From Daily Events, a Human Rights Publication
By John Hayward, Staff Writer, writing about the “public” outcry in Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is grappling with a $3 billion budget shortfall. As with other bankrupt states, a big part of the problem comes from public employee union pensions and benefits. In his latest budget proposal, he asked Wisconsin public employees to contribute 5.8% toward their pensions, while state workers would have to pay 12.6% of their health insurance premiums. He also wants to trim back collective bargaining rights for public employees, which expanded greatly over the last two years of Democrat control.
Walker’s austerity measures have provoked insane fury from public union workers. The SEIU has gotten involved, helping to bring thousands of union supporters to protest at the state capitol, where they carried signs comparing Walker to Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Propagandist Michael Moore pitched in via Twitter, calling Wisconsin “the new Cairo” and urging union members to “shut the state down.”
Amazingly, public-school teachers staged a massive “sick out,” actually closing down public schools in Madison on Wednesday and Thursday because so many of them refused to show up for work. Some of them illegally dragged their students to political rallies. The teachers union has admitted it contacted teachers and encouraged them to skip out of class so they could attend the rallies. Given the political clout of education union bosses, it comes as no surprise when WUWM News in Milwaukee reports that Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, will be contacting Governor Walker to pressure him on behalf of the unions. The President is also said to be “monitoring” the situation.
The Wisconsin showdown is the inevitable result when insolvent state governments confront the unyielding demands of public unions. With outright exploitation of workers a thing of the past, especially in the public sector, the purpose of such a union is to extract greater compensation in exchange for political support. Benefit and pension commitments are the easiest way for politicians to pay off unions, since these promises don’t require immediate expenditures which might annoy taxpayers. When the commitments become unbearable, the union deploys its political weapons: protest rallies and strikes.
— John Hayward