Bad Times for Unions


The boards at Democratic Underground crackled on June 12.

It was just announced in Wisconsin that the unprecedented recall elections of Republicans will take place August 9.

The leftists dreamed.  Visions of a union-boss oligarchy danced in their heads. Posters misquoted Marx and Lenin. Others wanted nothing to do with waiting two months for an election: they were ready to take up arms and violently overthrow the Wisconsin government.


By the time the Verizon strike—45,000 CWA and IBEW workers—began, the DU was subdued.  One posted predicted “This could be the spark that will change American history.”  But most complained about Verizon’s poor customer service and the decline of land-line phones.

The Marxist slogans were there for the Verizon strikers, but these posts seemed perfunctory. 


Having played a major role in destroying GM and Chrysler, the UAW turned its eyes toward foreign car manufacturers.


In Wisconsin, millions of union dollars failed to win back the Wisconsin Senate. Governor Scott Walker’s overdue reforms of public employee union power move forward.  The leftist teacher’s union—WEAC—has announced layoffs totaling 40 percent of its staff

In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and neighboring states, the CWA and IBEW announced they will return to work without a contract while negotiations continue. 

And in automotive, the UAW failed to work its way into both VW and Hyundai. 


Unions hoped that their support of Barack Obama would reverse the decades-old decline in union membership and influence. Those hopes seem dashed. Like ACORN, union bosses are learning that tightness with Obama cannot save a failing idea.

The lesson for unions is clear: focus on workers instead of politics, and help business grow. That’s the recipe for helping working people. 

There’s also a lesson for business: focus on future growth, not next quarter’s report. Make every decision about what’s best for customers, and pretty soon you’ll be doing right by everyone.

Forward, Wisconsin

Doing the right thing is hard.

Doing the right thing after years of practicing the wrong things is even harder.

When your senate separated the fiscal responsibility provisions affecting union collective bargaining powers from a bill that previously included tax and spend provisions, you took a big step toward fiscal recovery.

For years, public sector unions have dictated states’ taxing spending policies through brute force.  These unions were not elected by the people, but the people were forced to pay—or borrow—what the unions demanded.

Economically, public sector unions are not workers, but part of the of government.  They are management.  They imposed their demands directly on the people who pay the bill and who created their functions in the first place. 

Unlike politicians, though, unions have refused to yield to the electoral process.

Your governor, Scott Walker, and your 18 Republican Senators displayed courage and decency throughout this ordeal, brought on by Democrats who shirked their duties by fleeing the state.  You, the people of Wisconsin, show tremendous patience and courage, too, but standing behind your elected officials who are trying to govern.

When Ronald Reagan fired the illegally striking PATCO workers, leftist pundits predicted mayhem.  They were wrong.  The skies remained as safe after as they’d been before. Federal workers learned a new respect for the American taxpayer.  And the US economy, eventually, healed into a nearly 20-year expansion.

You, Wisconsin, have set an example for us all.  So I lift my glass and toast you with your governor’s brother, Johnny.


Why Would You Give State Workers the Power to Tax?

For decades, now, public sector unions have imposed onerous tax increases and service cuts on the net tax payers of many states.  Wisconsin being among the worst.

What do I mean by that?

Look at what’s going on in Wisconsin.  The people who represent the net tax payers—those who pay more in taxes to the state than they receive in salary—are being vilified, harassed, threatened, and assaulted by the net tax takers—those receive more in state wages than they pay in state taxes.  In fact, the net takers have shut down Wisconsin’ legislature with the help of 14 cowardly state senators.

What the Wisconsin unions want to keep is the power to impose any taxes they want on the people of Wisconsin through collective bargaining.  That’s right, state employee unions have the power to tax the people.

Suppose Wisconsin set a tax rate of 8 percent.  Then AFSCME (NSFW) goes on strike demanding a 20 percent wage increase and a 5 percent workforce increase.  To prevent chaos, the state grants the concession.  Taxes must go up or non AFSCME services must go down. 

But non-AFSCME services are likely covered under some other union’s contract. So the state has to raise taxes now, or borrow money now and raise taxes later.

Either way, unelected union representatives have imposed a tax on the people.

Letting unions determine a state’s tax policy is like letting a 16-year-old have a  12-pack of Budweiser and the car keys.

Unions Go Berserk

Obama’s friends in the public-sector unions stage embarrassing rallies to demand more, More, MORE of other people’s money.

These aren’t unions that represent people who work in mines and factories.  No, these are unions representing people who live off your and my tax dollars.  (BTW,the military doesn’t have a union.)

So let’s see  . . . The government does a bunch of stuff we don’t want them to do.  The people who did it get paid twice as much as the people who pay them.  And these people who make double our salaries who do stuff we ask them to stop are striking and vandalizing cities because they’re afraid they might be asked to live a little more like the rest of us.

I say it’s time to heed Franklin Roosevelt’s grim warning about the evils of public-sector unions

"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place" in the public sector. "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government."

It’s time to eliminate collective bargaining for government workers.  

Wisconsin’s Teachers

Let’s knock off the silly political correctness, here, and admit what’s going in Wisconsin. The teachers are trying collapse the system. 

The National Education Association is a radical, political organization whose primary purpose is not education but control.  Threatened with sensible legislation that protects the people of Wisconsin from unsustainable and unjustified retirement benefits, these teachers decided to shut down Wisconsin’s schools.

The solution is simple. Do what Reagan did to PATCO.  Fire them.  Fire them all and revoke their certifications.

Wisconsin’s striking teachers are not educators, they’re conquistadors.  Fire them.  Let them start over.

Jay Nixon Putting Party Ahead of Missouri? *UPDATE*

Last week, the Illinois legislature passed a massive income tax increase on individuals and businesses.  Overall, it represents about a 67 percent income tax increase. In response, neighboring states of Wisconsin and Indiana have wisely mounted massive campaigns to suck businesses and people out of Illinois.  Even New Jersey’s fabulous governor, Chris Christie, plans to fish the Land o’ Lincoln for some business transplants.

One state bordering Illinois has been notoriously silent.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has done nothing to steal business and residents away from Illinois.

Is Nixon being lazy?  Or is he just being a good Democrat?

While we’re at it, why isn’t St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay beating the bushes on the East Side?  The city needs business and people desperately, but Slay has been as silent as Nixon.

Look, people, I realize that we have a lot of friends in Illinois.  My wife is from GC.  Most of her family lives in Madison County.  But businesses and workers are going to flee to the state.  Illinois dropped from the 23rd best tax state to the 36th in one step.  With Democrats in charge of the legislature and the governorship, this increase is only the beginning.  Illinois taxes will rise until the people in Illinois elect tax cutting budget hawks.

In the meantime, Jay Nixon has an obligation to put Missouri’s economy ahead of Democrat party loyalties.  Missouri needs to follow the leads of Indiana, Wisconsin, and New Jersey by campaigning for fleeing Illinois businesses and people.

*UPDATE* Over on United for Missouri, Emily Iles explains the extraordinary dangers to Illinois' economy this tax hike poses.