Public Union Losses in WI and CA

13 Jun

Steve Greenhut has written a good account of the public union reactions to losses at the polls in Wisconsin and California (mostly about California).  Published on City Journal.  In this piece, Greenhut discusses what the unions plan to do about these losses, including court challenges.  See it here:

http://www.city-journal.org/2012/cjc0612sg.html

Excerpts from that piece:  [Bolding is mine]

The nation’s public-sector unions have become so emboldened by years of political victories, and so insulated from voter concerns, that they apparently never considered the possibility that voters, given a clear choice, would turn against them. Last Tuesday was as close as the nation gets to a clarifying election, the result of union overreach in Wisconsin and union intransigence in California. “Election results in California and Wisconsin this week are being viewed as a turning point for organized labor—to its detriment,” reported the Los Angeles Times, echoing a story line repeated nationwide.

The biggest news, of course, came from Wisconsin, where angry and increasingly militant public-sector unions tried to recall the governor, lieutenant governor, and three state senators . . . . Governor Scott Walker pulled out a strong seven-point victory . . . . The California results were almost as impressive, as San Jose voters approved a pension-reform measure with 70 percent of the vote.

 Meantime, San Diego voters also overwhelmingly approved serious pension reform, as well as a measure banning union-exclusive “project-labor agreements” that inflate public-sector contracting costs by keeping out non-union competition. The top vote-winner in the city’s mayoral primary was pension-reform advocate Carl DeMaio.

So the results in deep-blue California are clear. Even in Democratic Party bastions, such as San Jose, voters said “yes” to pension reform and “no” to union priorities by an overwhelming majority. As I wrote previously for City Journal, San Jose’s Reed made the progressive case for pension reform: he argued that the government programs liberal Democrats care about are endangered by a pension burden that now consumes 20 percent of the city’s general-fund budget. He distinguished between union Democrats and progressives, a distinction that will serve pension reformers well as proposals go forward in blue states.

. . . this much is certain: the unions can no longer count on winning in the court of public opinion.

[End of excerpts]

Personally, I agree with FDR, at least one of the heads of the AFL-CIO, and millions of others who believe that public employee unions should not be allowed.  One sees many lengthy arguments as to why they should not be allowed (or SHOULD be, for that matter), but to a straightforward guy like me, it just seems like a SEVERE conflict of interest, with public employees bargaining with those government officials who seek their votes – talk about a win-win – give the unions more money/benefits and they will give you campaign dollars and votes.

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