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Wisconsin Passes Anti-Collective Bargaining Bill

Demonstrators converge once again on the Capitol after the state Senate abruptly voted Wednesday night to eliminate collective bargaining provisions. The Assembly is expected to vote on the issue Thursday.

The standoff in Wisconsin is over, as Senate Republicans passed the controversial bill stripping state employees of collective bargaining rights without the Democratic senators who fled the state to prevent a quorum.

AP (“Wisconsin GOP bypasses Dems, cuts collective bargaining“):

The nearly month-long standoff in the Wisconsin Legislature over explosive union rights legislation rocketed toward a dramatic finish Thursday after Senate Republicans outmaneuvered their missing Democratic counterparts and pushed through the bill.

The dramatic turn of events late Wednesday set up a perfunctory vote Thursday morning in the Assembly on the measure that would strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public workers. Once the bill passes the Assembly, it heads to Republican Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

Within hours after the Senate passed the bill, a crowd of hundreds of protesters grew to about 7,000 in the Capitol, a crowd as large as any seen inside the building over three weeks of demonstrations. “The whole world is watching!” protesters shouted as they pressed up against the heavily guarded entrance to the Senate chamber. Most protesters left by midnight — many were expected back Thursday — but dozens of others spent the night in the Capitol corridors. State officials said no attempts would be made to force them to leave.

The bill had been stymied after all 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to pass it. Walker introduced it to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.

The Senate requires a quorum of 20 to take up any measures that spends money. But a special committee of lawmakers from both the Senate and Assembly voted late Wednesday afternoon to take all the spending measures out of the legislation and the Senate approved it minutes later 18-1. Republican Sen. Dale Schultz cast the lone no vote. “I voted my conscience which I feel reflects the core beliefs of the majority of voters who sent me here to represent them,” Schultz said in a statement.

Until Wednesday’s vote, it appeared the standoff would persist until Democrats returned to Madison from their self-imposed exile. But in a matter of minutes, it was over.

“In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.”

Oh, nonsense. They were overwhelmingly elected in November and prevented from acting only by bad faith on the part of the Democratic minority. And the Democrats have the ability to either try to force Republicans out via the recall process or rally back to a majority in 2012 and undo this legislation.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (“With Democrats absent, Republicans advance collective bargaining changes“) adds:

With Democrats still in Illinois, the state Senate abruptly voted Wednesday night to eliminate collective bargaining provisions for most public workers that have stood for decades, sending a flood of angry protesters into the Capitol.

The bill, which has drawn international attention, is to be taken up at 11 a.m. Thursday by the Assembly.

[...]

Republicans devised a plan to get around the impasse and hurriedly approved the bill late in the day after meeting for hours behind closed doors. Walker met with them for more than half an hour at the start of the private meeting.

“The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused,” Walker said in a statement. “In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature’s action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government.”

Just before the Senate vote, a committee stripped some financial elements from the bill, which they said allowed them to pass it with the presence of a simple majority. The most controversial parts of the bill remain intact.

That committee, formed just two hours earlier, quickly approved the bill as the lone Democrat at the meeting screamed that Republicans were violating the state’s open meetings law – a claim Republicans disputed. “This is a violation of law!” bellowed Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) ignored him and ordered the roll to be taken. Minutes later, the Senate took up the bill and passed it without debate.

“Shame on you!” protesters cried from the viewing gallery.

Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) decried the move as “political thuggery.” He and other Democrats warned it could end the political careers of some Republican senators who are under the threat of recalls. “I think it’s akin to political hara-kiri,” said Jauch.”I think it’s political suicide.”

That’s democracy. The majority gets to pass bills. The public then gets to periodically weigh in on the bills passed and decide if they want to stay the course or change direction. It’s messy but beats shenanigans like hiding out in neighboring states to forestall a vote.

Ezra Klein (“What happened in Wisconsin tonight“):

What happens next? Expect the protests over the next few days to be ferocious. But unless a judge rules the move illegal — and I don’t know how to judge the likelihood of that — Walker’s proposed law will go forward. The question is whether Walker and the Republicans who voted for it will do the same.

Polls in Wisconsin clearly showed that Republicans had failed to persuade the public of their cause. Walker’s numbers dropped, while Democrats and unions found themselves suddenly flush with volunteers, money and favorable media coverage. And they plan to take advantage of it: Eight Wisconsin Republicans have served for long enough to be vulnerable to a recall election next year, and Democrats have already begun gathering signatures. Now their efforts will accelerate. “We now put our total focus on recalling the eligible Republican senators who voted for this heinous bill,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. “And we also begin counting the days remaining before Scott Walker is himself eligible for recall.”

I’m not a fan of the recall process, excepting in case of politicians who have committed crimes. (And, yes, I held that view when California recalled Democrat Gray Davis.) But it is a tool that Wisconsin has given to voters so, if they can muster the enthusiasm to use it, it’s fair game. And, again, if they can’t there’s always the next scheduled election.

Interestingly, Scott Walker has an op-ed in today’s WSJ titled “Why I’m Fighting in Wisconsin.” Presumably, it was written and scheduled well before last night’s vote.

In 2010, Megan Sampson was named an Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin. A week later, she got a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools. Why would one of the best new teachers in the state be one of the first let go? Because her collective-bargaining contract requires staffing decisions to be made based on seniority.

Ms. Sampson got a layoff notice because the union leadership would not accept reasonable changes to their contract. Instead, they hid behind a collective-bargaining agreement that costs the taxpayers $101,091 per year for each teacher, protects a 0% contribution for health-insurance premiums, and forces schools to hire and fire based on seniority and union rules.

My state’s budget-repair bill, which passed the Assembly on Feb. 25 and awaits a vote in the Senate, reforms this union-controlled hiring and firing process by allowing school districts to assign staff based on merit and performance. That keeps great teachers like Ms. Sampson in the classroom.

Most states in the country are facing a major budget deficit. Many are cutting billions of dollars of aid to schools and local governments. These cuts lead to massive layoffs or increases in property taxes—or both.

In Wisconsin, we have a better approach to tackling our $3.6 billion deficit. We are reforming the way government works, as well as balancing our budget. Our reform plan gives state and local governments the tools to balance the budget through reasonable benefit contributions. In total, our budget-repair bill saves local governments almost $1.5 billion, outweighing the reductions in state aid in our budget.

[...]

When Gov. Mitch Daniels repealed collective bargaining in Indiana six years ago, it helped government become more efficient and responsive. The average pay for Indiana state employees has actually increased, and high-performing employees are rewarded with pay increases or bonuses when they do something exceptional.

Passing our budget-repair bill will help put similar reforms into place in Wisconsin. This will be good for the Badger State’s hard-working taxpayers. It will also be good for state and local government employees who overwhelmingly want to do their jobs well.

In Wisconsin, we can avoid the massive teacher layoffs that schools are facing across America. Our budget-repair bill is a commitment to the future so our children won’t face even more dire consequences than we face today, and teachers like Ms. Sampson are rewarded—not laid off.

He’s got a few months to make his case and assuage voter anger. My hunch is that he’ll be successful in that effort, as Daniels was.

UPDATE: Balloon Juice‘s mistermix makes an interesting point:

If the Wisconsin Republicans’ plan was to jam through the defeat of collective bargaining with a sketchy parliamentary move, they should have done it the minute that Democrats vacated the state. If that had happened, the howls would have been loud but fairly short-lived, since it’s easier to energize people when they’re trying to prevent something from happening, rather than complaining after the fact.

Instead, we have today’s trainwreck. Walker got his number one item, but he paid a huge price. He’s almost certainly a one-term governor. There’s a dissenting Republican in the Senate, and presumably we’ll hear more from him. If there’s a general strike, the union’s side of the case is now clearly outlined in the public mind. If the unions don’t strike, they look like paragons of restraint. And what about the recalls? No matter the outcome, they’ll occupy the press and public attention for the next few months.

Now, I’m not convinced this will be a long-term harm to Walker and the Republicans; but I’m certainly no expert in Wisconsin politics. But I agree that it’s odd that they allowed things to fester for weeks before taking this action. The only thing I can figure is that they thought the spectacle of Democratic legislators hiding out, teachers abandoning their classrooms, and throngs occupying the state capital would redound to the advantage of Republicans. In the short term, at least, that appears to have been a miscalculation.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Not sure what the editorial stance of the Journal-Sentinel is, but the difference in tone between their report and the AP’s is rather striking (‘advance collective bargaining changes vs. ‘strip nearly all collective bargaining rights’).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. sam says:

    Behind all that high-flown rhetoric about saving good teachers from the layoff ax is a brute political calculation: How best to defund the Democratic party. Walker believes this is best achieved by crushing the public employee unions. OK, it ain’t beanbag. But as Adam Serwer wrote in February:

    This is no longer about “fiscal responsibility.” It’s about whether or not public workers have a right to organize in their own interests — a right a majority of Americans support. This isn’t about “hard decisions” or “shared sacrifice” or any of the other euphemisms conservatives employ when they’re talking about shifting the fiscal burden from rich people to working people. It’s about a Republican governor making a political power play against a Democratic constituency. We shouldn’t pretend it’s anything else.

    We really shouldn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  3. rodney dill says:

    (‘advance collective bargaining changes’ vs. ‘strip nearly all collective bargaining rights’).

    Which probably points to the crux of the matter. What really does it do versus what spin does each side want to give it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. cian says:

    He’s got a few months to make his case and assuage voter anger. My hunch is that he’ll be successful in that effort, as Daniels was.

    Not sure I understand this. According to Wisconsin law any bill that has fiscal implications requires a quorum. Walker insists taking union rights from public workers is essential to balancing the budget. He hasn’t been lying all this time, has he?

    However, if he hasn’t been lying, then the bill just passed is illegal, and can be challenged.

    Interesting case. Look forward to him making it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. jwest says:

    The sun is about to rise on a new Wisconsin, where the educational system will be focused on children actually learning as opposed to a jobs program for democrat voters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. jpe says:

    According to Wisconsin law any bill that has fiscal implications requires a quorum. Walker insists taking union rights from public workers is essential to balancing the budget. He hasn’t been lying all this time, has he?

    Someone at Volokh (Lindgren, I think) has been all over this and has shown that the higher quorum is only necessary for appropriations or tax bills. So a bill could have all sorts of fiscal implications, but if isn’t actually changing tax law or appropriating funds, it can be voted on by those present.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. EddieInCA says:

    Wow… This action made me write my first political check ever.

    $500 to the WI Democrats to help recall the GOP 8.

    Shite…. if this affected me, a self-employed person who is not a union member, so strongly in California, I wonder what it’s doing to actual union members in Wisconsin?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  8. Murray says:

    What I don’t get is that if this bill didn’t require a quorum, why didn’t they just ram it through a month ago? Or have I missed something here?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. rodney dill says:

    $500 to the WI Democrats to help recall the GOP 8.

    Really? who’d you send it too?
    …and if you’re that loose with your money I may have a Nigerian inheritance we should discuss offline.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  10. James Joyner says:

    @Murray

    What I don’t get is that if this bill didn’t require a quorum, why didn’t they just ram it through a month ago? Or have I missed something here?

    The original bill required a quorum because it included budget measures. Republicans stripped those from this version of the bill, rendering it simple legislation where a majority constitutes a quorum. The budget items, oddly, aren’t particularly controversial and will pass when Democrats return.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. rodney dill says:

    @James, I think Murray’s point was more why didn’t they just do it sooner. To me the answer is obvious, it’s because the Republicans were acting in good faith and put all the items in the bill that needed to be addressed whether requiring a quorum or not. They then gave time for the Democrats to come back and act in good faith, and do their job in voting on the bill. (At least this will be the Republican spin, I imagine the Democrats spin will differ).

    Could also be they just didn’t think of it until now, but that seems unlikely to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. Muffler says:

    “The sun is about to rise on a new Wisconsin, where the educational system will be focused on children actually learning as opposed to a jobs program for democrat voters.”

    Last we looked the eduction system in WI was working quite well. This entire effort was the Right Wing creating budget problems by giving tax breaks to their friends and then using the budget shortfall to destroy fundamental rights of labor. This has nothing to do with the children.. I mean nothing… it is actually going to damage the education system in WI as the right wing hates public education since to them it’s a tax.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  13. JKB says:

    Well, if they want “war” as Michael Moore says, then Walker should initiate investigations into the unauthorized absences with the goal to firing these teachers at the end of the school year. Not as dramatic and effective as when FDR fires 20,000 striking union backed WPA workers in 1939 but it would send a message and follow the collective bargaining agreement as to termination proceedings.

    I suggest they shut down the state government. But a strike isn’t a legislative shutdown and they’ll be no back pay restored, no benefit contributions and no assurances they won’t be fired. Reagan moved decisively against the air traffic controllers but shut down any foolish ideas about striking against the federal government for a generation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  14. john personna says:

    @sam

    Behind all that high-flown rhetoric about saving good teachers from the layoff ax is a brute political calculation: How best to defund the Democratic party.

    Yikes, that’s a dangerous admission. I hope it’s not true, actually. If the Democratic party is an organ of government employees, we no longer have democracy. Small d.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    When the Democratic House and Senate had almost a year of discussion and debate on the health care bill, and allowed multiple amendments and changes, it was “ramming it down our throats.”

    Passing a bill in a manner of minutes without allowing discussion is democracy in action.

    Beautiful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  16. george says:

    This is actually the way things are supposed to work – if you’re given a majority by the voters, you should eventually be able to get your bills passed. The democrats should have shown the same resolve federally while they had their majority – ie broken the filibuster, and changed the filibuster rules.

    If a majority of voters don’t like this regulation (and its quite possible they don’t), then the democrats should make it an election issue, and assuming the voter vote accordingly next WI election; the following gov’t can then change the legislation back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  17. EddieInCA says:

    $500 to the WI Democrats to help recall the GOP 8.

    Really? who’d you send it too?
    …and if you’re that loose with your money I may have a Nigerian inheritance we should discuss offline.

    Sent it here: http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/26821

    You can too.

    And for that Nigerian inheritance, sure. Just send me all your banking info: Routing Number, Account Number, Password, and I’ll make certain that money is deposited into your account.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  18. john personna says:

    George, your comment really needs the large D’s, to distinguish Democrats from democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. JKB says:

    NH, are you new? If so, then look back a week or so to see the whole sordid history of this. This issue is not a surprise, teachers faked sick, dragged their students into it and occupied the Capitol building for a week over it. The Democrats, who could have discussed it, ran for the border with their fingers in their ears going, “lalalalala.” Eventually, they were discovered, ran again then actually started negotiations from while lounging Illinois. However, the Democrats refusal to show up for work, to do their duty as elected, is no reason to hold up the business of Wisconsin. So, those who stayed on the job moved forward. If you want to have a say in what happens in the world, you have to show up, not be trying to see what’s up at the Tilted Kilt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  20. EddieInCA says:

    JKB –

    So you’re okay with Gov. Walker flat out lying to the people of Wisconsin?

    Check out Intrade on Gov. Walker’s future.

    You can win the battle, but lose the war. And that’s what’s going to happen in Wisconsin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. sam says:

    @JP

    “Yikes, that’s a dangerous admission. I hope it’s not true, actually. If the Democratic party is an organ of government employees, we no longer have democracy. Small d.”

    You’ll need an argument for that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. john personna says:

    Sam, it was your proposition:

    “How best to defund the Democratic party.”

    If this is the “best to defund” it must be a majority funder, must it not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Vast Variety says:

    I see this as seriously hurting Republican chances of holding onto Wisconsin. Very early on the Unions and the Democrats gave in on most of the contract changes such as health care contribution and such, but Republicans were too hell bent on breaking the union to compromise.

    Democracy is about negotiation and compromise. Everyone was up in arms when Democrats rammed through the Health care bill without any compromise, this is really no different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Jay Dubbs says:

    This is a phyrric victory for Walker and the WI GOP. The way they have handled this assures that the next two election cycles will be all about collective bargaining rights, which the WI public now has very firm opinions about. The first act of the next Democratic Governor will be to restore those rights. In the meantime the WI GOP will have to fight against a very motivated opposition in the recall elections and as 2010 should have taught them, a motivated opposition can be very dangerous. It is hard to imagine how this could have been handled worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  25. Murray says:

    @James
    Thanks for the details of the bill’s history. I suspected something like that, but I freely admit I lost track. This story is such a mess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. rodney dill says:

    Sent it here: http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/26821
    You can too.

    Thanks EddieInCA, I grew up in Wisconsin, but I haven’t lived there for 20+ years. I wouldn’t want to meddle in their democratic process.
    My bank info appears to be broken… let’s use yours. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  27. jwest says:

    Muffler,

    “Last we looked the education system in WI was working quite well”

    You have highlighted the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives. On the right, we don’t believe 9% of Milwaukee minority 4th graders being able to read at grade level is “working quite well”.

    Liberals accept this level of achievement because they believe that due to genetics and environment, teaching even 9% of black kids is a real accomplishment. As caring individuals, these same liberals will fight for social welfare programs and affirmative action so that illiterate African Americans aren’t penalized for not being able to read.

    Conservatives look to multiple examples of private and charter schools in a number of inner-city situations teaching kids with impressive results, and we want the programs duplicated wherever needed.

    Wisconsin children awoke to a new era of hope for a better life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  28. Derrick says:

    Sent it here: http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/26821

    You can too.

    And for that Nigerian inheritance, sure. Just send me all your banking info: Routing Number, Account Number, Password, and I’ll make certain that money is deposited into your account.

    I’m in a similar camp, in that other than Obama I’ve never contributed politically to anything and I’ve already contributed 3x to the Wisconsin Dems. Republicans have overreached here, and my guess is that some of those blue collar whites that have left the Democratic party are now starting to re-think that position. It’s going to be hard to defend a party that wants your middle-class family to sacrifice, but can’t wait to reward the rich with more tax breaks and power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  29. Jay Dubbs says:

    Jwest is apparently the last person in America that believes that this has anything to do with anything other than union busting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  30. john personna says:

    Jay, there seems an unbridgeable divide between those who can distinguish between public employee unions and the private kind.

    To recap, the private kind do not fund the campaigns of their bosses. They provide a balance, staffing one side (but not both sides) of the bargaining table.

    Sam probably over-spoke, but his idea that public employee unions are a major funder of political campaigns is pretty scary. That is about acquiring both sides of the bargaining table.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  31. john personna says:

    (When public employees elect their own leaders it is a “positive feedback loop.”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  32. Rob in CT says:

    Ok, then. Elections have consequences. Fine by me. That said, this makes it very, very clear that this was about busting the unions – not the current/looming budget shortfalls. It’s about resetting the playing field in the future.

    I don’t think this was really about “defunding” the Dems. I think it was about union busting – something that has been popular on the Right for, well, pretty much since unions have existed – and any political benefits to the GOP are gravy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, speaking of feedback loops, I’d sure like somebody to have a look at lobbying & campaign donations by firms that do contract work for the government funding.

    Isn’t that the same thing? If we all agree that it’s bad if you can “buy” the guy in a position to negotiate your salary or buy your fighter jets, then shouldn’t action be taken on both fronts?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Abdul Khan says:

    This is what they were elected to do, however, in my view what makes this pandering is the exemption of firefighters and police. Of course, these groups are overwhelmingly conservative. If unions are so bad why were those left exempt?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  35. anjin-san says:

    > I suggest they shut down the state government. But a strike isn’t a legislative shutdown and they’ll be no back pay restored, no benefit contributions and no assurances they won’t be fired.

    Good call JKB. Americans need to be taught a lesson. Screw with the government, and you will pay dearly…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  36. anjin-san says:

    @ EddieInCA

    Thanks for the ActBlue link. I will send some $$$ and spread it around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  37. Jay Dubbs says:

    John,

    Pretty sure that your side of the argument has lost in WI. Everything that was done yesterday will be undone by 2015, if not sooner. The political cost for the WI GOP will be felt for years. They have actually made the public unions stronger and more sympathetic. Congrats!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. brutallyfrank says:

    MOB Rule in Wisconsin

    Shows what happens when people vote for representatives out of emotion created by abstract political organizations with lots of cash and no conscience.

    Wisconsin was the first state to be affected by our really bad Supreme Court and their Citizens United decision.

    Largely under-educated citizens who did a very limited amount of research voted for their elected officials based upon dubious moral concerns such as religion — and were essentially duped into believing their new governor and political leaders were going to take care of Wisconsin like good stewards. The were duped by the “fiscal conservative” republican ruse.

    For starters, Governor Walker is a college flunky and was really a poor county executive who eliminated jobs while at the same time raising costs to the taxpayer by some 25% or more by the time he left. As a governor, he first paid back his largest campaign donors by giving them a tax cut — the traditional republican payback. Then after increasing the budget gap, he put the responsibility for balancing the budget on the teacher’s union and other public servants (except the firemen and policemen – who are physically intimidating to him).

    The publc service unions immediately agreed to his fiscal demands, but out of self-respect were definitely no intimidated by he and his republican cronies in the senate.

    What is so striking to me about all this is the part of the legislation that was passed that allows the governor to sell state assets without any bidding process. That’s right, he and his republican cronies passed a measure to allow themselves to sell off power plants without on a no-bid basis.

    Doesn’t all this sound a bit like authoritarian rule?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Herb says:

    I’m curious to see how this plays out long term. Not politically in the next election, but as actual policy. If it does little to soothe budget woes and doesn’t result in a more “efficient and responsive” state government, then it seems we’ll have to admit it’s a failure. Even if Scott Walker gets re-elected and the Republicans win permanent majorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. steve says:

    I am surprised they did not do this sooner. I assume they thought they had a mandate and were surprised at the strength of the opposition. I guess the next election will tell if this was a good idea.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  41. john personna says:

    @Jay, I’d say until state budgets are balanced, my argument is in play.

    Watch Bill Gates’ presentation at TED. It’s light weight, but on target.

    I am writing from California, the state used as his example. It would be another thing entirely if you were offering me both a political win and a long-term budgetary solution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  42. john personna says:

    BTW, if you want a good pro-worker story this the kind of thing you should be going with;

    The security chief of Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine was arrested Monday and charged with obstructing the investigation into an explosion last year that killed 29 miners, the first criminal charges stemming from the worst U.S. mining disaster in 40 years.

    Not that the Democratic party needs contributions from public employee unions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  43. JKB says:

    Good call JKB. Americans need to be taught a lesson. Screw with the government, and you will pay dearly…

    Anjin – This is government as the employer. These public union employees have their pay and benefits tied up with their employer. Go on strike lose all that for the duration. You really think they can get their minions in the legislature to force through a bill to pay them for going on strike? If they may not lawfully strike, then firing them for their criminal action is completely understandable.

    This is not screw with the government, this screw with your employer, you need to be prepared to fend for yourself until it is settled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  44. Axel Edgren says:

    Revenge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  45. jwest says:

    It’s apparent by the comments that most liberals don’t realize just how severe a defeat they just suffered. On the other end of the spectrum, if democrats had passed the union’s wet dream of Card Check, it would have been devastating to republicans.

    But, this is America and the good guys won.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  46. [...] Wisconsin Passes Anti-Collective Bargaining Bill (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

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  47. JKB says:

    Well, the latest from Wisconsin seems that the mob has turned to interfere with the operation of government, which is a criminal act, in that they have used passive force to prevent Republican legislators from reaching their offices and the Assembly chamber. They have done this with the collusion of Democrat officials that unlocked doors for the mob.

    All while shouting “This is democracy.” Obviously products of the union employee public school system for only they could be this ignorant of democracy and the rule of law. Well, except for some Harvard graduates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  48. wr says:

    jwest — Your concern for the little minority children is truly touching. I would be even more convinced had you not recently argued that African-Americans would be much better off as slaves under the benevolent control of their white owners, so they could not give in to their baser instincts.

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  49. jwest says:

    Wr,

    Why is it that liberals always resort to crying “racist” whenever they are losing?

    Look, I know you’re not a bad person. You’re terrified because things are changing and progress upsets you. You realize that if eliminating the barriers the union established to quality education results in minority children learning at much higher rates, you will have to accept responsibility for generations of illiteracy and poverty.

    You’re scared and lashing out at the first conservative who happens by, which luckily was me. Lucky in the sense that I don’t take your insults personally, because I understand and sympathize with the pain you feel being a liberal.

    Go ahead and let it all out. You’ll feel better.

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  50. Dustin says:

    JKB, your report of the latest in Madison is only half accurate.

    A group of protestors left over from last night tried to keep the assembly chamber blocked. They were let in last night by the police and the DOA, not by Democrat officials. This morning the capitol was locked to all (protestors, state legislators, press) by the police. The were removed without arrests by state troopers in the past couple of hours. Currently Assembly Democrats are in the assembly chamber, and the Republicans have not arrived.

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  51. wr says:

    Um, no, Jwest. I’m not terrified. I’m actually more confident about the future than I have been since the Republicans were swept away by the morons of the tea party, because it’s now apparent to everyone who isn’t either a billionaire or brain-dead exactly what the right wing agenda is — destroy the middle class.

    As for crying racist, I reserve that for people who argue that slave owners were benevolent patrons who were only enslaving other human beings for their own good.

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  52. markm says:

    (‘advance collective bargaining changes vs. ‘strip nearly all collective bargaining rights’).

    Oddly, the most even handed article i’ve seen on the matter is from the NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/us/11wisconsin.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    The bill makes significant changes to most public-sector union rules, limiting collective bargaining to matters of wages and limiting raises to changes in the Consumer Price Index unless the public approves higher raises in a referendum. It requires most unions to hold votes annually to determine whether most workers still wish to be members. And it ends the state’s collection of union dues from paychecks.

    Doesn’t seem so unreasonable does it?.

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  53. john personna says:

    I don’t know markm, how will they support their political candidates without state’s collection collection of union dues?

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  54. wr says:

    Require certification votes every year? How much of the unions’ time and resources will that suck up? It’s strictly a punitive measure. If you don’t think so, then explain why Walker won’t put himself up for reelection every year.

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  55. markm says:

    how will they support their political candidates without state’s collection collection of union dues?

    I guess they’ll hafta go old school like the rest of us.

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  56. It is ridiculous to imagine that passing this bill as soon as the Fleebaggers skipped town would have been any more accepted by the denizens of Ballon Juice or the progrssive left than it is now. I can only imagine the cries of a coup d’etat would have been even louder had the unions and their sympathizers not been given the time to put on their dog and pony show.

    So many threads here want us to be more like Europe. Except when it comes to things like mandatory collection of union dues, I guess.

    I didn’t notice but are the protestors shutting down the capitol and threatening legislators wearing their brown shirts or their black shirts today?

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  57. jwest says:

    Let’s just hope that now that the law has been passed, things will settle down and people will go home.

    Between the democrats and union thugs who have already demonstrated a propensity for violence, it’s just a matter of time before someone gets hurt. Liberals calling for “blood in the streets” transcend the bounds of decency.

    Why can’t people use the example of the Tea Party to learn how to organize and protest peacefully without threats, intimidation and property damage?

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  58. ponce says:

    Koch’s Kapos had no choice than to complete their assault on their fellow working class Wisconsin resident.

    Republicans who start to believe their own b.s. always remind of Tony Montana when he started snorting his product.

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  59. Bednarz says:

    I’m hoping someone here can help me out with some actual information, of course I’ll be happy to share my opinion as well!

    I’d really like to know exactly what the unions have lost. I’ve seen that the bill limits pay increases to the Consumer Price Index. Frankly, I’d be incensed if I found out that public employee wage increases were ahead of inflation. It seems completely reasonable that union members vote annually on the continuation of the union. It also seems reasonable that unions absorb the expense of collecting union dues…really, if people want to be members of the union collections shouldn’t be a problem.

    However, these are the only things I have seen outlined in the news articles I’ve found online…so, what are the injustices?

    For the opinion side of this post: It should be considered a felony for an elected official to abandon his or her post. I only say “felony” because betrayal is actually treason, but that’s punishable by death. Seriously, running away from a vote you’re going to lose is childish at best. Can you imagine if governments actually tried to function this way?

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  60. wr says:

    jwest — You mean the teachers in the streets should start carrying guns and calling for second amendment remedies?

    And if you think things are going to settle down now, you’re crazy. The Republicans have just stolen the rights of hundreds of thousands of citizens. You think they’re just going to go home and say “oh, well, I never really cared about those rights anyway?”

    Idiot teabaggers marched in the streets because the Democrats tried to take away their rights to die because they didn’t have health insurance. You think these people are going to quit when they’ve just been disenfranchised?

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  61. John Cole says:

    Everyone was up in arms when Democrats rammed through the Health care bill without any compromise, this is really no different.

    LOLWUT?

    You mean the healthcare bill that was basically the Republican plan from the Heritage foundation for the last two decades that took a year and half of negotiation with the Democrats repeatedly negotiating in good faith with Republicans, enacting hundreds of Republican amendments to the point that the left wing of the spectrum spent the last six months of the debate trying to defeat the bill?

    Do you mean that bill? You folks really do make your own reality, don’t you?

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  62. [...] James Joyner noted earlier today, the Wisconsin Republicans passed a modified version of Governor Scott [...]

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  63. Barb Hartwell says:

    Say he gets everything he wants, what then. Does he believe things will be good now. He`ll have less revenue. People will not stand for this many will flee the sate. If he thinks he will be elected to any office after this he`s crazy. We fight dictators in other countries why would we not fight them here.

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  64. jwest says:

    In the face of unambiguous death threats, conservative legislators continue to fight for the benefit of children against liberal mobs.

    http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/117732923.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

    Walker and these brave elected leaders are nothing short of heroes.

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  65. Neil Hudelson says:

    wr,

    What are you talking about with your references to jwest supporting slavery? I’m just curious. It wouldn’t shock me if he did, but a link to the relevant conversation would be helpful.

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  66. wr says:

    In a thread about those who still revere the Confederacy, he explained that most slave owners were really just looking out for the interests of those poor colored folks who weren’t smart enough to make it on their own, and that it really was a benevolent institution. In a further message, he went on to say that while slave owners acted out of the kindness of their hearts towards African Americans, liberals really hate them and are trying to destroy them with welfare and public education. It was about the most vile set of messages I’d ever seen anywhere, and they showed me his real mindset.

    I don’t have a link, by the way. To me, all this stuff is ephemeral and should stay that way. I’m always astonished at those who can dig through archives of someone else’s blog and dig up a set of posts from the distant past. I’m more of a hit and run kind of guy…

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  67. Drew says:

    “This isn’t about “hard decisions” or “shared sacrifice” or any of the other euphemisms conservatives employ when they’re talking about shifting the fiscal burden from rich people to working people.”

    Son of a gun. I didn’t know rich people didn’t work. And I didn’t know the everyday taxpayer in Wisconsin was “rich” compared with public sector workers. Son of a gun.

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  68. Barry says:

    James Joyner: “Oh, nonsense. They were overwhelmingly elected in November and prevented from acting only by bad faith on the part of the Democratic minority. And the Democrats have the ability to either try to force Republicans out via the recall process or rally back to a majority in 2012 and undo this legislation.”

    Sorry, but nobody on the right gets to claim that. The 2008 elections were overwhelming, but the GOP had no problems ignoring that. As for ‘bad faith’, is there anything to say that quorum-breaking is any less legitimate than record rates of fillibustering?

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  69. Grayson Sewell says:

    Scott Walker is not a hero. He is busting public workers unions so that the major contributer to the democtaric party is dissolved, which stacks all elections from now on in the republican’s favor. [Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.] He is getting rid of their barganing RIGHTS and on top of that in his budget he is cutting $500-600 per student in the Wisconsin school system. This will come out of teachers salaries, and schools will be forced to cut programs that they offer which means mass lay offs. The average teacher is making 51K, I know that FOX News thinks thats rich but it isn’t at all. [Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.]

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  70. Fog says:

    “I didn’t know rich people didn’t work.”
    Not all of them. Some of them inherited their wealth, and only “work.” But if it’ll make you feel better, we can have an inheritance tax to eliminate this unearned wealth. That way, we’ll know that everyone has only as much as they legitimately deserve.
    Or just go back to the marginal tax rates we had when that socialist bastard Reagan left office.

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  71. jwest says:

    Neil,

    Apparently wr was too obtuse to realize I was making a comparison between plantation owners and liberals on a previous thread.

    The gist of it was that while cruel northerners made free blacks fend for themselves, slaveholders provided cradle to grave social programs like healthcare, food, clothing, shelter, education and spiritual guidance. Although slaves gave up their freedom in exchange for all the benefits of the plantation, in the eyes of liberals they were far better off.

    As with liberals today, the slaveholders didn’t believe themselves to be evil. They actually believed they were extending a kindness and doing a moral good by saving these people from a life of violent savagery and godlessness.

    This argument extends to the actions in Wisconsin where people supporting teachers unions don’t think of themselves as evil, but their actions attempt to allow the continuation of practices that leave generations of minorities ignorant and doomed to poverty.

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  72. Vast Variety says:

    John, “Jay, there seems an unbridgeable divide between those who can distinguish between public employee unions and the private kind.

    To recap, the private kind do not fund the campaigns of their bosses. They provide a balance, staffing one side (but not both sides) of the bargaining table.”

    While the Unions may be funding the Democrats, Many CEO’s of private companies are defiantly funding the Republicans, so you still have a balance.

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  73. Bednarz says:

    Really? Nobody is going to back up the union side and answer my question? Trying to keep an open mind here, but it’s looking like the union side is going to concede by abstaining from the conversation.

    Oh and Grayson…no group should be in a position to exert significant influence over the selection of its bargaining opposition…particularly when it’s tax dollars that are being spent. There should be laws against public unions making campaign contributions, but since this bill doesn’t address that issue you are clearly talking out of your ass.

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  74. jwest says:

    Vast Variety,

    Those same union members still have the opportunity to give money to democrats, however now it will be their choice.

    If corporations ever start automatically deducting a portion of their worker’s pay and then contribute that to republicans, you might have a point.

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  75. Grayson Sewell says:

    @jwest

    You’re really comparing the Fab 14 and other supporters of the public workers to slave masters. These are RIGHTS that Wisconsinites have faught for for 50 years. We are not suppressing another race, we are SUPPORTING our friends, neighbors and family members. If you really think that we are being evil, I feel sorry because you’ve been brainwashed to the point that even an independant like myself cannot talk any sense into you.

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  76. rodney dill says:

    I don’t have a link, by the way. To me, all this stuff is ephemeral and should stay that way. I’m always astonished at those who can dig through archives of someone else’s blog and dig up a set of posts from the distant past. I’m more of a hit and run kind of guy…

    It certainly makes it easier to make accusations if your sources can’t be fact checked.

    @Neil Hudelson, I typed ‘confederacy jwest outsidethebeltway wr’ into Google and I suspect jwest comments in question are like in this post.

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/inauguration-of-jefferson-davis-to-be-re-enacted-at-alabama-state-capitol/

    The context is not what I would’ve been lead to believe based on wr’s comments in this post. I read in the post that jwest was explaining the slaves owner’s belief system at that time, not necessarily his own belief system. Still not a good case to try and make if your trying to avoid the appearance of racism.

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  77. john personna says:

    @Vast – “While the Unions may be funding the Democrats, Many CEO’s of private companies are defiantly funding the Republicans, so you still have a balance.”

    Actually that’s not balance. It’s a replication of the same problem.

    It is really bad when aerospace contractors contribute to congressmen who support new aircraft.

    They are both feeding at the same trough and not opposing each other at all. In fact, you might find some unions that sign on to support those aircraft deals.

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  78. Grayson Sewell says:

    @ Bednarz

    If public workers union’s cannot support a party, then large coorperations suld not be allowed to either. I’m just saying that if you eliminate the group that supports one party you help yourself emensly and that is what the republicans are doing.

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  79. Grayson Sewell says:

    If you look at the top ten funders of this past election 7 were large coorperations and CEO’s while 3 were public workers union’s (and they were towards the bottom). These three unions will be no more in Wisconsin when this bill passes.

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  80. jwest says:

    Grayson,

    Plantation owners fought for their right to hold slaves for over a hundred years. They didn’t believe they were suppressing another race, they thought they were helping to bring savages into civilized society.

    They didn’t wake up every morning thinking how evil they were, just as liberals in Wisconsin don’t believe their actions are hurting minority children. In fact, liberals actually believe they are trying to help children. As with slavery, some day the left will be able to look back and see the harm they’ve caused.

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  81. Axel Edgren says:

    Fact: A majority of libertarians and a vast majority of right-wingers/conservatives will never care about corporate involvement and power-grabbing in politics as much as they care about union involvement and power-grabbing.

    So why take their complains about unions seriously, when they will never try to curb corporate power along with union power? The money the unions don’t grab will just be grabbed by corporations while the glibertarians and the “moderates” complain about green jobs or the lack of gas drilling. If the tax-payers are going to get bled it might as well be by their socio-economic peers.

    I’d like to see one union-scolding tie-wearing naif actually take Walker to task when he gives his financial backers no-bid contracts and tailored legislation to show his gratitude.

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  82. The Q says:

    Its amazing that posters criticizing union contributions which are then repaid by favorable legislation cannot fathom that this might actually be happening when the WI governor takes a call and then spends 40 minutes talking to who he thought was one of his main contributors on how best to destroy the public unions in WI.

    So, in the twisted, bizarro world of you right wing loons, unions bribing public officials = BAD, spoiled billionaire bribing governor = GOOD.

    You know, I believe if some of you dolts were alive in 1862, that you would side with Johnny Reb against that dictatorial scoundrel Lincoln. Or in 1941, blame FDR for “forcing” Japan to attack us.

    And we wonder why we have fallen so far in the last 30 years. Perhaps its the destruction of the New Deal which doubled wages of the middle class from 48-73, and only to be replaced by the idiotic Laffer-Reagan foolishness which will enable that same worker to double his wage in the next quarter millennium (that’s 250 years for you aholes out there).

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  83. jwest says:

    Axel,

    “I’d like to see one union-scolding tie-wearing naif actually take Walker to task when he gives his financial backers no-bid contracts…”

    I would like to think I would take him to task, but nah… I’ll be too busy smoking a big cigar and sipping brandy while laughing at the poor people.

    (just to reinforce your caricature of republicans)

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  84. wr says:

    Rodney — jwest was not only saying that this was what slaveholders belileved, but that we have no right to judge their actions because they thought they were doing good. All that matters is intentions, as long as you’re dealing with people who buy and sell other human beings.

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  85. Axel Edgren says:

    “I would like to think I would take him to task, but nah… I’ll be too busy smoking a big cigar and sipping brandy while laughing at the poor people.”

    I ain’t caricaturing one bit.

    Why are you not demanding that Walker passes laws that will limit corporate involvement in WI politics at the detriment of taxpayers?

    Because you are exactly what I say you are. And I say you are a dupe who amounts to a poor citizen and a hypocrite. You are being wielded as a tool. I can’t parse or qualify here, because what you say does not allow for anything else.

    You want unions crippled because they donate to the wrong people and you don’t want Koch et al. kept from politics because they finance politicians you like. I know you and the measure of you as well as I know an Ayn Rand character. You can’t surprise me and you can’t manage to budge my take on your worth. You cannot improve or be more than what I say you are.

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  86. jwest says:

    Axel,

    I’d like to try to convince you what a good person I am, but I’m already late to evict an old widow from her hovel. We conservative like to do that while there is still snow on the ground – the sight of it makes the other tenants pay up on time.

    After that, I’ll swing by the orphanage and turn the heat down so they’re not wasting my taxpayer dollars.

    Then it’s back home to wax my mustache and have the servants press my black cape for another hard day at the office.

    We’ll talk later… I think we’re a lot alike.

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  87. Axel Edgren says:

    No no no. Don’t try your hand at wit. It’s like watching a dog trying to ride a bike – unnatural and not amusing.

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  88. The Q says:

    Jwest,

    Ok, lets test your caricature theory.

    Name me ONE..ONE program you aholes on the right have promoted in the last 30 years which directly benefits the poor and the middle, without simultaneously doling out huge benefits to the wealthy.

    Not a joint resolution like “No kids left behind”, or tax cuts to everyone (which disproportionately benefited the wealthy)…I am talking about one, just one repug sponsored bill which passed that was targeted specifically for the middle and lower classes.

    You might be able to do this, but it will take a monumental stretching of your closed mind. And no fair googling it you dolt.

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  89. Bednarz says:

    Okay, it is now clear that nobody on here who wants to offer support to the unions can even entertain the fantasy that they can effectively do so. Apparently you are only capable of parroting some “icon” you hold dear who says that this is an “attack on the common man” blah blah blah.

    So, since nobody can describe the (perceived) injustice that’s been done to union members, I’d like to throw in my two cents on union contributions vs. big business contributions:

    Why attack one and not the other? Honestly, they’re both garbage, both create a conflict of interest and both should be banned. However, union support of political parties and candidates is actually FAR MORE onerous than corporate funding.

    Why?

    Because the union members who dutifully make their monthly contribution expect (rightfully so) that their money be spent directly to their benefit. Pension fund, strike fund, you-name-the-fund fund. It’s safe to assume that at least 25% (probably closer to 40%) of your membership does NOT agree with any single political contribution and yet, off the money goes to support a bill or candidate not of their choosing. THAT is wrong.

    When big business/fat cats do it, they’re parting with profits and/or personal wealth that has not been pledged to any other purpose.

    Just to be clear, both are conflicting but only one is tantamount to stealing.

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  90. The Q says:

    Bednarz,

    The reason no one is responding to your little bitch squeling (ok, we got it, how many more times are you gonna post the same remark over and over again) is because of this inane remark from above:

    “However, union support of political parties and candidates is actually FAR MORE onerous than corporate funding.

    This is ludicrous BS.

    So, unions caused Wall Street to implode and cost the world economy some $14 trillion in damage? Perhaps, (and I will go out on a logical limb here) it was because the private corporations could lobby your repub friends in congress to lay off the “regulatin”.

    Really Bednards, do you really think in your small mind that unions have caused FAR MORE damage than that when WI is talking about a relatively paltry $150 million deficit?

    Its plainly outrageously stupid comments by right wing loons that make thinking men want to vomit.

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  91. The Q says:

    Hey JWEST,

    I am still waiting for your answer. I guess it does take an hour of head scratching for a repug to figure out how they have singularly helped the poor and middle class exclusively.

    I guess you are too busy waxing your mustache and kicking out your grandma from the attic.

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  92. The Q says:

    P.S. Bednarz,

    I guess you don’t own stock in a company do you?

    Technically, “profits” belong to the owner(s) of a company. By owning stock, that means I am a partial owner of that company.

    I may not like GE giving money to right wing groups and that is MY money since I own stock in it.

    So, by your definition, corporations are just as guilty as unions is disabusing their members of their “money”.

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  93. Bednarz says:

    Ooh! “little bitch squealing” such a refined retort.

    My original inquiry was for an explanation of the injuries this bill does to the Unions. Nobody has been willing to address this.

    My last post merely observed the fact that Unions ought not be spending the contributions of hard-working members on political leverage. Your retort was to change the change the subject away from Wisconsin unions and toward the national financial crisis.

    Of course, that’s a perfectly mediocre strategy for anybody with no real argument to present.

    So “Q” please enlighten me as to the harm being done to the unions by this bill. Also, please explain why it is perfectly acceptable for the contributions of union members to be put to political use, rather than a pension or health plan.

    Thanks in advance for staying on topic.

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  94. Bednarz says:

    Oh Q! I’m so impressed, you almost formed a cogent thought! Not to mention the fact that you seem to have held back your natural tendency to insult others…well done!

    Stock in a publicly traded company might almost form a parallel with Union Contributions…except for the level of choice that is involved.

    When my Certificate of Deposit starts sending cash to the local political party I’ll be pissed. If my Microsoft Stock takes a significant dip in the year that they donate a quarter-billion dollars to the _______ party, I will be upset.

    Otherwise, investing in a company is little better than the tables at Vegas, no promises are being made, no guarantees. An investment in a company is an investment in the assumption that the company will act in its own best interests and I will benefit as a partial owner of the company.

    That being said, I would invite you to actually read my earlier post. I do not believe that political contributions should be allowed from any entity that stands to benefit significantly from the outcome of an election.

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  95. Tess says:

    “It’s apparent by the comments that most liberals don’t realize just how severe a defeat they just suffered. On the other end of the spectrum, if democrats had passed the union’s wet dream of Card Check, it would have been devastating to republicans.”

    no, no. People realized just how bad it was after the midterm votes. And then they saw the original budget in Wis. (Among other things, the U. of Wis tuition will go up by double digits, and all the rest.) What was different was the response. People started organizing, began the recalls, ect.

    What is happening in terms of organization and sympathy for labor is new in my lifetime. I think Walker cannot be elected again in Wisconsin. WI is not Indiana, and frankly, Walker isn’t as smart politically as Daniels. I’m sure Walker doesn’t care — I think he wants to be the next Republican Vice Presidential candidate. I expect him to make a visit to Iowa in the next few months.

    The political energy has changed dramatically since the midterms as a direct result of Walker. Nationally we’ll see what happens, but the actions of the Republican governors in the rust belt might change the terms of the next Presidential election. Due to the unemployment levels, I would have said that a Republican president was almost certain to be elected. Now I’m not so sure.

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  96. rodney dill says:

    @wr, I certainly didn’t read as much into it as you did, but now that I listed the post people can got judge for themselves. You claimed jwest said:

    but that we have no right to judge their actions because they thought they were doing good.

    The closest I could find in the post was jwests statement

    To demonize people of that era based on today’s standards and sensibilities for actions they believed to be for the best seems a bit out of context.

    which really has a somewhat different meaning.
    You also stated that jwest was saying

    All that matters is intentions, as long as you’re dealing with people who buy and sell other human beings.

    I couldn’t find anything to support whether jwest actually believed that or not. you also said

    It was about the most vile set of messages I’d ever seen anywhere.

    I guess I would have to believe you’re pretty lucky if jwests comments in that post were about the most vile set of messages you’d ever seen.

    I didn’t

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  97. Robert Levine says:

    OK; here’s how the bill hurts unions and their members.

    The bill limits collective bargaining to the subject of wages only, and then in such a way that no real increase in wages can be bargained without a referendum.

    More important, being able to bargain only on the subject of wages means that the employer can claw back any amount desired in the form of benefit reductions or additional reductions in the employee’s pay for existing benefits. There’s a reason unions bargain for “compensation” and not just wages. It’s as if one could sign a contract to buy a car and then have the dealer legally remove the steering wheel, tires, and engine and offer to sell them back to you – at a price that the dealer set and the buyer couldn’t negotiate. It’s hard to see that as a “negotiation.”

    And then there’s no bargaining on work rules or job security. The proposal does require jurisdictions to have civil service systems (although many don’t and will have to spend some real money instituting them). But civil service protections are pretty weak tea; often the final arbiter is essentially the employer. It’s like suing someone and finding out that they’re also the judge.

    The requirements that unions re-certify every year – which, by the way, would be unique to American unions, to the best of my knowledge – is simply undemocratic, as is the requirement that re-certification needs a majority of all those who could vote, rather than those voting. There’s already a procedure to de-certify unions, and it’s done through a democratic vote. If we were talking about any entity other than unions, this would be seen as a gross overreach of governmental power.

    Lastly, the legislation doesn’t just remove the dues check-off; it makes Wisconsin a right-to-work state for public sector unions. I have no problem with the idea that people shouldn’t be obligated to belong to a union if they don’t want to; but unions should be free not to represent such people. Under US labor law, unions are required to assume the obligation of “exclusive representation” for all those covered by the agreements, members and non-members alike. So there’s a major free-rider problem.

    Fundamentally what’s at stake is a principle, very similar to that of free association. What is wrong, morally, with collective bargaining? And, if it’s moral in the private sector for workers to organize and bargain collectively, why is the government different? Why should government workers be allowed to donate to political candidates and vote for them, but not organize to negotiate with elected officials?

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  98. matt says:

    Rodney : that has to be one of the weakest excuses I’ve ever read. Millions of people in that time period already KNEW it was wrong and said as such. I don’t need the reflection of history to see that civil rights belong to gays blacks greens whatever. You’re just excusing obvious racist and demeaning behavior to make you feel better about your heritage…

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  99. mo says:

    @jwest

    The Republicans are the ones who pushed through the “No Child Left Behind” legislation which FORCED educators to pass EVERY student regardless of how little they worked or even attended. Do not try to blame this failure on the teachers. We obviously have no say about anything.

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  100. jay says:

    “if it’s moral in the private sector for workers to organize and bargain collectively, why is the government different?”

    Because the government is a monopoly enforced at the point of a gun.

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  101. anjin-san says:

    > point of a gun.

    All these poor conservatives. living their lives with all these gun pointed at them. All we need now is a homily about “the sanction of the victim”…

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  102. anjin-san says:

    > My last post merely observed the fact that Unions ought not be spending the contributions of hard-working members on political leverage.

    Of course not. The little people don’t need political leverage. They need to learn how to behave in tea party America. If they have to approach Gov. Walker, they damn well better do it with cap in hand and eyes lowered.

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  103. rodney dill says:

    @matt, You’ll have to let me know what you think I’m excusing and why its lame. Wr made statements that jwest had made statements that couldn’t be justified from jwest’s statements. I’m not claiming that anything about slavery wasn’t wrong, but on reading jwests statements he also states.

    Naturally, slavery was wrong.

    he appeared to be stating that the slave owners felt justified in what they were doing. If you think he said they were justified, you’ll have to show me where. I missed it.

    Now since jwest was somewhat serving as an apologist on a post about celebrating the Confederacy you might conclude he’s a racist. You may or may not be right, you just can’t necessarily derive that from his statements. I think wr read far too much into jwests comments, based on the post in question.

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  104. JKB says:

    Robert Levine, you should whine a little louder the thousands of federal government workers who are not permitted to bargain over wages or benefits, operate in a right-to-work environment, yet do very well compensation-wise as well as for work rules.

    Well, labor unions are decidedly undemocratic. In fact, they are the only legally permitted monopolies that are allowed to set prices through negotiations rather than by appeal to a government public utility commission. If, in locals where private citizens retain their rights of free association, also known as right-to-work states, unions are required to represent all members of the bargaining unit as a condition of having exclusive representation of said unit. If the union were to not to represent some members of the unit, they could hardly claim to be exclusive. Not to mention, if the excluded employee were, say a star employee, they may negotiate a better deal for themselves thus making the “exclusive” bargaining representation not look so good for the other employees.

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  105. matt says:

    Rodney : I guess it we just see Jwest’s comments differently. I see Jwest’s comments as a weak attempt at defending the reasoning of slave owners. There’s no valid justification for what they did and attempting to defend such an action is just beyond the realm to me…

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  106. matt says:

    JKB : Please tell me who I file with to plea deal my cable costs?

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  107. Robert Levine says:

    I’m happy that those who work for the Federal government have a better employer than the state of Wisconsin is turning out to be. That hardly proves anything about the value of public-sector unionism.

    Labor unions are among the most regulated of democracies. The governmental requirements about union elections are such that no other group in the US would tolerate them.

    And I’m always amazed that conservatives believe that unions are “monopolies.” I know what a monopoly is; I pay utility bills to several. I also know that there is no legal requirement for any employer (at least in the private sector: public sector rules vary by state) to retain the services of unionized workers past the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement.

    A union is no more a monopoly than is a collection of owners who collectively own a business. Funny that no one seems to have a problem with them contributing to politicians and negotiating with the government.

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  108. Bednarz says:

    THANK YOU Robert Levine for mostly satisfying my request. It is very much appreciated.

    Now that you’ve explained that collective bargaining is restricted to wages, can you outline the items that are now off the table?

    As far as the new limits on those wages…capped by the Consumer Price Index…do you really find that to be unfair? Traditionally, a given position has a salary range attached to it and where the worker falls within that range is based on performance and experience. Beyond that, it’s a “cost of living adjustment” or a promotion to a position of higher responsibility that results in greater pay.

    Even the cost of living adjustment is specious, when you consider the fact that nobody expects to take a pay cut when the price of gas goes down. Not to mention the fact that, when prices go up, they generally go up for everyone…they don’t go up for workers and down for the employers making it easier to pay higher wages.

    Voting to re-certify the union. Yearly voting might be excessive, but isn’t it actually the opposite of undemocratic? Maybe I’m missing your point but in general “Voting” on things is a pretty honest (and democratic) way of doing business. I don’t know what the process is to “de-certify” a union, but I suspect that it involves someone sticking their neck out and hoping for the best. De-certification sounds like impeaching an elected official, rather than just voting your mind next time around…granted this amounts to eliminating the post, rather than changing who holds it. Generally though, if a union is absolutely doing right by its members, it absolutely should not fear a vote to re-certify…right?

    The “Free Rider” problem. An interesting issue that very likely bears some serious attention. I know a woman who held a non-union position that was identical to union positions at her workplace. Despite the fact that she did not enjoy any of the benefits of Union Representation, she was absolutely not allowed to enjoy the benefits of being non-union. Full Union dues were deducted from her paycheck, she had the option of contributing them to the union or to the charity of her choice.

    A case like this is simply absurd. The level of her salary may have been attributable to the involvement of the union, but deducting full dues for no representation cannot be justified by any reasonable individual. I am willing to agree that a small number of workers manage to benefit from union involvement without membership, but their gain is an unsought by-product and they should probably not be forced to pay, at least not at the full price.

    I really am curious about the bargaining items that are no longer allowed. I know that in the state of Oregon, if you were a member of a public employees union leaving the workforce in the late 80’s or early 90’s, your retirement benefit was equal to your salary and you could expect an annual cost of living adjustment. Your contribution to the plan was a very kind nothing. In essence, the state could lose productivity to retirees but could only lose employees to death, meanwhile having to hire new employees to replace the productivity of the retirees. That math really doesn’t work out very well.

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  109. Bednarz says:

    Oh and anjin-san,

    Let me applaud your laughable and pathetic approach of taking a snippet of my post, and addressing it out of context. Nicely done, you look like a small girl arguing with a Barbie over the appropriate color of panties.

    People “little” and big alike should endeavor to gain to political leverage however they see fit, if that is what they desire. After all, that is what politics are for.

    I’ll try to make this simple for you; Unions should not take the money of a liberal and give it to a conservative cause, particularly when that liberal expects it to be spent to his or her benefit.

    I realize that you’ll have a hard time processing this, don’t fret. Enjoy some more of those paint chips while you think it over…soon it will all be forgotten.

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  110. Robert Levine says:

    “Now that you’ve explained that collective bargaining is restricted to wages, can you outline the items that are now off the table?”

    Basically everything else: working conditions, job security (ie due process in discipline and termination), health and safety, and any form of non-wage benefits.

    “As far as the new limits on those wages…capped by the Consumer Price Index…do you really find that to be unfair?”

    Yes; what use are negotiations if can never produce real increases? That’s not to say that I think public sector employees always should get real increases; I don’t.

    More important is the fact that wages and benefits are essentially fungible. Getting a $5,000 raise is meaningless if your employer can unilaterally raise your health insurance premium by $10,000.

    “I don’t know what the process is to “de-certify” a union, but I suspect that it involves someone sticking their neck out and hoping for the best.”

    I’m not sure what the process is for public-sector unions. For unions covered by the National Labor Relations Act, it requires either an election, which is held after 30% of the workers sign a petition demanding one, or a petition signed by 50%, at which point the employer can withdraw recognition on its own. Does it require someone sticking their neck out? Depends on how you define that. But most democratic processes do involve taking a stand at some point.

    There are timelines regarding decertification; it can’t be done at any time. But the option exists at least every three years, if not more often.

    “ Generally though, if a union is absolutely doing right by its members, it absolutely should not fear a vote to re-certify…right?””

    Right. But that’s the beauty part of the new legislation: it’s essentially impossible for the union to really represent its workers if it can’t meaningfully negotiate. Why would people want to belong to a union that can’t do anything for them?

    “I know a woman who held a non-union position that was identical to union positions at her workplace. Despite the fact that she did not enjoy any of the benefits of Union Representation, she was absolutely not allowed to enjoy the benefits of being non-union. Full Union dues were deducted from her paycheck, she had the option of contributing them to the union or to the charity of her choice.”

    If she was required to pay union dues, she was covered under the union contract and did indeed “enjoy the benefits of union representation.” Unions are legally required to represent the interests of members and non-members alike, and can be sued if they fail to do so. Google “duty of fair representation” and you’ll find out lots more. The only thing non-members lose is the right to participate in union governance and whatever obligations ensue therein.

    She also had the option of not paying that portion of her dues that went to political activities. It’s not hard to do; the National Right-to-Work Foundation is more than eager to help anyone with the process.

    “…your contribution to the plan was a very kind nothing. In essence, the state could lose productivity to retirees but could only lose employees to death, meanwhile having to hire new employees to replace the productivity of the retirees. That math really doesn’t work out very well.”

    Pension plans are problematic, especially when Wall St screws up the economy as badly as happened in 2008. Because the actual benefit is deferred, it’s far too easy for governments to “forget” to fully fund the benefits in an actuarially sound manner. My own belief is that unions have been suckered into accepting deferred benefits that, at least in some cases, aren’t ever going to be paid.

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  111. JKB says:

    RL, a monopoly is the exclusive power, or privilege of selling a commodity.

    The NLRA (as well as other laws) permits employees to join together and form unions, requires employers to recognize employee organizations and to “bargain in good faith.” The employer may not negotiate with other unions, employees individually or seek to discourage the formation of the union. Thus the union has the exclusive privilege of selling labor, a commodity the employer needs to conduct his business, to the employer.

    Please, explain how a labor union having the exclusive privilege of selling required labor to an employer is not a monopoly.

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  112. Robert Levine says:

    “Please, explain how a labor union having the exclusive privilege of selling required labor to an employer is not a monopoly.”

    At the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement, under the NLRA, any decent labor attorney can design a strategy that will end up either with the employer getting precisely the terms they want from their workers or forcing the union to strike – at which point the employer is free to hire anyone they please to fill the strikers’ jobs.

    Oh, and by the way – any decent labor lawyer can design a strategy that will prevent a new union from ever being able to reach a contract with the employer and thus lead to the union’s decertification.

    Doesn’t sound like a monopoly to me.

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  113. anjin-san says:

    > Nicely done, you look like a small girl arguing with a Barbie over the appropriate color of panties.

    Project much? You might want to play your cards a little closer to the vest.

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  114. anjin-san says:

    > I’ll try to make this simple for you; Unions should not take the money of a liberal and give it to a conservative cause, particularly when that liberal expects it to be spent to his or her benefit.

    I’ll try to make this simple for you. If you don’t like unions, don’t join one. Union members are grown ups, they don’t need right wing concern trolls telling them how to run their lives.

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  115. Bednarz says:

    Again, thank you Robert, for engaging in legitimate conversation, rather than simple rhetoric and crap-slinging.

    Many of your points are well made, I suppose we’ll disagree on the merits increasing the wage of an individual beyond the rate of inflation regardless of responsibilities and performance.

    As for: “working conditions, job security (ie due process in discipline and termination), health and safety”
    These are pedantic topics, all of which are quite thoroughly covered by labor laws. They were all very hot issues a century ago, nowadays not so much. Of course, if a union member feels violated in any of these areas, the union would clearly feel obliged to provide legal representation.

    Health Care? I can see how that might be considered an issue. Generally speaking, health care is a perk offered by employers to attract employees of the highest caliber. It’s also optional so, if you get a $5,000 raise but face a $10,000 bump in health care premiums, you’re free to opt out of the health care program and put $400/month toward an insurance plan of your choosing, along with whatever money you’re no longer paying into the existing system.

    Although to be honest, if I were a union employee I would rather the union put tens of millions of dollars a year into a healthcare package, rather than backing political candidates.

    De-certification: Please, don’t pretend that peer pressure just doesn’t exist. Real or imagined, the thought of walking around a union shop, asking people to sign a petition for de-certification is going to conjure up images of Jimmy Hoffa making people go missing. In reality, another beautiful thing about democracy is the fact that we get to vote our conscious in private, free from the scrutiny of others. Fear and intimidation should have no place in this country, particularly not within organizations sworn to represent individuals.

    I appreciate your input on the position of my lady friend…it is unfortunate that she was unaware of the benefits she seems to have been eligible for. If you know any high-ranking union officials, please do suggest an improvement in communication. (that sounds snarky, I know but it is meant in earnest).

    As for our Wall Street Meltdown…well, greed tends to beget the worst results. It’s a very complex issue obviously. If I were to point at a single inciting element it would be the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act by the Clinton administration. The act erected barriers between investment and depository banks…once removed, the investment banks were free to fund high-risk mortgages, essentially creating money with no real backing collateral.

    Of course, it’s rare that anything is as simple as a “single inciting element” and we’d probably be in trouble if the act were still in place…but removing it certainly didn’t help things.

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  116. Bednarz says:

    No, anjin-san I don’t project…you have the mind of a small and feeble child with no appreciable input. Everyone reading this page knows it, aside from yourself, of course.

    Before you go back to sucking on mercury thermometers, I’d like to point out that being part of a union is not always a choice, in fact it is regularly not a choice at all. Optional or not, there is no reasonable justification for a union to invest the contributions of it’s members in anything other than programs intended to directly benefit the members.

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  117. Robert Levine says:

    “As for: “working conditions, job security (ie due process in discipline and termination), health and safety” These are pedantic topics, all of which are quite thoroughly covered by labor laws. They were all very hot issues a century ago. ”

    They continue to be so today. From my experience, I would guess that most time in union-employer negotiations is spent on precisely these issues.

    “Generally speaking, health care is a perk offered by employers to attract employees of the highest caliber. It’s also optional so, if you get a $5,000 raise but face a $10,000 bump in health care premiums, you’re free to opt out of the health care program and put $400/month toward an insurance plan of your choosing, along with whatever money you’re no longer paying into the existing system.”

    Unless, like many people, you or a dependent has a pre-existing condition. Then you’re hosed. And generally the rates for non-group health insurance of comparable quality are ridiculously high.

    “De-certification: Please, don’t pretend that peer pressure just doesn’t exist. Real or imagined, the thought of walking around a union shop, asking people to sign a petition for de-certification is going to conjure up images of Jimmy Hoffa making people go missing.”

    Peer pressure does exist, and it’s far from a perfect system. The dynamic in practice, though, is that either very few people are actively dissatisfied with the union or most people are. In my workplace, and my industry, people only vote to decertify if they wish to switch unions, not to de-unionize. These days a union has to be pretty bad for it to look like a bad alternative to at-will employment.

    The problem with the new law is not the re-certification requirement considered in isolation, though – it’s that it has to happen every year (beginning next month, in fact) and requires a majority vote of all potential voters. Imagine a system like that for elections for public office; either we’d have a government that never had time for anything but campaigning or we’d never manage to elect anyone at all. If you think government is bad in principle, you might applaud that. But it’s not effective democracy.

    I’d happily trade required periodic re-certification, if it was done fairly, with making it easier for people to form unions in the first place – and no I’m not talking about card check.

    “If you know any high-ranking union officials, please do suggest an improvement in communication.”

    Good unions recognize that as an issue. Like all human endeavors, unions are subject to a bell curve, so there are a few unions which are great and a few which are truly lousy.

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  118. Bednarz says:

    Excellent!

    I fully agree that re-certification should NOT require a majority of potential voters, merely a majority of the voting populace unless, of course, your vote is a requirement of membership or abstaining constitutes a vote in favor of keeping the union.

    On health care, the term “Pre-Existing Condition” is a much maligned term that doesn’t actually carry the implication that most people assign to it. Pre-existing condition exclusions are designed to prevent individuals without health care coverage from attempting to obtain it once the need arises.

    Let’s say that you’ve never felt the need to pay the premiums because you’re a healthy fellow, then, you suddenly develop appendicitis. You’re not going to be able to dodge a $12,000 hospital bill by signing up for $120/month health plan that you’ll drop in two months.

    If, on the other hand, you have a daughter with leukemia and your union offers a better health care plan than your employer at a more attractive rate, you can confidently switch plans without worrying about her “pre-existing condition”.

    Again, I would strongly encourage union leadership (in general) to invest some of the considerable financial resources available to group health care plans, rather than backing political ambitions. If multiple unions were to form a health care collective, they could very likely negotiate a far better rate than any individual employer could. In return, by alleviating the employer of the burden of health care, the unions could legitimately negotiate for higher wages.

    win – win right?

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  119. rodney dill says:

    @matt, We may not even see the comments all the differently. You can easily infer that jwest has a racist bent or intent from his comments. The only reason I went and looked for the post was wr’s claim that this was the most vile set of messages he’d ever seen (responding to Neil Hudelson), then essentially to just trust what he’d said, ’cause he didn’t have the link. When I checked I found he’d grossly misstated jwest’s comments. jwest has made enough contraversial comments in this post and others to go after without blatantly making things up. If wr had said a statement like yours, along the lines of ‘I can’t fathom why jwest would defend the confederacy or the slave owner’ I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

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  120. JKB says:

    Robert Levine, I’m sorry but you are terribly confused about what a monopoly is.

    Oh, and if you know the name of any of these good labor lawyers who can willfully design strategies to purposely violate the NLRA, i.e., design schemes to not reach an agreement in direct violation of the “bargain in good faith” provision, and avoid a federally mediated mandatory agreement, then I’m sure Ford, the railroads, the shipping industry, etc. would be interested. I doubt GM or Chrysler would since they are government/labor controlled now. Why didn’t someone tell Wisconsin about these good labor lawyers, it appears they could have saved the governor a lot of heartache.

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  121. Axel Edgren says:

    If people don’t want unions to collect from them, then they don’t join a workforce if they know dues will be collected from them if they join.

    Are market dynamics not good enough anymore?

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  122. jwest says:

    Rodney,

    Thanks for the defense while I was away. Wr (and others) have a talent for distortion and for missing the overall point.

    As you have gleaned from my comments, the discussion on slavery centered on the belief that, in the context of the times, slaveholders didn’t think of themselves as evil. Because of their opinion that blacks were an inferior species that couldn’t master the intricacies of the modern world, they thought they were actually performing a moral service by feeding, clothing, housing and “caring” for slaves from birth to death.

    In a historical sense, a person would be hard-pressed to find an example of a great atrocity committed by a group of people who believed at the time they were doing evil. In fact, most every horrific act against humanity has been committed by people who thought they were doing what was necessary for the greater good.

    Some would say that it is impossible that those involved in these acts couldn’t help but know they were doing wrong, but that position flies in the face of human nature. Just as liberals today believe their approach to public schools in the inner city is a great good being directed by caring, well motivated individuals, years from now people will say they had to know they were condemning children to generations of ignorance and poverty.

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  123. Axel Edgren says:

    What is the alternative to public schools then? I am certainly not under any persuasion that public schools are ideal or for that matter very helpful.

    Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.

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  124. Robert Levine says:

    “Robert Levine, I’m sorry but you are terribly confused about what a monopoly is.”

    Odd; I studied econ at a really major university, and I do remember covering the subject.

    “Oh, and if you know the name of any of these good labor lawyers who can willfully design strategies to purposely violate the NLRA, i.e., design schemes to not reach an agreement in direct violation of the “bargain in good faith” provision, and avoid a federally mediated mandatory agreement, then I’m sure Ford, the railroads, the shipping industry, etc. would be interested.”

    There is no provision in the NLRA requiring “federally mediated mandatory agreements.” The only requirement is good-faith bargaining. If you knew anything about the process aside from what you read on blogs posted by people who know nothing about labor law, you’d also know that it’s actually quite easy to engage in what the NLRB would consider “good-faith bargaining” and still never reach an agreement even with the most pliant of unions.

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  125. Robert Levine says:

    “Again, I would strongly encourage union leadership (in general) to invest some of the considerable financial resources available to group health care plans, rather than backing political ambitions.”

    I’ve been part of a process to try to design such a plan (technically known as a Taft-Hartley multiemployer plan). I participate in such a pension plan, BTW. It’s much harder in the health care area, given the many complexities of both Taft-Hartley and state insurance laws. But some unions have done it successfully.

    Oddly enough, the one specific proposal floated by Walker prior to the election had to do with moving Wisconsin teachers from their union’s health care plan to the state plan, which he claimed was much cheaper. And he might well have been right. Health insurance is a truly weird market.

    I should note that unions spend money on politics for exactly the same reason as do companies; they hope to advance their interests and the interests of their members/owners. It’s not irrational nor even unwise. Whether or not it’s fundamentally corrupt is another question.

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  126. wr says:

    “As for: “working conditions, job security (ie due process in discipline and termination), health and safety”
    These are pedantic topics, all of which are quite thoroughly covered by labor laws.”

    This is the standard right-wing lie, but of course once you start looking at working in conditions in certain (non-unionized) industries you see how wrong it is — compare the death and injury statistics between union and non-union coal mines, or look at the horrible working conditions in chicken processing plants. All of which are made worse under a Republican administration like the last one that was openly hostile to OSHA. As for due process in termination, in a non-union business there is none.

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  127. wr says:

    Axel — jwest has made it clear time and again. The better alternative to public schools is the benevolent good will of the slaveowner. Because they mean well, even if they’re wrong.

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  128. jwest says:

    Axel,

    Before getting into the specifics of exactly how to fix the educational system, it would be beneficial to discuss the basic concept teaching.

    Let’s compare teaching to singing. As you may have noticed on shows like American Idol, there are no shortage of people who believe they can sing. Some of these people have dedicated their lives to music, have obtained degrees in the field and practiced endlessly, but alas, they simply lack the talent. It is not even acceptable that these singers can hit the notes and stay in time, if they don’t have the innate ability to transmit the essence of the song to the audience in a way that makes a connection, they simply will not be effective as a singer.

    Teaching is an art, as opposed to a science. Knowing the subject matter beyond a basic level for the age group someone is teaching has no bearing on having the ability to impart the required knowledge to the students. This takes talent. It takes having the empathy and insight to know when connections are being made. Some people have it, other do not.

    Take some time and think about this concept for awhile. If you come to accept it, you will immediately realize that the present system is incapable of achieving the goal of educating children. If you don’t accept it, no plan to implement change will make any sense to you.

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  129. anjin-san says:

    > If you come to accept it, you will immediately realize that the present system is incapable of achieving the goal of educating children.

    That would certainly explain a lot of the comments you make…

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  130. anjin-san says:

    > Bednarz

    Are you actually under the illusions your toothless snarks pack any punch, or that your right wing boilerplate is compelling? Surly there is an AOL chat room with your name on it…

    > there is no reasonable justification for a union to invest the contributions of it’s members in anything other than programs intended to directly benefit the members.

    Not your problem. If reform is needed within the union movement, let union members worry about it.

    Funny how Republicans are all about “freedom”, except when they want to tell people how to run their lives.

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  131. anjin-san says:

    > Because of their opinion that blacks were an inferior species that couldn’t master the intricacies of the modern world, they thought they were actually performing a moral service by feeding, clothing, housing and “caring” for slaves from birth to death.

    Funny how you overlook whippings, rapes, forced separations of families, working people to death, and other minor details. No doubt slave owners thought that was part of their moral duty…

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  132. jwest says:

    Anjin-san,

    I think that if you apply common sense, you would realize most slaveholders thought of blacks as valuable property, or more to the point, livestock. Naturally, no one can deny that there were rapes and beatings, as there were with Boston and New York elites raping and beating their Irish servants, mainly because they believed their class gave them the right to do it.

    Just as you wouldn’t (at least I hope you wouldn’t) torture a cow or horse for the fun of it, I doubt slaveholders did much of the same thing. Remember that Mandingo was a movie, not a documentary.

    Don’t interpret this as me condoning in any way the crime against humanity that was slavery. I simply want to keep it in the context of the times when it occurred.

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  133. Guy says:

    I fail to see any confusion here. The People of Wisconsin by a majority elected the Republicans to do precisely what they are doing now….so where’s the legitmate argument that they are “going against the majority”????? Folks, don’t hand me any “bs” about opinion polls and other nonsense – we’re all grown adults and we all know that polls NEVER take the place of the actual election results – because it’s elections that give us the REAL poll. The GOP won because the MAJORITY of Wisconsin voters DEMANDED these changes. So don’t try and paint a picture different from the REALITY we all know took place just a few short months ago in the election!

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  134. anjin-san says:

    > Naturally, no one can deny that there were rapes and beatings, as there were with Boston and New York elites raping and beating their Irish servants,

    False equivalence. Weak. Sorry dude, you just can’t walk this one back.

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  135. jwest says:

    Anjin-san,

    “False equivalence…”

    How can you say this is a false equivalence? What do you think the difference was at the time between Irish contract servants and slaves? If anything, the Irish didn’t have the “social security” program the slaveholders provided in old age.

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  136. anjin-san says:

    jwest,

    run along. I don’t have time for slavery apologists…

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  137. jwest says:

    jwest says:
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 12:19
    Wr, (and now anjin-san)

    Why is it that liberals always resort to crying “racist” whenever they are losing?

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  138. wr says:

    jwest — Why don’t you actually read a history book someday instead of making up what you think should have happened if everyone thought like you?

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  139. The Q says:

    Jwest,

    Still waiting for an answer to my question above which you have so conveniently ignored.

    I think Mr. Levine is swatting down the wingnuts’ obvious ignorance regarding some of these issues and Bednarz will keep bringing up obtuse rebuttals to the answers he does not like if it does not fit into his “unions shouldn’t contribute to campaigns” screed.

    Don’t confuse me with facts, liberals and unions are BAD – seems to sum up the gist of the conservative plantation mentality here.

    And Bednarz, one last thing, Clinton signed the Gramm Bliley Leach Act which was passed by a Republican congress.

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  140. jwest says:

    Q,

    “Name me ONE..ONE program you aholes on the right have promoted in the last 30 years which directly benefits the poor and the middle, without simultaneously doling out huge benefits to the wealthy.”

    Sorry about the non-reply, I did read this at the time, but had to leave and forgot it when I returned.

    You ask me to name a program that benefits the poor, middle class etc. This question demonstrates the difference in philosophy between liberals and conservatives. We believe that creating “programs” to benefit any particular group is wrong.

    Conservatives believe government is supposed to create the environment for private enterprise to thrive. To achieve this goal, we support minimal regulation, low taxes and a stable currency. The way we benefit the poor and middle class is by opposing ill-conceived programs that trap these very groups into a cycle of dependence.

    As with the education programs I wrote about in this thread, the “help” liberal programs give is devastating to groups they target.

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  141. wr says:

    Yes, jwest, you guys really help the poor and middle class. In Missouri right now, dedicated public servants on the right are trying to wipe out all child labor laws so that little children can help their parents climb out of the trap of poverty. You guys are so gosh-darned big hearted!

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  142. jwest says:

    wr,

    No need to thank me, we do it as a public service.

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  143. anjin-san says:

    Jersey… actually I called you a slavery apoligistx not a racist. But your definsivenes is revealing…

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  144. jwest says:

    anjin-san,

    I would prefer the term “historical realist”.

    As someone who’s Northern European ancestors were raped, beaten and murdered while in slavery, I would like to remind the Roman government that I am still waiting for my reparations check.

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  145. The Q says:

    Jwest, have you been taking lessons from Obama on how not to answer a question and just bloviate about nothing?

    Lets see, you guys “believe government is supposed to create the environment for private enterprise to thrive. To achieve this goal, we support minimal regulation, low taxes etc.”

    So, another words, you are Herbert Hoover? Your /Hoover thinking lead to financial meltdown, the Pecora hearings, Glass Steagall, the FDIC, the SEC…which I guess is anathema to your philosophy of “minimal regulation”.

    Thanks for clearing demonstrating the anachronistic thinking that was rejected in the last century as being naive, ineffective and dangerous.

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  146. jwest says:

    Q,

    I’m glad I could clear that up for you.

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  147. anjin-san says:

    > my reparations check.

    You keep giving away clues about what you are really about.

    > “believe government is supposed to create the environment for private enterprise to thrive.

    Maybe someone can show me the section in the constitution that outlines this.

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  148. The Q says:

    Jwest,

    I guess then, you would consider it good that gov’t mandated every child receive a k-12 education?

    Or is that fascistic gov’t over-reach? Dictating that parents educate their children in public/private schools.

    On one hand, this greatly benefits business by providing an educated, skilled workforce, but on the other in violates your “minimum gov;t interference” philosophy.

    Hence, the complete idiocy of the conservative mantra of which you so passionately espouse

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  149. matt says:

    As for: “working conditions, job security (ie due process in discipline and termination), health and safety”
    These are pedantic topics, all of which are quite thoroughly covered by labor laws. They were all very hot issues a century ago, nowadays not so much.

    That right there shows me that you haven’t had a shitty job in some time if at all. I’ve personally worked at a couple places that put a lot of lip service to following the law but in the end they didn’t even follow basic worker safety rules. The various miners that die each year due to poor mine safety would also disagree. Worker safety conditions is still a very valid problem..

    rodney : Oh I surely agree that it wasn’t the most vile message I’ve ever seen in relation to race. I live in the deep south and Jwest’s comment is not all that out of the mainstream here. I applaud you for double checking the posts to insure accuracy.

    JWEST : Does this sound familiar?

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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  150. wr says:

    Matt — I’m fortunate enough not to live in the South, so I’m not generally exposed to the racists and other morons who make up the current Republican party.

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  151. matt says:

    The tea party gatherings here are quite umm entertaining…

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  152. reign says:

    if all the wisconsin unions do not unite right now and completely shut down the entire state then they deserve to loose everything they have, this is not just about wisconsin, every state government is watching this and will follow suit depending on the results.
    to the wisconsin unions, shut that state down now and do not go back until that bill is reversed and you have your rights back. no matter what the cost. the government does not have the right to piss on the working man no matter how bad the economy is !!! they are saposed to go to the table and negotiate period… all union workers in wisconsin must walk off the job monday morning in support of the effected unions, it will be hard but you must do it, you are setting the example for the rest of the states of the union

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  153. William says:

    “Last we looked the eduction system in WI was working quite well. This entire effort was the Right Wing creating budget problems by giving tax breaks to their friends and then using the budget shortfall to destroy fundamental rights of labor. This has nothing to do with the children.. I mean nothing… it is actually going to damage the education system in WI as the right wing hates public education since to them it’s a tax.”

    Really, How well was the system working when the “Teacher of the Year” would be laid off instead of some do nothing teacher getting to keep their job because of “Collective Bargaining rights.”

    If the union had done it’s job in the beginning, they would not be in this predicament now. Also, how can you Union workers be so brain dead that you pay your union dues so that union leaders can pick who they want to support in elections. You should at least have some voice in how they spend your money.

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  154. Robert Levine says:

    “If the union had done it’s job in the beginning, they would not be in this predicament now. Also, how can you Union workers be so brain dead that you pay your union dues so that union leaders can pick who they want to support in elections. You should at least have some voice in how they spend your money.”

    Oddly enough, we do. It’s called “electing officers.” Of course, most the officers we elect are smart enough to know not to institute major policy changes shortly after being elected if they didn’t campaign on them first.

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  155. William says:

    Oddly enough, we do. It’s called “electing officers.” Of course, most the officers we elect are smart enough to know not to institute major policy changes shortly after being elected if they didn’t campaign on them first.

    So these smart guys that you pick, cannot figure out how to set up a system that keeps the good teachers. Oh, I see, they prefer to keep the ones that have been there longer even though the “kids” are the one who lose. Wow, that would seem to reflect on you who elect these “officers”.

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  156. Bednarz says:

    Q –
    In general I don’t subscribe to either left or right thinking as such I wasn’t necessarily attempting to place blame on Clinton as much as I was attempting to mark the time frame. Like I said, many contributing factors and we’d probably be in trouble regardless.

    Matt –

    “That right there shows me that you haven’t had a shitty job in some time if at all. I’ve personally worked at a couple places that put a lot of lip service to following the law but in the end they didn’t even follow basic worker safety rules. The various miners that die each year due to poor mine safety would also disagree. Worker safety conditions is still a very valid problem…”

    Well…you make one of those “grey-ish” points that I certainly wouldn’t scoff at. Not that long ago I had a “loophole” job. 30 hours/week or less so that my employer didn’t have to offer me benefits. Over time my responsibilities (and weekly hours) increased, and my manager would ask me to just “add the hours over 30 to next weeks timesheet” so that it wouldn’t create a problem.

    Of course each week was the same so, I would have had to take a vacation in order to create enough blank time in a given week to “push off” the extra hours of a single month. I was fully aware that, at any time, I could contact a marginally skilled labor lawyer looking to do some pro bono work and gotten a respectable pile of back pay, overtime pay and probably some compensation for the benefits that were never extended. I even kept all of the work schedules and un-modified timesheets, which had been signed by my supervisor.

    I probably should have done it, but it seemed like a lot of hassle to go through to get a payday, have everyone at the company hate me, then have my position eliminated due to a financial hardship on the business, then get blacklisted in the industry.

    Having had that experience, if I were going to work in a mine that falls short of safety standards, I’d call and complain. Now, if you can tell me that mine employees regularly call government regulators about safety concerns and get blown off, then I’ll suggest that 1) Somebody contact Dan Rather and kick that beehive. and if that fails 2) Somebody form a union for those miners…

    Wait…don’t miners already have a union?

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  157. [...] same-sex marriage in this state. I’m trying to understand why teachers in Wisconsin have been stripped of their collective bargaining rights, and how Detroit will manage its financial situation without giving up on an entire community of [...]

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  158. [...] a good idea to instead crusade against the rights of everyday Americans, like the recent campaign to get rid of collective bargaining- a basic right of hardworking public sector union members to ensure a decent wage and a safe [...]

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