Blogs » Politcs Plus » An all out effort to break up the unions



This morning I had to sit there and listen to a one-sided exaggerated point of view from Joe Scarborough on how public unions differ from private unions because they're bankrupting states. Joe always thinks that being the loudest voice in the room will make everyone see his point of view as he asks each guest to agree with him. The topic was about the controversy in Wisconsin where a newly elected republican governor is drawing a line in the sand to break up collective bargaining.

"Collective bargaining is a process of voluntary negotiations between employers and trade unions aimed at reaching agreements which regulate working conditions. Collective agreements usually set out wage scales, working hours, training, health and safety, overtime, grievance mechanisms and rights to participate in workplace or company affairs."

.President Dwight D. Eisenhower said"Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice and FDR was against public employees having the benefits of collective bargaining but he did say "It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that is, have free and independent labor unions." Today, public and private unions are part of the political system that usually work for, and contribute to the democratic party. Labor unions are a counterbalance to republican 527s and the United States Chamber Commerce.

I have never worked for a union, in fact I was so glad that I benefited of not paying union dues and still had union like wages because of the threat of a union. I recently wrote a blog about the excesses of public employee unions and I mentioned a few examples, such as the California highway patrol officers retiring at age 50 and receiving a pension of $100,000 for life. I'm also aware that some states have not fully funded their retirement fund for years but are using hard times as a bargaining chip against their nemesis. The public employee unions always had politicians as their bargaining chip but we are in a new era, so it's time to renegotiate the contracts made in good faith when times were good, to a more realistic contract for the future. The alternative is not negotiable.

Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, wanted the public employees to increase their contribution to their own retirement and medical benefits. That's not unreasonable on its face but he did exempt the police and firefighter unions because they worked to get him elected. Last night, I heard that the Wisconsin Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin is not in need of austerity measures, and will end the fiscal year with a surplus. The current budget shortfall is a result of tax cutting policies the new governor enacted in his first days in office. I wouldn't disagree if he wanted to renegotiate the labor contracts that were signed before he took office but this argument is really about the portion of the bill that would strip public workers of the right to bargain for higher wages. I think governor Walker is part of a national effort to eliminate public unions. The next battleground will be Ohio where the voters elected a republican governor, who will try to do the same thing Governor Walker did.

I don't think Wisconsin should have closed down their schools today to allow teachers to protest but it doesn't bother me that the democratic senators fled the state in protest so the republicans wouldn't get their quorum. It amounted to an illegal filibuster much like the national republicans used, when they voted a consistent no. The Wisconsin legislators have enough republicans to eventually pass this measure, so I think it's wise for the democrats to use the rallies to pick off enough republicans to avoid a complete loss of collective bargaining. Then again the democrats can remember this loss; regroup; then make a full out effort to supplant the republicans and repeal the legislation. Sound familiar?