Walker union busting didn't just damage both organized labor and Wisconsin's economy, it created a new social rift | WisCommunity

Walker union busting didn't just damage both organized labor and Wisconsin's economy, it created a new social rift

The Washington Post and Salon.com have both just produced new articles on how Scott Walker's Act 10 law has in three years not only weakened public employee unions (as was its intent) and not only damaged the state's economy (which may have been an unintended consequence) but also has generated a third, under-reported side effect.

This extremely pernicous effect is one that Walker -- who has preached the alleged evils of "big labor bosses" and "big government" on his permanent-campaign trail -- arguably would not find problematic. From the Post's story:

While some union members have been energized by the fight, they say they notice a new, more vocal animosity toward them. It has been particularly pronounced in rural areas, where public-sector jobs were some of the most prized gigs in town.

In King, population 1,700, Magnant said she couldn’t change a sign at the union hall without someone giving her the finger. Farther west, in Stanley, prison workers said they ditched their favorite pizza pub because the owner stood by while other customers called them “leeches.”

In Reedsburg, that tension surprised Ginny Bourgeois, 52, who clerks at a local Kwik Trip. The community had always been divided, defined as much by the factories manufacturing car parts as it was by cornfields now blanketed in snow. Still, it was a place where the community got together for spaghetti and corn feeds and filled bleachers to watch the Reedsburg Beavers play. Now, she said, people were fighting over politics at gas stations.

Full article at

Meanwhile, at Salon, writer David Dayen adds: "The tables have been turned, from non-union workers coveting the good pay and decent benefits of their union counterparts, to demonizing them as greedy leeches that must get dragged down like everyone else." Dayen's piece recounts how Wisconsin's wage structure is in decline since Act 10 took effect:

The Washington Post didn’t take note of this, but according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, is $51,467 a year, nearly $800 below the national average. And it has fallen consistently since the passage of the anti-union law in 2011, despite a small bounce-back nationally in 2013. The Bureau of Economic Analysis puts Wisconsin in the on earnings growth, despite a fairly tight labor market with a headline unemployment rate of .

This actually undercounts the problem a bit, because it doesn’t cover total compensation. For example, in the wake of the anti-union law, public employees lost the equivalent of 8-10 percent in take-home pay because of increased contributions to healthcare and pension benefits.

And, Dayen noted, most of the increases have gone to the state's wealthiest one percent. The link: http://www.salon.com/2015/02/24/scott_walkers_economic_mess_how_worker_w...

Read and share both articles. They're further evidence of the Walker political method, namely: Gain power by getting workers to fight among themselves, while letting the elites laugh all the way to the bank.

Published

February 24, 2015 - 2:56pm

Author

randomness