Union election mess is the GOP's M.O.: Cause chaos, blame your opponents | WisCommunity

Union election mess is the GOP's M.O.: Cause chaos, blame your opponents

So here's another Republican frak-up that Scott Walker and his GOP pals likely will blame on unions and recalcitrant districts attorney and Democrats: The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) says it is unlikely to meet a May 1 deadline -- created in Gov. Walker's union-busting law -- that requires public employee union elections.

But it's really the fault of Walker, who thinks a state agency that has a total of 20 employees can run thousands of elections every year -- more than a dozen within a month or so and the rest within the next year.

What's hilarious is that the Walker administration doesn't see a problem. "The administration is committed to ensuring that the WERC is able to fulfill their duties regarding the budget-repair bill," a Walker spokesman said in a statement. 

Let's wait and see if the administration amends its budget bill so that each individual employee of WERC doesn't have to be responsible for running an average hundred or so elections per year. Don't hold your breath. These guys like chaos, which is the only real "tool" that Walker is handing out.

Under Walker's scheme, the union elections will be required annually, with a majority of all union members in each bargaining unit -- not merely a majority of those voting -- required to re-certify each bargaining unit. Absent that, the unions would be de-certified and could not reconstitute themselves until another year had passed.

The unions in immediate question represent an estimated 30,000 state employees but effectively represent far more employees than that because labor contracts apply to non-members in many state jobs. There are 18 state employee bargaining units and there will have to be elections within each unit. Statewide, including local governments, there are thousands of bargaining units.

WERC -- which would oversee all this new activity -- has a total of 20 employees, who already have full in-baskets.

The elections and other provisions in Gov. Walker's law are on hold because of a pending court case to determine if the law was passed in a manner consistent with the state constitution. The hold means WERC can't even begin to plan the elections.

Usually, such elections use mail ballots and require weeks to set up and carry out.

WERC general counsel Peter Davis told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he no longer believes his agency can finish by the deadline in the law but will move as quickly as it can if the measure takes effect. Davis said WERC likely won't require another 170,000 or so other municipal and school employees to vote in the coming weeks on the fate of their own unions. Instead, assuming the Walker measure survives court challenge, those workers would vote over the coming year.

And then next year and each year after that all the public unions will get to do it all over again -- if Walker's measure actually becomes law. They shoot horses, don't they?



March 24, 2011 - 9:09am