Washington Post columnist agrees the government union system is set up to benefit Democrats but doesn’t see corruption!
By now most readers probably know that the citizens of Wisconsin must endure yet another recall election because Governor Walker and the GOP legislature enacted reforms to reduce the power of public employee unions. The unions counter-attacked by gathering enough signatures to force the recall, and the media fully supports the unions.
The Washington Post’s E.J. Dion Jr. is typical, accusing Walker of “gaming the system.” He distinguishes tolerable “conservative policies” from Walker’s union reforms which he characterizes as “a new and genuinely alarming approach to politics on the right.” What’s so alarming? In Mr. Dion’s own words:
[Walker and the Republicans] sought to undermine one of the Democratic Party’s main sources of organization. They sharply curtailed collective bargaining by most public employee unions and made it harder for these organizations to maintain themselves over time, notably by requiring an almost endless series of union elections.
Since the Seventies the Democratic Party and public employee unions have had a symbiotic relationship, what Mr. Dion calls “one of the Democratic Party’s main sources of organization.” Unions provide campaign staff and donate a portion of the dues they extract from public employees to ensure the continuous re-election of Democrats who in turn, ensure the continuous expansion of government, creating more union jobs, generating more dues revenue, and even larger campaign donations for Democrats. Why don’t the media, including Mr. Dion, call this what it is, corruption? Apparently, they’re willing to tolerate corruption as long as their side benefits.
Before Walker’s reforms the unions “negotiated” with state, county and city elected officials to develop contracts that established wages, benefits and working conditions. When those elected officials owed their jobs to, and were dependent upon the union for their future reelection campaigns everyone sat on the same side of the negotiating table!
State and local government employees are union members not because they voted for union representation but because they were required to join and pay dues as a condition of employment. While Republicans must ask for voluntary donations, unions use the public payroll system as a conduit to transform tax revenue into steady, guaranteed cash flow for candidates.
A union’s authority to represent and bind employees to the contract it negotiates, and to force them to pay dues via payroll deduction stems from an election wherein a majority of employees voted to “certify” it as their representative. In Wisconsin, those elections were held four decades ago, binding all future employees unless/until a majority sign a petition calling for a new election. Of course the union applies coercive pressure to discourage anyone from circulating or signing petitions.
Mr. Dion is outraged that Republicans would seek to break up this circle of corruption and thus force the Democrats to operate like Republicans, with volunteer campaign workers and voluntary contributions!
Walker’s reform legislation has:
- Restricted collective bargaining to only one issue, wages. Benefits will not be subject to collective bargaining.
- Ended collective bargaining over work rules and personnel procedures.
- Ended the practice of forcing employees to pay union dues via payroll deduction. Dues payment will become voluntary.
- Required annual re-certification elections. Most current employees are union members not because they voted for certification but because they were required to join and pay dues as a condition of state employment. No longer will a single union election, held 30-40 years ago, bind current employees.
Public employees in Wisconsin and all across the nation enjoy higher wages and far more generous benefits than employees in comparable private sector jobs. In addition, public employees are protected by Civil Service laws that ensure greater job security than anyone in the private sector would ever expect. The Civil Service system began in the 1930s before public employees were allowed to join unions. It’s independent of, and not dependent upon unions.
Wisconsin voters have been mercilessly hectored for 16 months, first by disruptive union demonstrations and then by a non-stop barrage of political messages from both sides and two previous recall attempts to change the state Supreme Court and the Legislature. We urge them to go to the polls one more time, vote against the recall, and thus refuse to restore the Democrats’ corrupt, taxpayer supported, campaign funding mechanism.