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  • Why the Unions Are Really Protesting

    In the name of balancing his state’s budget, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has taken a strong stand against union bargaining privileges, braving weeks of protest and relying on the Republican majority in the state legislature to eventually override the 14 Democratic state senators who retreated to Illinois to dodge a vote on his budget-repair bill.

    In a new video by Reason.tv, Heritage labor analyst James Sherk said the protests in Wisconsin — strictly speaking — have never been about Walker’s bill.

    “The real purpose of the protests in Wisconsin is not to try to win there,” Sherk explains in the video. “They know they’re not going to win there. The purpose is to discourage other governors from going down that same path and from taking those same steps.”

    So, from that perspective, have the protests succeeded?

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is about to sign a bill that closely resembles Walker’s. Kasich’s bill, which aims to address Ohio’s looming $8 billion budget deficit, would prevent state employees from collectively negotiating health and pension benefits. Sherk said governors in traditionally liberal states like California, New York and Illinois will also likely cut government compensation at some point down the road — simply because the budget situations in those states will demand it.

    Of course, as the Reason.tv team points out, two other GOP governors facing major budget crises — New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Michigan’s Rick Snyder — have said they don’t think it’s necessary to restrict collective bargaining to achieve greater austerity. And some states with budget shortfalls don’t even have the option to restrict union negotiating power: In Texas, North Carolina and Louisiana, public employees already lack collective bargaining ability.

    Still, for those governors who do have the option, union restrictions make sense. As Sherk puts it, “Collective bargaining is basically a legal monopoly.” Union leaders’ negotiating prowess partly explains why public-sector workers earn more in total compensation than their private-sector counterparts.

    In a state like Wisconsin, which faces a projected deficit of $3.6 billion, the government simply can’t afford to negotiate any longer. There’s no money left.

    “They have to make cuts and where would you rather cut?” Sherk said. “If you’ve got people who are getting way above market wages, well, that’s a much more natural place to start making the cuts than with other groups that are far more sympathetic.”

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to Why the Unions Are Really Protesting

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "In a state like Wisconsin, which faces a projected deficit of $3.6 billion, the government simply can’t afford to negotiate any longer. There’s no money left."

      Why this basic fact " T H E R E I S N O M O N E Y L E F T" does not seem to make any grounds with these people amazes me. We have for so long been told that public workers are the vestige of all intelligence and that we are simple "burger flippers".

      Corporations have to fire people when there if no money left. Government workers cannot see that – even with all their MPA's they brag about. Especially the feds, believe in their hearts that this is a conspiracy against them. Well look at the news, we are $14.1 trillion in debt! Many economists do not believe we will ever pay it back. IMF is planning to drop the dollar! China is positioning their Yen as a global currency! Many countries are considering dropping the dollar as what their currency is pinned to. The oil industry is planning to drop the dollar as the pin for oil prices. The UN is saying we should be off the dollar. The price of gold in dollars is in the stratosphere!

      To you feds and other over the top public workers, we the people had nothing to do with your reckless spending – in fact for quite some time we have been demanding and in increasing numbers for you "wizards of smart" to stop spending all the while you public workers ramped up spending. We are not in the federal halls – we can't even get passed all the newly placed security force that protects you all from us. You spent us dry, and somehow we are to award you with never ending, extremely high pay, and even higher benefits!

      Huhhhhhh!?!?!? You say you are the smartest people alive, Does this really make sense?

      When using public dollars, public officials are required by the trust we the people put in you, to use each dollar as if it were the last you will ever get. We expect you to squeeze every last bit of value out of that dollar – to even perform miracles if neccessary. You public workers have to be more efficient with those dollars than the private sector is, because you are not growing that dollar in the government revenue stream; you are simply spending it. To increase the value of that dollar, we look to you public officials to use personal sacrifice and “laser like” attention to detail make every dollar worth two – or more.

      But when you public officials are compensated twice what a corresponding private sector employee would be (thereby making that dollar worth half); when you public officials enjoy travel and other obnoxious perks not afforded by even the largest corporations, yet alone us, the common citizen; when you public officials workers in government offices are bleeding financial resources by instituting redundancy, waste, recklessness and the "at all cost" mindset; when yopu public officials get kickbacks from corrupt corporations or unions, you are abusing that trust we have in you and you are making that dollar we entrusted in you worthless. This amounts to “undue exercise of power, undue exaction, and overcharge” for services we the people originally asked for – or not.

      Current practices mostly by you in the federal workforce and by the majority of the rest of the public workforce are making the dollar worth less and less. Not only that, with regards to the massive debt you imposed on us and generations to come, in a more egregious way, you are extending you reach by taking funds from people who are not even born, people who will for decades have no voice in where that money went. This is the worst kind of extortion and beyond criminal.

    2. Gary Gonzalez, Flori says:

      A bipartisan committee produced a thoroughly documented report showing public sector employees earn on average 4% less than their private sector counterparts. This disparity included benefits. So how is it that we continue to be so easily convinced against our own best interests to support causes and candidates who work against our own best interests? The people who control the message are the members of the top 1% of our population who control 24% of our Nation’s wealth. The last time that dramatic an imbalance existed was in 1928, the year preceding the Great Depression. In 1979, the year before Ronald Reagan became president, that number was 9%. Since then, there has been, and continues to be a concerted effort by the top 1 % to erode the structure that provided a better balance, resulting in the erosion of the middle class and dramatically increasing the percentage of people living below the poverty line.

      It’s simple mathematics. I would venture to say that every one of you reading this blog are in the bottom 99%. Statistically speaking, almost none of you will ever be members of the top 1%. So the question is, would you rather restore the structure that provided you the opportunity to share in 91% of our Nation’s wealth, or continue to let the top 1% erode that structure, reducing your share of our prosperity to 76% and shrinking? How’s that “trickle down economics” working out for ya?

      So you can continue to believe and blindly follow the lead of the top 1% through their simple, yet brilliant message control and unlimited financial resources to spend on media saturation, or you can do your homework and identify who is really responsible for your present economic difficulties.

      Which will it be?

      It’s time to wake up.

    3. Conservative Jerry says:

      If we keep voting for conservatives and these problems will go away. Let's do this!

    4. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "A bipartisan committee produced a thoroughly documented report showing public sector employees earn on average 4% less than their private sector counterparts." – Gary Gonzalez

      The report you refered to is often used by feds while they obfuscate this issue. It was created by federal workers or people related to federal worforce. It was found out that this report used old flawed calculations set up by OBM. In fact if I remember correctly, one author practically admitted to that in an interview.

      It doesn't take much to find out what these goons get paid. Just go on USAJob.gov and look for your job. Compair their pay rates to yours. Unless you are a principal in a lawyer firm, you will find that feds will beat you in pay alone. USA Today's research has found that the federal workforce gets an average of $41,000 in benefits. People who take the minimum benefits will get something like $25,000 – without trying. Averae private sector benefits do not eaven reach $10,000.

    5. Bobbie says:

      I hear various incomes. Another crisis? Pay discrimination in government? No way. Not in the democrat run governments of the USA? Not with "union strong" backing. Unions are honest and caring, always looking out for the weak to exploit. Just like democrats in office. I'm sure the union strong are making sure the runaway democrats are cared for and pampered. By golly, we can't hold the weak accountable. They might gain strength.

      I heard the big, bad, union strong left quite an expense to the damages they caused at the capitol. Expense to the accountable, PLEASE! pocket change to these thieving thugs.

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    7. phil steinberg says:

      America and the free enterprise system should promote Freedom on both sides:When truly free an employee should be free to quit and a company manager should have the freedom to fire—-same for a public employee.Free information will allow free people to choose the good company or good branch of government——-Unions are Not needed where freedom and fairness exists.Same situation for education.

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    9. Gary Gonzalez, Flori says:

      For the sake of argument, George, let's say your facts are correct (they're not, but let's pretend for a moment). The more important question is, why would you be fighting to reduce the compensation of your friends and neighbors employed by the public sector rather than demanding that the private sector better compensate you? It's crystal clear to me that without your productivity, private corporations wouldn't be able to compensate their CEOs and shareholders so incredibly well. Why isn't that crystal clear to you?

    10. Gary Gonzalez, Flori says:

      So Phil, let the public employees decide whether or not they should maintain their collective bargaining rights. In Wisconsin, freedom and fairness doesn't seem to exist, unless you think it is fair to only ask the group of public employees that didn't support your campaign (in this case the teachers union) to sacrifice for the good of the state, but not the organizations who did support you (namely fire fighters and police). I am a firm believer that fire and police protection are essential services for any community, but I'm also a firm believer that teachers are significantly more important to the health and vitality of every community. After all, who do you think taught those fire fighters and police officers? Sound fair to you, Phil?

    11. Bobbie says:

      Gary, why isn't TRUTH crystal clear to you? You are lost in your own dwelling. How unfair for anyone to even consider collective bargaining with someone elses honest living wages.. Are you really that ignorant? What about the family of 5 living under 40k that aren't government puppets that want independence being forced on the government needy list because taxes are so high paying for government UNION EMPLOYEES?

      NOW I WANT THE WAGES AND BENEFITS CUT! GOVERNMENT CANNOT COMPETE WITH THOSE THAT GOVERNMENT FORCES TO FOOT THE ENTIRE BILL. VERY WRONG AND DISINGENUOUS. simply unAmerican!

    12. Gary Gonzalez, Flori says:

      Bobbie, go to my first post and ask yourself why you would rather turn against your neighbor than address the real cause of a family of 5 trying to make ends meet on 40,000 a year. UnAmerican is putting corporate interests ahead of the needs and well-being of your neighbors. UnAmerican is treating corporations like people and people like an expendable resource. Time to wake up Bobbie. The government isn't taking control of your life. Rupert Murdoch is.

    13. Bobbie says:

      QUIT WITH THE NARROW MINDED! THINKING. What a man makes during his life without government is the American dream, admirable, commendable and his own business.. Those that slander the rich are jealous of the rich. WEAK.

      Don't use your ignorance to say I turn against my neighbor. My neighbors walk on their own two feet without hiding behind government unions, making deals behind the backs of those forced to pay. HOW IS THAT FAIR? police and firefighters are essential and are not included in this issue. And teachers aren't as good as parents and not essential, just convenient. Proof in the records of government undermining education. Resulting in narrow minded, socialist thinking.

      So your telling me, if it's a government employee they should get everything they want regardless of work ethics? Roll out the red carpet, it's a government union employee! No wonder they have to be coddled under government employment. The private sector holds accountability where the employees worth is substantiated. Government isn't royalty and won't be treated as if. Time to wake up GARY! It's the taxes!

    14. Gary Gonzalez, Flori says:

      Bobbie, I wish I shared the illusion that I've accomplished everything in my life on my own. It must make you feel very proud of yourself. So how long did it take you to build the interstate highway you travel on? And that airport you built, how long did that take you? And I guess you were home schooled, right. Oh, wait a minute. You taught yourself, didn't you? And you wrote the textbooks too, right? Actually, it sounds very sad and lonely now that I think about it. I think I'll stick with the reality that we're all interconnected, even you and me, Bobbie.

    15. Gary Gonzalez, Flori says:

      On second thought, I'm communicating on this blog as if I actually know something. The truth is that my perspective has been formed by my experiences throughout my life, and for all I know, you could be right. The problem comes when both of us assume we know anything at all about being a public employee in Wisconsin. We don't. Yet, we get passionate because of what others tell us about their experience, in your case, that most of them are ineffective and overpaid, and in my case, that their services are essential and that they deserve to earn a respectable living (I feel that way about all employees who do important, honest work, not just public employees). I don't think you and I are going to have any epiphanies through this blog, so I'm taking the position of agreeing to disagree. I wish you the best of luck Bobbie, and I hope you continue to stand on your own two feet.

    16. Justin T, Illinois says:

      It is strange… Why is there no discussion over Governor Walker’s double standard that exempts police and firefighters?

      Whether you are a taxpayer wanting to abolish collective bargaining or cut government spending, etc., or a WI union teacher wanting to preserve your household, all of us must demand immediate answers for some very simple questions, such as…

      Is it merely coincidence that…

      Teachers supported WI Democrats and their collective bargaining rights are removed?

      Police and firefighters supported the GOP ticket and they are exempt?

      The exempt group is trained to receive and execute orders by politicians, no questions asked?

      Where might this state trend lead, to a police state in all states?

      Rome's fall was precipitated by fiscal collapse brought about by political leaders jealously guarding their power with overextended armies and local police that quashed liberties and opposition at home. Is America on this road so soon after it comes of age?

      Again, why is there no discussion over the double standard that exempts police and firefighters?

      Why has the mention of this double standard been yanked since the initial press release?

      A free press armed with independent journalists is the best offense and defense for liberty and justice.

    17. Bobbie says:

      Gary, really? Oh my gosh Gary, here's your opportunity to open your mind. Brreak yourself from tha narrowed thinking you've been brain washed to.

      Everything you mentioned YOU depend on GOVERNMENT for? You really think that without government in the equastion of what you listed, we'd be sitting on our thumbs? Really, Gary? Waiting for someone from government to tell us what to do? That's where you and an outstanding number of others, deprive your minds ability, Gary. Open everything you look to governmet for outside the constitution and imagine your neighbor had a highway construction company. And your uncle had a publishing company and your sister had license to write truth in text for books.

      The people don't need government to do what the people can. Defined in the constitution. And WHAT parent wants their children taught political correctness over truth and facts? It's been gong on BEHIND THE PARENTS BACKS for too long. The youth deserves the truth. Be wise, privatize.

      Yep, sorry Gary, you have faith in government. Mine is in my neighbors, family, friends, people. You say we're all interconnected. While that may be true, government isn't the connection. Thanks for your hope, I don't see how it will be possible with taxes and costs going up and no increase for 8 + years, If you can imagine that. Good thing WE took the steps with no help, using our freedom of choice and individually, take the offering of the company's (all employees were equally offered using their individual incomes) to invest OUR MONEY when we had it. Unfortunate it's penalized now that we need it to pay state, property, local, city, street, sewage, recycling, etc taxes… going fast in the name of the cost of living to people I don't know and can't determine if they deserve it? That's fair? Less government, less taxes, less money,taken from an honest living, more freedom to use at will or need…without any government help. okay, bye.

    18. Justin says:

      Bobbie,

      It is strange… Why is there no discussion over Governor Walker’s double standard that exempts police and firefighters?

      Whether you are a taxpayer wanting to abolish collective bargaining or cut government spending, etc., or a WI union teacher wanting to preserve your household, all of us must demand immediate answers for some very simple questions, such as…

      Is it merely coincidence that…

      Teachers supported WI Democrats and their collective bargaining rights are removed?

      Police and firefighters supported the GOP ticket and they are exempt?

      The exempt group is trained to receive and execute orders by politicians, no questions asked?

      Where might this state trend lead, to a police state in all states?

      Rome's fall was precipitated by fiscal collapse brought about by political leaders jealously guarding their power with overextended armies and local police that quashed liberties and opposition at home. Is America on this road so soon after it comes of age?

      Again, why is there no discussion over the double standard that exempts police and firefighters?

      Why has the mention of this double standard been yanked since the initial press release?

      A free press armed with independent journalists is the best offense and defense for liberty and justice.

    19. Bobbie says:

      Thanks Justin.

      If you think about the requirements and expectations of the jobs, cops and firefighters are essential and under their own policies. Probably why it's been "yanked" since the initial press release, if it has.

      Because of policies and protections regarding teachers, we are left without expectations and suffer the consequences from our ill-educated children and teachers unions that hold no one accountable at an unfettered tax payers expense.

      Totally agree with free press armed with independent journalists, unfortunately we don't read from them often enough.

    20. Demetri says:

      Bobbie,

      Are you aware that the Wisconsin fire fighters are union and that they are attending the rallies in Madison in support of the teachers union?

    21. Demetri, Illinois says:

      Bobbie,

      Are you aware that the Wisconsin fire fighters are union and that they are participating in the demonstrations in Madison in support of the

      teachers union?

    22. Bobbie says:

      What's your point?

    23. Justin T says:

      Bobbie

      On March 12th your argument states, “…cops and firefighters are essential.”

      Says who?

      This argument begins with a world view that is no less biased than a teacher’s world view.

      Cops and firefighters are no more essential than teachers. Both are services we have, over time, relegated to the public sector. Have you no memory of all volunteer fire departments? Are you unaware of our Constitutional right to bear arms?

      Arguments used to defend a double standard for police and fire personnel include dangers associated with the positions. If this were the standard then bus drivers serving dangerous neighborhoods would be paid commensurably. They are not. Or, urban police officers would be paid more than suburban police officers. There is no correlation.

      As for who is right and who is wrong, I would ask, who is consistent. Teachers ask to preserve their collective bargaining rights not at the expense of other public servants. On the other hand, the WI Governor & Legislature require teachers to surrender their collective bargaining rights while preserving the collective bargaining rights of police and fire personnel.

      It is argued that [union] policies and protections give rise to (1) no educational expectations, (2) ill-educated children, (3) unaccountable teachers, and (4) unfettered taxpayer expenses.

      Have we defined police and fire expectations any better? What policies and measures have we in place at police and fire departments to ensure (1) community members are well informed of civility, (2) citizens are properly qualified to contribute to their community, (3) police and fire personnel are accountable for enlightening community members of civility and civic duty, and (4) budgets do not overtax the community? Lavish expenditures on equipping and training S.W.A.T. teams in every suburban community is hardly a reasonable measure of success.

      The argument that policies and measures are in place for one set of public servants and not the other is baseless and without merit.

    24. Bobbie says:

      Justin, you're confused. Teachers are the LEAST essential. Self education is much more beneficial than a teacher, especially those with federal influence. Police enforce civil law and fire fighters put out flames! BOTH SAVE LIVES! BOTH ESSENTIAL!

      I don't believe in any collective bargaining that results consequences to the unknown. The discussion has been focused on teachers, where my opinion mostly regards.

    25. Demetri, Illinois says:

      So Bobbie, Your beef is with teachers, and not collective bargaining as it pertains to your tax funding funding of salaries of public employees?

    26. Demetri, Illinois says:

      Here's a trivia question. Who said, "Where free unions and collective bargaining are prohibited, freedom is lost."?

    27. Demetri, Illinois says:

      Yes, everyone's confused but Bobbie. I love the way you type in

      ALL CAPS WHEN SOMEONE PRESENTS AN OPINION THAT CHALLENGES YOUR NARROW VIEW OF POLITICS AND ECONOMICS!

    28. Justin T, Illinois says:

      Bobbie,

      To assume I'm confused assumes there is an ironclad position and you've clearly defended it. Neither have occurred and we know what happens when we assume.

      It is unfortunate that your ground rule for discussion is to point fingers and become combative. I prefer cerebral discussions. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll continue with some generally accepted decorum.

      You acknowledge the benefit of self-education, yet you want the government to protect you and put out your fires. It does not take a rocket scientist to see the double standard here.

      You argue that policemen and firemen are essential by saving lives through the enforcement of civility and extinguishing flames. How do police/firemen learn these life-saving skills? Or, how do citizens learn civility and fire prevention? Are you saying that all police/firemen, as well as all law-obeying and civic-minded citizens have been self-educated? And, individuals with public educations are by-and-large criminals and do not contribute to society?

      Finally, please explain what you mean by “federal influence?” It seems to me that the answer to this question simply entangles your double standard and expands your baseless and meritless argument.

      I hope that this third posting is not censored and will be posted. I look forward to hearing your reply.

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