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  • Lunch With Heritage - Online Chat on Wisconsin

    Join us right now for our “Lunch with Heritage” online chat. We will be taking questions about the turmoil that is unfolding in Wisconsin and other states with the public sector unions. We will be joined by Heritage’s Director of the Center for Media and Public Policy, Rob Bluey. Rob has been keeping a close eye on the situation in Wisconsin and other states where a similar debate is taking place.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Lunch With Heritage - Online Chat on Wisconsin

    1. Greg, Green Bay, WI says:

      A battle cry has been raised in Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walker. State workers bemoan him as a union buster, taking away their bargaining rights and subjecting them to extreme benefit cuts. However, these workers fail to see the entire picture.

      Collective bargaining agreements have real fiscal and financial consequences. The plan would end the practice of public sector union bosses banding together and strong-arming politicians for exorbitant benefits and absurd contract concessions including extravagant pension and health benefits on the state that only serve to further cripple state budget.

      Furthermore, this bill would give most government employees the Right to Work without having to pay tribute to a labor union. It would take state government out of the hands of Big Labor and their monopoly bargaining privileges, and put it back where it belongs – back in the hands of the people and their elected representatives.

      In essence the Right to Work principle is — that no worker should be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Forced unionism denies hardworking Americans the right to refrain from financially supporting organizations they oppose. For “Government Unions” it is about preserving the direct pipeline that they have to our tax dollars, that in and of itself, is more important than Union Jobs!

      As far as doing this for the children; the teacher union bosses' extremism echoes the infamous philosophy of former American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union mogul Al Shanker: "When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children."

      Our state has strong labor laws, including civil servant laws going back to 1905 protecting workers from exploitation and wrong doing on the part of employers. Unionized workers whose compensation packages far outweigh their love for their state will further prolong economic hardships.

      Excessive union power has brought California and Illinois to the brink of bankruptcy, and it's critical that the people of Wisconsin take back their government before they face the same fiscal disaster. This bill is a necessary first step toward freedom, fairness, and long-term financial stability. The 14 Senate Democrats, are “deserters”, are rejecting the democratically expressed will of the people, the majority, duly elected are now held hostage by the minority.

      "These proposed changes will allow government at all levels to better manage costs, increase efficiency and ultimately improve the quality of government services. In the long run they will make government more affordable and provide long overdue relief to taxpayers." "These are modest changes and are consistent with changes made at private businesses."

      Wisconsin's state unionized workers have become a type of entrenched American aristocracy. These civil servants enjoy pension plans, complete health coverage, and guaranteed comfortable incomes. Workers in our state's private sector have lived without these luxuries for many years. State unionized workers have been enjoying these tax payer funded benefits for so long that they have become like drug addicts. Wisconsin tax payers can no longer support the habit.

      We need to Separate the Fiscal Component from the Collective Bargaining Component and PASS the Collective Bargaining Component separately – without the fiscal component a quorum is not needed.

      The Collective Bargaining Component contains no Fiscal Measures! Yes, there are fiscal consequences but there are no fiscal measures in that portion of the Bill!

    2. Freda Whitby, Tacoma says:

      I believe we are headed for a Great Depression, seems so unreal, but nothing is really being done to stop it from happening

    3. Norman, Illinois says:

      With all the gov't waste in this country, and the thing they focus on to save money is taking away employee rights ! Even though I am a union railroad employee, I am not a strong union supporter due to their own corruptions just like the gov't. However, they are in place for a reason, as large corporations have a long history of abusing their employees. We have several new coal mines in IL that are non-union. They treat their employees fairly well and have pay and benefits basically equal to the union mines. However, this is only to keep the umwa out. So, if the umwa didn't exist and that threat of unionization wasn't there, you can rest assured these new coal mines would most certainly not be so eager to keep their employees happy. Just something to think about.

    4. Patrick, Canton, MI says:

      Though I sympathize with his dilemma and objectives, I think Scott Walker in Wisconsin is going to lose the debate to so severely restrict public union collective bargaining rights. Non-union members of the public are not going to let him restrict collective bargaining to only wage issues. For example, most non-union members would allow collective bargaining on non-wage issues such as retirement and health benefits.

      What is needed is something to equalize union, state official, and PUBLIC power. I suggest that all conservatives consider the following:


      People don’t realize that the role of collective bargaining fundamentally differs in the public sector. In the private sector the transaction is a purely private one between employer and employees. Though the outcome indirectly affects others (by raising prices), consumers have more liberty to avoid the effects. For example, if a company grants too much, a purchaser of products can switch to another product or supplier. Competition prevents the employer from granting too much and the union from demanding too much. But in the public sector there is no competitive constraint. At least until the next election, citizens not involved in the transaction are forced to accept the effects. Unions are very careful to not reveal (or realize) that they are in fact granted a special privilege in the public context. Most state bargaining laws enable or require state officials to settle employment issues through the bargaining process rather than by other methods, such as legislative approval or public referendum. If negotiated contracts were subject to such constraints, unions would be less able to force measures on the state (and its citizens) that benefit primarily their members. What’s happening in Wisconsin is an out-and-out power struggle – not just between unions and state officials but more importantly between unions and the public. Unions don’t want to lose their relatively more powerful position. They surely would reject any strong requirement for the public to approve contracts negotiated by state officials. What’s needed is something to equalize the power but yet allow collective bargaining. Both in Wisconsin and elsewhere, elected officials should allow collective bargaining but require clear public approval of negotiated contracts, at least by 2/3 legislative approval and preferably by referendum. The 2/3 requirement is warranted because of the inability of the public to affect the matter until the next election and the absence of any competitive constraint on union demands or state official concessions.

    5. Bobbie says:

      Government employees shouldn't have rights that collectively bargain while excluding those that are obligated to pay. It's a corrupt assault on the tax payers.

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