August 11, 2011

"The unmistakable lesson is that every time labor makes it about labor, they lose... It’s a messenger problem."

A "senior Democratic strategist" said, quoted in a column by WaPo's Chris Cillizza, analyzing the Wisconsin recall elections. Cillizza notes that, nationwide, only 17% of the electorate belongs to a "union household."
[T]he last two Democratic presidents have not been of and for labor. Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) during his presidency and many unions leaders have expressed frustration about President Obama’s willingness to stick his neck out further on labor priorities like the Employee Free Choice Act....
It’s hard to see what happened in Wisconsin as anything short of a miss for an organized labor movement that had hoped the recall elections would be read as a sign that unions still carried significant political power in the country.
This reminds me of a line of questions I pursued with a few of the protesters over the past few months here in Wisconsin: Why are you protesting? (For the workers.) Who are these workers? (Teachers, etc.) Do you think these workers have better jobs — considering pay and benefits — than the average Wisconsin taxpayer? (Better.) Why are you protesting for the economic upper half? (???!!!)

90 comments:

alan markus said...

Maybe someday unions will catch on to the fact that they exist only to deliver votes and cash to Democratic politicians. What is the term, "useful idiots"?

AJ Lynch said...

Supporters, including President Obama, are convinced the pie can't be made bigger so they want to re-distrubute the pie slices.


wv = foonio!

TosaGuy said...

The 17 percent have a position of we want more money from the 83 percent.

Very bad political math.

Scott M said...

Very bad political math.

It worked right up until the 83% were shown, over and over again, just what they were being taken for by the 17. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

cubanbob said...

Lets see what happens in the next recall election. If the democrats lose one then the trend for next year is obvious. If in a state as progressive as WI the unions had to spend a fortune to get to votes in a state senate recall election then it's all over but the crying for the unions. The republicans ought man up and pass a state right to work act and abolish collective bargaining for state and local government workers and ban civil workers unions.

Scott said...

"Why are you protesting for the economic upper half?"

It's because progressivism (i.e. fascism) is a religion. The number of priests to followers is small, and maybe your celibate local pastor is having sex on the sly with your cousin, but you'll defend your church to the death anyway.

It's not their actions that make progressives disgusting. It's their appeal to reason -- something that they care little about.

Phil 3:14 said...

It will be interesting to see how many teachers continue to pay their union dues (now that there's no automatic deduction).

Equally interesting will be the behavior of new teachers hired BECAUSE of the bill.

Third Coast said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kev said...

(the other kev)

So maybe the song should be changed to 'Ignore the Union Label?'

Third Coast said...

Heard somewhere that none of the union ads in Wis. even mentioned rolling back the restrictions on their bargaining "rights". If true, it's quite telling that even the unions recognize that as a losing issue.

Scott said...

Phil 3:14 -- isn't the Church of Organized Labor requiring its supplicants in Wisconsin to pay dues by checking account debit?

Curious George said...

"Why are you protesting for the economic upper half? (???!!!)"

Because they are the economic upper half. Duh. Of course they have to couch their position by saying it's about Wisconsin's "working families" and "Middle Class" or for "the children" and "schools". They can't say "Hey, I want you to keep paying for all my awesome benefits" and "My ability to retire at 55".

That'sw hy I think the GOP should be blunt and put the cards on the table. "The protests were about you paying for public union workers lavish benefits and the ability for the unions to fund Democrats who will keep it so. Not rights. Not schools. The only working families that these people worry about are their own.

ricpic said...

Maybe someday unions will catch on to the fact that they exist only to deliver votes and cash to Democratic politicians. What is the term, "useful idiots"?

It's a symbiotic relationship.

Yes, the unions deliver votes and cash to Dems. Dems then accede to all union demands in collective bargaining.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Walker hosted a very successful Governor's Red, White and Blue auction at the fair last night. Not a single red fisting t-shirt in sight. The kids must be off their game these days.

JohnJ said...

"Why are you protesting? (For the workers.) Who are these workers? (Teachers, etc.) Do you think these workers have better jobs — considering pay and benefits — than the average Wisconsin taxpayer? (Better.)"

I'm a bit surprised (maybe pleasantly so) that you got reasonably knowledgeable answers to those questions. The overwhelming impression I got was that the protests were led by a hard-core group of fairly traditional lefties, but the protesters themselves consisted mostly of developmentally arrested, hare-brained poseurs who would just as soon go to the barricades for Wiccan rights as they would for their comrades in the teaching profession.

vet66 said...

I once had a conversation with a longshoreman who was on strike. They were holding up ships in the harbor and blocking containers from being loaded onto trains and trucks. They were asking for support from the labor groups who represented the railroad and trucking industry.

Knowing how much they made ($150K+) a year and you had to have insider support to even get hired, I asked them what kind of support they could expect from the public? Back then the average wage for a family of four was around $40K and unemployment was relatively high.

Did it ever occur to them that folks would be thrilled to leave the unemployment line and work the same job as the longshoremen for half the price? If anyone here ever goes on a cruise ship, especially L.A./Long Beach Harbor, check out the amount of work being done across the turning basin from where the cruise ships moor. Then check out the number of ships bobbing around waiting their turn to unload/load.

The real question to ask unions is to define exactly who their customer is and what do they do to make their product competitive. The unions can easily become their own customer while their "product" becomes secondary to power maintenance.

Don't be fooled especially when you hear "it is for the children." Follow the union money and see how many folks sign up for automatic dues deductions.

Scott said...

"Not a single red fisting t-shirt in sight."

Why would there be? I never knew a Native American guy who was ever into that.

Scott said...

Oh, maybe you're referring to Communists. That's definitely their style. Never mind.

Peter said...

The union response seems to be, "EVERYONE could make more money if everyone was union!"

Yet somehow there's never an explanation of where this money is going to come from. It's to come from, "the rich." And who's that- the shareholders in publicly traded companies? And who are the shareholders- the union's pension fund?

But more to the point, if a unionized company has a lower rate of return than a non-union one (because "the rich" are made to pay), then why would anyone want to invest in it?

The economic reality (IMHO) is that unions can succeed only in industries where competition is limited- because if it's not, then unionized companies will be at a disadvantage that will, over time, cause them to lose market share.

The obvious examples would be U.S. automakers- unionization worked well enough when there was little foreign competition but when that appeared the U.S. automakers went into a prolonged decline.

So, yes, it does look like the 17% demanding tribute from the 83%. And if everyone were unioniized we'd just have lower productivity (due to unon work rules), and how is that supposed to result in higher wages?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

It's not a messenger problem. Mor is it (as some consultants say, and I hate this phrase) a messaging problem. It's a message problem: people got the message, and they rejected it.

m stone said...

Teacher union reps here have visited each teacher's home this summer with automatic account deduction forms to sign for dues.

No pressure.

Scott M said...

Teacher union reps here have visited each teacher's home this summer with automatic account deduction forms to sign for dues.

My understanding was that they were offering various incentives to their members for doing autodeductions, paying in advance, etc.

In other words, using the same tactics those awful, corrupt capitalists use to retain customers in the face of competition.

(insert dead/missing union organizer here) must be rolling over in his cement shoes.

John said...

The problem is not the unions, it is management, including government.

I fully, 100%, support the right of people to unionize. I have the right to hire a lawyer to negotiate contracts with my clients. Why should the carpenter not have the right to hire a representative ie union, to negotiate the terms of their employment?

The problem with unions is not that they ask for too much. We all ask for as much as we think we can get away with. The problem is the management (including govt in the case of public workers) gives in to them.

It is easier to raise prices than take a strike.

The other problem is strikes. I am absolutely in favor of workers right to withold their labor. However, when they walk off the job, they have quit (unless it is a strike over contract violations).

Management now has the right to hire replacements.

I have no problem with picket lines, generally. I do have a problem with unions trying to forcibly prevent others from working or providing services for the the strikee.

They have the right to talk. They do not have the right to use force.

As a liberal (or libertarian if you prefer) I see no government role in relations between unions and employers. Other than the overall societal role govt has in enforcing contracts.

I have mixed feelings about right to work laws but that is another note.

John Henry

roesch-voltaire said...

Really teachers are protesting for the economic upper class is a nice little frame that ignores a starting salary less than the median household income in Wisconsin, and ignoring that 80% of the salary and wage earners in this country have only 15% of the wealth, while the the top1% percent own 40%. I think it safe to say the protestors represent the middle class, and that is why the recall votes, even in Darling's district which includes wealthy Republicans was so close.

The Audiovisualist said...

Is the strategy that we can only compete globally by having the lowest cost workforce? What about competing by doing things better (or newer) than everybody else. That worked during most of the twentieth century, but it requires a commitment to developing an educated workforce.

Hagar said...

Unions are wonderful when they are small or not yet formed and are fighting for recognition.

When they are recognized they become combinations in restraint of trade,

and when they become big and powerful and allied with politicians, they become bullying monopolists sucking the life out of the industry providing their own livelyhood.

And that is just the way of the world.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

RV, Darling actually won Tuesday by a much larger margin than she did in 2008. You need a new narrative.

Fred4Pres said...

It's a messenger problem...you need some big guys with bats delivering the message!

garage mahal said...

It's a message problem: people got the message, and they rejected it.

They rejected two Republicans in Republican districts. No Democrats, as of yet.

Tim said...

Traditional civil service protections such as merit hiring, job security and exceptional health and retirement benefits make public employee unions unnecessary, for public employees.

For the taxpayers, public employee unions are nothing more than leaches, taking through the state's police powers wealth they did not earn.

The sooner taxpayers internalize this, the better off we'll all be.

Fen said...

It’s hard to see what happened in Wisconsin as anything short of a miss for an organized labor movement

I don't associate the fat and spoiled Public Sector Unions (and Teachers Union) with the blue collar workers in the organized labor movement.

Check Ann's hands. I bet they are as smooth as a baby's butt.

Fen said...

They rejected two Republicans in Republican districts. No Democrats, as of yet.

Actually, they rejected 4 Democrats.

hoop said...

I am hesitant to use wealth distribution statistics as justification for continual demands for increased pay and benefits. True, a small few hold a proportionally large amount of the money, but that's the definition of being rich, and having such rich people is actually healthy for the economy. It's the rich who organize and initiate large-scale economic projects, such as new businesses, new factories, research, etc. etc.

Wealth distribution is not meant to be uniform or anything close to it. (Techybabble: gamma distributions make far better sense. Or if you use net worth rather than the one-sided "owned wealth", a phase shifted lognormal tends to work.)

It could be a fun academic exercise to debate whether 1% owning 40% is optimal, but that statistic is hardly justification to redistribute. It's simply the result of a process with a defined lower limit (minimum owned wealth = zero) and an undefined upper limit (there's no law stating that Soros must cap his wealth at ten million dollars).

Calypso Facto said...

John said "As a liberal (or libertarian if you prefer) I see no government role in relations between unions and employers. Other than the overall societal role govt has in enforcing contracts. "

But being that we're discussing PUBLIC unions here, I think it's an entirely different discussion. Public unions are an inherently bad idea because there is no true advocate for the taxpaying public at the bargaining table, only rent-seeking union reps and vote-hungry politicians. Public interest is among the LAST of considerations in these contracts.

Peter said...

‘roesch-voltaire’ said, “I fully, 100%, support the right of people to unionize. I have the right to hire a lawyer to negotiate contracts with my clients.”

BUT unions are not about INDIVIDUAL bargaining, they are about COLLECTIVE bargaining. That is, they attempt to fix the price employer(s) must pay for labor.

That is, laws that permit union-agency shops and exclusive representation permit unions to not only set the price at which their members are willing to sell their labor but also to prevent anyone else from selling their labor at a different price.


BUT, it is unlawful for companies to collude in order to fix prices. Should these producers also have the right to collude to try to fix the price of their goods and services? Or is there a reason why only labor should have this right?

If you have no problem with companies colluding to fix prices, would that include their colluding to fix the price they are willing to pay for labor?

In short, labor laws since the 1930s create rights for labor organizations which are denied to employers. This appears to have been done to address a perceived power imbalance.

Finally, in private industry the need of companies to remain competitive combined with the union's wish to preserve members' jobs provides a check on union demands.

BUT, this check is obviously not present when the employer is government. Further, government-employee unions attempt to bend the electoral process in their favor. Yet what is in the union's interest is seldom in the public's interest.

If you support private-sector unions, are these reasons sufficient to restrict or deny collective bargaining privileges in the public sector/

Calypso Facto said...

They rejected two Republicans in Republican districts.

LaCrosse, home of Ron Kind (D), is traditionally Democratic. Kapanke, by virtue of being a great guy, was a worthy anomoly for awhile. And Hopper won by just 160 votes in 2008, so no Republican stronghold there either.

Chip S. said...

r-v said: teachers are protesting for the economic upper class is a nice little frame that ignores a starting salary less than the median household income in Wisconsin.

Oh, no! The horror of beginning your career fresh from your intensive studies as an education major, only to find that you're not yet earning more than half your fellow cheeseheads.

Ever heard of the "age-earnings profile"? Do you know that the median age in Wisconsin is about 16 years higher than the average age of a new college graduate? Do you care at all about the significance of the numbers you toss out?

roesch-voltaire said...

Bushman, yes it is true that Sheldon Wasserman came within a thousand votes of beating Darling and this time the margin was larger, but also the turn out was much smaller. But let us see what the next election brings.About the bottom 80%-- Perhaps at one time in this country the very wealthy did produce jobs, but these days so much of the wealth is concentrated in the financial sector that does little to produce jobs for the middle class. In the past the strength of this country has been a strong middle class and the earnings of the average person were not a thousand times less than the CEOs.

Chip S. said...

Then there's also the dishonest trick of comparing a starting salary for anindividual to median income for households.

I don't think you're that stupid, so it's got to be dishonesty. Is it the pain of losing yet another round of elections that's driving you to this?

John said...

Calypso,

Yes, quite right about public sector unions. As someone else noted, Civil Service should make them unnecessary.

However, now that we have them, it is still govt's fault for giving in to them, not the union's fault for asking for more.

I realize that the deck is stacked and there is a conflict of interest. The govt is buying union support with our own money. Makes it hard to keep from giving in.

But giving in by management is still the main problem, IMHO.

John Henry

garage mahal said...

Is it the pain of losing yet another round of elections that's driving you to this?

Again, no Democrats have lost their jobs from voters. Two Republicans have. That's a win in your book?

The Sconz said...

No, public employees in Wisconsin are not paid better than their private sector counterparts.

Better paid than the "average Wisconsinite" is a meaningless comparison because it does not control for education and other factors. I guess we could try hiring law profs without law degrees, for instance, but I think the state has a substantial interest in hiring qualified workers.

"According to the report, done by University of Rutgers Professor Jeffrey H. Keefe, the annual wages of public sector employees are 14.2 percent lower than wages for comparable workers in the private sector. Even when benefits such as health care and pension plans are also considered, total public employee annual compensation is still 8.2 percent lower than their private sector counterparts."

Chip S. said...

but also the turn out was much smaller

Wait a minute. Yesterday's spin was that these were "solid Republican" districts, so the results were a moral victory for the Democrats. Today's spin is that the problem for the Dems was low turnout in those same districts?

Are you serious?

Chip S. said...

Again, no Democrats have lost their jobs from voters.

Um, the Dems' recall elections are next week.

Please up your game; you're becoming a laughingstock.

TosaGuy said...

"but these days so much of the wealth is concentrated in the financial sector that does little to produce jobs for the middle class."

You mean the people that write big checks to Democrats?

hoop said...

Today's spin is that the problem for the Dems was low turnout in those same districts?

Prior to the vote, IIRC, low turnout was expected to work in the Dems' favor this time around. The theory was suggested that an energized union base would result in proportionally high pro-Dem turnout and the timing of the election (summertime in an off year) would minimize the turnout in other groups.

I'm not in Wisky, but my take is that this recall doesn't really tell anything about voters' opinions of either side. It's more that a lot of people are getting tired of the hassle and don't really want to see recalls used in this manner.

At the very least, I'd really hesitate to claim this recall as any kind of leverage, no matter which side of the coin I'm on.

Chip S. said...

Low turnout always favors the side that's better organized. That's what the Dems were counting on, since they already lost the last regular election.

But none of that means anything, you see, because the Dems' strategy worked in two out of six districts.

The spin around here is positively dizzying.

garage mahal said...

Please up your game; you're becoming a laughingstock.

No Democrats have lost their jobs. Which is exactly what I posted.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

"No Democrats have lost their jobs. Which is exactly what I posted."

You are correct, no democrats who work for gov't entities that used Act 10 reforms are getting laid off.

edutcher said...

In NJ, public sector union slugs went around chanting, "Raise our taxes".

You don't need ANN and New Meadia Meade on the job (no offense, guys) to know the issue is union greed.

sorepaw said...

R-V,

I think it safe to say the protestors represent the middle class

In your opinion, could there be a middle class if some level of government were not subsidizing it?

sorepaw said...

Again, no Democrats have lost their jobs from voters. Two Republicans have. That's a win in your book?

Must have had a few lines of code added.

Chip S. said...

No Democrats have lost their jobs. Which is exactly what I posted.

Brilliant riposte.

FedkaTheConvict said...

Yep, a 5,000+ margin out of approx. 75,000 votes cast is considered "close."

Thanks for the laughs.

FedkaTheConvict said...

But beating Randy Hopper, a weak and flawed candidate, by 1,200 votes is a landslide.

MayBee said...

The problem is the management (including govt in the case of public workers) gives in to them.

This is the argument I hear about unions that made me know the GOP needs to stand strong against giving in to Democrats. Democrats have the exact same mentality: It may bankrupt the country if we get what we are asking for, but it's up to someone else to stop us.

alan markus said...

I wish Recess Supervisor at Playground Politics would comment here - his site is how I found Althouse, on his blog roll. He's a former WI legislative aide who now lives in another state, but his perspectives on WI politics are a worthy read. Here's his take on Tuesday's results:

Progressives arrested for animal abuse; caught screwing the pooch on Tuesday

AllenS said...

garage mahal said...
They rejected two Republicans in Republican districts. No Democrats, as of yet.

That's a flat out lie.

Squid said...

Again, no Democrats have lost their jobs from voters. Two Republicans have. That's a win in your book?

Yes, it is. The Democrats went all-in on a government takeover, and they fell short.

You seem awfully focused on individual races and people. I guess this big-picture stuff is over your head.

garage mahal said...

Yes, it is. The Democrats went all-in on a government takeover, and they fell short.

Republicans went all in too, and lost two seats. If the union busting bill was brought up today, it would fail. The senate now has a pro union majority. That's Walker is suddenly talking about bipartisanship.

Scott M said...

Republicans went all in too, passed their agenda, and lost two seats, so far.

Fixed it for you.

purplepenquin said...

I was protesting because my union was organized primarily due to safety concerns on the workplace. Stuff we do can literally kill you if not done properly/safe. Over half of our work is done in the "private sector"; we also contract with the state, city and county for a lot of stuff. One of the things we do with the UW was done by temp agencies at first. Back then it would take a crew of 40 people a full 8 hours to accomplish what 25 union workers now do in 4 hours. Also, the temp-workers got hurt a lot and thus much workman's comp was paid out.

By choosing to use our hiring hall rather than a temp agency, the state was able to get the work done quicker for less $$$. But with safety rules and workplace conditions now barred by law from being part of a contract with gov't agencies, it looks like the state will be back to spending more while getting less.

That is what I was protesting - the right to earn a living without having to put my health and life in unnecessary danger.

sorepaw said...

That is what I was protesting - the right to earn a living without having to put my health and life in unnecessary danger.

How about the other unions with which you declared solidarity?

purplepenquin said...

How about the other unions with which you declared solidarity?

I beleive it is wrong for anyone...be it union member or not...to be barred by law from negotiating workplace conditions and safety issues.

Ya'll fail to understand -it ain't about money. It is about treating the workers as someone to be talked with, rather than as a serf to be dictated to.

Calypso Facto said...

pp said: "That is what I was protesting - the right to earn a living without having to put my health and life in unnecessary danger."

Because, you know, out here in the private sector we just love to see our employees injured. When you actually look at the data, private industry is slightly safer than government work, despite having the preponderance of at-risk employment (construction and manufacturing).

hoop said...

penguin,

I'm as anti-union as anybody, but I'll freely acknowledge that unionization has a perfectly valid role to fill.

When we first formed unions in this country, they were fighting horrid factory conditions, child labor, excessive working hours, etc. It'd be hard for anybody today to deny the utility of unions at that time.

There are still good occasions for unions now. As you noted, unions (especially for skilled labor in dangerous fields) can work with owners/companies to provide a net benefit to business. I have no problem with unions for that. My problem is only with unions that, like government agencies, tend to keep growing even when their original purpose has been fulfilled.

I'm pretty sure we see eye-to-eye on that, and I'm simply clarifying myself, not debating you.

Freder Frederson said...

Do you think these workers have better jobs — considering pay and benefits — than the average Wisconsin taxpayer? (Better.) Why are you protesting for the economic upper half?

Perhaps they believe that more people need the protection of a union.

But I guess you were too dense to figure that out for yourself.

purplepenquin said...

Hoops,

I hear what you're saying 'cept I'd say that while things are better now it doesn't mean bad things still don't happen.

Some folks claim that OSHA is there to protect the workers so there are no need for unions, but that is akin to saying there is no need for concealed carry 'cause the police will protect you. Sounds good on paper, but reality says otherwise.

A personal example comes from last summer when one of my co-workers was asked to climb a tower. When he asked where the safety harness was, the roadguy told him to just climb the damn thing or go home without pay. We all kinda looked at him in shock while his boss came over and reminded him that we were a union-crew and he couldn't treat us like that. Needless to say, a safety harness was quickly found and the work then continued. Safe to say that OSHA wouldn't have been on the scene until days (weeks?) after that group had moved on to a different city/state.


Calypso,

I don't think business owners love seeing their employees injured, rather I think some business owners love profits above almost everything else. If given a choice between installing a $70,000 safety shield on a machine or paying out $30,000 worth of "loss finger" claims to workers, too many business owners will choose the more profitable route. Not ALL business owners, of course, but obviously enough of 'em that the workers felt the need to do something about it.


The vast majority of the people at the Capitol weren't protesting because snowplow operators and teachers are taking a pay cut....we were protesting this radical law that now bans us from negotiating on practically everything with our employer. The Anti-Union crowd keeps tries to spread the meme that the outrage is only because of the money...which tells me that they can't argue against what the issue truly is, so that strawman is beat-up on instead.

Original Mike said...

"They rejected two Republicans in Republican districts. No Democrats, as of yet."

Kapanke was rejected 55/45. It's laughable to use the term "rejected" for Hopper, who lost 49/51.

Original Mike said...

Light Bulb Boy!!! How ya going, man?

Freder Frederson said...

Because, you know, out here in the private sector we just love to see our employees injured. When you actually look at the data, private industry is slightly safer than government work, despite having the preponderance of at-risk employment (construction and manufacturing).

Except your citation doesn't support that contention at all. Did you figure no one would link to it and just take your word that the statistics prove what you want them to prove and not just what you want them to show?

And by the way, government work includes some not-very safe jobs like firefighters, police, and prison guards.

sorepaw said...

I beleive it is wrong for anyone...be it union member or not...to be barred by law from negotiating workplace conditions and safety issues.

You seem to be OK with workers being compelled to join a union, and to pay mandatory dues, whether they wish to belong, and whether they believe the union is acting in their interests or not.

sorepaw said...

that now bans us from negotiating on practically everything with our employer

The ban did not pertain to all employers in Wisconsin, did it?

Which ones did it pertain to?

Calypso Facto said...

That's a reasonable response, Penguin, but I'd argue that you still give too much credence to union representation for implementing safety precautions.

One, the employer's interest in preserving a healthy/trained/motivated/loyal workforce, plus workmans comp costs, plus insurance costs, plus the threat of civil lawsuits and OSHA fines all impel safety standard compliance over short-term financial consideration.

Two, you perceive that the union has been helpful in maintaining a safe work environment for you, but I think that's more anecdotal than evidenciary. Where I work, we have both union and non-union workforces, with IDENTICAL safety measures. And I have seen the same scene you described played out in non-union situations; it just takes a safety-committed employee to stand his/her ground. Conversely, I know of many idiotic/unsafe acts committed in public employ as well as private. Also, as I linked to earlier, safety in private organizations on the whole is as good as or better than in government employment. So, while I respect your safety concerns, I don't think they hold water as a reason for protest.

But taking you at your word about the primacy of safety concerns, here's a question for you: Do you think the majority of protesters would have traded the power to bargain on safety issues for the power to bargain wages? Or perhaps, given the leeway to bring back just one item to the bargaining table would it have been safety, or retirement? (or medical insurance or vacation or ???)

garage mahal said...

Kapanke was rejected 55/45. It's laughable to use the term "rejected" for Hopper, who lost 49/51.

Aww, you poor baby! I'm sorry.

But that district was carried by Walker by 16% 6 months ago, by the way.

marylynn said...

My friend attended the Governors Auction last night at the Wi State Fair. He said Walker received an extended standing ovation from a coliseum filled to capacity. He was very impressed -- and my friend by the way is a government employee.
What no one shouting "shame, shame, shame"? Bet there is no media coverage of this ... and methinks the game is up for the Union crowd ....

John said...

Purple Penguin,

You are right that one of the functions of a union is safety issues.

You may be right that some employers won't pay for safety equipment. I suspect that it is not many. It is too easy for a worker to file an OSHA complaint and fighting that complaint is a MAJOR pain in the ass for an employer.

There is another side to that equation, though. What happens when the employee refuses to use/wear the safety equipment? I ran a 30 person Maintenance Dept in a pharma plant back on the 70s & 80s. I've spent 3-5 days a week since then inside industrial plants all over the US in a variety of industries.

My company spent a lot of money on safety equipment. We provided safety glasses, including prescription where needed. We provided safety shoes. We provided hard hats. We provided guarding on all machinery. We did everything we could to make sure our employees were safe.

Getting them to use these was another issue. They would not use glasses because they got in the way. Ditto machine guards. Interlock systems were a nuisance and were disabled.

It was a constant battle to get them to work safely. We finally had to make a first offense of failure to use safety equipment a 5 day suspension w/o pay and a 2nd offense firing.

And it was still a pain in the ass to get them to use it.

John Henry

Original Mike said...

"Aww, you poor baby! I'm sorry."

Huh? I'm just pointing out your ridiculousness.

This is the same kind of stupidity we were talking about yesterday in the gloating thread. Win by two points and claim your election was "the will of the people". Laughable.

Calypso Facto said...

Except your citation doesn't support that contention at all.

It does, Freder, but you have to use some math. The table lists the injury incidence rate for All Industries (4.3 per 100) and for Private Industry only (4.2 per 100). With some basic algebra, the government injury incident rate can be determined to be about 5.0 per 100, or 20% higher than private industry's rate. I'm sorry BLS didn't spell it out as clearly as you'd like. (I'd cynically add that it's probably BECAUSE the government rate is higher that the government press doesn't want to highlight the fact. But that may go too far.)

I readily acknowledge that there are a very few government high risk protective services jobs, but 4,000 fire fighters aren't unduly influencing the 2.6 million employee average, especially given the administrative nature of the vast majority of the rest of the state employees. With almost a million construction and manufacturing private employees, on the other hand, one would expect the private total to be higher.

garage mahal said...

This is the same kind of stupidity we were talking about yesterday in the gloating thread. Win by two points and claim your election was "the will of the people". Laughable.

I didn't participate in any threads yesterday, or claim anything about the "will of the people". It is what it is.

Even more ridiculous: Walker and Republicans continually state YOU are the problem with this state, and you continually shine their knobs, for free. Whatever dude. I guess you don't value your work or contribution to the state.

Original Mike said...

"Walker and Republicans continually state YOU are the problem with this state,"

If this were true, I'd be pissed. But, in fact, it isn't even close to true.

Original Mike said...

How about some quotes to back up your claim ("Walker and Republicans continually state YOU are the problem with this state"), garage? I’m primed to be pissed; just provide me the quotes and you’ll have a convert.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Garage:

Is it your belief that Kapanke and Hopper were more vulnerable to defeat as a result of the combination of the bargaining bill and the recall, than they would have been at the next, regularly scheduled election?

Because if not--if they were as likely to lose in, say, 2012, as they were this week--then what, exactly, did the unions accomplish with the recall? They defeated two vulnerable GOPers a little early. Why is that a big deal.

And if you do think they were more vulnerable (as a result of the bill and the recall), can you explain why? Kapanke was in a district with a political profile against him. Hopper had an affair and his own wife, I'm told, advocated his defeat!

I'd bet real money the unions were going to target them in 2012 (or whenever they were next up) every bit as hard as they did in this recall. Do you have reason to believe this is not true?

Original Mike said...

I got nothing to say, but since the current word verification is "hoser", I just had to post.

garage mahal said...

If this were true, I'd be pissed.

According to Walker, you're not even a taxpayer. He has constantly said he is protecting Wisconsin taxpayers, from you, by slashing your wages/benefits. That would rankle my feathers.

When you are constantly called a leech and a parasite in these threads, that doesn't tick you off?

Ann Althouse said...

"The Sconz said... No, public employees in Wisconsin are not paid better than their private sector counterparts."

You're answering "no" to a question I didn't ask.

But let's assume I did. You're saying teachers in private schools have a better pay package -- salary plus benefits -- than public school teachers? I don't think so.

Ann Althouse said...

"Better paid than the "average Wisconsinite" is a meaningless comparison because it does not control for education and other factors. I guess we could try hiring law profs without law degrees, for instance, but I think the state has a substantial interest in hiring qualified workers."

And, yes, well-qualified folks often do make more. But I'm looking at the left-wing protesters and wondering:

1. Why are they putting their heart and soul into these efforts for the well off?

2. How come they don't like other "rich" people, people who get an education, make sacrifices, and work very hard?

What's with all these lefties not being coherently left-wing? They aren't fighting for the oppressed. They are fighting for the privileged.

But only the privileged who get public money. What about the privileged who make things and provide services that people actually buy through their own free choice? Why no love for those folks? For example, the Koch Brothers.

Original Mike said...

"According to Walker, you're not even a taxpayer."

You need a basic course in logic, man.

"When you are constantly called a leech and a parasite in these threads, that doesn't tick you off?"

Yeah, some of the things said here tick me off, but that doesn't buttress your claim that Walker and the Republicans are scapegoating me.

AllenS said...

purplepenquin said...
I was protesting because my union was organized primarily due to safety concerns on the workplace. By choosing to use our hiring hall rather than a temp agency, the state was able to get the work done quicker for less $$$. But with safety rules and workplace conditions now barred by law from being part of a contract with gov't agencies, it looks like the state will be back to spending more while getting less.

That is what I was protesting - the right to earn a living without having to put my health and life in unnecessary danger.


I worked as a pressman on a four color web offset press. Dangerous work. We were a non-union shop. If someone was doing reckless work, and putting others at risk, he was fired. Trying to fire a union man is almost impossible.