Ohio voters go to the polls tomorrow to vote on approving a recently passed public sector labor law, and a new survey from Public Policy Polling finds that 59 percent of those voters are against the law. Senate bill 5, passed by the Ohio legislature and signed by Republican governor John Kasich, requires public employees contribute to their health insurance and pension plans as well as limiting collective bargaining for those employees.Read more
Those on the left are wont to complain that government employees are under assualt these days because GOP politicians are going after public sector unions and generous deals they've leveraged through collective bargaining. The standard defense of civil service workers is, yes, they might have good benefits and more job stability but these things are necessary because public sector workers earn significantly less than private sector counterparts.Read more
The Hill reports that the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), an AFL-CIO affiliated union, is out with a new ad campaign urging Congress to pass a provision of the president's jobs bill being brought to the Senate floor this week. The provision allots $35 billion to the states to allow "400,000 teachers and first responders to keep their jobs and get their jobs back," according to Harry Reid, although the majority leader admitted yesterday some of that money wouldn't go to creating or keeping jobs.
Watch the video below, which tells viewers to urge their senators to "vote to fix public safety":Read more
We all suspected this was the case, but you're always surprised when one of the most powerful Democrats in the country just comes out and demonstrates the extent to which his party is beholden to public sector union campaign cash:Read more
A new survey of 1,000 registered voters has found that 60 percent of respondents say state employees should contribute more to their pension fund, and 60 percent also say they are against raising taxes to pay for state budget shortfalls. The poll was conducted by veteran Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen on behalf of the Manhattan Institute. Schoen writes more about his poll's findings in the Wall Street Journal:Read more
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said today that unions are not deterred at all by their failure to overturn Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's law curbing public employee unions' power through recent state supreme court and state senate elections.Read more
Paging Gov. Scott Walker: Public sector workers are breaking municipal budgets, too.
Score this one as an error: Judge declares Roger Clemens case a mistrial.Read more
It's really quite remarkable that the problems of public pensions were even allowed to get this bad:
U.S. state and local governments will need to raise taxes by $1,398 per household every year for the next 30 years if they are to fully fund their pension systems, a study released on Wednesday said.Read more
Over at the Washington Post, Greg Sargent blogs that the Cato Institute is claiming that a new advertisement by Crossroads GPS, a conservative non-profit founded by Karl Rove, “distorts” the libertarian think tank’s data. The ad comes in response to the Wisconsin public-sector union battle and references a report authored by Cato’s Chris Edwards from March of 2010.Read more
Crossroads GPS, the policy arm of the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads PAC that was instrumental in the 2010 election, has just started running a national ad attacking the link between public sector unions and Democrats. You can bet this is just an opening salvo in what will be a significant debate during next year's election:
Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s new governor, has brought on a showdown with public sector unions and their Democratic allies in his state. He seeks to get most state workers to pay for their pension and health benefits, to narrow collective bargaining to wages, to stop the state from collecting union dues, and to require annual union certification elections. In response, the unions have launched two weeks of angry protests in Madison, the state’s capital.Read more
A smart friend writes: "As a federal contractor, I'm prohibited from contributing to candidates or parties in federal elections. Am I breaking the law by funding Democrats via public sector unions when I pay my taxes?"Read more
A New York Times/CBS News poll never lets you down. Today’s survey features a skewed sample (36 percent Democratic, 26 percent Republican), tricky questions, and an emphasis on results likely to thrill liberals and Democrats.Read more
Andrew Sullivan caught a give-and-take between me and Juan Williams on Fox News on Monday night and raises a fair objection.Read more
"For the next minute or so, we're gonna have a good motherf---in' time!" musician Tom Morello told the crowd gathered outside the state capitol this afternoon. "I'm sorry if there are some children in the audience, but the struggle for justice is not always rated PG-13."
There were indeed dozens of schoolchildren scattered throughout the crowd. Some used protest signs as sleds to slide down the snow-covered hills outside the capitol. Others noshed on macaroni and cheese pizza, which was supplied for free by Ian's Pizza on State Street out of solidarity with those protesting pending legislation to curtail collective bargaining and require public workers to pay more for health insurance and pensions.Read more
Over at Reason, Tim Cavanaugh has a lengthy piece in the current issue on California's struggles to rein in public unions. Even though it must have been written well in advance of the current foofaraw in Wisconsin, the timing couldn't be better. Cavanaugh makes the oft-overlooked point public employee unions are such a fiscal black hole that it's nearly impossible to spend money on any of the other ambitious and expensive programs frequently advocated by progressives:
As 72-year-old Jerry Brown enters his second governorship, he has an agenda to match that power, with visions even greater than those that haunted his two-term administration of the 1970s and ’80s: building 20,000 megawatts of renewable power, laying a new high-speed rail network that will connect the state’s major cities, forging a statewide infrastructure for alternative energy, hiring thousands of green employees. The new governor’s environmental agenda is ambitious, untenably expensive, and indelibly popular with voters and lawmakers.Read more
On Sunday, Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Educational Association Council, instructed the teachers in her union to return to the classroom after many of them skipped school for three days last week. The unexpected move energized Republicans in Wisconsin, who took it as a sign that negative public reaction to the “sick-out” is making a difference.
Or perhaps they don’t need the numbers because the unions are bringing in additional reinforcements. Madison, one of the most liberal cities in the United States, is a town always in search of a cause.Read more
In my post yesterday on the optics of the Wisconsin union battle, I noted in passing that FDR was quite vocally opposed to the creation of public sector unions. Roosevelt was an ardent supporter of unionism generally, but even he thought the idea of using collective bargaining against taxpayers was transparently problematic.
This is a potent talking point, so I'm glad to see that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Patrick McIlheran has a column fleshing out the history here:
Somewhere, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is grinning past his cigarette holder at Wisconsin's governor. They are on the same page regarding government unions.
Except that Scott Walker -- Republican cheapskate, his visage Hitlerized on signs waved by beet-faced union crowds besieging the Capitol -- is kind of a liberal squish compared to FDR. He's OK with some collective bargaining.Read more
In evaluating the battle over public sector unions in Wisconsin, it's worth considering for a moment the state of American unionism. It's not a pretty picture, as far as unions are concerned.Read more
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