Charles Krauthammer | Quad-City Times
Tuesday, June 5, 2012, will be remembered as the beginning of the long decline of the public-sector union. It will follow, and parallel, the shrinking of private-sector unions, now down to less than 7 percent of American workers…
The ultimate significance of Walker’s union reforms has been largely misunderstood…
But as the recall campaign progressed, the Democrats stopped talking about bargaining rights. It was a losing issue. Walker was able to make the case that years of corrupt union-politician back-scratching had been bankrupting the state. And he had just enough time to demonstrate the beneficial effects of overturning that arrangement…
But the real threat behind all this was that the new law ended automatic government collection of union dues. That was the unexpressed and politically inexpressible issue. Without the thumb of the state tilting the scale by coerced collection, union membership became truly voluntary. Result? Newly freed members rushed for the exits. In less than one year, AFSCME, the second largest public-sector union in Wisconsin, has lost more than 50 percent of its membership.
It was predictable…(Full text at Quad-City Times)
Notwithstanding my brief stint on the CCPOA Executive Council, I have always been forthright in acknowledging I would not have been a CCPOA member were it not for the State’s agency shop policy–I daresay a majority of state workers would have similarly passed on a union card, as evidenced by the halving of AFSCME’s Wisconsin ranks.
To date, the Bargaining Units have had nothing to fear: The labor-loving Democrats would never permit a bill squashing agency shop out of committee. In fact, such a bill wouldn’t get that far–It would die for lack of sponsors.
Which isn’t to say the Republicans could be expected to repeal mandatory unionism because both parties have grown used to the support, read cash, of the union structure they created. Agency shop is the cash cow, gold laying goose, money tree (etc.) of state politics.
Given that, all that stands between Wisconsin-style reforms and California is a referendum. AND, it’s only a question of time before such a measure qualifies for the ballot.
Of course, there’s always a chance California voters will reject a referendum as did Ohio voters last November. There, to the surprise of very few, high level conservative operatives switched sides and walked point for the unions (See: Ohio GOP Chairman DeWine’s media advisor helped kill Ohio public union reform). There’s the rub. Just ask Mitch Daniels.
Yesterday, the Ohio Governor made a forceful argument against public sector collective bargaining on Chris Wallace’s Fox News Sunday.
“ I think the message is that, first of all, voters are seeing the fundamental unfairness of government becoming its own special interest group, sitting on both sides of the table. And they are also noticing with sadness that when fundamental services — education and health care and others are diminished because so much money is devoured by very high salaries and higher than those than the taxpayers are earning and more generous benefits, almost bullet-proof job protection and huge pension.”( Fox News.com)
The bottom line is everyone benefits from agency shop here in California. Everyone, that is, except the tax payers who foot the bill for unions greasing palms. And yet, tax payers are a growing minority who share the right to vote with tax consumers–Get enough non-producers to the polls and the status quo prevails.
Which is to say, California’s state bargaining units have nothing to worry about–When the state ship goes under, it will do so with an agency shop crew.