Is Governor Walker’s New Plan Fair for all residents of Wisconsin?

February 28, 2011

Governor Walker’s plans will only benefit  businesses and corporations and will take advantage of the real heroes in our country – teachers, firefighters and the police.  No matter how many times that he repeats himself, the Budget Repair Bill is about Union Busting and I have the proof to support this allegation and will document in today’s post.

Why has the media missed this point?  I have the research to prove my assertion, THAT THIS IS ABOUT BUSTING THE UNIONS!

Currently, once a union is certified, it remains in place until a required percentage of employees call for a new election.  The new requirement would be an annual vote to re-certify the union representation with a minimum required vote by 51% of the employees.  If less than 51% of union members vote, then the union is automatically de-certified and there is a wait of 1 year wait before a new election. Here is the language from Governor Walker’s bill requires the From Wisconsin Assembly Bill 11, top of page 2:

Under SELRA and MERA, a collective bargaining unit elects a labor organization as its representative once a majority of the employees in that collective bargaining unit who are actually voting votes for that labor organization; that labor organization remains the representative unless a percentage of members of the collective bargaining unit supports a petition for a new election and subsequently votes to de-certify the representative. This bill requires an annual certification election of the labor organization that represents each collective bargaining unit containing general employees. If, at the election, less than 51 percent of the actual employees in the collective bargaining unit vote for a representative, then, at the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement, the current representative is decertified and the members of the collective bargaining unit are nonrepresented and may not be represented for one year. This bill requires an initial certification election for all represented state and municipal general employees in April 2011.

Changing to annual certification means more administrative work, and probably more expense.  Also, the rules on the length of the collective bargaining agreements are being reduced from 2 years to 1 year and the ability to extend those agreements is being eliminated.  Again, more work and maybe more expense, here is the applicable paragraph.

Currently, except for an initial collective bargaining agreement, the terms of collective bargaining agreements are generally two years for state and municipal employees, and current law does not prohibit collective bargaining agreements from being extended. This bill limits the term for general employees to one year and prohibits the extension of collective bargaining agreements.

Finally, the following provision is designed to strike at the balance sheet of every union, and is meant to decrease the funds they have available to lobby on behalf of their members.  Currently, union dues are collected by payroll withholding.  The following provision would outlaw that, and require that unions bill their members.  And they could not enforce the payment of dues.  Do you think this is fair?

Current law provides that state and municipal employees who are represented by a labor organization have the organization dues deducted from their salaries.  Except for salary deductions for public safety employees, this bill prohibits the salary  deductions for labor organization dues. This bill also allows a general employee to refrain from paying dues and remain a member of a collective bargaining unit.

Bob Shipman, posting on the blog, Look True North, confirms that the bill is intended to bust the unions.  The applicable paragraphs from his post of February 18, 2011 “What’s not to like” Details of Wisconsin AB11” are as follows:

Taxpayer-Friendly Overhaul of Government Union Structure
The meat of the Wisconsin bill is its bold attempt to bust the government worker unions.  Regardless of what you think of private sector unions, our unionized government workers are without question the most powerful political force in history – and they are ruining our economy state by state.  The Wisconsin bill overhauls the way government worker unions are certified in Wisconsin.  Instead of a one-time vote with only a majority of those voting needed to certify a labor organization, SS AB 11 requires annual union certification and requires a majority vote of all members of the union, not just those who show up to vote.  Contract periods are reduced from two years to one and contract extensions are prohibited.  Union dues can no longer be automatically deducted from paychecks and members who opt out of paying their dues to can stay a member of the collective bargaining unit.

Pay and benefit provisions that can be collectively bargained are limited in the bill:  “This bill limits the right to collectively bargain for all employees who are not public safety employees (general employees) to the subject of base wages. In addition, unless a referendum authorizes a greater increase, any general employee who is part of a collective bargaining unit is limited to bargaining over a percentage of total base wages increase that is no greater than the percentage change in the consumer price index.”

Bob Shipman is a Fellow with the Minnesota Free Market Institute.

Then, my last piece of proof that Governor Scott Walker want to BUST THE UNIONS, is the something that Governor Walker said during the prank call with the fake David Koch.  At 8 minutes and 25 seconds into the taped call, Governor Walker said:

“But in the end, this is about public sector unions…Hell, even FDR got it, …there’s no place….essentially you are having taxpayer’s money be used to pay to lobby for spending more of taxpayer’s money. Absolutely ridiculous.”

So the wages that are paid to public sector union employees, are still taxpayer’s money and he thinks it is ridiculous that the union dues are used to lobby against the GOP.  Need I say more?

Are these American Values?  Is this taking care of American workers and their families?  Shouldn’t radical changes like this be discussed by all parties?  Do you agree with the radical changes being implemented by the conservative right-wing segment of the Republican Party?

My answer to these questions?  NO!

What do you think?  Please vote on today’s poll.

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5 Comments

Filed under Attacks on Unions Collective Bargaining, Collective Bargaining, Democrats, GOP, Politics, Unions

5 responses to “Is Governor Walker’s New Plan Fair for all residents of Wisconsin?

  1. Deb in Wisconsin

    Kristen, I am your new biggest fan, and I can repay the joy you’ve given me by answering your question: the reason the media are not on top of this is that the media are no longer the “Fourth Estate” that inspired me to get an MA in Journalism. The media are now owned by corporations, and none of the media outlets want to bite the hand that keeps them on the air or keeps their presses rolling. You have to look pretty far and wide to find honest, investigative news organizations any more, and I don’t even think they exist nationally.

  2. KenInIL

    Excellent analysis of the WI bill! However this does not seem to be coming out in the media. I believe ALL unions should have to recertify periodically (every 5 yrs?) because circumstances change and this will keep union management more focused on their job – taking care of employee issues and not running around the country/world spending member’s money as they feel. It would also keep union leaders benefits in line.

  3. Jim a WI taxpayer

    Kristen, Would you like YOUR taxes to be used to elect Republicans? That’s exactly what has been happening in Wisconsin for years. Please follow me on this: Because the majority of WI property taxes go to the local school districts, and the school districts pay the teachers, and the union TAKES money from the teacher’s paychecks, Unions are supported by MY tax dollars. In 2010 in WI, unions financial support to politicians was split 87% Democrat, 13% Republican.
    Just think how you might feel IF YOUR TAX dollars were being spent electing Republicans!

    • Jim, there is a flaw in your logic. It may be true that wages to teachers are paid with property tax dollars, but once the teacher receives their wages then the taxpayer loses any say about how those dollars are spent. The taxpayers do not retain ownership of those dollars once paid out.

      Let’s consider your logic for minute, assume the your premise is true – then I would have a say about my dollars spent on Koch Brothers products being used to support Republican goals in Wisconsin or California or throughout the United States. I do not like my dollars spent on Koch Brother products to be used to elect Republicans. My husband is teacher in California, and he has a right to spend his income on union dues. Whether or not those funds came from Republican or Democrat taxes.

  4. J in WI

    Kristen, take a look at 26 minutes into this video clip of Walker with channel 3 editorial board when he discusses changing pension fund to 401k plan. You can bet he’s figuring out how to get his hands on that $78billion.

    http://www.channel3000.com/localvideo/index.html?v=33758

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