I just had the pleasure (no, really!) of spending the last week in Wisconsin. While I was not in Madison itself, I was exposed to the opinions of many regular Wisconsinites. Indeed, last Friday I watched the local news during which one reported summed up the tone of the folks in the State:
- The bill goes too far
- The teachers need to get back to work
This is good news because most people don't actually know what the bill says; they're just hearing, and believing, the "they tuk 'ar rights!" mantra from the unions. (My apologies to South Park.) The general population though is pretty miffed at the teachers thinking it's OK to abandon the kids. I even talked to a teacher one evening who was fuming at her colleagues actions.
So that's some history, but it's not the real issue here.
If you take a step back, you have to ask yourself what's really going on. We have unions claiming their rights are being taken away, when in fact the bill doesn't do that at all; it just brings the CB rights into line with other government workers who cannot negotiate working conditions and benefits either. And frankly, I am not sure what "working conditions" the teachers are so concerned about.
On the flip side, we have the Governor and the Republicans talking about closing the budget gap. Yes, there's some truth to that -- this bill will save the State money -- but it's not the whole story.
What always amazes me though is how the media always skirts the real issue. The local media in Wisconsin is doing it, and the national media is too. Even Fox News seems oblivious to the real issue at hand in Madison.
You see, it's not just the unions protesting. It's the (Democrat) politicians too. Sure, "solidarity" always sounds good for a sound-bite, but given that dereliction of duty is a class A felony in Wisconsin, that carries an immediate termination of political office as part of the sentence, why are 14 State Senators willing to risk going to prison over this issue?
Simple. Tucked away in this bill, and in other similar bills pending in other states, is a small clause that is, in the President's words, an assault on the unions. Actually, it's not tucked away at all, it's quite visible for everyone to see. And yes, it is an assault, but I suspect while the President views that assault as a bad thing, most everyone here probably sees it as a good thing, and one that is long overdue.
I'm talking about the prohibition of employers from collecting forced union dues.
This is what the real issue is. The unions have already caved on all the Governor's financial demands. (Union members who are complaining about the financial hit the bill imposes might do themselves a favor and wonder just what good their union is when it's caving to that demand anyway...) They're terrified of what will happen to them -- the Union -- if they can no longer forcibly steal money from their members.
And the politicians are equally terrified about what will happen when their campaign donation spigot runs dry. Which is why they're more than willing to put it all on the line right now, because if they lose this battle -- which they will -- the path the war is taking will have turned dramatically against them.
This is a war. For too long the tax-payers have been funding one side of the political spectrum without realizing it. We are in the mess we are in today because of union interference in elections. Unions bankroll the campaigns of pro-union school board members; they bankroll the campaigns of pro-union local politicians who agree to overly-favorable contracts in return for their money; they bankroll the campaigns of pro-union state politicians who pass laws that leave the rest of us stunned aver their audacity; they bankroll the campaigns of pro-union federal politicians who are destroying the Republic as we speak.
They hold too much power, and it is time this power was shut-off at the source.