In 2011, when the battle in Wisconsin raged between Governor Walker and his allies on the one hand and the public employee unions on the other, the two sides seemed monolithic. Especially the union side, with thousands of members swarming the state capitol to march in angry protest.
It would be calamity, union reps declared, were any concession made to the requirements of fiscal sobriety. Union members should not be required to contribute more to their health care or pension costs; suffer any limits on pay raises or collective bargaining; and certainly not be required to let their own members decide whether they wished to remain in a union.
It’s this last point that suggested a not-so-very-monolithic union force after all. Now that members are being asked whether they want their unions, the state’s public employee unions are losing between 30 to 60 percent of their members in various cities and counties.
In the Kenosha Unified School District, Wisconsin’s third largest, only 37 percent of the membership voted to re-certify their union. An official with the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) trade union admits that “the majority of our affiliates in the state aren’t seeing re-certification, so I don’t think the KEA is . . . unique in this.”
Well, now, we all should.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.