Alternative title: Dick Trumka’s ego writes checks the AFL/CIO can’t cash. To summarize, the Hill article reports that Trumka is kind-of, sort-of threatening that if the Democratic party doesn’t pay more attention to Big Labor, then Big Labor will start thinking about going politically shopping elsewhere. This is an… interesting proposition, to be sure – given that Trumka does not exactly say where Big Labor was planning to go politically shopping.
I mean, obviously it’s not going to be the GOP. Our party loathes the public sector union leadership cadre that has been raiding the public treasury for decades; besides, those people are more reliably Democratic voters than even dead people are. As for private sector unions… well. There’s a sharp dividing line* there anyway. People below that line are actually not particularly going to lockstep their votes for the Democrats anyway; and people above it are bluffing. More to the point: everybody knows it.
So I suggest that Dick Trumka stop wasting his betters’ valuable time by making empty threats. His faction is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Democratic party’s rich, idle elite… and the Republican party doesn’t need any of his particular brand of sycophancy anyway. God knows we have enough of our own to suppress, and to keep suppressed, so why should we get involved in what is essentially a temper tantrum by the Democratic party’s subordinates?
That’s the Wisconsin Supreme Court race that was supposed to be a stunning repudiation of Governor Scott Walker’s (R) reforms, right up to the moment that David Prosser won.
Anyway, they’re down to recounting one county – which Prosser won, handily – and the number hasn’t remotely changed enough to justify Kloppenburg continuing on with the recount. Then again, it’s not Kloppenburg’s money – just the Wisconsin taxpayers’ – so expect her to keep letting the Democratic party erode away her respectability, dignity, and good name for the benefit of Big Labor.
Much like similar laws passed in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, the legislation will go after public sector union abuse of collective bargaining over health care. Let me refresh people about why that’s important: it’s important because the public perception of benefits packages has traditionally been that they are somehow fundamentally different than wages; this despite the fact that a person who used to have, say, $5,000/year’s worth of health care but now has $10,000/year has effectively gotten a $5,000 raise. But since it’s not seen as a raise, many public sector unions have had free rein in effectively bargaining for more and more benefits every year, in lieu of technical raises. Which is what this legislation addresses:
House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.
Under the legislation, mayors and other local officials would be given unfettered authority to set copayments and deductibles for their employees, after the 30-day discussion period with unions. Only the share of premiums paid by employees would remain on the health care bargaining table.
The International Association of Fire Fighters’ Big Labor bosses have decided to, ah, reallocate their resources in advance of 2012:
As newly elected Republican state legislatures aggressively push a slew of anti-union measures, the International Association of Fire Fighters is freezing its federal political spending and shifting all resources toward its beleaguered state and local colleagues.
It’s kind of a shame that they’re not going to urinate away another fifteen million in the next national election – although possibly the ordinary, decent fire fighters who get stuck with the bill being run up on the Democrats’ behalf might find this to be a distinction without a difference. For my own part, I’d rather have whatever electoral wars that are going to take place next year take place in the state legislature, and not Congress. Aside from everything else, it shows who’s actually winning in the first place.
Ben Smith reports that “the Service Employees International Union plans to use its giant political operation to try to build a grass-roots movement of public protest and organization” – which is pretty much all that you have to read of that article, frankly. This is not a slam on Ben; Politico probably doesn’t look kindly on one-sentence articles, and writers need to eat. If your employer wants multiple paragraphs, you give your employer multiple paragraphs.
Still, the use of the phrase “plans to use” and “try to build” gives the whole game away. The tacit admission here is that the SEIU (and the rest of Big Labor) doesn’t actually have the populist support that the Left routinely [claims] to have; something that was glaringly put on display in the last few months in Wisconsin. While groups like these do have the ability to dump large numbers of its members into various anti-reform demonstrations (and near-riots), the results were neither successful in accomplishing any sort of meaningful change, nor in becoming self-perpetuating. For an example of the failures in the first category, note the Prosser/Kloppenburg election – particularly, the interesting fact that Kloppenburg received both less outside money than Prosser did, but more big-donor outside money in proportion. For an example of the latter, note the drastically-reduced protester footprint in Madison, now that they are no longer being artificially stimulated. Continue reading SEIU’s populist Cargo Cult plans.
In Ohio, the final vote on SB 5 was 53-44; it’s already passed the Ohio Senate, but changes made to the bill require another quick vote on the legislation either today or tomorrow. This particular legislation goes a bit farther than the groundbreaking Wisconsin union reform bill; it redefines collective bargaining privileges for public sector union employees to cover wages only, institutes merit pay for public sector union workers, and makes strikes by public sector employees illegal. Most interestingly, it extends collective bargaining reforms to police and firefighter unions, which is quite possibly a reaction to the rather contemptible activities and passive-aggressive threats done and made by Big Labor in Wisconsin.
And, of course, a few days ago the Florida state House passed HB 1021, which bans the automatic collection of public sector union dues. Slowly but surely, reform is coming to help embattled states fight the entrenched partisan interests strangling trade and wealth generation from within…
They’ve taken over the approving of time sheets and photocopier requests for staffers of AWOL Wisconsin legislators. The ballot can be found here; the photocopier restrictions are particularly rigorous, given that the staffers in question will have to go get permission every time they want to make a copy. Speaking as somebody who has worked in an office that generated a lot of paperwork, that restriction is downright vicious.
But is it petty? No. Petty is Democratic state senators literally hiding from their job responsibilities – and risking the jobs of their constituents – because union bosses demand it of them*. This is merely a sign that said Senators’ colleagues are getting tired of pretending that their hiding is acceptable behavior. Or particularly mature.
There’s just something special about seeing a would-be member of the modern Left’s Sturmabteilungshove around a counter-protester while screaming about ‘fascists.’ I assume that’s why the report is that this is a MoveOn.org guy: that sort of behavior is precisely the sort of room-temperature IQ maneuver that you’d expect from that crowd.
Note that the counter-protester got shoved twice; also note that Mr. Brownshirt was fully decked out in his gang leathers Teamster jacket in the process. Hey, why don’t you sing “Look for the Union Label” next time you commit assault for the cameras? That should really bring the message home that you’re operating under the sanction of your union.
PS: I fully expect this kind of situation to escalate until somebody’s dead or seriously injured. And I expect that to happen because the union goons that Dick Trumka is currently winding up and setting loose don’t understand that cameras are everywhere now, and that threats of violence and/or acts of intimidation are not going to be sufficient this time. So the unions will get more violent, and it will get caught on tape, and that’s when things will get truly ugly.
So now would be a good time for the union leadership to start walking back from all of this. They won’t, because the union leadership has a collective mental map of the political landscape that’s twenty years out of date, but they should.
This post by Ann Althouse on the anemic protester response to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s budget plan – and it is an anemic response; it’s bad when you have to add a statue to your crowd in order to make your crowd look bigger – reminded me about Walker’s plan in the first place. I got told about this actually by Kevin Binversie, who runs Lakeshore Laments, was recently involved in Ron Johnson’s successful Wisconsin Senate run, is a good guy, and who is unaccountably not being headhunted by DC Republicans*; Governor Walker’s plan is fascinating in its audacity.