Green Room

Free to choose after Walker reforms, thousands of Wisconsin workers abandon government unions

posted at 1:42 pm on July 23, 2013 by

When the Left celebrates “choice,” they’re generally talking about one macabre subject.  They’re studiously anti-choice on a host of other issues, because liberty doesn’t always work out so well for them (via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel):

Wisconsin’s public employees are leaving their unions in droves, which should be no surprise: With passage of Act 10 in 2011, public unions in the Badger State lost many of their reasons for being. The “budget-repair bill” pushed through the Legislature by Republicans and signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker limited bargaining to wages only, and then only up to the cost of living; it also required unions to recertify each year and barred the automatic collection of union dues. Relying on federal financial records, the Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice found union membership has declined by 50% or more at some unions, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 48, which represents Milwaukee city and county workers. It has gone from more than 9,000 members and income exceeding $7 million in 2010 to about 3,500 members and a deep deficit by the end of last year. Walker inherited a budget mess from the administration of former Gov. Jim Doyle. He was facing a sizable deficit and entrenched public sector unions that had big political power bases that they used to protect their members. That often put them at odds with both good government and overburdened taxpayers.  It was necessary to ask more of public workers — to have them pay a larger portion of their benefits. In particular, Walker needed to get control of spiraling health care benefits.

The editorial goes on to complain that Walker’s non-fiscal measures, such as requiring annual union re-certification and ending compulsory dues-paying, were unnecessarily political.  He pandered by exempting first responders!  His GOP “coup” damaged Wisconsin’s political climate!  Yes, he did exempt first responders, which I’m confident was a savvy and calculated move.  Whenever these sorts of reforms are proposed, Statists employ the strategy of holding up police and firefighters as popular ‘victims’ of the cruel, cold-hearted reformers.  Walker denied his critics this turn-key demagoguery.  We call this “smart politics.”  As for the political climate, Republicans introduced a controversial bill; liberal lawmakers fled the state to avoid votes while Leftists occupied the capitol, spewed vile hatred, and leveled chilling threats.  Who is primarily responsible for the incivility in Madison, again?  Livid and defeated, Democrats launched a costly do-over election campaign against Walker, indicting him with some of the objections raised in the editorial above.  When the dust settled, the people of Wisconsin decisively chose to let Governor Hitler McDivisive retain his job.  Walker won by a larger percentage, and with more raw votes, than in his original race.  Now, as their membership craters, Wisconsin’s government unions despair. Behold, the wages of choice.  Government union workers — the very people who opposed Walker most strenuously — have discovered that their membership isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be:  These dues aren’t worth it…I can spend my own money better…buh-bye.  It’s this phenomenon that explains government union bosses’ vituperation and desperation throughout 2011 and 2012.  The anti-Walker hordes weren’t out there for “the children,” or to champion any of the other arguments they trotted out.  The calculation was pretty straightforward and self-interested, really. They knew this law would spell their demise because it would liberate their own people to evaluate the true value of membership, and to say no thanks.  And oh by the way, Walker’s budget reforms have proven to be a demonstrable success, an outcome the Journal-Sentinel editors concede.

Walker is up for re-re-election next year.  His campaign announced yesterday that he’s raised $3.5 million so far in 2013, 80 percent of which has flowed from small donors.  He enjoys a modest but stable positive approval rating.  Divided and demoralized Democrats are struggling to recruit a name opponent to run against him.  Some national conservatives may blanch at isolated remarks he’s made about one hot-button issue, but Walker’s record in Badgerland speaks for itself.  He’s been a strong, fearless, effective conservative reformer, who’s beaten the Left like a drum, and plunged his remaining opposition into a state of disarray.  If he wins next year and keeps his train chugging along, these whispers will grow louder.  As they should.


Editor’s note: A version of this piece is cross-posted at

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Nice. In ND, a right to work state, the local unions do a far better job of addressing concerns.
I am a member of the state teacher’s union BY CHOICE.
It took a bad experience teaching my 1st year in SD to teach me I couldn’t be without it.
I have to have an NEA membership with my NDEA membership. Of course I always refuse the political thing about my dues every year (yeah I know that’s wishful thinking).
Not all of us who are union members are thugs.
I find it useful to be a member to navigate the a$$holes in this field: teachers, parents & especially abusive administrators.
The liability insurance alone to me is worth the price.
Will I always be a member? IDK. But there are other benefits I can get bcs I’m a member (i.e. life insurance rates, etc).
I am not forced to join, & some of our teachers are not members.

Badger40 on July 24, 2013 at 8:43 AM

If Walker is smart he won’t even think about running for President. Thats a mousetrap. Washington DC is too stagnant and set in its ways. Real change is at the state level. As a Wisconsin resident I don’t want to give him up.

RAB on July 24, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Real change is at the state level.

RAB on July 24, 2013 at 9:42 AM

A sentiment I have been trumpeting for quite a long time.

Badger40 on July 24, 2013 at 9:51 AM

I look forward to voting for Scott Walker for the 3rd time in 4 years and watching him win yet again. The gnashing of teeth from the Progressive scum in my state is music to my ears.

Now if only we could get rid of Lena Taylor, Gwen Moore, Tammy Baldwin, and Mayor Tom Barrett…

They too will eventually be flushed like the turds they are.

Polish Rifle on July 24, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Walker will be Palinized in short order. Bet on it.

He is effective and popular – qualities that absolutely mortify the Donk base and elite.

Best he stays close to Cheeseheadville (Madison), as the ferocity of the attacks against him will be monumental if he tries to run for Congress or the White House.

Bruno Strozek on July 24, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Best he stays close to Cheeseheadville (Madison), as the ferocity of the attacks against him will be monumental if he tries to run for Congress or the White House.

Bruno Strozek on July 24, 2013 at 11:31 AM

And that only counts the one-man wrecking ball known as a McCain.

Governor Hitler McDivisive

That’s what the Left calls him.

We here call him “Governor Lincoln Reagan McLovin'”

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM