It is true that neither the school boards nor local government associations have asked the governor to essentially halt collective bargaining.
But they had asked for major changes, changes that go well beyond what WEAC would ever accept. (Imagine, elected school boards want control over the school day!)
So, yes, Gov. Walker saw the School Boards Assn. and went them one better, to use a card playing term. However, no school board member or mayor or county executive foresaw the tremendous reductions in state shared revenues that will be coming their way.
"The cuts that are coming are going to be drastic," Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, told Wis.Politics.
Fitzgerald said local governments are going to need the collective bargaining concessions to balance their ledgers.
As I said one week ago, expect cuts of 8 to 10 percent; in the city of Madison's case, that translates to $3.7 million less revenue. Two days later, the State Journal said school cuts could be "devastating."
Yes, this is a power play -- a who shall rule? moment. We have already seen that teachers determine when school is out, not the elected school board or their chosen superintendent.
I'll have more to say about that in Thursday's copy of Isthmus. Read it 'n weep!
I will grant this point, and Wis.Politics makes it brilliantly in today's Capital Times. Governor Walker may have outrun his blockers. Has any chief executive since FDR been quite so bold?
Time's Joe Klein, a liberal who understands the crucial distinction. "Public employees unions are organized against the might and greed . . . of the public?"
Here is the remarkable thing: only 36% of government workers in the nation have collective bargaining, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only 26 states allow all government employees to bargain, according to the GAO.
Not exactly a god-given right.
Workers rights will be protected
The other great misconception is that these collective bargaining agreements protect workers' rights. Wrong. Wisconsin adopted one of the most far-reaching civil service systems a good 54 years before granting collective bargaining to government employees. That would be in 1905.
Its protections -- merit system selection, dismissal only for cause, promotion policies, discrimination, and other protections harken back to the state's administrative rules on employment relations.
In fact, the Joint Finance Committee last week extended those rights to any municipality that does not have them now. That is now part of the Special Session budget repair bill, SB11 (Go to Section 45).
The confusion by our friends in the government labor movement -- which, increasingly, IS the labor movement -- may be due to the fact that these statute-based protections are written into their collective bargaining agreements.
That is what is so infuriating about the previous administration's kowtowing to the public employee unions. Granting university system professors the ability to unionize? Incredible!
Unionized nurses or shared governance?
How did the great University of Wisconsin survive for 160 years without unionized professors? Great universities endow their professors with something called "shared governance."
Increasingly, that concept is taught in all the management schools.
In that regard, I have an e-mail from a longtime nurse at St. Mary's Hospital. Vicki McKenna read it on her Up Front program Tuesday on WIBA 1310 AM. Its author has given me permission to reprint it here:
We keep hearing over and over again how unions do so much to protect their employees in regards to salary working conditions, overtime etc. We have a great comparison right here in Madison. St, Mary's nurses are not part of a union and UW nurses are.
I have worked as an RN for both hospitals and would choose St. Mary's in a heartbeat. Historically, St. Mary's has always been the preferred place for nurses to work. They have a Shared Governance program in which employees solve their own work related issues. This is what allowed St. Mary's to not have a mandatory overtime policy. Their nurses figured out how to solve their staffing problems without forced overtime.
Meanwhile, if a UW nurse needed to leave at the end of her shift to pick up her kids from daycare she could be forced to work a 2nd shift if her supervisor felt it was necessary. In regards to salary, all 3 hospitals remain competitive in salaries because they need to in order to retain good nurses.
When I worked for UW Hospital and Clinics, the union never addressed any work or salary issues that mattered to me. The only place I saw my union dues at work was in (my) mailbox in (the) form of lots and lots of political literature from SEIU telling me what terrible things republicans were doing to nurses and who I should vote for.
Yes, we are all dupes of the Koch Brothers
Or maybe some people have deeply felt beliefs and put their money where their mouths are - like George Soroos on the Left. Are we really back to arguing that the Tea Party is Astroturf? Wisconsin Club for Growth is running this TV ad starting today: