Appointed (for 19 months of a 24 month term) Village of Cottage Grove Mike Mikalsen, was recently on the Mitch Henck radio show (1310AM) and said this “Every aspect of collective bargaining has a cost”.

Forgetting the fact that the republicans in the Senate would disagree with him, I actually AGREE with Mr. Mikalsen. Although I believe he came to the correct conclusion out of ignorance, a look at history will show us how right he is.

* In the late 1880’s workers worked to collectively bargain for an 8 hour day. The cost to this was tremendous as it brought us the Haymarket Affair which killed numerous people. A crowd of 2000 peaceful protesters, were fighting for an 8 hour work day and then when the police showed up to disperse the crowd, someone threw a bomb and it led to a shootout between the police and crowd. Many good people paid the ultimate cost that day and now you get to go home after 8 hours.


The Homestead Strike on 1892, became one of the first organized strikes. Andrew Carnegie and his Chairman Henry Fricke, were appalled when the workers refused a pay cut while Carnegie Steel company was making record profits. Carnegie would hear of sharing the profits with mere workers so he hired 300 Pinkertons to start a war with his own workers and the whole town! Seven workers and three Pinkertons paid the ultimate cost.

* The Pullman Strike of 1894, where

Within four days, 125,000 workers on twenty-nine railroads had quit work rather than handle Pullman cars. The strike was broken up by United States Marshals and some 2,000 United States Army troops, commanded by Nelson Miles, sent in by President Grover Cleveland on the premise that the strike interfered with the delivery of U.S. Mail. As a result of this aspect of collective bargaining, 13 Americans paid the ultimate cost and 57 Americans were wounded.

* The National (Industrial) Recovery Act (NRA) was passed by Congress on June 16, 1933. That New Deal law was designed to promote recovery and reform, encourage collective bargaining for unions, set up maximum work hours (and sometimes prices) and minimum wages, and forbid child labor in industry. In the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin D Roosevelt, identified the one way to pull out of the depression was to give workers more rights and protections! No longer would children pay the costs of providing labor for the elite in America.

* In April 2010, 29 non-union miners died in an explosion at Massey Mines in WV. Despite the hundreds of violations at the Massey mine in WV, since the miners did not have a union to speak for them, these workers were forced to go down this mine everyone knew was unsafe. 29 American workers and their families paid the ultimate COST that day in WV because they did NOT have collective bargaining rights.

Mr. Mikalsen was probably never more right in his life, someone has paid the ultimate COST for EVERY ASPECT of collective bargaining and working conditions that we all enjoy in America today!

** one quick disclaimer, I get it that there is MUCH more to the labor movement than I described here, and that each event I described is incredibly more involved and complicated than I was able to get into(this is a blog not a dissertation). I mean no disrespect to any of the events, but you get the idea.

7 Responses to Collective Bargaining Comes With A Cost:

  1. mark says:

    Good grief, could you come up with a labor struggle in the 1700s as well?

    Yes, there was labor unrest, and yes the labor movement had its place. But every single one of your comments was private industry vs. labor, not public. How many of these protections are now part of current labor laws?

    Could you give some RECENT examples of what public employees have done? I can:

    Employer must provide bulletin boards to post information about union social and recreational activities. The size and location of the board is subject to collective bargaining.2. When a local union meets the following conditions are subject to bargaining:

    1. lighting,

    2. vision care and examinations,

    3. noise,

    4. chairs,

    5. desks,

    6. footrests,

    7. adjustable terminals and keyboards,

    8. work environment design (wall cover, carpet, windows),

    9. room temperature,

    Starting of vehicles during cold weather is subject to collective bargaining.Paid time off to donate blood.
    Earlier today, Governor Walker’s office released some specific examples and new details to show how collective bargaining fiscally impacts government and how reforming collective bargaining can improve government.

    A Year’s Worth of Pay for 30 Days of Work

    Under the Green Bay School District’s collectively bargained Emeritus Program, teaches can retire and receive a year’s worth of salary for working only 30 days over a three year period. This is paid in addition to their already guaranteed pension and health care payouts.

    At the average annual salary for a Green Bay teacher of $51,355, this amounts to a daily rate of pay of $1,711.83, or an hourly rate of $213.98. Since most retiring teachers receive higher than average salary, these amounts are, in practice, much higher.

    Source: WLUK-TV, 3/3/11

    Teachers Receiving Two Pensions

    Due to a 1982 provision of their collective bargaining agreement, Milwaukee Public School teachers actually receive two pensions upon retirement instead of one. The contribution to the second pension is equal to 4.2% of a teacher’s salary, with the school district making 100% of the contribution, just like they do for the first pension. This extra benefit costs taxpayers more than $16 million per year.

    Source: February 17, 2010 Press Release, Process of developing FY11 budget begins Milwaukee Public Schools

    Almost $10,000 Per Year for Doing Nothing

    While the Green Bay Emeritus Program actually requires teachers to at least show up for work, the Madison Emeritus Program doesn’t even require that. In addition to their pension payouts, retired Madison public school teachers receive annual payments of at least $9,884.18 per year for enrolling in the Emeritus Program, which requires ZERO days of work.

    When this program began, 20 days of work per year were required. Through collective bargaining, the union successfully negotiated this down to zero days.

    Source: Madison Teachers Inc. Website

    Wow, the public unions are REALLY fighting for the common man.

  2. Wow you found a couple of examples of the unions getting some concessions that you disagree with ….SHOCKING> lets fire all the teachers….

    Here is one for you. Dollar Bill Mcguire took a 1.7 BILLION(thats Billion with B), payour when he left United healthcare.

    Want to take a guess which one effects YOUR pocketbook more????

    I dont see anywhere, where the republicans are putting an end to things like this because we are broke….do you?

  3. Non-union--"Exempt"/Professional says:

    This is from a non-union “Exempt” Professional at a major local corporation–
    Every added or expanded benefit that ever I got (such as medical, dental, vision, mental health benefits, added vacation, sick days, personal time…etc) came to me AFTER the union labor force negotiated their new contract with the new benefits. They negotiated, but we (the “non-union, professionals”) all benefited.

    • mark says:

      If you don’t like the benefits you currently have, go in to your boss and negotiate yourself. If the boss won’t budge…quit.

      And, by the way, who REALLY benefited in the long run? Did the employer have to put off raises because more was going toward benefits? DId the company have to downsize? Curtail expansion? Put off hiring additional employees?

      Simply put, there is a cause and effect…the more benefits added, costs have to come from somewhere. And for public sector employees, that is coming from the taxpayer.

      Again, if the public (or private) sector does not like their current job and benefits, then QUIT.

  4. mark says:

    You just don’t get the difference between PRIVATE and PUBLIC, do you.

    What effects my pocketbook more? The ability of local municipalities and districts to negotiate, rather than have to submit to union demands.

    And a couple of examples? Would you like more?

    Face it, PP, you and the others are simply wallowing in self pity that the unions aren’t going to be driving the bus…the TAXPAYERS will be. That, and extreme jealousy that actually some people in the private sector have more than you…and while his payout is extreme (I will admit) there are THOUSANDS of non-union households in this state who are finally going to have some control over public-sector union demands.

    THe rhetoric is actually getting to the silly side…”people will die in the streets” “roads won’t get plowed” “you won’t be able to get your drivers license”…and on and on. Please, public sector union members, go on strike. Yes, it will be painful at first, but we will survive quite well. Look at the number of unemployed. I’m sure there are those who will do your job with the very good benefits.

    • Mark,

      I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

      I would be willing to bet that the amount of lost taxpayer money in corporate and individual tax exemptions, loopholes, gimmicks and the like, in tandem with an absolutely runaway annual military and war budget, with the attendant egregious fraud, waste and abuse, so far exceeds the cost of so-called “public union demands” as to render this discussion absurd. And this has no effect on your pocketbook? Please.

      It’s your rhetoric that’s gone to the silly side, as well as to the spiteful and petty.

  5. I get it completely since I have spent my whole career in the private sector. i also get it that we as taxpayers, and public sector employees pay taxes also, pay dearly for what we allow to happen in the private sector.

    In this whole fiasco, Glenn Grothman has been going all over explaining that we cant afford teachers benefits because it costs 25k a year to insure each teacher. Is that the fault of a math teacher who wants a yearly check up? or is it the fault of guys like dollar bill? I know its a free market and we can just give up our insurance and go to the insurance company that just wants to cover people and not pay out multi million dollar bonuses to everyone.

    I will go on the search for that company, but first I am off to find the Loch ness monster and Bigfoot. When I get back I will sit down with the Easter Bunny and we will track that insurance company down.

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