I am torn by Wisconsin but.......
As a union member for almost 30 years I am really torn by the standoff in Wisconsin. I can tell you my international and parent union have already weighed in on the issue by going to Madison and speaking to the masses assembled. They in the style of any organization that depends on us giving them money. Immediately went to the defense of the workers and made up a story about the fake crisis that the Governor created. This is fascinating since that is the mantra of the leftists in this country. Never let a crisis go to waste.
Let me start by saying that I feel it was wrong for people who say they care about our kids to close the schools for days to go protest this issue. From my perspective this could cause more damage to their cause than anything else they could have done. The majority of people see this and wonder what the real priority is. The answer is that they will protect everything they have at any cost.
In the entire time I was an active member of the union, I never once got a contract based on Collective Bargaining. Never in 22 years was one contract with a major city actually negotiated. There were proposals and counter proposals. But due to Binding Arbitration often one side or the other stonewalled and forced arbitration. The city at one point won big concessions during this process and my benefits were cut back big time. Yes it hurt but we adapted and we kept doing our jobs. Where we ever sick? Sure we got sick but we certainly never got sick enough to march on City Hall while we were sick. Here is the rub, all of this was being done by Democrats. Not the so-called Evil Conservatives. How cushy is my retirement? I only get a COLA if the pension fund earns more than a certain percent. This has happened once since implemented and it was done as a one time payout. So no raise for the rest of my life. My medical gets covered for 5 years after I retire. I can defer but the cost would have to be equal to the cost at the time I retired. I deferred and how many years do you think I will get when I do finally need it? I do not feel sorry for anyone who has lifetime medical facing the potential of losing it. Yes they negotiated it. Not they may have to lose it through that same format. Life is tough huh?
All of this being said. Many of the rank and file never agreed with our international on political issues. They were in bed with the very people who were sticking it to the public unions while taxing us to put the trades to work, the Democrats. Our union supported Chris Dodd for election last time (should be a hint as to what union I belong). Chris Dodd? Every year our local would issue endorsements and every year we would be so upset that we would propose that the union NOT endorse anyone. I have always voted they way I wanted and threw the recommendations in the trash. The city I grew up in and worked for has been in Democrat control since before I was born. They are in no better financial shape than anyone else out there. In fact they are probably losing the battle for the soul of the city. Crime, Murder and corruption abound.
It is from that background that I watch the situation unfold in Madison, Wisconsin. Where a Governor is attempting to control costs and pass legislation that removes benefits from the collective bargaining process and basically turn the state into a "Right to Work" state. Allowing members to opt out of unions if they want. He is not banning unions, he is taking control of benefits to curb spending. Is it good for the unions? Heck no. They could lose membership and dues but many doubt people will bail on union representation even if offered. Look at the turn out at union urging. It is important to note here that Wisconsin was one of those states that flipped their statehouse from Democrat to Republican in the last election. Why did they do that? SO they could get spending under control. We are seeing that happen and now the unions are mobilizing the zealots to scare the legislature. It worked on 16 Democats who cut and ran to Illinois.
It is time for Government and unions to come to the table with honest intent. Both sides should realize it is the people they represent. The flaw in this logic is that the union does not represent the people. They represent the members and that will always be a road block to common sense negotiations. The term negotiate implies give and take. Maybe it is time for the public sector unions to understand that even they are paying too much tax. I know I am. All this governor is asking is for common sense. Seems like that is lacking here. Remember we are Taxed Enough Already!
One more thing. The President weighing in on a local issue is very wrong. I feel it is designed to garner votes in 2012. Mr President you worry about the Federal Budget. It is Federal interference that caused this fiscal mess anyway.