MJS editors wonder: What if we lived in a Wisconsin without Act 10?

This is worth a read…

If Walker could travel to that other universe — the one where he negotiates with unions instead of breaking them — here’s what he would find: The budget deficit is closed through negotiated employee concessions, cuts to programs and a little fiscal magic. There are no new taxes. There are no angry protests around the state Capitol, no nasty threats aimed at Republican legislators. Democratic senators remain in Madison; they do not not run off to Illinois. They don’t have to; they are working with the governor. There are not 15 recall elections, either, and Walker, though disliked by Democrats, is no target. The Democrats know better.

Very few people in this strange land have ever heard of Eric O’Keefe, the head of Wisconsin Club for Growth. The group does not coordinate with Walker’s recall campaign because there is no recall election.

Imagine: labor peace, a balanced budget, a successful governor, a new kind of Republican who works with his political foes instead of crushing them. It’s easy if you try.

But alas, in the universe Walker created, we have Act 10.

As the editorial rightly noted, any deficit in the state’s budget – which was the reason Gov. Walker gave for “dropping the bomb” with Act 10 – could have been dealt with by working with public employee unions, instead of seeking to destroy the unions as Gov. Walker did. As noted in the editorial, Massachusetts passed a law giving mayors and other local officials the authority to set co-payments and deductibles for their employees after a 30-day discussion period with unions, a measure which led to $250 million in savings for towns and cities in that state.

The fact is, no matter what Gov. Walker and his supporters may say about Act 10, his motivation for Act 10 wasn’t fiscal in nature (as he admitted under oath to Congress) and had everything to do with eliminating a potential obstacle to his political aspirations.


Related Articles

7 thoughts on “MJS editors wonder: What if we lived in a Wisconsin without Act 10?

  1. In a nutshell, the JS, yes, the JS has summarized the problems we have faced here in WI and a way too start the healing. If only people are paying attention and ready to vote knowing what is correct and not right.

  2. I’m tired of all of these posts and articles that seem to imply that public unions would have agreed to consessions of any kind. One has to only look at the school districts in Janesville and Milwaukee and Madison to see that the teachers unions have tried every trick in the book to delay or obstruct the implementation of ACT 10. The sheer overpayment to WEAC all of those years prior to ACT 10 due to the unwillingess of teachers to negotiate in good faith is another prime example. It is easy to say “we would have negotiated” when the overwhellming evidence points to a different conclusion entirely.

    1. Chrissy- except the state unions did just that- agreed to the fiscal part of paying more for benefits, and only objected to the barriers to bargaining. So the rest of your theorizing is dead wrong.

      The bottom line is that if Walker didn’t do Act 10, he wouldn’t have the out-of-state money from oligarchs like he had, and would still be considered unfit for office due to his failed tax cuts, corruption and incompetence. In fact, the noise from Act 10 has distracted resentful white guys like Chrissy into sticking with Walker instead of admitting Walker couldn’t care less about helping them- just the contributors who pay his bills.

      Act 10 was a political move, and did NOTHING to help the state fiscally. And it’s left this state far worse off in the long run. Period.

    2. Chris:
      Journal Sentinel, March 15, 2011:
      “The Slinger School Board and its teachers union approved an agreement that modifies the teachers’ existing contract to save the district $1.35 million in the upcoming school year, Superintendent Robert Reynolds said.

      Both the union and the board agreed to the modifications Monday, locking them into place before a new law that eliminates most of the teachers’ collective bargaining rights can go into effect.

      Reynolds praised the teachers union for its agreement. Other districts that have existing contracts in place have avoided reopening talks out of fear of the impact.

      “This is maybe a model of how things of this nature can be handled,” Reynolds said. “It’s more like we didn’t sit across the table from each other, we sat around the table with each other and figured it out.”

      Reynolds said it was a negotiator for the teachers union who reached out to him after reading about his concerns about the effects that state education funding cuts could have on the district, given that it had a four-year teachers contract that would remain unaffected by any changes to collective bargaining or benefit levels. Under the state constitution, the Legislature can’t enact any laws that affect existing contracts.

      Together, Reynolds said district officials and the teachers union agreed to have teachers pay 5.8% of their salaries toward their pensions and increase their health insurance contributions to 12.6%. Teachers also will see their salaries virtually frozen for the next two years.

      Reynolds said the $1.35 million in savings put next school year’s budget “in the doable ballpark.”

      “I am so proud of them,” he said of the teachers. “I am so happy that people can see that they were willing, for the good of the system, to come forward and help us out. They could have just as easily said a deal is a deal.””

  3. What a ridiculous editorial. An editorial board that up until recently has pretty consistently supported Walker comes out with a fantasy scenario almost four years after the fact, rather than calling him out clearly and consistently, from the start, for behaviors and attitudes against particular groups of people. They could have called him out when he went after poor people in so many ways (earned income tax credit, badgercare kickoffs). Or women (Governor Ultrasound, equal pay). Or public employees. But they didn’t, or did in such a hands-fluttering way they might as well not have, and now we get a weird ‘what if’ that’s wishy-washy and easily attacked by both sides.
    Although I do wonder if the ‘fight worth having’ comment is as close as they’ll come to an endorsement of Mary Burke, now that they’re no longer endorsing candidates (wink wink).

  4. Jake the snake:

    You must have missed all of the unions that did quicky contracts that ommitted any increase of payments to either the health insurance premiums or pension plan while ACT 10 was being implemented/litigated. Janesville, Madison, and Milwaukee school districts come to mind. Quit the lying and admit that “agreeing to concessions” in the final stages of Act 10 being passed in no way amounts to them being willing to negotiate before the fact.

    Also please remember that Walker and the Legislature agreed to many changes to the overall bill but your buddies wouldn’t come home from the motel 6 in Illinois to vote on it. SOOO sad for you now. Their political calculation failed and hurt your cause. Meanwhile school districts across the state are not seeing the dire predictions that your ilk continue to spew. Alas in two weeks when Walker wins for the third time in 4 years what excuses will you all use to explain away the overwhelming popularity of Walker’s vision for WI.

    1. Dear God, how old are you Chris? 12? Oh wait, you’re a GOP operative- same mentality.

      You see, kiddo, the average person doesn’t have bargaining power on their own, that’s why they ORGANIZE INTO GROUPS to make their side of the story heard- like Walker’s oligarch buddies at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. The difference is that teacher’s unions actually have a vested interest in the community and the quality of education for their students, while the Greedheads in WMC and a WisGOP only care about accumulating money and power, and don’t care what wreckage they leave behind for us to pick up.

      Maybe one day you’ll evolve into adulthood and understand that there’s more to life than $10 in your pocket. But your type rarely seems to grow up and would rather wave partisan Pom-Poms over seeing somewhere past your own nose. Your loss.

Comments are closed.