Our Values: Big questions after Wisconsin's 'nuclear option'
Courtesy of Muhammad Nusair
It’s a done deal, now, for Wisconsin’s public employees. Yesterday, the Wisconsin Assembly approved the measure to strip public unions of their collective bargaining rights. This was just one day after Wisconsin Senate Republicans unilaterally voted to approve the measure.
“In 30 minutes, 18 State Senators undid fifty years of civil rights in Wisconsin,” said Senate Democrat Mark Miller after his GOP colleagues exercised what some called the “nuclear option.”
Gov. Walker said he would sign the bill into law as soon as possible.
All along, Walker said the state’s budget deficit was the reason public unions had to go. We now know that the budget deficit was a manufactured crisis — a hoax like the Balloon Boy. (Click here to see yesterday’s post on the hoax.) So, if it wasn’t the budget crisis, what was it? To me, there are only three other options:
1. IDEOLOGY: Collective bargaining doesn’t fit the conservative ideology-reason enough to end it.
2. REALPOLITIK: This is all about power. Those who have it do what they want.
3. CAREERISM: Walker is now a national figure, no longer an obscure Wisconsin politician.
What do you think caused the Wisconsin action?
What’s next for Wisconsin’s public employees? With the unions all but defunct, look for deep pay cuts, bigger contributions to healthcare insurance and pensions. Schoolteachers may be stripped of tenure, and seniority will no longer be a consideration when it comes to hiring and firing.
Other states — including Ohio, Florida, and New Jersey — are also considering curbing their public unions. Some states really do have big budget deficits, so cost cutting could be a legitimate reason. I note, however, the Floridian legislators are not taking that route, instead arguing that union busting is necessary to improve the quality of education.
Do you think Wisconsin’s action will embolden others?
Or, will it re-energize the labor movement?