Wisconsin PEU reform allows workers to decertify more than 70 school-district unions

posted at 8:51 am on December 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Most of the attention on Governor Scott Walker’s reform of public-employee union laws focused on narrowing the negotiation range of PEUs. The law restricted most PEUs to negotiating on wages only, not benefits, which forced the Wisconsin Education Association Trust to start offering competitive pricing for health-insurance coverage rather than gouging taxpayers to stuff the union’s coffers.  That alone saved Wisconsin many millions of dollars, allowing Walker and the legislature to balance the budget without cutting jobs.

Another key provision may have almost as much impact on politics and education, if not on the budget itself. The law required PEUs to hold recertification votes every year, rather than only when enough members demand it. This year, more than 70 unions lost their certification votes:

Workers rejected over 70 of 408 school district unions during annual recertification elections that ended on Thursday, according to a preliminary analysis of the results.

The elections went from November 29th until noon on December 19th and involved 408 collective bargaining units around the state associated with school districts. Workers cast their votes using a telephone voting system.

AFSCME Local 60 Council 40, including support staff in the Sun Prairie School District, was the largest union to be decertified. Only 135 of the 367 members voted to recertify.

Substitute teachers with the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association also decertified with 128 of 320 members voting for the union.

There were 19 actual teachers unions that decertified. The largest included New Berlin, Menomonee Falls, Pewaukee, Berlin, Waterford.

That amounts to only a small percentage of the educational PEUs (17%), but it’s not an insignificant percentage, either. Moreover, this sends a pretty clear message to the unions in Wisconsin, who like most PEUs, have focused a lot more on political activism than customer service over the years. If their membership has the opportunity to hold them accountable on an annual basis, they’d better change their focus tout suite.

That will also have a positive impact on Wisconsin, and it might even have a positive impact on unions in the long run. If they do focus on the workers rather than elections, then workers will be more positive about unions, and it might help in building their movement from its present state of collapse.  For the rest of Wisconsin, it means that the unions will have less time and resources to corrupt politics in their state, and taxpayers can once again take control of budgets and legislation.  Maybe everyone wins — including Walker, who will face his own “recertification” vote in 2014.


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Over the next few years Wisconsin will get to see the salary and benefit ranges of district with and without the PEUs, and it is going to force the unions to justify their existence. If teachers in the still-certified districts are taking home less than the de-certified ones, once the union dues are deducted, the 17 percent number is likely to start going higher.

jon1979 on December 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

If they do focus on the workers rather than elections

That’s a mighty big “if”

The leaders of things are political people who think politically and run everything through the political prism… and they’re all victims.

mankai on December 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM

That alone saved Wisconsin many millions of dollars, allowing Walker and the legislature to balance the budget without cutting jobs.

Commonsense reform worked. Who knew?

It’ll be interesting to see if former union members in places that decertified their unions extol the virtues of decertification so loudly that others decide to join them in the future.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM

How are those union leaders supposed to take expensive working vacations to the Bahamas now???

ATTICA!

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Wow. Unions are really on the ropes these days. Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington with Boeing. Next thing you know, Wisconsin will be a right to work state.

Dongemaharu on December 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Wow. Unions are really on the ropes these days. Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington with Boeing. Next thing you know, Wisconsin will be a right to work state.

Dongemaharu on December 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Hope is alive…

workingclass artist on December 20, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Walker = WINNER – 2016?

jake-the-goose on December 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM

How are those union leaders supposed to take expensive working vacations to the Bahamas now???

ATTICA!

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Yup, that woman who headed the Health Care exchanges “Blew” it
for everyone!!

ToddPA on December 20, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Walker = WINNER – 2016?

jake-the-goose on December 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Didn’t you hear? Countless people are encouraging McCain to run again. He’s a lock this time around./

mankai on December 20, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Having lived my entire life in Wisconsin, I’m still amazed that this could have happened here. Thank you Scott Walker and Republican State Senators and Representatives.

Deano1952 on December 20, 2013 at 9:09 AM

OT:

NBC’s Kasie Hunt reports on Twitter that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “has been hospitalized.”

“.@SenatorReid has been hospitalized after not feeling well. He won’t be working in the Senate today &remains in the hospital for observation,” Hunt tweets.

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

OT: No judgments.

FNC just reported that Reid was hospitalized, but is feeling better.

Would that he came to his senses or retire and enjoy a quiet retirement.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Walker = WINNER – 2016?

jake-the-goose on December 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Didn’t you hear? Countless people are encouraging McCain to run again. He’s a lock this time around./

mankai on December 20, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Only the finest quality Snark such as this is why I come here

ToddPA on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

“Eight of the top 10 states that saw an increase in personal income from new people coming to those states were right-to-work states, according to an analysis done by the Tax Foundation.

Michigan lost $14.4 billion in personal income from 2000 to 2010 and was 45th overall. Michigan became a right-to-work state in March. Only Ohio (46th), New Jersey (47th), Illinois (48th), California (49th) and New York (50th) did worse. All six of the bottom states did not have right-to-work laws during those 10 years. New York lost $45.6 billion in personal income in that time period.

Florida did the best gaining $67.3 billion in that 10-year span.

The Tax Foundation tracked people migrating from one state to another from the years 2000 to 2010. The “interstate migrants” had their income added to all the other income in that state. The state gaining that person had an increase in personal income while a state losing a person lost personal income. The figures are in 2010 dollars…

Non-right-to-work states prosper when the companies have a monopoly whereas right-to-work states prosper in a more competitive world, Grimes said.

“That is why unions thrive when their employer is a monopolist like the teachers union and school districts, or electric utilities in the private sector, but they don’t do very well in organizing, or sustaining their membership in highly price competitive industries like grocery stores,” Grimes said.

Scott Moody, CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, said he’s been tracking migration data for years, particularly when he worked for the Tax Foundation and The Heritage Foundation.

States like Florida and Texas attract people not just because they are right-to-work states but they also have a low tax burden, Moody said. For example, Florida and Texas don’t have a personal income tax. Florida was ranked No. 1 in the survey; Texas was No. 3, adding $17.68 billion.

“The fact people are choosing those states is the ultimate expression of what economists call ‘revealed preference,’ ” Moody said. “Basically, you just watch what people do. Rather than hypothesis, you can sit back and watch people vote with their feet.”

https://www.mackinac.org/19052

workingclass artist on December 20, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Would that he came to his senses or retire and enjoy a quiet retirement.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

I’ll contribute to his retirement party.

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Right to work?

Right to STARVE!

Murphy9 on December 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM

OT: No judgments.

FNC just reported that Reid was hospitalized, but is feeling better.

Would that he came to his senses or retire and enjoy a quiet retirement.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

I hope he recovers quickly.

Chris of Rights on December 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM

OT:NBC’s Kasie Hunt reports on Twitter that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “has been hospitalized.”“.@SenatorReid has been hospitalized after not feeling well. He won’t be working in the Senate today &remains in the hospital for observation,” Hunt tweets.kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Hopefully the ghosts of our founding fathers paid him a visit to discuss his perversion of their gift – a constitutional republic.

AH_C on December 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM

FNC just reported that Reid was hospitalized, but is feeling better.

Would that he came to his senses or retire and enjoy a quiet retirement.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

A quick refresh of his embalming fluid and Reid is back to work.

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 9:17 AM

A quick refresh of his embalming fluid and Reid is back to work.

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 9:17 AM

He can get a transfusion from Nazi Pelosi.

Oldnuke on December 20, 2013 at 9:20 AM

FNC just reported that Reid was hospitalized, but is feeling better.

Would that he came to his senses or retire and enjoy a quiet retirement.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

A quick refresh of his embalming fluid and Reid is back to work.

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 9:17 AM

*snicker*

workingclass artist on December 20, 2013 at 9:20 AM

What is going on with RWM? I haven’t seen her here.

herm2416 on December 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

I hope he recovers quickly.

Chris of Rights on December 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM

I hope his health care plan lasts past December 31st.

jon1979 on December 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Hopefully the ghosts of our founding fathers paid him a visit to discuss his perversion of their gift – a constitutional republic.

AH_C on December 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Or explain to him what that is.

I wish him a quick recovery, though. He has good insurance so that will help.

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 9:23 AM

AH_C on December 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Let’s hope the spirits can do it all in one night…

Reid throws open the windows of his hospital room:

“Boy, what day is this?”

“Why it’s winter solstice, Mr. Reid”

“Then it’s not too late. We still have time to repeal Obamacare! And, kid, it’s OK, you can say ‘it’s Christmas time’.”

mankai on December 20, 2013 at 9:25 AM

I hope his health care plan lasts past December 31st.

jon1979 on December 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

I wish he had to rely on Obamacare.

Oldnuke on December 20, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I wish he had to rely on Obamacare.

Oldnuke on December 20, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I wonder if he gets to see his own doctor?

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

What is going on with RWM? I haven’t seen her here.

herm2416 on December 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Obama’s DOJ has her under arrest?? I miss her, too!! Come back, RWM, Come back!!

Deano1952 on December 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM

How are those union leaders supposed to take expensive working vacations to the Bahamas now???

ATTICA!

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

This is one of the things I admire about you Bishop. Your concern for those most harmed by right wing ideology. Sure, the WI PEU can still travel to warm climes but they may have to go domestic and do their work in Destin instead of Nassau. Economic injustice just because of those traitors in the Sun Prarie School District!

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Hopefully the ghosts of our founding fathers paid him a visit to discuss his perversion of their gift – a constitutional republic.

AH_C on December 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM

ROTFLMAO!

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

I wish he had to rely on Obamacare.

Oldnuke on December 20, 2013 at 9:27 AM

New repeal slogan: “Harry Reid got to see his own doctor. Why won’t Obamacare do the same for you?”

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:33 AM

What is going on with RWM? I haven’t seen her here.

herm2416 on December 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

She’s been MIA pretty much everywhere. The last thing from her blog went up on the 17th.

Steve Eggleston on December 20, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Thanks, Steve. I don’t like it when our regulars aren’t here….it feels off to me.

herm2416 on December 20, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Thanks, Steve. I don’t like it when our regulars aren’t here….it feels off to me.

herm2416 on December 20, 2013 at 9:44 AM

We’ll get on the horn and see if the trolls are willing to enter some threads that aren’t about gay marriage, if that’ll make you feel better.

mankai on December 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM

We’ll get on the horn TELEPHONIC DEVICES and see if the trolls are willing to enter some threads that aren’t about gay marriage, if that’ll make you feel better.

mankai on December 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Fixed in honor of Harry Reid

mankai on December 20, 2013 at 9:50 AM

This is a good first step in eliminating PEUs. There is no rational argument for having PEUs in a democratic setting. I would argue that as long as there is the economic freedom to decide to take or refuse a government job, there isn’t even a good argument to have PEUs under a monarchy, but I suppose this argument is rather irrelevant to the present situation.

thuja on December 20, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Right to work?

Right to STARVE!

Murphy9 on December 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM

yeah bub, its also a right to get up and go find something that will pay you enough to feed yourself

I believe Murphy9 is what Ms Rand referred to as second class people. In that context she only defined two kinds. Producers who were concerned with the fruits of their time, talent and energy as opposed to those who wanted to control those who produced and live off their efforts. Murphy9 is admitting he can’t make it.

DanMan on December 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM

DanMan on December 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Yep, lived in a right to work state most of my life and I was never once hungry or without a job. Of course I’m extremely competitive by nature as are most of my friends and acquaintances. We found that unions just held us back.

Oldnuke on December 20, 2013 at 10:01 AM

If their membership has the opportunity to hold them accountable on an annual basis, they’d better change their focus tout suite.

If many of those members are French teachers, they’d better change their focus tout de suite.

bgoldman on December 20, 2013 at 10:09 AM

If you don’t like your Union, you can dump your Union.

Now THAT’s “reform”!

Socratease on December 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM

OT: No judgments.

FNC just reported that Reid was hospitalized, but is feeling better.

Would that he came to his senses or retire and enjoy a quiet retirement.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

…I’m at a point….I hope he has a “setback”!

KOOLAID2 on December 20, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Buh bye decrepit and totalitarian union strangleholds.

Suck on it, Lefties.

rrpjr on December 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Scott Walker is now now on track to surpass the Duck Show Guy as the The Most Hated Man bu the Left.

Bruno Strozek on December 20, 2013 at 11:09 AM

OT:NBC’s Kasie Hunt reports on Twitter that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “has been hospitalized.”“.@SenatorReid has been hospitalized after not feeling well. He won’t be working in the Senate today &remains in the hospital for observation,” Hunt tweets.kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Nobody can suffer from a recto-cranial impaction as long as this guy has without some severe side-effects.

trigon on December 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Dummies’ heads exploding…

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Would that he came to his senses or retire and enjoy a quiet retirement.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Hell w/b too good for that thug.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM

408 school district unions

I thought I knew what a ‘union’ was: many becoming one.

408?

Are these places where you get your oil changed? Get your nails done? Is it expensive? Do they do good work? Friendly?

Tsar of Earth on December 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Right to work?

Right to STARVE!

Murphy9 on December 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM

If the unions acutally gave a flying f–k about the working folks that they were supposed to represent, instead of being slaves to left-wing BS, then maybe working folks would care more about unions.

Seriously – what has the AFL-CIO done about the War on Coal? Do I really need to tell you about what is going to happen to the indusrial base of this country, if electricity costs jump through the roof? Even the UMW has laid down and died, rather than fight against the War on Coal.

“Right to Starve” is what happens when the unions strangle the industries that they represent by idiotic work rules, and defending the most lazy and incompetent workers among you. And “Right to Starve” is what happens when the union sits idly by and lets an administration (that they support) regulate its industry out of existence.

I say this as a former union member myself (I sailed in the Merchant Marine after I got off active duty, before med school – Marine Engineers Benevolent Association District II – with “Benevolent” being as big a misnomer as “Affordable Care Act”).

SubmarineDoc on December 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM