In an earlier post, in which I discussed the financial implications of union-busting for state Democrats, I linked to a post Christian Schneider had written for the National Review, in which he suggested that Nelson's authorization of collective bargaining for public employees was linked to the state Democratic Party's hopes to raise money from unions.
However, as Christian Schneider theorizes, collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin was born out of a Democratic governor's desire for more campaign cash. Perhaps history will repeat itself somewhere down the line.
It was a confusing sentence. Although the word "theorizes" suggests that Schneider's claim was a theory, and not fact, the following clause seems to indicate that I was accepting it as fact. I regret this mistake. Furthermore, I think that my post also misconstrued Schneider's post. Although his column was titled "the partisan origins of public-sector collective bargaining," he did not suggest that Nelson's sole motivation to unionize public employees was fundraising; only that he was aware of the fundraising potential.
I'm also glad readers have pointed out something I didn't know (but should have known from my recent read of Wisconsin Votes): The collective bargaining bill that Nelson signed passed a legislature in which Republicans held the Senate by an overwhelming margin.
In fact, as recently as the 1990's Republicans were quite proud to support public-sector collective bargaining rights. Not only was Tommy Thompson's AFSCME, but former Republican Assembly Speaker David Prosser introduced legislation to extend collective bargaining rights to public defenders. He proudly noted it to me in an interview a few weeks ago.
Nevertheless, the spirit of the post stands: Unions have always been a chiefly Democratic interest group, and their money is overwhelmingly used to elect Democrats. Both parties know this, and it is a fact that motivates people on both sides of the debate.