But no matter how deep the budget hole, Walker and his Republican allies in the Legislature were wrong to try to bust public-employee unions. Workers have a fundamental right to organize, even when it's inconvenient for the rest of us.They're still a far cry from being responsible to the community they are supposed to be advocating for, but it is still better than what they have written in the past.
Walker's proposals would require an annual vote of members to recertify their union, ban governments from automatically deducting union dues from paychecks and allow public employees to opt out of paying dues and still remain members of a bargaining unit. Unions could negotiate wages but only up to the rate of inflation. That's not negotiating; it's dictating.< Even worse, the bill would apply the new rules unevenly. Police officers, firefighters, sheriff's deputies and state troopers would be exempt. With big cuts coming in state aid, municipalities must control labor costs, but exempting police and fire departments makes that nearly impossible. In Milwaukee, 65% of salaries and benefits flow to those two budget lines. The more radical of Walker's collective bargaining proposals should be killed. The others should cover all unions. Proposals that amount to policy should be stripped out. These include a provision to allow the Department of Administration to sell heating, cooling and power plants without bids and another that would give broad rule-making authority for the Medicaid program to the Department of Health Services. The bill also might imperil federal transit funding for some communities. A fix is needed for that as well.
When the would-be king issued his power-grabbing edict, the MJS Editorial Board thought it was "the right fight." If anything, they argued that in some aspects, Walker did not go far enough.
They really should be apologizing to their readers for not taking a serious look at the bill before spouting off on how wonderful it is, especially when it's not wonderful at all.
And speaking of taking a serious look at the bill, it took the MJS Editorial Board more than two weeks to figure out that the bill might not be so good after all. But they, like many Wisconsinites, wouldn't have had the time to actually look at the bill and see it in all of hits horror, if it weren't for the courageous and selfless acts of the fourteen Democratic Senators that took off with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and fled to another state, all in order to slow things down and give us the chance to look at the thing.
However, the Editorial Board didn't see it that way. They accused the Wisconsin 14 of having "a tantrum." In a editorial piece that is so snarky, one would think that Patrick McIlheran had once again had snuck around and gotten unsupervised access to a keyboard, they went over the line in insulting some of the heroes of this whole unfortunate time.
Now that they've had a time to look at the bill because these men and women left town and slowed everything down, they should not only apologize for their inappropriate sniping, but actually express their gratitude for the Senators' sacrifice.
On a side note, it's been two weeks since I've cancelled my subscription to the paper. I thought it would be a major upset in my life. I'm finding that I hardly even miss it. And then the paper prints dreck like this and wonders why their circulations numbers are dropping almost as fast as Walker's approval numbers...