The Unions, Scott Walker, and What Happened the First Time He Tried To Bust The Unions

Honestly, I am sick of hearing how awful unions are. How, those workers don’t deserve those benefits. Again, let me state that Bill and I are NOT union employees. I have no reason to tout their virtues except that unions have helped us all. Just like everything else in life, there are good unions and bad unions. For every story you have about how the union has protected a bad member, I can tell you one where it has saved jobs. Instead of wondering why their benefits are better than yours, why aren’t you demanding that you have the same benefits?!? Here are some of the things that unions have done to make all of our work lives better:

  • Weekends off. In 1870, workers were required to work 61 hours on average a week. Labor unions engaged in strikes which in turn led to the the Fair Labor Standards Act which helped create a federal framework for a shorter workweek.
  • Fair Wages And Income Equality. The decline in unions have mirrored the decline of the middle class.  Coincidence?  I think not.
  • Put an end to child labor.  See the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Employer-Based Health Coverage.
  • FMLA. Labor unions led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”
  • Overtime Pay.
  • Workmen’s Compensation.
  • Unemployment Insurance protection if you lose your job through no fault of your own.
  • Tuition assistance.
  • Pensions.

Individually, workers are powerless. Collectively they can control their fates. That is the importance of unions regardless if you are in one or not.  Well, what does that have to do with Scott Walker?  Plenty.  If you are a regular reader here, you will know that I have done plenty of posts on what is going on in Wisconsin.  However, I just came across this video from The Rachel Maddow Show that shows how Scott Walker did what he is doing now for the State of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  And how bad it turned out.  Watch:

If you can’t get the video to work, here’s what you will see. You will learn that Scott Walker manufactured a budget crisis there. In January, the courts rules that Scott Walker invented a fake financial emergency to justify him improperly firing the county’s unionized security guards. Best of all, he handed all those union jobs to a private FOREIGN company. A company that has been in trouble before (see 2:30 into the video. This part is definitely NSFW). Now that the courts have ruled that Scott Walker improperly fired those workers they have to be hired back. They also have a contract with the foreign security firm. What does that mean? Milwaukee is paying for not one but two security firms. Where is the cost savings in that? If this didn’t work in Milwaukee, I’m not sure how Scott Walker thinks this will work for the whole state.

This high stakes game of chicken has to end. If this was truly about the budget, as soon as the unions gave into the concessions, this should have been over. Instead, it is not and has turned into a power grab of epic proportions.

Comments

  1. We no longer live in the days of Norma Rae. Oh sure there are sweat mills that escape legislation and unions but those are rare in the U.S. Today's legislation protects workers rights better thand any foreign country ever thought of with or without the union. I remember when Unions were your best friend and you paid a few dues but you had a job for life and a great pension that people today would kill for. I.E. Steel workers, Automotive workers, IBM, General Electric. Those days are gone. Unions have become too powerful and rank with greed. Try being an underpaid public servant serving in an elected office (like a school board member) and try sitting in on negotiations and you will quickly see you have little voice. The Union has their own Health Insurance which comes in at a hefty price tag. Even though you researched and found companies offering practically identical packages at a cost saves in the hundreds of thousands to a school district you are forced to go with the Union picked health insurance. When the economy tanked and everyone in the private sector was getting laid off you were forced to give 4% pay raises to the teachers. How can you tell the taxpayer that you are getting the best bang for thier buck? When a teacher misbehaves, breaks the rules and you have documented everything, crossed ever T and dotted every I the teached still comes out on top becasue of the strong highly paid Union lawyers. Short of sexaul misconduct most teachers will remain working in the district. I wish there was a better way to cut expenses and balance Wisconsin's budget. But until considerable sacrifices can be made I feel Gov. Walker has the best plan. I have been on both sides of the fence and yes I have read the 400 page document and no I do not agree with all of it. We have to give our senators a chance to work this out. Gov. Walker has left the door open. He is not busting the Union. I repeat he is not busting the Union. In my opinion the the Union busted itself. It sickens me everytime I buy something and there is a sticker that says made in China. Why I say does it have to be this way. Why have our U.S. companies moved out of the U.S.? Is it becasue they are greedy or the Unions have driven them out becasue they are greedy?

  2. You so nailed it on the head when you state "Instead of wondering why their benefits are better than yours, why aren’t you demanding that you have the same benefits?!?" Oh, that's right ~ the CEO need 56.4 million dollars in compensation.

    The real problem starts when no one wants these public sector jobs ~ teachers, firefighters, police, paramedics. These aren't jobs that can be outsourced and I don't see a lot of parents encouraging their children to prepare to fill these job … because they don't pay well for the hazardous duty you have to perform.

    Lastly, Gov. Walker was bought and paid for by the Koch bros. He'll do their bidding

  3. Well, I was already sort of in favor of unions myself. Neither of my parents are in one and I don't work, yet. However, I've had enough history classes to know that even though there has been bad unions, without unions things would be much worse.

  4. i have mixed feelings about unions.i kinda agree with you but also kinda agree with lindsay.

  5. I don't really know much about unions. I am glad that we live in a state that does not allow unions, I think it would harm our state ecomony,

  6. Married to a proud union member. Without it I truly believe his life would be in danger as he works shifts and he would be working more hours than he already does – dog tired.

  7. Ohio is a big union state (or was) and we beat Wisconsin to the punch. I'm not sure if that's a good thing but I guess time will tell.

  8. The unions of the 1800s are not the unions of today. Now there are federal and state laws in place for the protection of workers. Unions should be abolished.

  9. As the daughter of a Teamster and the husband of a union worker, I know that even with union rights and federal and state laws, workers are taken for a ride every minute of every day. Unions help stand up for workers.

  10. My FIL is a coal miner and I've heard mixed feelings on the union for them.

  11. Kelli @ 3 Boys and a :

    I am in favor of Unions, but the people running them aren't always looking for what is best for the people

  12. I support unions. My dad has always been a union man, and before I went into management, and then started working from home, I was, too. Strength in numbers has made a huge difference in many workplaces and families' lives.

  13. I don’t really know much about unions. I am glad that we live in a state that does not allow unions,

  14. The whole concept points to communism or should I say REDS. Its about the working class who are a single entity and have considerable rights to protect their interest. Pretty interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

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