I am concerned about the recent poll that went only to families who have one or more members of a union. That poll found that overwhelmingly, when asked if unions served a good purpose; and another question, "do unions strengthen America"; and finally, "do unions help working families" found that 87% of family members of union members answered, “No” to each of those questions. Our. Own. Family members.
We should not be surprised. No where in any media are unions extolled as strengthening or good for America and Americans.
Grover Norquist, The author, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform said in a recent article: “The March 2011 signing of ACT 10, a dramatic reform of public sector labor laws, by Wisconsin’s Scott Walker laid the groundwork for diminishing labor’s influence.”
Here’s what Act 10 did and why it’s the model for 25 states attempting to pass Act 10.
1. No Wisconsin government worker can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment.
2. No Wisconsin government worker can be forced to pay union dues, “agency fees” or any other payment to unions.
3. No government entity can withhold union dues from workers and hand the money to unions. Those wishing to join a union must now write a check to the union.
4. Unions may not negotiate pensions.
5. Unions cannot negotiate benefits or work rules.
6. Each union must hold an annual vote to see whether members wish to continue to be “represented” by that union. Many local unions have disappeared as a result.
In the five years since Act 10’s signing, more than 135,000 Wisconsin government workers — about one-third of government workers — stopped paying dues. This is just in one state, and this was just the early years; each year, the number and percentage of government employees opting out grows.
Union leaders in Wisconsin and the other 49 states understood what was at stake. They offered to accept pay cuts if they could maintain the laws that forced workers to pay dues and have the state collect them for the union.
But Act 10 did pass. The unions tried to defeat the chief justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court to have the legislation ruled unconstitutional. They failed. They tried to recall Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The recall was defeated. And four years after Act 10 passed, there was an all-out effort to stop Gov. Walker from winning re-election. He won.
Even worse for unions, Act 10 proved popular. Iowa enacted similar legislation this spring. Kentucky and Missouri are committed to enacting Act 10 as soon as possible.
Currently, there are 25 states trying to pass the same laws. If half of them pass Act 10 or its equivalent, the collapse of union dues cannot be replaced by any collection of progressive billionaires.
Act 10 is campaign finance reform. You see, union members add money in addition to their dues to get-out-the-vote efforts, voter education, and without that influence, across the U.S. labor is losing.
Can Act 10 be stopped? Once it's enacted, labor unions like ours lose. Unions in states with Act 10 can no longer influential in elections, (lack of money) and it is difficult to see how a state that enacts Act 10 could repeal it. Of the 28 right-to-work states, only one repealed it, and later repassed it.
Trump’s tweets attract attention. Act 10 moves forward. Quietly. Changing the political landscape like an ice flow. And in that political landscape, educators lose, their students lose, and seniors, like you and me lose. And working families lose.
Our most important duties in this political climate are two: Inform our own family members of the importance of unions to their well-being; and become engaged in helping to unelect those state legislators who boast about ignoring their constituents’ wishes because, “I know better.”