The five reasons?
- AFSCME District Council 48 – Wisconsin.
- AFSCME District Council 20 – Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin Education Association Council.
- Wisconsin State Employees Union.
- Wisconsin Professional Police Association.
Those five are all public employee unions in the state of Wisconsin who fought tooth and nail against Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10 legislation in 2010. As you may recall, they pressured Democrats into leaving the state so the Wisconsin Senate couldn’t manage a quorum to vote on the bill. They occupied the state capitol for weeks demonstrating against its passage.
In the end Walker and the people of Wisconsin won a stunning victory which was repeated months later when Walker won a recall election as did Republican members of the Senate who faced recall. Democrats were the big losers because in Wisconsin, like everywhere else, public employee unions are nothing more than a money laundering mechanism to take taxpayer money, give it to union members who in turn pay inflated “dues” to the union bosses who then fund Democratic campaigns.
Act 10 simply makes it illegal for the state or municipalities to collect union dues from employees. If an employee wants to join a union, fine. The union is responsible for collecting the dues. If an employee chooses not to become a member, again, fine and they can keep their job. It gives employees the right to choose and if they feel the union will provide them a benefit you’d think they’d certainly join.
It’s called a free market and free association.
So, what do Wisconsin public employees think of the value they’re getting from their unions?
- In 2010 AFSCME 48 had 9,000 members and income of $7M, by the end of 2012 they were down to less than 3,500 members, a drop of 61% and they are $650,000 in the red.
- AFSCME 20 currently has about 20,000 members, down 36% over the last three years. It would have been more but they slammed contracts through liberal, union friendly (taxpayer unfriendly) school boards just before Act 10 became law.
- The Wisconsin Education Association Council had 98,000 members pre-Act 10 and it appears that they’re down 50%. They laid off 40% of their staff.
- Wisconsin State Employees Union had 22,000 members pre-Act 10 and they’re down about 60%.
- The Wisconsin Professional Police Association had about 7,200 members pre-Act 10 and they’re down about 20%.
Bottom line, Wisconsin workers are following the example of unionized workers everywhere. When given the opportunity to vote on the value of their union, they’re voting with their feet. And their cash.
Right-to-Work is good for workers, it gives them the ability to make a choice about where their money will do their families the most good and interestingly enough, American workers consistently choose their families over their union bosses.
It will likely have an equally positive impact on democracy in Wisconsin.
Especially hurt by the reduction in union membership are Democratic political candidates, who lean heavily on the public employee organizations for campaign donations and other support. A Journal Sentinel analysis in 2011 found that Democratic state senators received about 20% of their contributions from public workers and their unions.
Scott Walker has put a real dent in the RICO relationship between public employee unions and Democrat officeholders. That will be a very good thing for Wisconsin families and taxpayers.