Recently a news service headlined that as a result of their defeat in Wisconsin, unions vow to target Republicans. When did the news equivalent of “dog bites man” become headline worthy?
In Wisconsin some police, firefighter, and teacher union leaders sent a letter (click here) to local businesses that contributed to Governor Scott Walker, threatening that these businesses publicly support the unions or: “In the event that you cannot support this effort to save collective bargaining, please be advised that the undersigned will publicly and formally boycott the goods and services provided by your company.”
Translation: “We’re going to make them an offer they can’t refuse.”
FDR, who opposed public employee unions, is rolling over in his grave.
Is ending public employee collective bargaining that critical for getting budgets under control? Yes, and a liberal columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Chip Johnson, proved this point (in this article, Oakland police, firefighter pay devouring budger) using a database of local government salaries and compensation compiled by state Controller John Chiang's office. In Oakland, current pay and pension costs of police and firemen are pushing everything else out of Oakland's budget. Even the police budget: over 80 recently hired and trained policemen had to be laid off, still leaving Oakland with a $46 million budget deficit. One reason for police layoffs: the Oakland firefighters’ contract ensures no layoffs, minimum staff requirements aboard fire trucks, and no station closures. One union dog eats the other.
But the police aren’t complaining, although Oakland residents are; eight of the ten highest paid in Oakland are police, and 440 of the 500 highest paid are police and firemen.
Wisconsin taught a valuable lesson that should benefit both Democrats and Republicans. If you don’t like the way the game is going, and you grab the ball and run away, it only works if your opponents don’t have any to spare.