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Unions Looking Like Losers in Wisconsin Recall

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker remains the poster child for the war against collective bargaining privileges and other perks for public-sector unions. Although the outcome of last year’s battle was a coup for Governor Walker, it was not without repercussions—foremost being the upcoming recall election. As recently as February, Walker looked quite vulnerable.

But the unions can’t claim victory just yet. Buzzfeed reports that one of Walker’s major Democratic challengers, Mayor Tom Barrett, has an anti-union streak of his own, having floated plans to limit collective bargaining by city employees while mayor of Milwaukee.  Barrett has pledged to roll back Walker’s policies, but union leaders have already rushed to back his primary opponent, Democrat Kathy Falk.

Via Meadia has pointed out that over the past few years Democratic mayors and governors have begun to fight public sector unions nearly as hard as their Republican counterparts, albeit for different reasons: Simply put, the unions are making it impossible for states to meet the needs of those who depend on social and other services.

Intrade’s odds now favor Walker winning the recall election on June 5, but, regardless of the outcome, public sector unions now have no shortage of determined foes.

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  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Big Labor as one of the 3 legs of the Blue Model, the others being Big Business and Big Government, is clearly the most vulnerable and the one most likely to fall first. The completely unjustified monopoly right to be the only labor a Business or Government organ is allowed to hire is a violation of the Anti-Trust laws designed to keep the feedback of competition alive in the market place, and prevent the abuses Monopolies impose on society. The Labor Gangs are clearly losing, and have been reduced to Defensive actions like the Walker recall, in an attempt to keep their Monopoly alive.

  • Mark Michael

    The McIver Institute in Wisconsin has a post on the income and benefit levels of WI’s state workers since Walker’s “budget repair” bill was passed last year. See:


    Even after the labor reforms ushered in by Act 10, Wisconsin taxpayers pay more than surrounding states to provide insurance to state employees, according to a new study released today.

    HCTrends analyzed 2012 state employee health plan benefits in four neighboring states (Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan) and compared them with the benefits offered to state employees in Wisconsin. The analysis also compared Wisconsin state employee benefits to those offered to private‐sector employees in southeastern Wisconsin.

    The study’s findings:

    Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $13,972 to provide health insurance to a state employee, which is 9 percent ($1,207) more than taxpayers will pay in Michigan, the next most expensive state, and 21 percent more ($2,433) than the average per‐employee cost for taxpayers in the five states analyzed

    Wisconsin taxpayers will also pay $3,762 more per employee than large private‐sector companies with union workforces and $5,565 more than large non‐union employers

    In Michigan, the employee contribution also depends on the length of time the employee has worked for the state. Employees hired before April 2010 contribute 7.2 percent of premium, while employees hired after April 1, 2010 pay 15.4 percent. The newer hires also have slightly less generous health benefits

    In Illinois, premium contribution is based on both the employee’s income and the plan selected. An employee earning $30,200 per year pays $564 per year for single coverage for the state’s primary plan, while an employee earning $75,901 pays $714. State employees pay an additional $110 to $226 per month, depending on the plan they select, for family coverage

    State employees in Minnesota pay a fixed rate ($0 single/$1,562 family), but their cost‐sharing is determined by the provider group they select. Deductibles vary by as much as $550 for single coverage and $1,100 for family coverage depending on the provider group selected
    Iowa has both the least expensive and the most generous health plan among the five states analyzed. The plan, which costs the state an estimated $9,686 per employee per year, is offered to state employees free of charge. The plan does have an out‐of‐pocket maxiamum for state employee plans ($750 single/$1,500 family), but it is unlikely that many employees reach the threshold given the plan’s minimal co‐insurance rate and low copays.

    The complete report including a comparison of benefit design and health plan costs is available at

  • Leon Haller

    Public sector unions (unlike their private counterparts) are morally unjustifiable. They are not subject to profit and loss calculations (as private sector unions are – at least in theory, and sometimes in practice). They are simply machines for using taxpayer money (portions of their salaries) to lobby public officeholders to expand their salaries and benefits. There is no inherent limitation on them, as their ultimate employer is not consumer demand through the free market, but a government which holds the taxing and inflating power. I cannot believe any non-union households would ever support this unfairness!

  • Wisco

    A quote for you:

    “It wouldn’t save any.”

    That was Scott Walker, testifying under oath before congress, on how much money banning collective bargaining would save the state.

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