The labor battle: Athens in Wisconsin

Mr. Walker’s very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at the federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum. The bill would also require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums…

Unions are treating these reforms as Armageddon because they’ve owned the Wisconsin legislature for years and the changes would reduce their dominance. Under Governor Walker’s proposal, the government also would no longer collect union dues from paychecks and then send that money to the unions. Instead, unions would be responsible for their own collection regimes. The bill would also require unions to be recertified annually by a majority of all members. Imagine that: More accountability inside unions…

The battle of Mad Town is a seminal showdown over whether government union power can be tamed, and overall government reined in. The alternative is higher taxes until the middle class is picked clean and the U.S. economy is no longer competitive. Voters said in November that they want reform, and Mr. Walker is trying to deliver. We hope Republicans hold firm, and that the people of Wisconsin understand that this battle is ultimately about their right to self-government.