Over recent years, and during the current budget discussion, various unions representing Wisconsin teachers gave into cuts demanded by the governor or legislature because of state fiscal shortfalls. Despite the acceptance of his fiscal cuts, Governor Walker is now threatening hundreds of layoffs if his union busting clause isn’t accepted.
This clause does not save any money, yet Walker is threatening the layoffs to help make up the budget shortfall. If his new threat is true, then he was going to make these layoffs even if his full bill was accepted, and it highlights the fact that he is punishing unions that didn’t support his election, rewarding unions that did, and he’s sending a message to all unions to support him, or he’ll try to kill them if they don’t.
Walker’s spin machine is trying to tell the public the union workers are over-payed at the expense of all these poor citizens. However, the union members are paid less than their counterparts in the private sector, and they’re accepting more cuts. This low compensation has continued shortfalls in quality teachers available to work even while unemployment plagues the higher paid private sector. Additionally, as teachers take more and more cuts, large businesses are complaining about increasingly fewer qualified employees to hire for innovative positions.
Basically, continuing cuts in education are creating continuing shortfalls in a qualified work force. Maybe we should put more money into education to increase the output of a qualified pool of workers. This is not the immediate issue at hand, but it is the long-term issue which the unions need to exist to get back the conceded cuts when the fiscal deficits are gone.
According to an NPR article, part of the governor’s deficit cutting plan is to refinance the state’s budget at lower interest. This must be completed by this Friday in order for savings to start when planned. For this bill to be passed by Friday, Walker only needs to concede one thing – remove the union busting clause.
If Walker does not remove this clause by Friday in order to get this bill passed, then it will be the governor who will have lost millions of dollars, not the unions.