Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Let's face it - the real reason the DNC and Obama's OfA are freaking out over and attempting to organize and expand the Wisconsin budget protests isn't just because of the fact that if Gov. Walker has his way he will end collective bargaining.   There is a much deeper issue at stake, and it's something that isn't getting much play in the media, because it's not a sympathetic position ("It's for the kids!"™).  Walker's budget will also force unions to collect their own dues and, most importantly of all, have an annual membership vote.  That is the union buster, right there.  If Walker's plan goes through, union membership in the public sector will sink like a stone. 

This is, after all, a forced unionization state - if you work for the state of Wisconsin, you are a union member.  Period.  The dues are automatically garnished from your wages by the state; you have no choice.  The thing Walker is attempting to allow, which the unions and the DNC are desperate to stop, is employee choice over whether they want to be in the union or not.  According to this poll, there's a good chance that a healthy majority will choose "not".  Especially when those dues no longer magically disappear from their paychecks, sight unseen, and they have to cut a check themselves every month.  People tend to stop and think, to assess something more closely, when they are the ones writing the check for it - especially in a recession.

The most dangerous development in Madison is the annual membership vote. On a personal note, years ago I started working at a large corporation.  While I was going through the orientation process I was heavily pressured to join the union.  I did, as did most new hires.  But as I went through my first year, I realized that, being in a right to work state, union and non-union members had the same contracts - with the exception that non-union didn't have the pressure of a threat to strike every time the contract was up for renewal.  And I mean every time.  And so, like a large majority of my fellow employees, on my one year anniversary I dropped out of the union.  Wisconsin state employees don't have this luxury, but Walker wants to change all that.  It's not so much that he is trying to bust the unions as make the conditions possible for them to bust themselves.

Make no mistake, though - the DNC and OfA aren't coming to the rescue because this is an "assault on unions"; they are charging into the fray because it's an assault on the their campaign contributions.

The potential drop in membership in turn robs some of the DNC's biggest contributors of their forced dues, which they so generously donate to their pet politicians.  President Obama himself owes a huge debt to unions, and no doubt was counting on their support come 2012.  So the reason why the DNC and OfA have thrust themselves into a state issue is certainly no mystery.  The only thing under debate, really, is the appropriateness of their actions.

This isn't about "the little people", this isn't really even about collective bargaining.  It's about keeping forced membership, which will allow the government/union circle jerk to continue unchecked.  It's just amazing how hysterical some people become over corporate cronyism, and yet shout "power to the people" when it comes to union cronyism.  The problem is, public union cronyism is even more dangerous, because while a corporation greases palms and buys politicians to help create or prevent legislation/regulation that might enable their companies to have an edge in the marketplace (which might have the happy result of job creation/economic growth), unions grease the palms and buy the politicians with whom they negotiate their salaries and benefits.  It's like having union bosses on both sides of the table, only the "corporation" they are nailing to the wall is the American taxpayer (who is, at least according to Paul Krugman, the new mortal enemy of democracy). 

So don't be fooled by the DNC and unions (but I repeat myself) lamenting "worker's rights".  In the end, all they care about is the bottom line.  Ultimately the bottom line Walker is offering could be potentially crippling for them in the upcoming election cycle.  And that's all that really matters - the next election cycle.

Let's hope the gravy train has left the station by then.

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