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September 24, 2011

More Union Busting by Wisconsin Apparatchiks

More union busting from Wisconsin, the land of Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Tommy Thompson. Wisconsin’s new law reducing collective bargaining rights for state employees in labor unions:
...also requires that unions go through yearly recertification votes to keep their official status rather than retain that status indefinitely after an initial vote creating the union, as had been done in the past. Unions can still exist without that official status, but government employers, such as schools and the state, don't have to recognize them or bargain with them over anything.

To win the recertification election, unions must get 51% of the vote of all the members of their bargaining unit, not just the ones who take the time to cast ballots—a much higher bar than state elected officials have to clear to win their offices.

Walker isn't a visionary as much as an apparatchik, "a man not of grand plans, but of a hundred carefully executed details"1. Walker and his cohort didn't completely strip state employees of their (federally guaranteed) right to form labor unions; they just changed the details. The devil is in the details, in the definitions of majorities, schedules, mechanisms and scope.

Now the unions have to be recertified by the employees every year. The standard for recertification, which was previously a majority of those who vote, was changed to be a majority of those eligible to vote. If the election does recertify the union, the state can challenge the details in court.

Once the union certification "expires" after a year, then the state has no obligation to formally bargain with the union, and the state stops automatic dues deductions. That's union busting by any standard.

This comes after the State took away the Union's right to collective bargaining over issues like workplace safety standards, working conditions, vacations and health care benefits. The only topic state unions were left to "negotiate" on were pay increases, which by fiat cannot exceed the inflation rate.

The largest state unions have not filed notice of their intention to recertify by the deadline, explaining that the staged recertification, artifical definitions of the majority, and reduced scope of negotiating make the outcome a foregone conclusion.

A Countdown of Sorts


Bram Reichbaum said...

It took me this long to realize the countdown photos simply represented the numbers you were counting down. What are you counting down to?

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