Unions were born in the early 1900’s – a gathering of workers to give them a stronger voice in negotiating with their employers. There were some abusive practices that made this a legitimate effort, such as working very long hours, for very little wages.
However, modern unions do not have this same usefulness, mostly because federal and state regulations have established things like: minimum wages, hour controls, overtime payment requirements and minimum working ages and hours. This is not an exclusive list – there are many other laws in place to protect workers.
Unions have become massive organizations, often as big and as powerful as the companies there were originally formed to negotiate with. They wield massive political influence because of their ability to spend membership dues on political campaigning. Unions keep companies from downsizing in economic hardships because they will not allow anything that would cut a benefit to a worker, sometimes causing bankruptcy. Teachers unions are an example where union demands, such as job security and pay grades being based on length of tenure has hurt that which the teachers are supposed to serve, students. This policy of tenure keeps the younger and possibly brighter teachers out, and locks the old hat, possibly worse teachers in place. Reform allowing schools to work on a merit basis instead of a tenure basis will improve schools.
When Walker challenged the government unions by removing the mandate that forced government workers and teachers to be members of the unions, they lost half of their members. He also removed some of the public sector bargaining rights, to allow the state to balance the budget without cutting workers, or raising taxes.
The recall effort was then union's reaction to these actions. When Walker eventually won by more than he won his original election with it proved a couple points that I want to make here. 1. Other governors should not be afraid to tackle unions head on as part of their effort to balance budgets. Usually governors can be cowed by a union threat due to their ability to influence the members votes, but now its been proven that they can’t necessarily beat them, especially when you give the members the CHOICE whether or not to remain in their union. 2. This gives people in other states that perhaps they can fix their states fiscal problems without raising taxes and without massive layoffs of public sector workers. It allows the possibility that even states such as California might eventually wake up and institute similar reforms.
Finally, this also spells trouble for Obama. This election rings similar to the election in Virginia in 2009, one year after they voted for Obama they turned around and elected a fairly conservative Republican. The fact that a few months before the national election, the voters come out in droves in Wisconsin to vote for the man who cut back on unions, makes it seem very likely that the nation is closer to voting out Obama than the progressives would like to think.
In an interesting note – the day after Scott Walker wins, the Dow jumped 286 points – and none of the mainstream media are noticing the connection. Now, we can’t be sure the reason is the defeat of the unions the day previously, but I think it’s safe to guess that it might have had something to do with it.