February 14, 2011

The coming days of protest over Gov. Scott Walker's "effort to break the back of the state's public employee unions."

Isthmus columnist Bill Lueders is trying to figure out how his newspaper should cover the events:
Of course we have to do so, as these are major news events; but my feeling is that these rallies are a colossal waste of everybody's time, and exactly the reaction Gov. Walker hopes to inspire.

There's a Valentine's Day delivery of cutesy messages (“I ♥ UW: Governor Walker, Don't Break my ♥”) on Monday, and larger protests on Tuesday and Wednesday. They are expected to draw thousands of people to the state Capitol, for rallies, speeches and words of bitter dissent. And they will give the governor the dramatic and momentary confrontation he craves, to buff up his national image as a formidable dude, one who's willing to stand up to workers who have had it too good for too long....

Protests are exactly what Walker wants, because they can only lead to two outcomes: Either they are peaceful and accomplish nothing; or they turn violent and create a massive backlash against the unions and their members. Either way, Walker wins.
Wow. When did Madison lefties become so cynical about protests?

103 comments:

Scott M said...

Either they are peaceful and accomplish nothing; or they turn violent and create a massive backlash against the unions and their members.

Maybe he can march a bunch of non-union workers in front of a large group of protesting union types and then claim they were spit on. Emanuel Cleaver could walk with them just to make sure it happens.

I'm curious as to why public employee unions were illegal before 1965 and what prompted the reversal in policy.

AJ Lynch said...

So the Isthmus doubts that taxpayers will be convinced the govt workers are worthy of pay & benefiot increase and doubts the taxpayers will start chanting in unison "increase our taxes...increase our taxes".

kent said...

Wow. When did Madison lefties become so cynical about protests?

First the denial of their magical lightspeed choo-choos... and now this.

Call it the leftard equivalent of the End Times.

Fred4Pres said...

Run out of money and be unable to pay the checks works too. Give it time. Give it time.

MadisonMan said...

The problem with the protests is that they do nothing to address the main issue: The hole in the budget.

That said, why should the Governor care if a local school district allows its teachers to unionize?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

There seem to be many people who don't understand that state governents can't print money like the feds. Maybe they just hold out hope that Wisconsin will replace the dollar with Bucky Bucks someday.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

The problem with the protests is that they do nothing to address the main issue: The hole in the budget.

That said, why should the Governor care if a local school district allows its teachers to unionize?

Depends on the structure of the Retirement System, Madman…IF each district has its own retirement system, not too likely, THEN the impact of over generous pay and benefits affects ONLY that district. If, as is more likely, the district is a part of the STATE System, e.g. CalTRS, THEN the benefits package affects ALL the state.

chickelit said...

I'm curious as to why public employee unions were illegal before 1965 and what prompted the reversal in policy.

Keep your eyes on Jerry Brown for a glimpse of how this will play out in the worst way.

Scott M said...

Call it the leftard equivalent of the End Times.

Their Pale Rider will be barebacking a Greyhound bus.

Calypso Facto said...

That said, why should the Governor care if a local school district allows its teachers to unionize?

When the state pays 2/3 of local school costs? Does the phrase "moral hazard" ring a bell?

PaulV said...

Protests will help Walker. Taxpayers are stressed out financially and like Walker standing up for them.

Trooper York said...

If Walker was smart he would go Calvin Coolidge on their crooked asses.

Fen said...

Union Filchers. Racist and extremist.

Fen said...

That said, why should the Governor care if a local school district allows its teachers to unionize?

Because the Teachers Unions have killed education in America.

We need an Army of Chris Christies.

DrSquid said...

Lefties became so cynical about protests when they finally realized in their individual privatre minds they are on the wrong side of the argument, and that they only going throught the motions of protest. Even these dullards realize the gravy train has run out and that their cadillac benefit plans are (wait for it)...unsusustainable.

So there it is, their favorite word, used against them

Scott M said...

If Walker accomplishes his goals, which would be pretty radical in comparison to the status quo, wouldn't that make the unions and their "progressive" supporters reactionaries?

lemondog said...

See NJ Christie for Walker action-prototype.

Pics show lotsa overweight people in Madison.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

When did Madison lefties become so cynical about protests?


When they finally realized that public opinion is completely against the protesters? Also....the aging lefty baby boomers just don't have the get up and go to protest. Not as much fun as it used to be.

The sight of a bunch of overweight over compensated pampered entitled workers whining in public about having to face reality: while the rest of the public is either unemployed or fearful of losing their jobs and who are dealing with the concept of paying the morgtage OR paying the heating bill since they can't afford to do both.....just isn't going to play well.

shoutingthomas said...

We need somebody like Walker in NY.

Unfortunately, we've got Andrew Cuomo, Mario's son.

Plenty of swag left for kickbacks to the public employees unions.

Taxpayers be damned. Who are they to complain?

kent said...

"Obama is going to pay for my gas and mortgage!!!"

Heh. Comes the dawn, kiddies.

Comes. The. Freakin'. Dawn.

MadisonMan said...

When the state pays 2/3 of local school costs?

I agree that school funding in Wisconsin is entirely in need of being fixed.

PaulV said...

lemondog, they are in their snow suits.

Ut said...

"They are expected to draw thousands of people to the state Capitol ..."

These aren't people.

They are the government.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

lemondog, they are in their snow suits.

Are their double and triple chins part of the snow suits?

Comrade X said...

a union member is worth less as an employee and their pay should reflect that reality.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I really don't understand why Wisconsin residents would be opposed to increased taxes to support these vital and necessary workers.

edutcher said...

The Lefties were cynical about protests going back to the middle 60s. The difference is this does not originate in the ivory towers of a college town, but in union HQs.

Watch for some head-busting when somebody actually pulls a Kenneth Gladney and tries to disagree with the imported union muscle.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"They are expected to draw thousands of people to the state Capitol ..."

Are they all going to take a sick day to get off work to attend?

OMG....this will cut into their final pension if they use sick days instead of saving up for the big payolla.

kent said...

Are their double and triple chins part of the snow suits?

The four basic food groups of the SEIU: bearclaws, Baconators, stuffed potatoes and slow children.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Watch for some head-busting when somebody actually pulls a Kenneth Gladney and tries to disagree with the imported union muscle.

I've seen quite a few protesting/striking union workers in my day and didn't see much in the way of muscle.

Trooper York said...

I would like to suggest that youse guys switch to mocking these people because they are stupid and not because they are fat.

Just because you are chubby doesn't make you a liberal.

Thank you for you consideration.

All the best,
Your pal
Trooper.

kent said...

I would like to suggest that youse guys switch to mocking these people because they are stupid and not because they are fat.

[:: wordlessly hands Trooper a case of Ho-Hos, as a peace offering::] ;)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would like to suggest that youse guys switch to mocking these people because they are stupid and not because they are fat.

OK....I think we can go with that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I was just mocking the idea of union 'muscle' Troop. I mean back in the day that muscle was usually a couple of guys named Vito and Paulie that carried axe handles.

Calypso Facto said...

I would like to suggest that youse guys switch to mocking these people because they are stupid and not because they are fat.

But we can still make fun of them for being WHITE right, Trooper? I learned from the Tea Party rallies that race is THE important component for legitimacy. Please please tell me it's still safe to mock crowds of Caucasians for their skin color?

lemondog said...

I'm curious as to why public employee unions were illegal before 1965 and what prompted the reversal in policy.

According to this link it was a **gasp** political decision to legalize!

Politicians were traditionally opposed to public employees’ right to unionize, strike, or collectively bargain for wage and benefit increases. They saw their constituents as the taxpaying public and did not think that the government was such an abusive employer that unionization was necessary to protect workers.

All of this was changed in 1958 when an aide to New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. suggested that city workers could be a large enough voting bloc to ensure his reelection. Wager signed an executive order authorizing city workers, notably those of the transit system, to unionize and bargain collectively. As the percentage of Americans working for the government grew, other politicians began to see support for public employee unions as a way to get votes. State politicians around the country allowed public employees to unionize shortly after Wagner’s executive order. President John F. Kennedy allowed federal government workers to unionize starting in 1962.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Well, thank goodness Walker is also going after those fat cat graduate students/teaching assistant. Now they can go back to being the serfs they were always intended to be.

LarryK said...

Bill L has already backtracked a bit from his column in the comments below. It strikes me less as cynicism than stoic resignation - i.e. I've seen this all before, and we (the left) are going to get our asses handed to us unless we fight really long and hard.

rhhardin said...

Unions are destined to bankrupt the company, by requiring above market wages. It's an economic certainty that that will happen.

Unions play for the short term.

In this case the company is the taxpayers, and the time has come, the voters have noticed, and they vote.

Bribes are no longer big enough to overcome that, because no PR campaign is going to change the votes back.

The protests are a habit, and one that's obviously pointless; hence the tone.

Thuggery and police power might work for a little while longer, though.

And there's always the Washington Monument strategy - close down parts of the goverment that the public wants, and keep the bureaucratic empires.

Michael K said...

Jerry Brown signed the order to allow public employees to unionize when he was governor in the 70s. Now, showing that his intelligence has been overestimated for many years, he has gotten himself elected by that same constituency (With the help of a clever hit job by Gloria Allred) and can deal with the consequences. Most politicians believed they would be long gone when the check arrived but Brown is there for target practice (metaphor only). We will see what happens.

Sloanasaurus said...

My favorite line from the article was this:

And it would set the stage for the eradication of public employee unions, by allowing any member who doesn't feel like it to avoid paying union dues...

Wow, Imagine. Someone could decide voluntarily to not pay union dues. Ghast, the union might have to ask people to voluntarily donate to their cause, like.... the other 90% of workers in the country.

A simple law addressing this would suffice:

"No payroll deduction will be allowed for any political organization from any state worker's pay check. That includes any payroll deduction for conservative groups or...yes... Unions. Employees, are, of course, free to make their own donations to such organzations on their own time.

Lance said...

That said, why should the Governor care if a local school district allows its teachers to unionize?

This question misses the point. The issue isn't unionization itself, it's the disconnect between increasing educational costs and stagnant or falling performance. If teachers and administrators could make the case that today's students are better (or even comparably) educated than those of twenty or thirty years ago, no one would care about teachers' unions.

chickelit said...

The Isthmus editor has the delueded fantasy that's he's the fighting ghost of Walter Ruether or something. I know where he's coming from first hand and I've seen where he's heading to. He's trapped in a game with only a bad hand to play.

Scott M said...

If teachers and administrators could make the case that today's students are better (or even comparably) educated than those of twenty or thirty years ago, no one would care about teachers' unions.

This. Instead, our public education system, which used to be the envy of the world, is now middle-of-the-road. Wonderful. But, what do you expect from a system that tells everyone they're special, that celebrates mediocrity, and socially promotes students ahead of their abilities to shield their frail egos from failure?

bagoh20 said...

The more who show up, the more it demonstrates the problem, so in this case it will actually be a true "demonstration".

chickelit said...

Unions are destined to bankrupt the company, by requiring above market wages. It's an economic certainty that that will happen.

Spoken like Titanic architect Thomas Andrews to Captain Smith the night of April 14th, 1912.

Maguro said...

So when do the Pinkertons come and start busting heads?

Triangle Man said...

The Chronicle of Higher Education is covering this from the U. Wisconsin angle.

"Today, about 18 percent of Madison's budget comes from the state, compared with 35 percent in 1974."

Calypso Facto said...

Maguro: the unions are busing in protesters from Milwaukee and buying up attack ads. It'd be nice to see the lefties take a moment to stop and thank Citizens United for preserving union free speech.

No actual billy clubs yet that I know of, but here again, we can stop to thank AG Holder for preserving the right of black guys to wield clubs in public places, should it come to that.

kcom said...

"Protests are exactly what Walker wants, because they can only lead to two outcomes: Either they are peaceful and accomplish nothing;..."

Isn't this a telling window into the lefty mind? I wonder what the Tea Party protesters would say about that? They seemed to think that the right to peaceably assemble was pretty important and pretty effective. Despite throwing around accusations of violence against the Tea Party, it seems that it's the Left that really can't seem to conceive of non-violence.

Comrade X said...

I'm not telling people not to protest; I'm arguing that if they want to save public employee unions in Wisconsin, they need to be prepared to do more than that, much more

Triangle Man said...

It seems that the whole year's increase in health insurance contributions is going to be collected over the next four months. Ouch.

Ger said...

I'm not sure where I stand on public employee unions. I certainly don't think they are the source of all governmental budget problems.

Regardless, your brave new governor decides that to solve the budget problems of Wisconsin it is necessary to eliminate public employee unions.

Except he is only busting the unions that did NOT contribute to his campaign.

Those unions that DID contribute to his campaign are not going to be affected by his plans.

If the budget needs to be balanced on the backs of public employees shouldn't ALL public employees share that burden?

Targeting one union group for elimination while preserving another group due to who contributed to whom is a pretty sleazy thing to do.

Is Walker also like most politicians who try to convince us that they can't be bought by mere campaign contributions?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


GER, Thatcher didn’t take on the national Union of Miners, until AFTER an election and a victory in the Falklands…and ONLY after offering them greater redundancy packages than she offered other miner’s unions…in short you chose your battles and how you fight them. Folks like Poh-leece an Fahr-men…and “picking on them” isn’t going to get you much. AFTER you’ve pruned back the other unions, you can deal with the Police and Firefighters, arguing that “it’s only fair” considering other PSU changes.

Calypso Facto said...

You're late to the party with bad facts, Ger. Per the Jouranl Sentinal: "the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin - the two state organizations - backed his opponent."

So while it's true he's exempting the public safety unions (he'd be crucified in the media if he didn't) it is not because they backed his campaign...only a few union locals (Milwaukee) did.

Seven Machos said...

Althouse -- It's certainly better than the suggestion that the left should go about breaking things and killing people in order to get people who generate wealth to become more enslaved to people who don't. Like, I don't know, Greece.

Of course, leftist academics would disagree.

Ger said...

Calypso - yes I may have misinterpreted what I read in the JS yesterday:

"The bargaining law changes would apply to all public workers except police, firefighters and state troopers. The unions for state troopers, Milwaukee police officers and Milwaukee firefighters all endorsed Walker, while most other unions endorsed his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett."

So the state police union and the police and firefighter unions of Wisconsins most populous city supported Walker.

Two other public safety unions apparently did not endorse Walker.

OK. Got it.

I have no idea how the membership numbers of the respective public safety unions in Wisconsin breaks down but I guess that is a moot point.

My real concern is why do politicians (and citizens also I guess) continue to demonize one sector of public employees and continue to fall all over themselves in continuing to add more riches onto public safety employees?

This is not unique to Wisconsin. California and many of its localities have long experience in enriching public safety employees. One California town had many firefighters making over $350,00/year. But now the town went is in bankruptcy and times have changed.

I don't get the sentiment that somehow cops and firefighters are these mythical heroes engaged in the most dangerous of occupations. Statistically police and firefighters don't even rank in the top ten most hazardous occupations.

All public employees should be treated simlarly when it comes to labor rules, wages and benefits.

Triangle Man said...

I don't get the sentiment that somehow cops and firefighters are these mythical heroes engaged in the most dangerous of occupations. Statistically police and firefighters don't even rank in the top ten most hazardous occupations.


Police and firefighters are the only two groups that Gov. Walker was concerned about walking out.

garage mahal said...

That brown bag lunch was for you Wisconsin, not for Walker or his friends. Steak and caviar for us, austerity for you. Suckers.

Scott M said...

That brown bag lunch was for you Wisconsin, not for Walker or his friends. Steak and caviar for us, austerity for you. Suckers.

Wait...we're talking about Wisconsin public unions, right? Not Obamacare where Congress isn't included and the powerful given their friends and powerful lobbies waivers, right? That thing you're such a fan of isn't what we're talking about, right?

Pogo said...

You're sounding almost Tea Partyish there, garage.

Unless you're arguing for continued steak and caviar for all of the State (not just campaign supporters & cronies), and gruel for the mere citizens.

Cuz that's just the same old Democratic Party plan.

Comrade X said...

It's certainly better than the suggestion that the left should go about breaking things and killing people

I don't know 7. Sounds like he wants riots but is too smart to actually say it:

I'm not telling people not to protest; I'm arguing that if they want to save public employee unions in Wisconsin, they need to be prepared to do more than that, much more

Seven Machos said...

Ha, Comrade! Good catch. Yes, that'll work: a bunch of government employees running around Wisconsin with pipe bombs, throwing them into the Sheboygan Savings & Loan.

Good luck.

Michael said...

As to government unions I continue to wonder why, if the government is so good and benevolent, they are needed.

Triangle Man said...

As to government unions I continue to wonder why, if the government is so good and benevolent, they are needed.

Because every once in a while a Republican gets elected?

Scott M said...

Because every once in a while a Republican gets elected?

Low blow. Although I'd have to point out that Republicans, to the best of my albeit limited knowledge, were elected to public office prior to 1965.

Just Lurking said...

"Protests are exactly what Walker wants, because they can only lead to two outcomes: Either they are peaceful and accomplish nothing;..."

Isn't this a telling window into the lefty mind? I wonder what the Tea Party protesters would say about that? They seemed to think that the right to peaceably assemble was pretty important and pretty effective. Despite throwing around accusations of violence against the Tea Party, it seems that it's the Left that really can't seem to conceive of non-violence.

I had a similar reaction to that statement.

But this explains why leftists like Piven and Barbara Ehrenreich in their call for protests, don't even mention the Tea Partiers as a legitimate protest movement. The TPers are not violent and therefore don't register on their lefty brain. Unless Americans are rioting like the Greeks, we are "wusses", to quote from the Ehrenreich article.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So when they say "the government is all of us" they really mean "the government is all of us Democrats"?

Robert R. said...

The irony is that the Police and Firefighters are the groups the National Guard is best trained to replace. Calling in the National Guard for an agency with any sort of expertise is a wasted effort.

Now, whether the unions actually are organized enough to challenge Walker's bluff is another question all together. My guess is no.

Ut said...

"When did Madison lefties become so cynical about protests?"

January 20, 2008.

A date which will live in infamy.

Amidore said...

Ger -

It's because police and fire unions are in a politically advantageous position. States traditionally lack intrinsic economic incentive to bargain tough with unions because they're not driven by the need for profit and unions can exert political pressure on top of their labor pressure. Money can come from a variety of sources to meet those demands. There is a check on this in the form of special interests aligned against unions.

But cops and firefirefighters are unique because conservatives tend to love groups insofar as they favor tough public safety stances and those who execute them. I'd say they have a hard-on for the police state, but that might be too brazen for you. Let's say they're more inclined to favor money being poured into things justified by public safety. That kills the countervailing pressure and allows them more power in negotiations. What Walker is proposing is like the extreme version of that.

I've noticed that the vast majority of the contributors are focusing on the quality of Union benefits when the most objectionable aspect of the proposal is legally stripping the Unions of almost all bargaining power while forcing them into annual elections and making it tough to collect union dues. In short, killing the unions. There's a difference between holding the line on a tough contract proposal and legally wiping them out. It's as if people can't see the difference.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Even the true believers know the days of the people's paradise is coming to an end. And deep down, most understand why.

It must be really tough to generate the requisite outrage when you know your arguments really suck.

MadisonMan said...

Something interesting I read:

Federal transportation aid ‘requires the continuation of collective bargaining rights, and protection of transit employees' wages, working conditions, pension benefits, seniority, vacation, sick and personal leave, travel passes, and other conditions of employment.’

Walker has already thrown away High Speed Rail funding that included necessary line improvements. Will he now throw out Highway funds? His Roadbuilding supporters won't like it.

Triangle Man said...

Low blow. Although I'd have to point out that Republicans, to the best of my albeit limited knowledge, were elected to public office prior to 1965.

Attempted humor (hence the question mark). Actually, given Wisconsin's recent history with Governors, it would have been more accurate (and perhaps funnier) to say "every once in a while a Democrat gets elected."

Triangle Man said...

@MadisonMan

The quote "requires the continuation of collective bargaining rights" results in 6 hits on Google (10 if you exclude duplicates). I wonder if that number will grow.

MadisonMan said...

When was the last time a non-incumbent elected in WI was the same party as the previous governor? Was McCallum ever elected? I'm thinking no.

If the Republican Party, or the Democratic Party, can elect two governors in a row in this state, that's saying something.

The answer, per wikipedia: John Reynolds (D, elected 1962) was the last Democrat to follow another Democrat as a result of the ballot. Vernon Thompson (R, elected in 1956) was the last Republican to follow a Republican.

Scott said...

Ut,

Don't you mean Jan 20, 2009?

Triangle Man said...

January 20, 2008

Not much happened that day. It was the day after Suzanne Pleshette died.

Some repartee between Althouse and Meade in the comments.

Comrade X said...

the most objectionable aspect of the proposal is legally stripping the Unions of almost all bargaining power while forcing them into annual elections and making it tough to collect union dues.

common sense regulations that like all regulations start from the premise that you are a crook. don't the public employee unions like regulations?

Synova said...

Maybe the cynicism about protests is the deep down understanding that Walker is *right*.

Synova said...

"I've noticed that the vast majority of the contributors are focusing on the quality of Union benefits when the most objectionable aspect of the proposal is legally stripping the Unions of almost all bargaining power while forcing them into annual elections and making it tough to collect union dues. In short, killing the unions. There's a difference between holding the line on a tough contract proposal and legally wiping them out. It's as if people can't see the difference."

I'll answer you very seriously, Amidore.

Do the workers want the union?

Yes or no?

If the workers want the union the union will not be "wiped out" because they have to have an election every year or if the dues are completely voluntary or if there is no "card check" to use to see who needs their arm twisted.

kent said...

"The Kentucky state Senate passed a bill Friday that would end guaranteed pensions for new state and local government employees. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the bill was designed to address the public pension funds' growing liability. The paper reports:

"Kentucky needs to stay ahead of the multibillion-dollar pension liability problem that is forcing tax hikes and painful spending reductions in other states, said Republican senators backing the bill. 'It is just not affordable to go forward with our current plan, for state government or for local governments,' Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told his colleagues.

"From a fairness perspective, taxpayers in the private sector struggle with layoffs, stagnant wages and benefits cuts, yet they're expected to support generous public pensions far better than anything they will get to enjoy [...]"


Helpful Note To Lefties: that last pararaph, right there, is what's commonly known as "The Point." Ignore it at your peril.

Big Mike said...

Heh. Is it true that Walker's campaign was funded by the OSU alumni association? Just askin'

Amidore said...

Synova -

That measure is about making it more difficult for unions to organize while simultaneously making it near pointless for them to do so since their bargaining rights will be near non-existent *by law*. That's a union-killing measure. You strike a volunteerism note, but this stripping the ability of employees to collectively dictate certain terms to employers, such as employer collection of dues, as a cost of their labor. It's government market rigging at its worst.

Synova said...

Explain to me "employer collection of dues."

Revenant said...

In short, killing the unions. There's a difference between holding the line on a tough contract proposal and legally wiping them out. It's as if people can't see the difference.

Public sector unions exist solely to increase the cost of government, at the expense of taxpayers, for the benefit of union members.

I want them wiped out. This isn't like a private-sector union dispute, where an employer and some workers squabble over who gets to take home what chunk of the profits. The "employer" here is *us*, and the squabble is over how much of OUR money the unions get to forcibly take from us in the form of taxes.

In other words, we haven't "missed the point" that this could kill those unions. We're happy about it!

Amidore said...

What do you mean? Union dues are collected through employers. It's much easier to get people to pay dues when it is deducted through a check than if it's a donation box. What's wrong with a group of people saying they will work for an employer only if the employer agrees to collect dues for them? Nothing, as best I can tell.

Revenant apparently doesn't think unions do anything but extort money from the State, so he wants to strip people of their right to collectively negotiate for vacation, retirement benefits, workplace conditions, health care, hours, etc. It's like he gladly embraces a comical liberal stereotype of Republicans that is supposed to be a strawman.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe the cynicism about protests is the deep down understanding that Walker is *right*.

More likely the realization that the Legislature is Republican.

Revenant said...

Revenant apparently doesn't think unions do anything but extort money from the State, so he wants to strip people of their right to collectively negotiate

Far from it. They have every right to collectively bargain.

And we have the right to get rid of them and hire someone cheaper to do the work, if we don't like the deal they are collectively offering.

MadisonMan said...

And we have the right to get rid of them and hire someone cheaper to do the work, if we don't like the deal they are collectively offering.

This seems like a race to the bottom to me.

At some point, the good teachers will leave because it's not worth it and they can be hired elsewhere because they're good workers. You're left with dreck.

Obviously, I don't buy into the nonsense notion that teachers are the parasitical beings of society who work 4 hours a day and have summers off. My interactions with my kids' excellent teachers persuade me otherwise. This is my experience in Wisconsin. I'm not sure how it translates to other states.

Synova said...

"It's much easier to get people to pay dues when it is deducted through a check than if it's a donation box."

If people won't pay their dues maybe they think they don't need the union.

This seems so obvious to me that I wonder what reality pro-union people live in. If people want the union why do they have to be tricked, coerced, and eased into it, have the law require membership and employers collect the dues? Why is "card check" not self-obviously a horrific violation of an individual's rights?

I'm not even anti-union. I just don't see how in a situation where a union is appropriate, much less necessary, that laws would be needed to prop up membership. Why wouldn't people pay their dues? Why wouldn't they join voluntarily? Why would anyone need to know who voted against or who voted for?

It's the nature of organizations to try to perpetuate their own existence. But the bottom line is that people are informed and know very well that if they band together or strike that they can use that as a multiplier to become powerful and stand up to injustice.

But not so many people are interested in standing up against narrow points of negotiation, not if it actually requires an effort of them.

If it's necessary, people will make and effort and being illegal wouldn't stop anyone.

Only we're not talking about illegal, are we. We're talking about making union membership effortless.

Synova said...

"At some point, the good teachers will leave because it's not worth it and they can be hired elsewhere because they're good workers. You're left with dreck."

One of the primary criticisms of teachers unions is that they have insisted on contracts that make it impossible to pay the "good workers" more money and to fire the bad ones.

One of the common criticisms of unions in general is that they protect poor workers and prevent employers from rewarding or promoting the good workers past those with seniority.

Methadras said...

Die Unions, DIE!!!

MadisonMan said...

Synova, my opinion is that the notion that life should somehow be "fair" is a dreadful notion. Unions, unfortunately, believe things should be fair. I can see why -- who would join a Union if your job is not secure but someone else -- who does a better job, but maybe you don't want to admit that -- does have a secure job. Having said that, the problem is that Walker's "solution" is punishing the good with the bad.

Wisconsin's Teachers Union agreed to merit pay, but a little too late. :)

Fen said...

"It's much easier to get people to pay dues when it is deducted through a check than if it's a donation box."

Meh. I saw this in practice at Macy's. First generation immigrants forced to surrender 2/3rds of their first 3 paychecks to the union. What a ripoff.

Revenant said...

At some point, the good teachers will leave because it's not worth it and they can be hired elsewhere because they're good workers. You're left with dreck.

That doesn't happen in any other non-unionized skilled profession. Why would it happen in education?

Revenant said...

Let me try an illustrative example, MadisonMan.

Whatever the skill level of our current crop of teachers might be, they're obviously being paid enough to keep them from quitting -- they have not, after all, quit. So the best teachers we've got are being paid enough to do the work; we know that for certain.

The problem is, the best teachers we've got are paid exactly the same as the ordinary teachers and the incompetent teachers. Which means we're paying ordinary teachers -- i.e., the vast majority of them -- a salary at which we COULD be attracting someone who is actually really good at the job. Worst of all, we're paying the incompetent people that much, too. It isn't that there are no good teachers. It is that we could hire the same number of teachers, with the same range of skills, for a lot less money, simply by no longer overpaying the mediocre teachers.

Better yet, we could attract all the good teachers who currently stay FAR away from the education field because they don't want to play second fiddle to people with room-temperature IQs and career seniority.

Seven Machos said...

Rev has a great point. I know a committed, brilliant woman who left her legal career to teach -- the whole city schools, poor kids deal. She changed lives. But she left because she couldn't stand the goofy job-related politics and the fact that she put in 1000 percent and got paid what people who just phoned it in got -- less actually, what with seniority.

She now teaches rich kids on the North Shore.

MadisonMan said...

they're obviously being paid enough to keep them from quitting -- they have not, after all, quit.

I'm not sure how you discern whether or not the best teachers have or have not quit.

If you are arguring for Merit Pay -- it looks like maybe you are -- I am in complete agreement with you.

Scott M said...

If you are arguring for Merit Pay -- it looks like maybe you are -- I am in complete agreement with you

Didn't they finally agree to a merit pay system? Too little, too late. I also agree that if something is important enough, the rank and file will donate to it or pay dues voluntarily. If not, it's not. No amount of "nudging" disputes that point.

Amidore said...

WEAC agreed to merit-pay. As they should. That incidentally demonstrates you don't need to deny them their right to negotiate for that to happen.

Synova -

Two points. One, you seem to keep forgetting this is a two-pronged approach to killing the unions. The second prong is to make it more difficult for unions to operate. The first prong is to strip them of their ability to collectively bargain almost anything. Revenant seems to think that isn't happening, which makes me wonder if he's read the proposed legislation. In order to meaningfully collectively bargain, they're going to have to get the law repealed first.

Two, a donation based system would allow for "free riders." They would still get whatever the union negotiated for without it costing them anything. That would create an incentive to free ride, because money is nice, which would seriously harm the financial clout of the unions. Which is the point and why it is one piece in an overall effort to wipe out the unions entirely without just flat making it illegal to unionize.

Scott M said...

WEAC agreed to merit-pay. As they should. That incidentally demonstrates you don't need to deny them their right to negotiate for that to happen.

When was WEAC chartered? When did they finally agree to merit-pay?

Revenant said...

I'm not sure how you discern whether or not the best teachers have or have not quit.

I'm talking about the teachers we currently have, MM.

I know for a fact that many excellent teachers have quit -- I can name at least a dozen that I know personally. But they didn't quit because of the money; teachers are, contrary to popular mythology, well-paid. They quit because it isn't a satisfying job for an intelligent person to work in.