Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GOP Takes Aim at Collective Bargaining

It's not just happening in Ohio--it's happening all over the country. In what can only be called either an organized GOP campaign or a very improbable coincidence, Republican governors and legislatures across the land are aiming at disemboweling public employee unions. In Ohio, Senate Bill 5 was just introduced which would:

"Thousands of public employees and supporters converged at a hearing at the capitol here that ran into the wee hours of Wednesday morning to voice their objection to a proposal to cut their benefits and remove most of their unions’ ability to bargain. The show of anger was powerful. Madison schools were closed on Wednesday after scores of teachers called in sick and appeared headed to lobby exhausted-looking lawmakers, who had heard more than 17 hours of comments in a public hearing that began on Tuesday morning. More buses of public workers from other parts of the state were still pulling up near dawn on Wednesday. The target of their fury was a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican elected in November, to press through a “repair bill” that would help solve the state’s $137 million budget shortfall by requiring government workers to contribute significantly more to their pensions and health care, while limiting collective bargaining for most state and local government employees to the issue of wages, excluding an array of issues like health coverage and vacations."

This is what dictatorship looks like, not democracy. The democratic process would include real debate and a thoughtful give-and-take (I think given the economic circumstances of the states, the unions would be fairly reasonable in giving up some benefits). Instead, this is an organized campaign by the GOP to kill the teachers’ unions--and eventually tenure—something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. And to do it fast before the opposition can organize. Governor Kasich said on the campaign trail that one of his main goals as governor was to "break the back" of the teachers unions. He’s well on his way.

Are we going to see people in the streets just like happened in Egypt? Is the National Guard really going to be used by GOP governors across the land to put down the protests? I hope not. We had a little incident here in 1970 at Kent State people might remember…


Craig Wesson said...

Governor Walker and Governor Kasich were both elected on platforms that would curb spending by restricting Union benefits, so this issue has already been debated and voted on. There is also reporting from Rasmussen that shows the majority of likely voters in Wisconsin support the measure. If anything, what we’re seeing is the polar opposite of what’s happening in Egypt. We’re seeing a small minority of society fighting tooth and nail to keep their handsome benefits paid for by the rest of society. We have no money and something has to give; it’s as simple as that.

And the United States is a Republic, not a Democracy.

DC said...

No, it's not as simple as that. And yes, I know the U.S. is a republic not a democracy, thanks for the history lesson.

This is about a naked power play--bust the unions & you drive a stake through the Democratic Party. The unions in Wisconsin already signaled they would cave on salary & benefits. Walker has no interest & will only be happy when he busts the unions. Kasich is on record saying he wanted to break the teachers unions. They are taking away fundamental rights workers fought decades for in this country. This is about power & politics, not economics.

By the way, Walker had a surplus in this fiscal year when he entered office only to pass a tax cut bill brining Wisconsin into the red. The current emergency that Wisconsin is currently in is of his own doing.

DC said...

A USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that 61% of Americans oppose a Wisconsin-style law taking away collective bargaining right of public employees.

Anonymous said...

"This is what dictatorship looks like, not democracy. The democratic process would include real debate and a thoughtful give-and-take..."

Of course... Just like the passage of Obamacare.

Anonymous said...

"This is about a naked power play--bust the unions & you drive a stake through the Democratic Party."

The first admittance that the Public Unions and the Dems are aligned against the tax payers.

Public Unions put Dems in office and give Dems campaign cash while Dems try to grow the power of the Public Unions (which are by definition monopolies). The victim is the private sector tax payer who is getting fleeced.

Anonymous said...

Government workers were making good salaries in 1962 when President Kennedy lifted, by executive order (so much for democracy), the federal ban on government unions." ... "The argument for public unionization wasn't moral, economic or intellectual. It was rankly political.

Traditional organized labor, the backbone of the Democratic Party, was beginning to lose ground. As Daniel DiSalvo wrote in "The Trouble with Public Sector Unions," in the fall issue of National Affairs, JFK saw how in states such as New York and Wisconsin, where public unions were already in place, local liberal pols benefited politically and financially. He took the idea national.

The plan worked perfectly -- too perfectly. Public union membership skyrocketed, and government union support for the party of government skyrocketed with it. From 1989 to 2004, AFSCME -- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -- gave nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections, with 98.5 percent going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."

-Jonah Goldberg

Anonymous said...

That same USA Today also showed that Americans oppose tax increases with a 71% majority.

Hmmm... 71% or 61% - It seems that, unfortunately, many poll respondents don't understand that supporting one means opposing the other...

DC said...

First, it would be great if visitors to this site would use a name or some way to identify since I don't know if all the Anons are the same person.

Obamacare was not shoved through. If it had been, liberal Dems would have loved it which they didn't. Instead it took a long time to meander through both houses of Congress and was a much-awtered down bill because of it. What is happening in Wisconsin and elsewhere is Republican majorities overreaching and trying to ram through their legislation. There is no bargaining, even within their own caucus.

Union members ARE taxpayers. They are working class folks who patrol our streets, take care of our sick, teach our children. The Right seems to forget that.

Regarding what polling shows--yes, Americans/voters want it all. They want their government services, they want low taxes, they want balanced budgets. That's one of the reasons we are in this mess--neither party wants to tell voters no. I am not against balanced budgets--I am very much for them. Most Americans are. It's how we get there where people differ. I don't think it's right or smart to try and balance state & federal budgets by punishing the working/middle class.

Thanks for your comments.

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