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  • Morning Bell: Victory in Wisconsin, but the Fight Goes On

    Consider it a victory for taxpayers and for the rule of law. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4–3 in favor of upholding the state’s new collective bargaining law, reversing a lower court decision that sought to stamp out the will of the people, the authority of the legislature, and a major movement toward fiscal reform. And at three this morning, following a nearly 13-hour floor debate, the Wisconsin Assembly approved a budget aimed at wiping out the state’s $3 billion structural deficit.

    Like many states, Wisconsin this year found itself drowning in an ocean of overspending and suffering the fourth highest tax burden in the country. In this fiscal nightmare, public-sector unions fashioned for themselves a cushy, taxpayer-funded existence, disconnected from the realities of the state’s economic woes. Heritage’s James Sherk explains just how sweet that deal was:

    Until now, government employees in Wisconsin paid just 6 percent of their health care premiums and next to nothing for generous pensions, and the average teacher in Milwaukee makes $101,000 a year. Government union contracts also require layoffs to occur on the basis of seniority. Long-time government employees can rest assured that they will never get laid off.

    That was a path that just wasn’t sustainable, and early this year, first-term Governor Scott Walker (R) attempted to usher in a plan to change the way the state did business—a new law that would restrict collective bargaining in government, require government workers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salaries to their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health–care premiums, and allow workers to choose whether or not to pay union dues.

    That was the spark that ignited a furious fire among Wisconsin’s big labor movement and captured the nation’s attention. Thousands of protesters swarmed the state’s capitol, and 14 Wisconsin senate Democrats fled to Illinois, where they hid out for more than three weeks in an attempt to block the law. Ultimately, though, an agreement was reached and the law was passed, leaving the law’s opponents to resort to the legal action in hopes of undermining the legislative process by way of an activist judge.

    For a short time they were successful; a county judge blocked the law purely on a political basis. On Tuesday, the state’s supreme court overruled that decision, allowing the law to take effect. Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky explains the legal import of the decision:

    It is a victory not only for the soundness of the underlying legislative process but also for the rule of law against activist judges who ignore the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches and make up their own law from the bench.

    There are more battles to come in Wisconsin: A pro-union group is using robocalls to deliver more protests to the statehouse; state unions on Wednesday filed a lawsuit challenging parts of the law in U.S. District Court; and a movement is afoot to recall six Republican state senators who voted for the law.

    The continued opposition isn’t surprising given what’s at stake for public sector unions. To date, they have enjoyed tremendous power—a veritable monopoly on labor services provided to government, allowing them to secure unmatched benefits. And, without competition, costs go up while quality goes down. That’s not something they will give up easily, and they won’t go down without a fight.

    But it’s a fight America can’t afford to lose. All across the country, states are beset with budgets that are running out of control. According to a Pew report, “the gap between the promises states have made for public employees’ retirement benefits and the money set aside to pay for them grew to at least $1.26 trillion in fiscal year 2009—a 26 percent increase in one year.” States must make significant changes to address this trillion-dollar shortfall or face total budgetary collapse.

    The victory in Wisconsin is a significant one, but it’s just one state and one law. Just as public-sector unions will continue their struggle for survival, Americans must continue their fight to restore fiscal sanity to their cities, states and nation.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Morning Bell: Victory in Wisconsin, but the Fight Goes On

    1. calvin pauley, cinci says:

      Public sector unions have grown too powerful, and now

      negate any election power the people have in local

      and state elections. They should be banned altogether.

      All we have to do at look at what union people are doing in

      Greece, rioting and tearing the place down, as in the

      Wisconsin state capitol. Also in Canada public sectin unions have

      shut down mail service throughout the whole country, meaning

      people can't pay their insurance and other billls on time.

      Ban the public sector unions, who are helping to elect communist governments

      who are cutting our freedoms.

    2. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      6 – 16 – 11 FROM – Ken Jarvis – LVKen7@Gmail.com

      WSJ on – How to say GOOD NEWS BAD – DOW – "Biggest Rise this month"

      How to BAD IT – "for a day, at least."

      It is NOT what they say, BUT HOW THEY SAY IT.

      Fight the GOOD Fight, Keep the Faith,

      and THINGS WILL GET BETTER – they always have.

      Go to HF and WSJ for BAD NEW, and GOP Marching Orders, and sound bites.

    3. charles labounty mer says:

      Well, BHO is getting even by sicking the NLRB on Boeing.

    4. Victor Barney, LeHig says:

      I hate being pessimistic in the short term, but one victorious battle does not make a war won! I see the 2012 election bringing out the women vote big time again and even bigger than the last turn-out(illegals?) and the culmination of present Marxist(Anti-Christ) takeover of our country! After all, it has been 6,000 years since Eve started it through her "intellectualizing" and now she is ending man's age through the same tried and proven method of her intellectualizing! Now, I ask, "who" do you women believe will be "blamed" for the mandated coming economic collapse to be halocausted? Watch!

    5. ThomNJ says:

      Interestingly enough, I just read an article today about a study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranking the US sates by level of freedom. The rankings were based upon numerous factors but generally covering taxes, government spending and regulations.

      It was no surprise to see that the states deemed least free are states with the biggest burdens on taxpayers and those deepest in debt, New York, New Jersey and California at the very bottom of the list at 50, 49 and 48 repsectively. Wisconsin comes in at 25, and with this ruling, they will hopefully get better yet.

      For those interested: http://mercatus.org/freedom-50-states-2011

    6. Glynnda White, Orlan says:

      Next big fight…..the Boeing situation …….I cannot believe the NLRB has this kind of authority to stop a private business from setting up shop in another state. I'm hoping the rule of law will also provide a favorable outcome for this private organization.

      Time to bring this organization down not just a notch, but several……

      Glynnda

    7. roger hedgecock san says:

      the restriction on collective bargaining only applies to future public employee contracts. between the trial court stay and the supreme court decision upholding the law, local government and school districts all over wisconsin approved new contracts thus delaying the real effect of the law for many years.

    8. Mary............WI says:

      Add to allo this Sec of State LaFollette is delaying have the law printed NOW so it can go into affect. He publicly admnits he does not approve of the law so he is taking the full 10 days to have it publicly printed. In the meantime, the BIG unions have filed another lawsuit against the bill, recalls for republican senators that voted for the bill are on July 12 and recalls for the democrat senators that LEFT the state to avoid voting on the bill are July 19. Now how ridiculous is that!

      Dane County is literally "run" by liberals that obvioulsy are unaware of how bad the economy is outside of their public jobs with wonderful benefits. My husband just took a cut in his pay in the private sector and we still have to pay out health, auto, retirement form the decrease in pay. Seems to me these public union workes should have to do the same so we can get this state back to working properly and out of the red.

      This is not over…..there is still a recall coming in Jan for Gov Walker. WE all gave Obama a chance and he failed. At least give Gov Wlaker a chance!

    9. rosemarie douglass says:

      SWEET FOR THE GOVENOR WALKER

      GET THE UNION OUT

      THE ARE THE WORST BUNCH OF MAVIA TIPE , WY SCHOULD I A TAX PAYER GIVE THEM MY MONEY , SO THE UNION BOSS PUTS MOORE IN HIS BANKAUCOUNT

      I DONT THINK SO , THE UNION NEEDS TO BE TOTALSCRAPT ORE OVERHOULD

    10. John Tyson says:

      I work for the state of Washington and retire at the end of this year. Our salaries and benefits – and I am certainly not complaining – pale compared to Wisconsin emmployees. The absolute stranglehold the unions had in Wisconsin was unsustainable and that is clear to everyone except the gestapo union members. Fortunately I am in management so am not in a union but I have never understood why (including in Washington) being a union member could ever be required of a public sector employee – clearly violating the legal requirement that employment terms not violate "creed" by requring people to be a member of an organization that is philosophically sickening to the given employee.

      Scott Walker is a hero. I hope and think he and the responsible people in Wisconsin will prevail and my guess is the R's will not be successfully recalled unless there are multiple issues with this issue being but one.

      Good luck to Wisconsin. Beautiful state consumed by cancerous public sector greed.

    11. Norm LA says:

      The public unions have shown that they are the greedy ones and at least one more American can see what the unions have been since the days of OSHA's arrival in the work place to "encourage" safe working conditions. And to what extent Mr. Obama has gone with Organizing for America to support the unions, in deference to the tax payer. But don't worry "everything will get better" This is the first battle in the war on union greed, but the president is their ally and will continue to do things like give the unions the Chrysler bond holders' shares so that he gets the campaign cash. Hooray for Governor Scott, his benefactors, the Wisconsin tax payer and the rest of us in America.

    12. Double Ace says:

      Congratulations to the people of Wisconsin. They have spoken and and the highest court in the state upheld their desires. They have set a precedent for other states to do the same. Ohio is following their lead. Maybe we can get some of these corrupt politicians out of office by getting rid of the corrupt union supporters who put them in office. The unions have forced it's members to pay union dues which they funneled to the political candidate of their choice, and the members have nothing to say about it. That is wrong and should be stopped.

    13. Ohioan says:

      This is a terrific outcome for taxpayers and a positive notion for other states that need to contain employment costs. I hope those who are not so bright won't derail it with their robocalls and thuggery.

      Unions are an important part of America, but I've become disappointed in their lack of common sense, lack of planning ahead, and inability to understand basic financial and business principles.

      This is an especially fantastic outcome for students and their parents who simply want a decent education to be provided by the public schools.

    14. Jjay - Louisville, K says:

      This is the kind of misleading half truths you are consistently famous for unloading on unsuspecting readers. Half truths do not make a whole truth. They lead instead to incomplete and incoherent 'conclusions' base on insufficient and incorrect information. Sort of like Cheney/Bush rationale for an illegal war or torture.

      The half truth is yours: "and the average teacher in Milwaukee makes $101,000 a year."

      The whole truth is at the actual source: "Teachers' average salaries are increasing next year, from $56,500 to $59,500 in 2011-'12. When wages and benefits are combined, an average teacher will make $101,091 next year, said Budget Manager Deborah Wegner." ( Milwaulkee Sentinel )

      Get honest writers or editors or both.

    15. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      We had all better understand this present union onslaught now taking place, not only in Wisconsin and South Carolina, but throughout this nation, is a deliberate attack on our free market, capitalist system. Union leaders (not most members) are attempting take over this nation's entire work force so that they can control all companies and corporations nationwide. In the simplest term, Communism! They know with the present administraiton in Washington, they now have the power, but they also know this may be their last chance to complete what they have been working on since the turn of the century. This is the fight for this nation. If the unions win, we all loose.

    16. marolyn .e. scheffel says:

      I am so glad that this court ruled in favor of the Wisconsin Governor and the sensible way to correct the short fall of the financial crisis. I am a native of Wisconsin and have watched this situation with much interest. Thank you for the infomation.

    17. A.C. says:

      that deal was:

      Until now, government employees in Wisconsin paid just 6 percent of their health care premiums and next to nothing for generous pensions, and the average teacher in Milwaukee makes $101,000 a year. Government union contracts also require layoffs to occur on the basis of seniority. Long-time government employees can rest assured that they will never get laid off.

      The above is not true. I have paid 20% of my health care premuium for years, giving up pay on the salary schedule and taking 3 pay freezes since 2002 to contribute to my retirment benefits. There is seniority but that does not always assure a person their job year to year. I may be given a different placement not of my choice to save a less senior person. It has happened time and time again and employees are willing to do that to help each other. All that I am assured is a job for which I am qualifed. It is also possible to get rid of people that are not high performing. The provisions that are available are not always used by administrators. That is not the unions fault. The administrators need to be held accountable.

      Why is the truth hidden from the public? It will be a long time before anyone is working together again. What is happening is not good for Wisconsin. Both sides are to blame.

    18. Don Vander Jagt, Gra says:

      One can't help but notice that nearly all of the progress is due to the initiative of the "new Republicans" wherever it is found!

      The RINO's so far have proved themselves to be compromisers.

      A most important test will be in regards to the debt ceiling.

      Just the fact that the RINO's keep talking about compromising doesn't give one much hope, before another election.

      But of course all one needs to do is look at the recent track record of Congress from both sides of the aisle and the White House the past 7 years.

      The people said no bailout of the banks, but those who say the voters are the boss when seeking our vote showed us where could put our idea!

      They did the same thing when we said we did not want the socialist health care bill!

      And it looks likely they are going to ignore us again concerning the debt ceiling!

      Keep your brooms handy!!!!!

    19. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      GOOD NEWS – Obama RAIDS illegals – Ignored by the HF.

      Score Card – So far this year –

      2,338 Employer audits were done.

      157 Criminal Arrest of Employers.

      $7.1 MILLION Fines have been levied.

      262,282 illegals DEPORTED.

      WSJ – Page 1 – “The Obama Administration has made employers the center of its enforcement strategy, because jobs are the magnet for illegal immigration.”

      eVerify is the LAW of the LAND.

      Chamber of commerce – “is concerned”. But ONLY if they are Anti-Worker.

      Some have – “knowingly” been hiring illegals.

      Parolees and probationers might fill farm jobs – Gov of Georgia.

    20. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      We had better understand this union leadership onslaught in Wisconsin and South Carolina is a deliberate attack on our free markek, capitalist system. Their goal is to control every company and corporation nationwide. In the simplest term, Communism. Because of Obama and his administration, they know they now have the power. But they also know this may be their last chance to complete what they have been working on since the trun of the century. This is the final fight for this nation as we know it. If the unions win, we all loose.

    21. Jessica says:

      Milwaukee teachers average $101,000/yr!!! Seriously?! I made a quarter of that a year working for the State of Georgia! No wonder Wisconsin is drowning!!!

    22. bob dattilo pittsbur says:

      it deeply saddens me,what has been done to our unions.what was originally started to protect our workers and assure them fair wages and safe working conditions has been so corrupted by the progressives and communists through people like rich trumka,andy stern ron bloom and also by the greed of those in control of these unions that they no longer bear any resemblence to the original concept. it is now all about money,political power and control.it is not union members who are the problem,but those who exploit them for their own greed and political purposes.p.s. i am a retired union construction worker of 32 years so i know of what i speak.

    23. Randy, Tujunga Cali says:

      Way to go..Can we have them come over to California..We have some problems here..

    24. Marvin Hileman, Beav says:

      Hurray for Wisconsin. Maybe there is hope for Ohio also.

    25. Claudia- CA says:

      My foolish dream is that the people of California would do this! Hardly, with our geriatric, re-tread liberal Governor and the power of the left here to protect those who are unable or unwilling to take care of themselves or to get off the gravy train that is California Social Services! Keep giving these people "free stuff" and its no wonder they continue to come here!

      Personally, we are taking our business out of state ASAP!

    26. Kaydell Bowles, Brig says:

      May the courts continue to address the issue of the union rights to laundry public funds and hold the public hostage to the negotiations to reward them , union workers lucrative contracts and higher salries and benefits than the public. Thanks to those who took on the battle.

      I find it hard to believe that a woman has rights to abortion but a laborer and worker not the right to work without joining a union. Is not the right to work a guarantee in the Constitution the same as a right for abortion. The constitution does have a clause about the pursuit of happiness which should be the right to work without a union. This is wrong and should be addressed in all states that do not have the right-to-work law.

    27. mike hutchings says:

      wisconsin is ground zero….they will throw every thing they have at it….pick a side… do we survive… or do we not….when the crash comes…if it does materialize… the unions and their allies will be there to pick up the pieces and fashion the remains to look much like themselves…and every other tyranny…the business community is not united…the heavy weights in the establishment are pitted against the aspirations of the middle class…to continue to exist

    28. KC - New Mexico says:

      This was an excellent outcome for this state. Many states need to follow in Wisconsin’s steps to remove governmental and tax based unions. In my opinion, there is not a need for a government union of any type. These governmental employees and managers are paid for by our taxes – whoops – the 50% of Americans who do pay taxes are the real owners of these employees. I do not need a union to tell me how much these employees should make or have in benefits.

      Your example of the average teacher salary being over $100K is disgusting considering the results and output of what they bring for society. If their students could read and write, do math, knew US history, etc., then may be a high salary is deserved – but that is not the case today. Get rid of the union and get rid of the poor performers as we do in the private sector. Then bring in employees who care and can get the job done.

      The land of enchantment – NM, needs to follow this action quickly since we are broke but the NM government employees are doing just fine!

    29. Pete, Houston Texas says:

      I am proud of the leadership in Wisconsin that are taking the position of addressing the problem even when it is unpopular with some percentage of the voters that are used to getting their way. Obviously, the union bosses could not buy all the votes they needed this time. The people have spoken.

      Pete

    30. Redfray, Pea Ridge, says:

      Reading between the lines, the judge who wanted to stamp out the will of the people needs to find himself in a court action that he would regret.

      One thing that would end the political judgments would be to pass a law forcing judges to resign, if the upper courts reversed there decision due to political reasons

      Judges should not be lawyers.

    31. Curt Krehbiel, Midla says:

      Kudos to Governor Scott Walker. Job security should be earned by performance, not by union rules.

      Curt Krehbiel

    32. DHarper, Lubbock, Tx says:

      How does it happen that a majority of a State's citizens is willing give up so much of their freedom by becoming a State where forced unionization is legal?

      I cannot imagine this. Only 22 States are "right-to-work" States. Unbelievable!

    33. Charles Caskey, Good says:

      I think it goes… "On Wisconsin"!!!! there the fight has begun; hopefully we will stand and defend them and take the fight to the "robber" barons everywhere!

    34. jerry l. Anderson--- says:

      I am proud of the leadership that Scott Walker is providing for the citizens of Wisconsin.

    35. Pingback: Morning Bell: Victory in Wisconsin, but the Fight Goes On – Heritage.org (blog) | Law Advice

    36. JohnL2 SC says:

      WOW!! It is past time for a US court to decide in favor of the constitution rather than political pandering! The Wisconsin Supreme Court is to be complimented on their ruling in favor of the legal American citizens of Wisconsin rather than attempting to over ride the wishes of the citizens in favor of politically legislating from the bench! Perhaps the SCOTUS will take a lesson and do what is constitutionally right rather than what is politically expedient!!!

    37. Pingback: Victoria en Wisconsin, pero la lucha continúa | Heritage Libertad

    38. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Why not sick the NLRB on the federal government instead?

    39. Renny, Maryland says:

      Goes to show you who is running this country. The unions and the judicial system. I thank my God knowing that He is in control of this mess. He has someone out there that is going to clean this mess up!!

    40. Dr. Henry D. Sinopol says:

      Who are you kidding…the lifer politicians, Democrats & Republicans are the same…we elect a community organizer to office, a real buffoon, keep returning greedy Republicans & Democrats to Congress…who can't even keep their pants on and we think they are at fault…it's us…we have met the enemy and it is us…

      The country can withstand some stupidity, but not a nation of stupidity…all the letters, papers and news casters shouting daily will not educate the really dumb…Remember with out this nonsense…your boy Rush would not be able to make a living.

    41. Rick, San Diego, Cal says:

      Why not have a movement to recall the 14 Wisconsin senate Democrats that fled to Illinois and cost the Wisconsin tax payers–how much?

    42. CC says:

      Good. This is great. Public unions need to be brought back down to earth.

    43. 2dokie says:

      Anyone who's only concerned about getting theirs will never have enough, because greed has no limit. And the greedy deceive themselves to justify their disease. They will never admit there's a limit to the value of their job…that's irrelevant. Until there's no revenue base left, because they're too stupid to accept reality. That especially includes every "public servant" The national "employees"

    44. Dave W. Provo. UT says:

      As a UW-Madison Grad I'm thrilled to see my beloved state where my children were born to begin throwing off the shackles of the unions. They will fight dirty to get their power back but I'm praying that the voters continue to support Walker. The stories I could tell about the union shenanigans I personally experienced and witnessed in the UW system was the main reason I left for a right to work state.

    45. BetterLiving says:

      This is about so much more than mere budget, as crucially important as that is. It's about liberty. It is inconceivable in a free society that anyone anywhere, including the government should have the power to force anyone to join any organization in order to work for a living! Union membership should be totally voluntary by Federal law, along with harsh penalties against top union leaders for any hint of coersion from union goons aimed at 'encouraging' union membership. The pox on all Progressives and their encroachment on American personal liberties!

    46. michael j mudrak car says:

      Should be made ileagle for labor unions to donate moneys collected from dues or other funds to any political candidate.

    47. toledofan says:

      At the end of the day the fight will go on because the union bureacracy can't afford to loose; they have too much at stake, just like the numbers of administrators in high paying jobs that don't do very much to educate anyone. I'm for everyone earning a decent wage but what the public services unions have done is price themselves out of business. Instead of bending with the economy and the lack of tax dollars, they are trying to push full steam ahead trying to get more. The other part of this is that the results don't, in many instances, reflect the increase in dollars. Just look at the high school drop out rate. So, the unions will survive to fight another day until all the states follow suit and do the same. Ohio will be the next big test.

    48. Henry says:

      We must refuse all unions for public employees. I cannot believe a teacher is making $100,000 a year with life time benefits, and pays zero toward their benefits.

      There should never ever be a government employee in a union. These people work for the rest of society that signs their paychecks. You work for us not the union bosses. I would cut their paychecks in 1/2 and they would pay their on insurance and zero benefits for life.

      This is what the working people do, they pay their on way.

      $100,000 for 180 days of work. Plus full benefits for life.

      These poor old teachers have pulled the wool over our eyes for years. And they goes for firemen and police officers. IF THEY DON'T WANT THEIR JOBS, THERE ARE MILLIONS THAT DO AND 20,000 MILLION ILLEGALS.

    49. W. Colborne Mullen says:

      The taxes previously collected, from employees, of Government are collected, from workers, in the private sector. For every $100 dollars they had been paying is no longer paid, and thus it is a reduction, of income, to the Government. I pray you citizens realize you now pay increased taxes, to cover the taxes this employee finds deducted, from the new paycheck. No one noticed the elephant, in the room. The Government does not produce a product, for sale, to show income! The Government has already collected the taxes, from the private sector. Why have they been charging us, twice, by levying additional taxes, on each employee, of Government. My goal is, to pay an employee, only that portion, of salary, they call take home pay. The extra money no longer collected, will reduce the tax burden, on the private sector.
      This will reduce the unneccesary, and ever increasing beaurocrasy. The size, of the IRS, can be reduced, once they arel no longer keeping these unneeded records. Is there anyone who understands my concept!

    50. Northlander says:

      Wisconsin proves THERE IS A GOD!

    51. Jon says:

      Do you all realize that the unions have been there for 50 years and the deficit in Wisconsin for only 10? The unions were put in place to ensure that Public workers would be paid a decent living wage! Teachers in Wisconsin DO NOT get paid $101,000 a year. My parents are teachers and hardly got half that, even with the Union in place. Contracts only last ONE year by the way, and it hurts me that this has been taken as a good thing for my state's workers. Lastly, how are Unions a "Monopoly"? They have no afflictions with business of any kind, and do not overpower Private Unions. Call me a liberal, but this is no victory, it is a failure of government.

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