National unions descended on Wisconsin to fight over collective bargaining because the real line of scrimmage was the political power of the unions. Since the legislation ended government collection of union dues, the ability of unions to strong-arm their members has already begun to wane.
On Monday, the Wisconsin Education Association Council announced it will lay off about 40% of its staff, a change executive director Dan Burkhalter blamed on Mr. Walker's "union-busting legislation." In December the union will face another reality check, as 51% of its members must vote to recertify it as their representative. With members no longer captive dues payers, the union has been forced to begin new outreach efforts, including home visits, to sell its relevance to workers.
The unions in school districts that inked contracts prior to the implementation of the budget repair bill in June will still be able to collect dues automatically from their members. It will be interesting to see how many school teachers in other districts will voluntarily pay dues after unions arguably squandered millions on the recall elections and failed to take over the state senate.