Wisconsin, Unions, and the Nation

by ward on June 9, 2012

Wisconsin’s recall election this last Tuesday triggered a couple of deep thought sessions spread over three days. Hey, I’ve got a job to go to, and I have to actually perform. I also have a wife, three dogs, a cockatiel, and not one, but TWO teenage daughters living at home.

See how easy it is to get sidetracked?

Ostensibly, the Wisconsin Recall was supposed to be about Gov. Walker, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch, and two or three State Senators.

After listening to the yammering right on the radio (Boortz, Limbaugh and Hannity), and the yammering left on the cable and broadcast TV channels (too numerous to mention), and reading a bit of the instant “analysis” on the news sites (AP, FoxNews, NY Times, Daily Caller, etc), it became pretty obvious that this wasn’t really about Gov. Walker.

This was the public sector unions running scared as hell.

Factoid #1: Since Wisconsin stopped collecting union dues directly from state employees’ paychecks, union membership dues dropped by 70%.

Factoid #2: Nationally, union membership has been dropping for the last thirty years.

What those two factoids, AND the results of the Wisconsin Recall bring into prominent foreground focus is that labor unions of all kinds are not all that popular with the American “working class”. Without government or corporate coercion, people will not pay union dues.

This is disastrous for the Democatic Party. In general, public sector unions support Democrats – with money, with union members staffing phone banks, with “get out the vote” activities of all kinds. Without those politically oriented money and activities, union influence will drop like a stone.

Another factor is the “Citizens United” Supreme Court case. Now, private industry can get involved in politics directly.

Combined with the general attitude of the American public, unions in several states are about to take a beating in the pocket book. States will start following the Wisconsin model, and start trimming back the public sector union privileges.

The public sector unions in Wisconsin really reached too far this time, and in a very “liberal” state, they got their heads handed to them, on a platter. And the nation noticed.

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