Demise: Wisconsin’s third-largest school district says no thanks to union representation

posted at 10:01 pm on September 12, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

What happens when teachers don’t have to join a union?

Today, teachers in Kenosha, Wis., voted to decertify their union, the Kenosha Education Association, by a margin of nearly two to one. Only 37 percent of the teachers opted to retain the union in an election made possible by the labor reforms enacted under Gov. Scott Walker (R). The result goes to show that when workers have a choice on whether to join a union instead of being forced into one by law, they often choose to vote down the union.


The Kenosha Education Association is the biggest one in the state to lose certification in the era of Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10:

Under Act 10, public employee unions must be recertified every year by an affirmative vote of at least 50 percent of the employees. The Kenosha vote means the union is not legally authorized to represent Kenosha teachers on any matter, including bargaining for wages.

Teachers can still voluntarily make contributions to the decertified union and it can represent individual teachers if they wish. The union, however, no longer has any official status in Kenosha schools. It is the largest teachers union in Wisconsin to go under since Act 10 became law.

And, now for the downplaying:

Christina Brey, speaking for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, downplayed recertification, calling it just another hoop for local unions to jump through.

“It seems like the majority of our affiliates in the state aren’t seeking re-certification, so I don’t think the KEA is an outlier or unique in this,” she said.

Brey said the union still exists with or without the recertification vote.

“They just can’t negotiate over a small portion of what they want a voice in,” she said.

But the law, and the choice it offers public employees, have been taking a toll on public unions since it passed. The Journal-Sentinel reported in July:

In the two years since Walker’s plan became law, tens of thousands of teachers and state and local workers have dropped out of their unions, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis of little-used federal financial records.

No labor group has been hit harder than the one representing Milwaukee city and county workers.

In 2010 — the year that Walker was elected governor — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 48 was thriving, having enrolled more than 9,000 workers and reporting income exceeding $7 million.

By the end of 2012, District Council 48 was down to just under 3,500 dues-paying members — a loss of nearly two-thirds of its represented workers.

Other public employee unions are faring only marginally better. Most have lost between 30% and 60% of their members in the past two years.

Walker did what he said he’d do, he implemented policies that worked, he benefited from the fact that liberals’ hysterical predictions of sky-falling never came close to being true, and in the end, he may have permanently changed the political calculus in his state. It’s been fun to watch him work.

[Democrats] understood two things from the beginning: The reforms would work and they would thin the ranks of public sector unions. That is precisely what happened. Public sector employees, given a choice about union membership, are opting out.

Walker turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a $154 million surplus. Unemployment is down. So are property taxes. Businesses, even with uncertainty about the U.S. economy, are optimistic about the direction of the state. Even with the political divisions, it’s hard to imagine a more successful 16 months as governor.

Results matter. And that, more than anything else, explains why Scott Walker won.

And, that’s why Ed says, “look to the governors in 2016.”


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Yay! Break ‘em!

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:05 PM

Kudos, Governor Walker. Nicely done.

Midas on September 12, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Bishop on two different threads. I’m rollin’!

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Another local story with no national interest./

Flange on September 12, 2013 at 10:06 PM

You all can not have Walker. I know he is weak on immigration but that is just change when it comes to what he has done for the state of WI. I hear that another big company is going to relocate here in SW WI from Illinois… ha take that tax mongers south of us!

If they can push though the mining bill watch out world… here we come . That area badly needs jobs and as we all see in ND… what wonders harvesting our natural resources can do to an economy.

watertown on September 12, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Only 37 percent of the teachers opted to retain the union in an election

37% WERE DISENFRANCHISED!!!
-purple thuggies

Marcola on September 12, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Now I wish we had this option for private unions. I dont have issues with paying dues, I just dont like part of it going to fund elections… specially ones that have nothing to do with me.

watertown on September 12, 2013 at 10:09 PM

I wonder what Jar Jar Wasserman-Binks will have to say about this?

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:10 PM

this is what democracy looks like

ted c on September 12, 2013 at 10:11 PM

so wait … the drum circles didn’t work?

Lost in Jersey on September 12, 2013 at 10:11 PM

good to see you back Mary Kate

ted c on September 12, 2013 at 10:12 PM

This is awesome news…

OmahaConservative on September 12, 2013 at 10:12 PM

I must say I love this!

Slightly off-topic, but I want to add that Pat McCrory in North Carolina has been a pleasant surprise. He has held the line and helped pass great new reforms up there as well. When the NAALCP is howling like a stuck pig, you know it’s good for the state.

SouthernGent on September 12, 2013 at 10:13 PM

SouthernGent on September 12, 2013 at 10:13 PM

What is NAALCP?

OmahaConservative on September 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM

What is NAALCP?

OmahaConservative on September 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM

National Association for the Advancement of Liberal Colored People.

*I think*

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:16 PM

That’s my Gov..:)

idesign on September 12, 2013 at 10:17 PM

They were right about the sky falling. For themselves anyway.

Jeff Weimer on September 12, 2013 at 10:18 PM

OMG! What is the Democratic political machine going to do for money now?

GarandFan on September 12, 2013 at 10:18 PM

What happens when teachers don’t have to join a union?

What happened in Kenosha doesn’t surprise me in the least.

When I was living in Western Michigan I knew several school teachers. They hated the Michigan Education Association (MEA) but membership was required. I suspect the MEA will have much of the same experience as the old indoctrinated leadership leaves in the nation’s newest right-to-work state.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM

I suspect the MEA will have much of the same experience as the old indoctrinated leadership leaves in the nation’s newest right-to-work state.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM

The Illinois Education Association is about as bad as they come. They run some radio ads that are just flagrant lies.

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:21 PM

We need to get blinky eyes mark dayton out of Minnesota’s governors office…..

crosshugger on September 12, 2013 at 10:21 PM

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:16 PM

That was what I figured…

OmahaConservative on September 12, 2013 at 10:23 PM

I bet there was voter suppression.

Cindy Munford on September 12, 2013 at 10:23 PM

I bet there was voter suppression.

Cindy Munford on September 12, 2013 at 10:23 PM

LOLZ!
+1

OmahaConservative on September 12, 2013 at 10:24 PM

You say you want a rev a lution,,
Well, ya know…

Maybe it’s our turn. I don’t want MKH spawn taught by commies.

wolly4321 on September 12, 2013 at 10:24 PM

I never totally got the WI is a hand (fist) thing. Thanks Mary Katharine.

Bmore on September 12, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Walker for President.

MTF on September 12, 2013 at 10:27 PM

What is NAALCP?

OmahaConservative on September 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM

National Association for the Advancement of Liberal Colored People.

*I think*

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Yes…that’s it. Stolen from Mr. Limbaugh, of course.

SouthernGent on September 12, 2013 at 10:29 PM

So 67% of Kenosha teachers didn’t get mail in ballots and their votes were surpressed.

docflash on September 12, 2013 at 10:31 PM

There shouldn’t be any public unions to begin with.
They are working against the very people that pay their salaries.

Barred on September 12, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Unions delenda est.

BDavis on September 12, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Nothing that can’t be turned around by having a few hundred people take a dump in the halls of the state capitol building.

Bishop on September 12, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Bishop on two different threads. I’m rollin’!

predator on September 12, 2013 at 10:06 PM

…(:->)

KOOLAID2 on September 12, 2013 at 10:36 PM

I never met a union cheese crafter in that state. Just met Obamabots who don’t actually eat cheese cause their ex-cheeseburger eating friends deemed them as friendlies.

patman77 on September 12, 2013 at 10:44 PM

You all can not have Walker. I know he is weak on immigration but that is just change when it comes to what he has done for the state of WI.

watertown

Unfortunately, that amnesty plan he supports that you call “just change” will ultimately undo everything he has done. To quote Joe Biden, it’s a big f%&king deal.

xblade on September 12, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Well done Governor – well done

gophergirl on September 12, 2013 at 10:57 PM

I never totally got the WI is a hand (fist) thing. Thanks Mary Katharine.

Bmore on September 12, 2013 at 10:25 PM

I’m sure you got the Michigan as mitten thing. State that most resembles an oven mitt. ;0

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Anything that can break the backs of SCME unions is a good thing.

The next big is with the EPA and the hydra it’s creating with SCM Parks & Rec’s divisions.

People better wake up to that impending nightmare by the mid-terms.

budfox on September 12, 2013 at 11:00 PM

How come MKH doesn’t post more often? It was like this even before her time off for pregnancy. Is she just a part-time HotAir blogger? I’m honestly curious and am not trying to be rude.

bluegill on September 12, 2013 at 11:10 PM

How come MKH doesn’t post more often? It was like this even before her time off for pregnancy. Is she just a part-time HotAir blogger? I’m honestly curious and am not trying to be rude.

bluegill on September 12, 2013 at 11:10 PM

…so…you already forgot what you said…before she had the baby?

KOOLAID2 on September 12, 2013 at 11:12 PM

We need to get blinky eyes mark dayton out of Minnesota’s governors office…..

crosshugger on September 12, 2013 at 10:21 PM

I prefer to refer to him as mumbles….Most incoherent Governor in the union…

Taking the high road and not assailing his history of chemical dependency and mental illness.

abnormal_1 on September 12, 2013 at 11:13 PM

Liberals can’t win, if it’s not rigged in their favor. They’ve rigged the whole country but they still can’t really pull it off. Can you imagine if Barack Obama had Bush’s press? Not only would he have not won re-election, he might have had a challenge to his presidency. His numbers are high, considering his performance, yet the press refuses to report on his administration. IRS, DOJ, none of that mean a thing to the press, because it’s Obama.

It’s up to Republicans to do a little equalization, treat the press like the deserve to be treated. I’d bet, if they did that, the press would have to change.

bflat879 on September 12, 2013 at 11:26 PM

“They just can’t negotiate over a small portion of what they want a voice in,” she said

Gotta love it when “educators” end sentences with a preposition.

Robert Jensen on September 13, 2013 at 12:02 AM

How’s the baby??!!

dpduq on September 13, 2013 at 12:51 AM

Doh. How could anyone stand these union thugs/parasites telling one how to teach, breath, spend off time, and pay them for the privilege?

pat on September 13, 2013 at 3:07 AM

Gotta love it when “educators” end sentences with a preposition.

Robert Jensen

That’s not an actual grammatical rule despite what any grammar-marms may have told you.

chimney sweep on September 13, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Walker would be a formidable Presidential candidate.

That’s not an actual grammatical rule despite what any grammar-marms may have told you.

chimney sweep on September 13, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Yep. As Churchill is alleged to have said, “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.”

Although there are times when it clearly is incorrect. I cringe when I hear people end sentences with “at” – like- “Where are you at?”

People who do that are also the sort who tend to bastardize English with sentences like, “Him and I are going to a concert tonight”. I even heard Fox & Friends movie critic say, “Him and I” this morning, in a discussion of Robert DeNiro’s latest movie.

Buy Danish on September 13, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Now I wish we had this option for private unions. I dont have issues with paying dues, I just dont like part of it going to fund elections… specially ones that have nothing to do with me.

watertown on September 12, 2013 at 10:09 PM

That is what the Beck ruling addresses.

There are organizations set up to help you get a refund from your Union so that you only have dues going to work related items and not to politics. You can do some keyword searches on union, refund, Beck ruling and find one that will help you for free.

You do not have to have a portion of your dues go to the Union’s political wing. You have to say that, in writing and ask for a refund for that portion of your dues that go to that.

ajacksonian on September 13, 2013 at 7:49 AM

Now I wish we had this option for private unions. I dont have issues with paying dues, I just dont like part of it going to fund elections… specially ones that have nothing to do with me.

watertown on September 12, 2013 at 10:09 PM

You can demand that portion back. Of course your shop steward will claim that only a couple pennies goes to political activities.

Steve Eggleston on September 13, 2013 at 7:54 AM

I never totally got the WI is a hand (fist) thing. Thanks Mary Katharine.

Bmore on September 12, 2013 at 10:25 PM

I’m sure you got the Michigan as mitten thing. State that most resembles an oven mitt. ;0

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 10:58 PM

I used to know a girl from Michigan who would hold up her hand and say, “I”m from here…”

I said, “Aren’t you glad guys from Florida don’t do that…?”

PointnClick on September 13, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Sic semper tyrannis.

Hucklebuck on September 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Unfortunately, in a few years when the state is firmly back on a sound financial footing the Dems will get re-elected to power and the cycle of bankruptcy will be renewed. After all, if the State has money shouldn’t it hand that out to us? The Dem’s say they will do so. Let’s give them another chance. They are such good people.

Hucklebuck on September 13, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Oh, wonderful news! Now I’d like to see SEIU get stuffed in the dust bin of history. Compulsory union membership and forced dues needs to end for all, including public employees.

Wendy on September 13, 2013 at 11:03 AM

I’ve always liked the “WI fist” because to be accurate the pinky would have to be extended to take in Door Co., which extends into Lake MI. Given the current state of the radical PEUs there, that effete gesture would be appropriate.

Hucklebuck on September 13, 2013 at 12:17 PM

*applauds*

Othniel on September 13, 2013 at 2:30 PM