Why Republicans Want To Bust Unions
Eugene Robinson has a good piece that explains what the true issue is in Wisconsin and other Republican-run states.
It is about money, though – but only in the sense that money translates into political power. At this point, it’s clear for all to see that Gov. Scott Walker’s true aim is to bust the public employee unions, thus permanently reshaping the political landscape in the Republican Party’s favor…
Walker is right about one thing: When it comes to pensions and benefits, public workers in Wisconsin have a sweet deal. Most of them put less than 1 percent of their pay into their pensions; Walker’s bill would require contributions of at least 5.8 percent. And most pay only about 6 percent of the cost of their health insurance premiums, a figure that Walker wants to raise to at least 12.6 percent.
But it’s not about money, because the unions have agreed on the issue of health and pension contributions, but that is not what Walker wants. Walker wants to bust the unions because they generally support Democrats.
Unions have been a reliable source of political support for the Democratic Party, including campaign contributions. Over the past few decades, union membership has declined sharply; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers who belong to a union declined from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to just 11.9 percent in 2010.
In the private sector, just 6.9 percent of workers belong to a union. But among public-sector workers, 36.2 percent are union members – and if you look only at state and local government workers, 42.3 percent are unionized. So if Republicans wanted to weaken the Democratic Party by destroying its most important source of big-money support, they would try to crush public-sector unions at the state and local levels.
That’s what the Wisconsin fight is really about. That’s why Walker won’t settle for budget-balancing concessions. He wants to eliminate the greatest benefit that unions can give their members – collective bargaining – and also, by the way, make it much harder to collect union dues. He wants to starve the unions to death.Click here for reuse options!
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