them makes them appear more moderate. If anything what the democrats need is someone with some brains and BALLS who will stand up to the verbal bullies and call them on their bullshit and offer up some new ideas. Instead, you get Pelosi and dead guy Reid, know nothing plutocrats who just want to enrich themselves and the people who pay their bills, exactly the way republicans work. The system is broken because everyone plays the same game. Give me a left wing nut job in the same vein as a right wing Marco Rubio or Scott Walker, someone who gets elected and follows through on their threats to dismantle unions, except a democrat, like an Obama, who promises healthcare reform, but when elected, with control of both houses mind you, thinks he has to bend over for the right wing republicans to get anything done.
    The democrats have dug their own grave by being pussies and panderers.


    I highly doubt that pulling left will result in more votes for the Democrats - I mean we live in a world where Greece and Spain look like they are about to become major sovereign defaults. There's just too much entitlement spending and decimating public sector unions that shouldn't have existed in the first place (I'm a supporter for the existence of private sector unions) is only the tip of the iceberg of what will need to be done.

    As for healthcare reform - it certainly wasn't derailed because of Republicans - given that the bill was largely written by Pelosi and Reid who can hardly be characterized as centrists.
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    Jun 06, 2012 3:59 AM GMT
    As usual, riddler has no earthly idea what he's talking about.

    The only way for the Democrats to come back from this is to run hard left leave the big corporate money at the door and return to the days of FDR.

    In terms of public sector unions, there have been dark days before but people will only take so much. They will either organize peacefully or start resorting to violence.
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    Jun 06, 2012 4:05 AM GMT
    smartmoney saidFuck the more centrist/responsible democrats. They are the ones ruining everything. Look at the republicans. They are running far far far right and the democrats think running closer to them makes them appear more moderate. If anything what the democrats need is someone with some brains and BALLS who will stand up to the verbal bullies and call them on their bullshit and offer up some new ideas. Instead, you get Pelosi and dead guy Reid, know nothing plutocrats who just want to enrich themselves and the people who pay their bills, exactly the way republicans work. The system is broken because everyone plays the same game. Give me a left wing nut job in the same vein as a right wing Marco Rubio or Scott Walker, someone who gets elected and follows through on their threats to dismantle unions, except a democrat, like an Obama, who promises healthcare reform, but when elected, with control of both houses mind you, thinks he has to bend over for the right wing republicans to get anything done.
    The democrats have dug their own grave by being pussies and panderers.

    If the leftists were to keep control of the Party, which I don't think would be the case if Obama loses, they would lose many of the moderates to the GOP. I think if one party moves more to the center, it motivates the other party to do the same to get the moderate vote.
  • jock_1

    Posts: 1492

    Jun 06, 2012 4:06 AM GMT
    Public sector employees in my state will continue to make more than the average employee in the state make, continue to get a lifetime pension, great health care. The taxpayers who make far less than them will continue to pay for their higher compensation.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3287

    Jun 06, 2012 4:14 AM GMT
    anyone know where i can get Keith Olberman's reaction. I would pay for that monologue.
  • Tyler413

    Posts: 11

    Jun 06, 2012 4:14 AM GMT
    jock_1 saidPublic sector employees in my state will continue to make more than the average employee in the state make, continue to get a lifetime pension, great health care. The taxpayers who make far less than them will continue to pay for their higher compensation.


    Exactly! Thank you for posting this!
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Jun 06, 2012 4:18 AM GMT
    musclmed saidanyone know where i can get Keith Olberman's reaction. I would pay for that monologue.



    Rachel Maddow's was good enough. She's still calling it a close election. HELL-ooooh! icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jun 06, 2012 4:20 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    musclmed saidanyone know where i can get Keith Olberman's reaction. I would pay for that monologue.



    Rachel Maddow's was good enough. She's still calling it a close election. HELL-ooooh! icon_rolleyes.gif


    Hey for some people (CNN and theHill.com included), 200,000 people is a "close election" and a "narrow win".
  • jock_1

    Posts: 1492

    Jun 06, 2012 4:22 AM GMT
    Walker will win by way more votes than he did in the first election.....make a statement much???
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    Jun 06, 2012 4:31 AM GMT
    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/301938/how-scott-walker-helped-unions-and-democrats-tonight

    How Scott Walker Helped Unions and Democrats Tonight

    Believe it or not, by winning his recall election - by a 57 percent to 42 percent margin at this hour – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has done his foes – the Wisconsin Democratic Party, the public sector unions, the progressives and angry leftists – a favor.

    He has liberated them from the soothing illusion that they are popular, and that the public agrees with them.

    How do you think the leadership of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011? How do you think they greeted the sudden realization that two-thirds of the members, given the option of leaving and cease paying union dues, headed for the exits?


    Also:

    http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.ca/2012/06/progressives-utterly-crushed-after.html

    In 2010, the greatest Republican landslide in decades, Scott Walker won by 6 points. In 2012, with the left throwing everything it had at him, Walker became the only governor ever to survive a recall, crushing his hapless opponent by… 10+ points!!
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    Jun 06, 2012 4:37 AM GMT
    It couldn't happen to nicer people.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303506404577449042318099280.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories

    "Governor's Victory Deals Costly Blow to Organized Labor"

    Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker's victory marks a costly blow to organized labor that could weaken its political muscle over the long term.

    Governors and legislators in Republican-led states across the country could be emboldened to pursue the same type of curbs on union-worker rights that Mr. Walker installed, and to move forward on right-to-work legislation, which would bar contracts requiring employees in private-sector firms to be union members and pay union dues. In Wisconsin, the change has significantly reduced public-employee union membership since last year.

    The shift could hit union membership across the country and weaken labor's ability to raise money that is a significant source of Democratic political funding.

    The political-action committees of public-sector unions have donated $4.7 million to candidates for Congress so far in the 2012 election, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That made public-sector unions one of the biggest sources of donations to candidates behind Hollywood, Wall Street and the insurance industry, according to the center.

    About 90% of the donations from the public-sector PACs went to Democrats.

    The three largest public-sector union PACs have so far raised $23.4 million in this election cycle. That money can be used to donate directly to candidates or pay for television advertisements, mailings or other election activities.

    Republicans control legislatures and governorships in 24 states, making them the most likely to pursue curbs to union-worker rights and benefits if they haven't already, according to Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative anti-tax group.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3287

    Jun 06, 2012 4:39 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    musclmed saidanyone know where i can get Keith Olberman's reaction. I would pay for that monologue.



    Rachel Maddow's was good enough. She's still calling it a close election. HELL-ooooh! icon_rolleyes.gif


    you know its the first person i turned on after work. Christmas in June
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    Jun 06, 2012 4:41 AM GMT
    Wow - HuffPo's headline is currently "Labor Lost, Walker Survives"
  • ScottyM

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    Jun 06, 2012 5:35 AM GMT
    When unions are gone, who will fight for those who do not have the ability or the funding to fight for themselves?

    I have a friend who accidentally broke his foot. Part of his job requires that he wear boots... because of his cast, he can not wear his boot, but he can do all the rest of his job requirements.

    His company told him, so long!... when he explained that he has a daughter to support, bills to pay, and that he's a veteran, the HR person said "You should have thought about that before you broke your foot."

    WRONG!
    WRONG, WRONG WRONG!

    But... without a union, without someone to stand up for him, he is s.o.l. because of an ACCIDENT.

    This is what was happening in this country in the early 1900's, before unions, and we're going back to that!

    Why? We made so much progress, we created the middle class, TOGETHER we created a great life for millions of Americans, and now we're ripping that away so that we can give tax breaks to make a FEW people wealthier and richer than they've ever been, while people who are hurt in accidents are forced to lose their jobs.

    These are dark days for intellectualism, compassion, and brotherly love.
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    Jun 06, 2012 5:44 AM GMT
    ScottyM saidWhen unions are gone, who will fight for those who do not have the ability or the funding to fight for themselves?

    Unions have a role to play, but the public sector is not as necessary and have been too greedy so they got defeated.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Jun 06, 2012 5:45 AM GMT
    ScottyM said
    These are dark days for intellectualism, compassion, and brotherly love.



    No actually these are bright days for people living in the real world who understand that the funds are running out, the well is running dry, the pockets of government are not infinitely deep and, difficult as it is, some very tough decisions can and must be made.
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    Jun 06, 2012 5:48 AM GMT
    ScottyM saidWhen unions are gone, who will fight for those who do not have the ability or the funding to fight for themselves?

    I have a friend who accidentally broke his foot. Part of his job requires that he wear boots... because of his cast, he can not wear his boot, but he can do all the rest of his job requirements.

    His company told him, so long!... when he explained that he has a daughter to support, bills to pay, and that he's a veteran, the HR person said "You should have thought about that before you broke your foot."

    WRONG!
    WRONG, WRONG WRONG!

    But... without a union, without someone to stand up for him, he is s.o.l. because of an ACCIDENT.

    This is what was happening in this country in the early 1900's, before unions, and we're going back to that!

    Why? We made so much progress, we created the middle class, TOGETHER we created a great life for millions of Americans, and now we're ripping that away so that we can give tax breaks to make a FEW people wealthier and richer than they've ever been, while people who are hurt in accidents are forced to lose their jobs.

    These are dark days for intellectualism, compassion, and brotherly love.


    Personally I'm for private unions - or at least their existence - but I also don't buy the argument that without them or xyz regulation the markets are just a race to the bottom. After all 95% of employees get paid more than minimum wage - and if you look at where the growth is in the economy - in the businesses that use ideas and create ideas/products and services, pay is actually pretty darn good - and businesses bend over backwards to try to recruit candidates.

    Personally I think businesses that treat their employees like crap get what's coming to them. Other employees see this, aren't as loyal and businesses lose their best employees... definitely not in their best interests. Public unions however... deserve to be decimated.
  • ScottyM

    Posts: 17

    Jun 09, 2012 12:32 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    ScottyM said
    Personally I'm for private unions - or at least their existence - but I also don't buy the argument that without them or xyz regulation the markets are just a race to the bottom. After all 95% of employees get paid more than minimum wage - and if you look at where the growth is in the economy - in the businesses that use ideas and create ideas/products and services, pay is actually pretty darn good - and businesses bend over backwards to try to recruit candidates.

    Personally I think businesses that treat their employees like crap get what's coming to them. Other employees see this, aren't as loyal and businesses lose their best employees... definitely not in their best interests. Public unions however... deserve to be decimated.


    This is part of the problem.
    You need to go brush up on labor history. It was BECAUSE of the misuse of workers, violation or rights, CHILDREN WORKING, people being killed and the wealthy turning their heads that unions exist. Without them, we would not have a 40hr work week, paid vacation, health benefits, even a right to work - ironic as it is.

    We have forgotten so much of what the unions DID for the middle class, the AMERICAN way of life!

    I'd like to know where you got your 95% statistic. Certainly you didn't get it from a single mom who has to work 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs just to keep food on her table. Or from a server who's not even making minimum wage and then having his/her tips reduced by their restaurant to pay the restaurant's credit card fees.

    And Businesses that treat their employees like crap... how about APPLE, or any big business that ships jobs to China or overseas where people make pennies a day, and work in sweatshops and horrible conditions? This argument is based on a capitalist idea that the free market will correct itself... but if the wealthy, if corporations, can BUY the market and alter the free market with corrupt practices, then the free market doesn't work and we simply don't know the truth. And... Apple seems to do pretty well, because we all want our iphones and ipads and don't want to think about where they came from... but that's another topic.

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    Jun 09, 2012 2:44 AM GMT
    ScottyM said
    riddler78 said
    ScottyM said


    This is part of the problem.
    You need to go brush up on labor history. It was BECAUSE of the misuse of workers, violation or rights, CHILDREN WORKING, people being killed and the wealthy turning their heads that unions exist. Without them, we would not have a 40hr work week, paid vacation, health benefits, even a right to work - ironic as it is.

    We have forgotten so much of what the unions DID for the middle class, the AMERICAN way of life!

    I'd like to know where you got your 95% statistic. Certainly you didn't get it from a single mom who has to work 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs just to keep food on her table. Or from a server who's not even making minimum wage and then having his/her tips reduced by their restaurant to pay the restaurant's credit card fees.

    And Businesses that treat their employees like crap... how about APPLE, or any big business that ships jobs to China or overseas where people make pennies a day, and work in sweatshops and horrible conditions? This argument is based on a capitalist idea that the free market will correct itself... but if the wealthy, if corporations, can BUY the market and alter the free market with corrupt practices, then the free market doesn't work and we simply don't know the truth. And... Apple seems to do pretty well, because we all want our iphones and ipads and don't want to think about where they came from... but that's another topic.



    I'm glad that you mentioned this. I swear some people live in a fantasy world thinking that businesses will do the "right thing" for their employees. Those years of caring for your employees are gone.

    Businesses are there to make a profit and to cut costs.

    Why keep paying somebody 70k or 80k when you can hire somebody fresh out of school, train them, and pay them much less?
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    Jun 09, 2012 5:31 AM GMT
    ScottyM saidThis is part of the problem.
    You need to go brush up on labor history. It was BECAUSE of the misuse of workers, violation or rights, CHILDREN WORKING, people being killed and the wealthy turning their heads that unions exist. Without them, we would not have a 40hr work week, paid vacation, health benefits, even a right to work - ironic as it is.

    We have forgotten so much of what the unions DID for the middle class, the AMERICAN way of life!

    I'd like to know where you got your 95% statistic. Certainly you didn't get it from a single mom who has to work 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs just to keep food on her table. Or from a server who's not even making minimum wage and then having his/her tips reduced by their restaurant to pay the restaurant's credit card fees.

    And Businesses that treat their employees like crap... how about APPLE, or any big business that ships jobs to China or overseas where people make pennies a day, and work in sweatshops and horrible conditions? This argument is based on a capitalist idea that the free market will correct itself... but if the wealthy, if corporations, can BUY the market and alter the free market with corrupt practices, then the free market doesn't work and we simply don't know the truth. And... Apple seems to do pretty well, because we all want our iphones and ipads and don't want to think about where they came from... but that's another topic.


    The numbers are from the BLS:
    http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2011.htm

    In 2011, 73.9 million American workers age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates, representing 59.1 percent of all wage and salary workers. Among those paid by the hour, 1.7 million earned exactly the prevailing Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 2.2 million had wages below the minimum. Together, these 3.8 million workers with wages at or below the Federal minimum made up 5.2 percent of all hourly-paid workers.


    So for clarity, only about 60% of Americans are paid hourly rates and of those only 5% are paid at minimum wage (or under).

    As for those like Apple or other big firms that outsource their low cost manufacturing overseas? Do you really want the telcos to bring back switchboard operators or buggywhip makers as well? You do realize of course that this is as much a technology issue as it is an outsourcing issue? You claim the free market corrupts and yet, we live in a world where 95% of people who are paid hourly are paid above minimum wage. If corporations were so "corrupt" surely you'd have some evidence to support your claims - particularly that relatively speaking the US has had some fairly low unemployment levels relative to Europe for a few decades now.

    How is it that unemployment has stayed so low when manufacturing in the US has laid off so many people? How is it that manufacturing productivity has grown in the US even though fewer people work in the industry? Would you also have technology outlawed?
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    Jun 09, 2012 6:28 AM GMT
    Even Democrats elsewhere are coming to terms with the math...

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2012/06/08/Obamas-Us-vs-Them-Strategy-Failed-in-Wisconsin.aspx

    The New York Times and other liberal outfits will lay the blame for this unthinkable turn of events – Wisconsin went for Obama by 14 points – by noting that Walker outspent his rival many times over. There is no question that heavy advertising by Walker’s supporters helped his cause. But only because his message made sense. In cities and states across our country, citizens are losing their libraries, their parks and their pre-school programs because benefits for public union employees have crowded out everything else. Money for education is being sucked into a dark pool of protected tenure and guaranteed investment returns on pension assets. Money for public safety is going to rigged retirement pay and disproportionate disability awards. These distortions cannot continue.

    Democrats and Republicans alike have pressed for concessions from unions. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has matched efforts by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to rein in out-of-control union benefits. Some have gone further – like Scott Walker. The Wisconsin governor used his Republican majority in both houses of the state legislature to ram through changes in the bargaining rights of many public employees and to eliminate the requirement that municipal and state workers belong to unions. This last measure is an existential threat to organized labor. Without forced membership, many workers opt out.

    Since Walker changed the rules, according to the Wall Street Journal, Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) has plummeted 45 percent. In the past year, membership nationwide in Afscme slipped 4 percent, even as the number of state and local workers dropped by under 1 percent. That is an ominous trend for an organization whose clout relies on dues revenues to buy favors from politicians.

    States and cities across the country are grappling with these issues. Walker’s victory was not the only one this week for those trying to right the balance between public interest and public unions. In San Diego and San Jose, voters approved measures that demanded union workers pay more towards their health care and pensions. In California, closures of some of the states’ prized beaches and cutbacks to its excellent universities – not to mention cuts to Medicaid and welfare programs -- have been stark wake-up calls to residents. They get it.