Thoughts on Wisconsin, collective bargaining, and “rights”


Ever since Governor Walker has made his stand in addressing the public worker benefits in Wisconsin, the Left has been apoplectic resulting in spin, lies, and an inability to see the writing on the wall.

I’ve had some online debates with those who view the happenings in Wisconsin as bad and somehow as a “power grab”.  What?

I’ve also heard the argument that collective bargaining is “right” and that the representation of union management to its members is akin to our representative Republic.  Again, what?

Anyway, I’ve spent much time putting thoughts down in those debates, so I decided to copy them over here on my blog.  I welcome debate on the thoughts and, hopefully, you can use the same thoughts in your debates with those who support the existence of public sector unions and their, often, exorbitant demands on the taxpayer, not to mention their corruption and huge money flow to Democratic coffers.

 Here goes:

I have not figured out yet why if this is just about “representing the rights of the workers” and not about union power….well then make the dues voluntary and let “the workers” be represented if they feel the need. As Gov. Walker has proposed, let the unions collect dues (not the govt) on a voluntary (not forced) basis. Aren’t unions supposed to be in line with the needs and wants of those they represent?

We all know the answer to that….this is not about the so-called “rights” of workers, but about money, power, and the Democrat party coffers.

The detractors of Governor Walker try to compare union dues to union management with taxes to the government.  Forcing union members to pay dues is a far cry from taxpayers paying taxes. We have something called a representative government. Unions are not the government, no matter how much control they currently have over politicians and how much more they’d like to have. Where is that representative framework between a union and its members?
In unions there is one “Party”–the union bosses— and you must give to it. They decide where the cash goes….oh…and they pay themselves exorbitantly. If I am a teacher’s union member, I can’t get out and I can’t stop that union boss from donating to Democrats nor stop the boss from paying himself upwards of $500K to $750K in annual compensation. No recourse.
I should have the choice to be a part of that…or not..and if you are a teacher in Wisconsin….YOU DO NOT have a choice.
I am happy to say it is not the same in our Constitutional Representative Republic.

Besides, there is a large percentage of teachers who would not choose to be in a union if they were not forced to join. In Wisconsin, teachers pay in the range of $700 to $1100 per year to unions–by force. Wouldn’t that money go a long way towards the Gov’s meager request to fund their healthcare at a fraction of its cost and part of their pension?

In addition…. many union members do not support having their hard-earned dollars shoved into Democratic campaigns each election season. That is exactly what is happening. For instance: Between 1990 and 2004, 94 percent of donations made by National Education Association political action committees and individual officers went to Democrats, according to According to the NEA’s own “Status of the American Public School Teacher 2000-2001,” only 45 percent of public school teachers are Democrats. 

And even more informative, the #1 source of “donor cash” in the state of Wisconsin in 2007-2008 was the NEA…3rd was the NFT.

Talk about big money…In the top 11 of campaign donors NATIONALLY in 2007/08 were 3 unions with the NEA at the top of the list. Out of those 11, NOT ONE, is a large corporation.
Who is using the most money to influence Washington and the states? (hint: it’s not the evil capitalists)
Worse, much of that cash that a Republican teacher is forced to pay goes to a Democratic politician 99% of the time!

Opponents of Governor Walker and proponents of public sector collective bargaining maintain it as “right”.  They don’t see the connection between the budget and the collective bargaining arrangements.  As far as the budget, getting public sector benefits in line with private ones is a very smart way to fill the budget hole. As far as collective bargaining….Walker is only halting the bargaining on benefits. Salaries may still be bargained but must be in line with the Consumer Price Index. The benefits side is where the rising costs are…limiting that rise is prudent and in the best interest of ALL taxpayers, especially when those benefits already far surpass the private sector.

There is no “right” to collective bargaining. And in the public sector, one could argue it is not even smart.
Even FDR realized that. Today’s unions give outrageously to politicians to get them elected. Then, in “bargaining”, those same politicians that are beholden to the unions for getting them elected are supposed to represent the taxpayers on the other side of the table.
This is exactly how the public sector benefits have risen above the private sector in Wisconsin ( and many other places)….the public sector unions have a pseudo-monopoly on the bargaining process.

As far as comparing the “right” to collective bargaining with Constitutional rights (which some have done)….There is a difference between a Constitutional right and a so-called union “contract”. Our Constitution mentions nothing of a “right” to collective bargaining as it does for free speech, free assembly and our other Constitutional rights.
And in our Constitutional rights, the government specifically can not intervene with those rights and, in most instances, if not all, no other parties have diminished rights by others exerting these rights.

This is simply not the case with Collective Bargaining and the unions as a whole. In most union arrangements, an employer is FORCED to deal with the union and is overseen by a government agency (ie government intervention). In the case of bargaining, the employer MUST listen to the demands of the union even if the demands are not good for the health of the business or state. In addition, if the union is arguing terms for employees, but the business/state could easily hire another person who IS happy with the terms, the unions and the government oversight prevent it. And should I even mention, that in most cases, the employers are powerless to keep the unions away. If the union agitates (and that is what it is…I’ve seen it) a specific set of employees long enough, they can vote the union in and the company is powerless to stop it.

Again the right of the business to conduct as it sees fit within the law and market pressures, is stymied by the “rights” of the unions.

So when did we decide that the “rights” of the union and its members trumps the rights of business and taxpayers?

The so-called “rights” touted to collective bargaining amount to suppression of rights of the business, and in the case of Wisconsin, the taxpayers. Our Constitutional rights do not suppress the Constitutional rights of others.

In addition, it has been argued that if a union member (specifically a teacher, in the case of Wisconsin) can’t make change within thee union they are FORCED to join, well then, they can just move elsewhere.  Gosh, isn’t that called “choice”?  Well, if that is the case, and choice is good, then why can’t we do away with public sector unions, allow teachers to work where they wish and move elsewhere if a particular locality/school doesn’t meet their career needs. It’s called free market and it cuts out the middle man – unions.

I am not saying that members don’t have a say in the unions. They do have a say at some level. What I am saying is that forced unionization is the antithesis to real choice and freedom. So is the push for card check and the elimination of the secret ballot. It is beyond me how that is in the best interest of the employee. I am also saying that the union management is corrupt and, in many cases, spend far fewer of the member dollars on the needs of members and far more on the political donations, management salaries, and other questionable practices (ie 5-star resorts). As much as 70% of union dues go to political donations, exorbitant management salaries and the like with the remainder being spent on the needs of union members.

Is that what you call representative and a portrait of what a stellar union should be? 

Others have argued that Governor Walker is executing a “power grab.”  When the residents of Washington voted in this governor and state body, they gave them the power to govern as they said when they campaigned. That is exactly what they are doing and it is not a power grab.
If anything the power grab is represented in the Democrats leaving their jobs because they don’t want to vote on something where they will lose. The Democrats are trying to rule by minority and outside the bounds of democracy.Too bad, so sad….that is how it is when officials are elected and the majority party has the votes.

Union supporters and activists will many times, when placed in a corner during debate, will tout how corporations can’t be trusted and that they throw big money into the political arena, too.  Granted, there are some bad apples in the corporate/business world.  But through free markets and consumer choice, those bad apples eventually lose in the market.  Even if a corporation has broken the law to get ahead, they are usually tried and punished by law.  But union supporters only see bad in corporations, of which the vast majority are respectable, but have blinders that block the corruption and greed present in the very union structure. 

Most unions today do not operate in the best interest of their members, but in the best interest of power and money.  
Wisconsin is a great example…..if this bill is defeated in Wisconsin, the Governor faces laying off thousands of workers. The union leaders and their bussed-in astroturf forces would rather have the power that comes with collective bargaining and forced union membership than to save the jobs of thousands of employees who would still have jobs and have benefits closer to public sector numbers.
How is that in the best interest of the employees those unions represent?

One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Re-Load 1776, SharpRightTurn. SharpRightTurn said: Thoughts on Wisconsin, collective bargaining, and "rights" […]

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