Bruised but not broken by losses at the ballot box and in the courtroom, labor unions will find new ways to organize and ratchet up their influence to the point where legislatures and courts will be forced to recognize that workers’ rights need to be respected, predicts Barry Eidlin, a post-doctoral fellow in sociology at UW-Madison.

But that point is a ways off, he admits.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling this week upholding the constitutionality of Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law curtailing the collective bargaining rights of public workers, is part of a larger Republican effort to turn back much of the social legislation of the 20th century, Eidlin says.

Union activity is already being stripped back to pre-New Deal levels, he said. It took strikes and social upheaval for workers to win rights in the 1930s and “workers will once again have to take up that fight,” he says.

More broadly, Eidlin says, the most optimistic view of the nation’s economic future is that “people will recognize the economy is incredibly skewed toward the wealthy and powerful and something has to be done to redress the situation for the rest of us.”

There may be no sign of such a mass movement just yet, but historically such societal upheavals are recognized only in retrospect, he says. People involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, for example, didn’t realize they were making history for a long time, he says.

Local labor leaders are vowing to boost their efforts — in political and community spheres — in the aftermath of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling.

“MTI is stronger than ever before,” declares John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., which brought the lawsuit against Walker that was decided Thursday. His membership has signed labor contracts through 2016 that the Madison Metropolitan School District says it will honor.

Matthews predicts that the court’s ruling will invigorate public employees in the upcoming gubernatorial election.

“We have the governor, who has taken rights away from a lot of people, and we have another candidate who says she supports collective bargaining. We will do everything we can to get Mary Burke elected,” Matthews says. “I think she will have very strong support from the private as well as the public sector.”

Campaign work is on the agenda as well for members of AFSCME Local 60, who work for the city of Madison, Dane County and Madison Metropolitan School District, says executive board member Rick Marx.

“We’re supporting Mary Burke and any candidate who is willing to meet with representatives of their employees,” Marx says.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Local 60’s contracts with the city will be terminated at the end of the year, while Dane County has indicated they will continue to honor labor contracts that are currently in effect.

Local 60 hasn’t been waiting around for the legal system to hand it a victory, Marx says.

“We’ve been spending two-plus years assuming we need to develop strategies beyond collective bargaining,” he says.

Marx refers to Justice Patrick Crooks’ concurring opinion to Thursday’s decision, in which he argued that Act 10 was constitutional, but went too far.

“He said collective bargaining is the best way to maintain good relationships and have justice and dignity for the worker,” Marx says.

In the opinion, Crooks quotes an 1891 encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII, Progressive U.S. Sen. Robert M. LaFollette of Wisconsin and Ronald Reagan in mounting an argument about the “value of work and contributions of workers to their societies.”

Eidlin, too, refers to Crooks’ opinion in talking about the value of state protection of collective bargaining rights.

“They serve a role in social stability,” Eidlin says. “Take that away and you should not be surprised to see less stable social relations.”

Public sector unions play a further role in the sense that they are a symbol of the social state, “the vision of a government that sees a role in taking care of its citizenship,” Eidlin says. ”Public sector unions are a bulwark for social protections. The Republican Party recognizes that. That’s why there has been a consistent attack on public sector unions. That’s a key reason why Act 10 was enacted.”

While he does not expect to see a mass movement for worker rights and economic justice immediately arise, there are some promising signs of resistance to the growing income gap, Eidlin says. They include the increased attention being given to raising the minimum wage, organizing fast-food workers and the National Labor Relations Board’s review of a standard that would allow corporate franchisers to be liable for labor practices in their franchise stores owned by others.

In the interim, Eidlin expects membership in public sector unions to drop, as membership has been made more costly and onerous by the provisions of Act 10.

That has been the trend thus far, with membership in the Wisconsin Education Association Council dropping from 98,000 members to about half that number and enrollment in the Wisconsin State Employees Union falling by as much as 60 percent, Milwaukee Magazine reports in a comprehensive story on the aftermath of Act 10.

In contrast, overall union membership in Wisconsin rose slightly from 2012 to 2103, increasing from 11.2 percent of workers to 12.3 percent of workers, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Eidlin’s research focuses on the comparison of labor history in the U.S. and Canada over the past century and a glimpse at that suggests the link between union strength and economic inequality.

The two countries had nearly identical levels of union membership until the mid-1960s, he says. But while most Canadian provinces now have laws requiring “agency shops” where even union non-members must pay agency fees, 24 of 50 U.S. states have “right to work” legislation prohibiting union membership or payment of dues or fees.

Union membership is now three times higher in Canada than in the U.S., Eidlin says. And income inequality in Canada, while growing and relatively high compared to other industrial nations, is “nowhere near where it is in the United States,” he says.

An academic study published in 2011 found that the decline in union membership rates was a key contributor — more than had been assumed — to the rise in economic inequality in the United States, Eidlin says.

“When the top 1 percent captures almost the entire economic growth of the past four or five years, it’s saying something about the whole system and how it allocates resources,” Eidlin says.

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(177) comments

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Unions cannot fix income gap, jobs can; anyone that thinks otherwise is simply ignorant.

It's truly all about creating jobs where they do not currently exist; unions do not create jobs, unions are created by jobs that already exist; sustainable jobs are created by innovative individuals, companies, a healthy economy, and the market place! There will not be a significant recovery of the the middle class, which will help narrow the income gap, until manufacturing jobs return to the United States. There will be no resurgence of unions until loads and loads of manufacturing jobs return to the United States.

HockeyTeam

Wow talk about putting the cart before the horse! We will have a strong middle class WHEN we have a healthy economy? It's the other way around!

There isn't a economist with any amount of self-worth that will tell you that the 'health' of an economy is not directly proportional to the breadth and depth of it's consumer base. While I do concede unions do not directly create jobs, they DO directly create consumers!

At ANY time in ANY countries history you see stronger union membership you see a MAJOR growth in consumption. In the U.S. the dawn of modern unions in the early 20th century, the 50-60's and you see a steady decline in consumers with the decline in unions since 1980.

But in return we are seeing price declines right because of lower labor costs right? Wrong! Prices have went up faster than inflation even though wages have gone down adjusting to inflation. Which means less people have less money to buy things. Which I'm sure even the most elementary students of economics can tell you is AWFUL for economic growth. However it is good for a select few people, in the short term, it's easy to consolidate wealth. Hence the largest wealth gap ever in the United States.

There are plenty of industries where UNIONS, laws or both can create consumers that can spark growth in higher paying industries.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

HockeyTeam,
Yet again you prove that you can read a short comment and the point blows straight over your head.

Something that you and other bloggers regularly ignore is the simple fact that correlation does not equal causation; your comment is another good example of someone that doesn't understand that fact.

Please submit your irrefutable evidence to contradict this statement, "unions do not create jobs, unions are created by jobs that already exist".

Umgwana

I respectfully disagree with both AllAmerican11B and HockeyTeam.

Unions do create jobs. They do so in many ways.

1st - Unions increase wages, this increases GDP as those increased wages move through the economy. This increases jobs.

2nd - There is that age old complaint about Johnny not being able to change a light bulb because the union contract requires that an electrician do that. If there was ever any truth to that age old complaint, then you have to give the union credit with creating the job for the electrician.

3rd - There has sprung up an entire cottage industry trying to destroy unions. All of the jobs created in this cottage industry were created by the existence of unions.

4th - The union itself creates jobs within the union and in support of the union's political activities.

5th - Albeit not in this myopic hemisphere, where unions collaborate effectively with management and where unions are part owners of a company, jobs created by those companies are in fact created in part by their unions.

6th - Dovetailing on number 5 above, when unions invest their pension funds those funds are used to create jobs the same way that other investors create jobs.

,Arguing that unions don't create jobs is a chicken or the egg kind of sideshow.

sebastian

1st) Not necessarily. Prices may increase tho.

2nd) Except Johnny’s wages or hours are cut to pay for the electrician.

3rd & 4th) Really? Make work can be called a “job” but does it help or even matter to the economy?

5th & 6th) Investors and corporate owners create jobs? Better be careful. nav,
hockeyteam, et aliae will start attacking you as a supply sider.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Umgwana,
"Arguing that unions don't create jobs is a chicken or the egg kind of sideshow."

Just curious; is arguing that unions create jobs the same "chicken or the egg kind of sideshow"?

Umgwana

AllAmerican11B:

Below I addressed whether unions can create jobs. My conclusion is that in the broad scheme of things YES unions do in fact create jobs.

Now let's address your statement from above. You said, "Unions cannot fix income gap, jobs can; anyone that thinks otherwise is simply ignorant."

Perhaps I am ignorant, but at least I took the time to look up the academic study referenced in the article. The researchers found that decreased union power and participation accounts for something like one third of the recent growth in the income gap. I think it goes without saying that these researchers don't meet the classic definition of ignorant.

Your dismissive remarks about the potential role increased union participation might be able to play in reducing the income gap combined your your equally dismissive (and flat out wrong) remarks about the ability of unions to create jobs makes it look like you would rather trade partisan barbs than look at realistic ways to solve problems.

sebastian

Could you provide a link to the academic study, please?
I could find the abstract (always a bunch of BS) and I am sure you
didn't pay for the study.

Umgwana

http://www.asanet.org/images/journals/docs/pdf/asr/WesternandRosenfeld.pdf

All I had to do was type in the names of the authors.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Umgwana,
"The researchers found that decreased union power and participation accounts for something like one third of the recent growth in the income gap. I think it goes without saying that these researchers don't meet the classic definition of ignorant."

I hope these researchers are reading this, because this is meant for them not necessarily you, I'll say it straight to the researchers face; correlation does not equal causation!!

The loss of middle class jobs is what has "caused" the income gap, stating that "decreased union power and participation accounts for something like one third of the recent growth in the income gap" completely throws correlation does not equal causation to the wind and makes a blanket assumption that their hypothesis is absolute; it is not! They are failing to acknowledge that unions exist because of the jobs, jobs do not exist because of the unions.

Fact 1: Unions would not and could not exist without the jobs being there prior to the existence of the union at that job place.
Fact 2: A union ONLY exists because there are groups of people in already existing jobs that choose to unionize!
Fact 3: Correlation does not equal causation, correlation does not equal causation, correlation does not equal causation!!!

"The union itself creates jobs within the union and in support of the union's political activities."

I knew someone would try that one, it's nonsense. The union would not exist without the unionized jobs that support the union, it's the existence of the jobs is what creates the union and the subsequent positions at the union. The union is not self contained, the jobs are the source of it's power, without the jobs the union is powerless and non-existent. The union has no power to create jobs. Jobs are the root source of the unions power; demand is the source of the jobs; when demand drops, jobs will be lost, and unions will loose their power!

This cannot be over stated, correlation does not equal causation!

With all due respect; I've voiced my opinion, my opinion is logic based and I need not go any further.

Umgwana

You are right AllAmerican11B, as fact averse as you appear to be, it would be pointless to go any further.

Umgwana

AllAmerican11B:

It appears that the authors of the academic study that gave birth to this thread tried to control for other factors so that they could statistically infer causality. It is called regression analysis. As a counter point to their statistical analysis arguments all you have done is chanted your mantra and argued that only the ignorant could agree with the researchers' statistical analysis.

Just as one cannot automatically conclude that a correlation (even if other factors are corrected for) results in causation, one cannot use the mantra correlation does not equal causation to simply rule out the possible existence of a causal relationship.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Umgwana (above and below),
"You are right AllAmerican11B, as fact averse as you appear to be, it would be pointless to go any further."

Now I know why we are in such disagreement, you seem to think that opinions based on statistical analysis are to be considered fact, I do not. I am extremely well versed in statistics; you can "prove" almost anything you set your mind to using statistics. Results of a statistical analysis are not equivalent to root cause. Of course there could be no other criteria that could possibly be contributing to income gap, it's all about unions. Interruptions of a statistical analysis are not fact, they are opinions; conclusions based on a statistical analysis (especially limited ones) might infer causality but they should never, ever be considered as the root cause; and you have the audacity to call me "fact adverse".

By the way; that "mantra", as you so choose to call it, is a fact that you are ignoring. You also seem to be fixated on my one time use of the word ignorant, you've repeated it five times now; you seem to be taking this discussion rather personally, are you Barry Eidlin, Pat Schneider, or the head of a union?

I'll repeat what I originally stated without the phrase that seem to get you riled up.

" Unions cannot fix income gap, jobs can."

Umgwana

AllAmerican11B:

Causality is one of those things that is almost impossible to prove. There are plenty of people who smoke like chimneys, yet they never get cancer. Does this mean that smoking does not cause cancer? You remind me of those people who for years, in spite of all the evidence, rejected the claim that smoking caused cancer.

True, I don't think the evidence here is as thorough or as time tested, but I have no doubt that you would still be reciting your mantra long after that tipping point has been reached - Just as the cigarette companies did.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Umgwana (below),
Do you realize that you didn't bother to contradicted anything I stated in my last comment below, all you did was come back on here and sling a couple of personal smears? That sir is a direct reflection of your character.

Unions cannot fix the income gap, jobs can.

Umgwana

AllAmerican11B below:

Contrary to your claims, everything I wrote contradicted what you stated in your last post.

You are simply wrong to think I was smearing you personally when I highlighted the parallels between your responses here and the responses cigarette companies had to similar kinds of studies.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Umgwana
"Contrary to your claims, everything I wrote contradicted what you stated in your last post."

That is just hogwash to the point of being intentional lies!

Umgwana

AllAmerican11B:

You are too judgmental and not very perceptive. I guess that is why you typically end up claiming that people who disagree with you are intentionally lying.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Umgwana,
Well how about this; now you are claiming that I "typically end up claiming that people who disagree with [me] are intentionally lying"?

Well since you are claiming that it's "typical" of me, then there must be a slew of these instances that you can directly reference with links and/or verbatim quotes. Please provide these "typical" instances you claim exist. I'm interested to see if you're actually willing to try back up your nonsense claim with facts or will you just let this one stand as is; of course if you let it stand it will reveal what your true character is. Your words; your choices; your consequences.

On a separate but related note; reading comprehension is a learned skill, please learn more comment less.

Umgwana

I do not keep a running file on each blogger posting on these threads. But rest assured, I have complete faith that you will repeat the pattern. From now on I am going to bring this up whenever the need arises.

In the mean time everyone who visits these threads with any frequency knows my analysis of your posts is spot on.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Umgwana (below),
Complete hogwash. Zyou cannot produce proof of your claim because it simply doesn't exist. Honest people in these threads know your last two comments were just made up lies and your dmoke screen nonsense can't hide that fact.

Norwood44

I think it's interesting that public union supporters don't want the public to have a say about their unions.

Nav1

Norwood44,

Show me one polls where the public said they had a problem with unions. Collective bargaining happened for 50 years in this state. The public understands that government workers ALSO need to get paid, and that they should have the same right to form unions as anyone else.

I think you are a plant put on these boards to CONTINUE to drive a wedge between the public and unions. It's that divide and conquer strategy that can do wonders only for so long.

Umgwana

So just what kind of say should the public have about a worker's union? Doesn't giving the public a say about a union diminish the members' association rights? Do you actually think through what you say?

Norwood44

Umgwana. I am speaking specifically of public uniions. Public union employees are part of the government. A government's power comes from the consent of the governed. Hence, we have a right to to define what type of union relationship we want with our government. Court rulings have underscored this notion. As for private sector unions, we may see a rise in union numbers, but it will have to come from companies like Epic, which represent the new sector job creation in our economy. Thus far Epic, Apple, Google, Amazon and companies of that type have remained non-union. The only area that I see as ripe for unionization is fast food and big box stores like WalMart. Those areas are essentially our new manufacturing class and those workers truly do need a union. Thus far I haven't seen much effective support for those workers from public union employees.

Umgwana

I am not in complete disagreement with you Norwood44. Our big point of disagreement is that I don't see represented public employees as part of the government. I see them as employees of the government. Like in any other form of employment I think they should have the right to organize collectively and to bargain the terms and conditions of that employment.

One common theme I see among those who are reflexively anti-union is that they tend at one moment to think public sector employers are just like their private sector counterparts and then at another moment see the two as completely different. In my humble opinion there doesn't seem to be any rational basis for choosing the distinctions and similarities these anti-union people choose to emphasize.

gdp

As the US waxes towards the realization of the Fuehrer prinzip, unionization will grow, only to be stamped out in the resulting dictatorship. Was Fisher Ames merely premature? Of course, we can avoid such prophecy by simply waking up and realizing the benefits received with gratitude, reverence and a recommitment to a governance, which, over time, has demonstrated its relevance to a humanity which remains all too much the same. But then, that might require imitation and not a wee bit of crow!? Santayana and Bloch were correct.

Umgwana

So why is it that the pro-Walker, pro-Act 10, anti union bloggers on these threads always seem to automatically believe that anyone who would dare disagree with them must be either a public sector employee, union slacker, or both?

Why is it that the pro-Walker, pro-Act 10, anti union bloggers on these threads always seem to use socialist and communist references collectivist and Eastern Europe?

Why is it so difficult for the pro-Walker, pro-Act 10, anti union bloggers on these threads to recognize that in the Western World, collective bargaining is considered to serve a positive function?

sebastian

To answer your first two questions:
You're projecting, they don't and , unlike the anti-Walkerites, anti-Act 10 bloggers, the most extreme does not speak for all.

The answer to your third question: Not in the U.S.

And a question for you.
Why do the anti-Walkerites, anti-Act 10, pro-union bloggers believe that public employees are the only workers that matter?

Umgwana

We are supposed to be responding to an article about a researcher's assumption that a rising income gap will reinvigorate unions.

The responses we see from conservatives on this thread are as tone deaf as the union response to changing dynamics in the run up to Act 10. For those of us who believe collective bargaining benefits everyone, the tone deafness of conservatives is heartening.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Umgwana;

"For those of us who believe collective bargaining benefits everyone, the tone deafness of conservatives is heartening."

Heartening?

Does that mean that regardless of how foreign what you believe is to the real world, it still addresses your clear need for the emotional gratification of thinking that you're right, facts be damned?

The Gotch

Norwood44

UM. I've asked countless times. How did the rise of public unions raise the living standard of anyone other than public unions?

Umgwana

Cornelius_Gotchberg below:

Sounds to me like you want to ignore the facts from the academic study referenced in the article. According to that study something like 1/3 of the growth in income inequality can be attributed to the declining presence and power of unions.

Norwood44 below:

You ask, "how did the rise of public unions raise the living standard of anyone other than public unions?" It really is a simple matter of economics. The rise of public sector unions brought their members higher incomes. Higher incomes led to greater spending, greater spending led to higher GDP. Higher GDP led to higher standards of living.

So, please put your question back on the back burner. Your unwithering attack on the selfishness of public sector workers, as perverse as it is, actually answers your own question.

Norwood44

I am not pro Walker or anti union. That is exactly how the public unions have had their butt handed to them. "If you don't give us all we want you are a Nazi, and you love Walker and the Kochs and ALEC and blah blah blah." It's juvenile. I am opposed to the old public union deal that some posters here want to resurrect.Have said many times that Walker cratered the old model but didn't have the vision or leadership to help create the new model. That is Mary Burke's opportunity. Personally I'd like to see greater accountability and a higher quality of public workers, and the latitude to pay great performers more, as an example for the rest of the public union work force. It would also be great to make easier to discipline or dismiss low performers without the usual lawsuit and buy out.

Umgwana

As I have said on several occasions on this thread, you folks are as tone deaf as public sector unions have been.

Nav1

I am glad some of the posters have taken Norwood44 to task on the union issue and his perspectives. He has such a one track mind and simply does not listen to another side. I have never seen or heard of such an anti union person.

Norwood thinks he has so many clever arguments for being anti union but he is no naïve that it is unbelievable!

Norwood singles out poor teachers for some reason but does not talk about poor doctors, poor lawyers, poor accountants, poor whatever.

I have tried to point out to Norwood44 so many times two things about the unions:

1. They are legally obligated to defend ALL of their members equally.

2. If there are any poor teachers, the unions had nothing to do with their hiring; the administration did, so they bear some responsibility.

3. Under all collective bargaining agreements any truly poor teacher may be terminated for just cause. Many have been.

I am so tired of Norwood44 continue his anti union rants on and on. He thinks he is being effective somehow but he is starting to look ridiculous lately.

pete
pete

nav1 said:

"I am so tired of Norwood44 continue his anti union rants on and on. He thinks he is being effective somehow but he is starting to look ridiculous lately."


this coming from "nav the walking bumper sticker" means a ton....hey pot, there's this thing over here that's black called the kettle


sebastian

Nav1, even tho you believe the world begins and ends with public sector unions, it does not. You, like most public employees, pay lip service to private sector unions but only to further your own agenda.
I, and I believe Norwood44, support private sector unions.

The difference between you two is management. In the private sector, management maintains an adversarial role to varying degrees especially in contract negotiations. Results are company success or failure. In the public sector, the last thing management wants is an adversarial situation that will upset their routines or, worse, get them unelected.

A big result of Act 10 is forcing management to manage. Managers can no longer hide behind a union contract. For sure, Nav, it's management's job to hire and it is also management's job to fire.
As to your questions applied to all public employees:
Is it myth that public hires have been told or thought, If I just make it thru probation I'm home free?
"just cause" defined by negotiation is usurping management's job. All contracts have basically the same procedures for getting rid of a bad employee. How long does it take to get rid of a bad employee? Assuming they don't resign first.
We have some recent history with egregious examples of police and fire.

Nav1

Sebastain,

Thanks for your o\post. As far as Norwood44 is concerned he has been called out by several posters and I have no further comment on that.

I think you are comparing apples with oranges when you compare public institution and private companies. They are not the same, and nor are they (or should be) run the same. In other words, even if there were no collective bargaining agreements a public employer cannot in most cases would not just fire an employee for no good reason.

By the way, collective bargaining agreements took place BECAUSE both management and unions want to, and they agree to its terms. No management would let the union usurp any of its rights, but as far as Union are concerned they have a LEGAL obligation to represent every member equally. Having said that, management always reserves the right to hire as well as fire.

Norwood44

I did talk about poor doctors and poor CEO's. Your reading is selective.

repubsaresheep

Norwood -

Your posts about taxes, unions, and 70% of local taxes are for labor only tells half of the story.
Yes, we pay taxes for 'labor.' That labor is excellent teachers, dedicated firefighters and police, and public servants that keep our parks (where our kids play) clean and mowed. It pays for fixing our local roads (yes, with labor), and plowing our roads in the winter. All of that requires 'labor' as you accurately state. They are not magically done with one of Walker's winks.

On the selfish side, all of these benefits (services) our taxes pay for also keeps our neighborhoods valuable. In turn, your house and mine maintains it's market value because of all these things our taxes pay for. So when we sell our house, we can make some money on it.

If you don't have kids in the schools and complain about paying for teachers salaries, please refer to my last point about maintaining your property values.

No matter how we slice up our tax dollars, these services need to be supported. Whether we pay in local taxes or state taxes, it needs to be paid. I'm sure if you were trapped in a building and being rescued by a firefighter, you'd want a highly trained, happy employee carrying you out instead of the cheapest contract worker found.

Norwood44

Repubsheep. I agree with much of what you say with the exception of the notion that every teacher or public worker is excellent. They aren't. Surely you had a bad teacher or two in your day. Everyone has. Which immediately undermines the frothy rhetoric. Every teacher isn't excellent, nor for that matter is every CEO, or president or farmer, fire fighter, truck driver, or airplane pilot or student. If you were to grade workers on a curve, as teachers do every day, 10% are excellent, 35% are above average, 35% are average or slightly below average and 10 % are well below average, and the rest flunk. So here's my question. What happens when a public worker flunks their job? I would argue that the poor performers were more protected than they should have been by the old union contracts. And that is why unions have had an image problem with voters which Walker exploited during a bad economy. And the unions weren't really ready with an effective message other than "we deserve it, and the Kochs are evil, and the one percent etc, and Walker is Hitler" or some such. Sorry, but that's how it has played out.

repubsaresheep

Norwood -

It's the same 'there are bad teacher' meme….Well, there are bad doctors, bad nurses, bad in any profession. That's expected.

There are procedures to get rid of bad employees in any union contract. What's glaringly missing in your point is that those union contracts are agreed to and signed off on by nonunion management. If you have a beef with the process, redirect your anger at the highly paid, and supposedly competent, management.
These contracts make discipline a defined process that all agree to. It's not the 'my kid didn't do well in their class, so it's the teacher's fault' stuff.

I'd rather have these defined processes in place with a union contract than handing my tax dollars to a charter school that has zero accountability to us taxpayers.

Norwood44

Sheep. I don't have anger. But it's clear that I and many other citizens had a beef with those old contracts. So we acted at the polls. We didn't have to go to management because we actually are management. As for administrators, they were pretty hamstrung by the contracts that were achieved with political influence. WEAC spent over 20M per annum to influence those deals. Best example is WEA Trust. The Madison teachers contracts is over 150 pages long. For private sector worker/citizens that is mind boggling. Dem Rahm Emmanuel was floored whe he found that the Chicago teachers contract with riders was 400 pages. Sorry, that's insane. I never made any claim about charters and their accountability, so that is a non sequitur. As for accountability within the existing system, the racial gap is pretty troubling. I'd like to see some accountability there. So would others. Here's hoping we get there. The new leadership is encouraging.

repubsaresheep

Norwood (below) -

And now we are hamstrung, as you say, with the new Act10 that was achieved with political influence.

Do you want autocratic state control? Or local control, as republicans scream for….unless they want state control. We now have autocratic state control. The needs in my community may be different than the needs in yours or another part of the state. But we now have top-down control.

gorman

Norwood (below)
"As for administrators, they were pretty hamstrung by the contracts that were achieved with political influence. WEAC spent over 20M per annum to influence those deals. Best example is WEA Trust."

This goes back to an earlier question you refused to answer. Pray tell how WEAC politically influenced master contracts in over 400 school districts. These are contracts negotiated by local school boards elected by people in the community, not the state. Granted, it plays to the tin-foil hat crowd, but you consistently fail to show that that this is a statement of fact and not the fiction rolling around in your brain. Pray tell how WEAC, which legally is connected only in name to a non-profit WEA Trust, is your "best" example. Your absence of any support for your "facts" is telling.

If the Madison contract is over 150 pages, that was a decision of the locally elected school board. I assume that if you live in Madison, you had a voice in that election. Got news for you: Bigger districts generally have more pages in their contracts. That's still decided by a locally elected School Board. What may not make sense to you may make sense to someone well versed in that environment. Are you saying WEAC "bought" that election and you had no voice? Please show proof if you do.

gorman

Norwood writes-
"If you were to grade workers on a curve, as teachers do every day, 10% are excellent, 35% are above average, 35% are average or slightly below average and 10 % are well below average, and the rest flunk."

Dude, therein lies the problem with your arguments. Broad generalities may sound fine to the uninformed, but on close examination, they fall apart. For example, are we to conclude that at the clinic I go to, 10% of the doctors there would "flunk" in their job performance? Somehow they graduated with a medical degree, passed their Boards, but you know, in your infinite wisdom that they "flunk" in job performance. In a professional sports team's final roster, 10% of those players "flunk" but owners still pay them their salaries? If 10% of airline pilots (per your words and reasoning) "flunk" wouldn't we have a corresponding accident rate for airlines. It's the same for truck drivers. Using the numbers you cite, there would be a 20% labor turnover happening constantly as why would a business knowingly retain "well below average or flunk" employees?

The counter argument would be that there is a winnowing process for employment that starts with prerequisites for the job, You know, little things, like specific training or a degree, sometimes licensing, past work experience or evaluations, and demonstrated aptitude. Four years of my working career were spent as a salesman and then sales manager for a national company. What I learned when I had to hire sales people is that first of all it is expensive in terms of time and job posting costs. The second think is that your hiring decisions can have disastrous consequences in terms of the bottom line so that it was not a decision we took lightly. Until you can prove that public sector employers, i.e. School Districts, the State and local units of government take this task lightly, it's more politically charged hot air.

"I would argue that the poor performers were more protected than they should have been by the old union contracts."

Argue all you want. To make your argument more convincing, could you cite language referring to job performance in contracts that would be "typical" of teacher contracts. I bet you will find that teachers could be terminated, at any time, for "just cause." That means that management had to have a compelling reason to terminate the contract rather than an arbitrary one. With me so far, Sparky? So if those making the big bucks in education and have just a little more experience in education and just a tad more insight are doing their job, bad teachers don't last. Remember, these administrators are hired by the school board YOUR community elected.

As has been documented, 50% of teachers leave the profession after 5 years. A smaller percentage ( I forgot the number ) leave after 3 years. There is a process to remove "bad teachers" or those that realize that the profession is not for them. it certainly doesn't fit your scenario, but it does fit reality.

Think about all the teachers you have had, k-12. I have had over 50. Anecdotally you say that everyone has had a "bad teacher or two". According to your numbers, 20% should have been "bad teachers," meaning I should have had 10. Really. And how does one come to the conclusion that his or her teacher is "bad?" What are the objective determining factors?

"So here's my question. What happens when a public worker flunks their job?"

I think the answer is that they lose their job. Of course I'm not in a position to know exactly, but Dude, NEITHER ARE YOU. The difference is that I don't make statements of fact based on personal opinion and try to pass them off as fact.

Norwood44

Dude. I don't think flunkers lose their job. They keep it the detriment of other public workers.

gorman

Norwood below "Dude. I don't think flunkers lose their job. They keep it the detriment of other public workers."

Well now you qualify your post with "I think." Is it wrong to ask what the factual basis is for your "I think"? Why are you avoiding supporting your other contentions about WEAC with actual facts. Are you just another "throw some mud on the wall and see what sticks" poster, and you find your kiester in a sling because your kiester is writing checks that your stubby little fingers can't cash?

pete
pete

I've got a good friend on the mfd and he will be the first to tell you there are plenty of lazy and downright awful firefighters that have been on the job much longer than walker has been around. the difference between people like you and me, I want my buddy who busts his a$$ on the job, to make more. You want him to be lumped in with those who don't want to work. So who are you really fighting for? who's livelihood are your protecting? not my buddy's....

repubsaresheep

I'm not lumping anyone together. Great job of twisting what I posted into a pretzel to make your point though. I'm not talking about the front line union people. I'm talking about those that blame the 'unions' for all the problems in their own life, their own city, state, country. There are lazy people where I work too. Imagine that. Different work ethics everywhere.
Union contracts (and I'm not in a union) have processes for termination. And if you or your fireman buddy don't think they are clear, then change them with the upcoming contract.

pete
pete

here's your quote sheep - "I'm sure if you were trapped in a building and being rescued by a firefighter, you'd want a highly trained, happy employee carrying you out instead of the cheapest contract worker found."

imagine if you will, a system put in place to reward those who are great at their job and love going to work everyday like my buddy does. Imagine how fast people would get carried out of a burning building if the profession were to pay based on merit and skill instead of tenure. Imagine the learning possibilities of our children if teachers who wanted to teach and busted their a$$ would get paid for their efforts. think of the people the profession would attract. Instead, our teachers are rewarded on how long they've been there and with some, how little they can do and still keep their jobs. Who might this profession attract if it were based on performance?

We always assume that if we change the teaching profession that the same people would be teachers. maybe some of them would be passed by for someone who wants to be there....wouldn't that be refreshing.

Norwood44

Bingo Pete. More accountability. Reward high performers. Make it easier to dump poor performers. It will elevate the reputation of public workers in the eyes of the voters., which will actually help them.

Nav1

@Norwood44,

When it comes to unions, how they have helped create middle class American and all, you are one of the most naïve people on these threads.

Your disdain for unions, union members, public employees, public employee unions comes across very noticeably.

No one is playing any victims and it is ridiculous for you to claim that. The unions are as American as any institution can be although they have had a bad rap for some time. But not to worry. The unions are not sitting idle. They are building strength and will be back protecting hard working Americans remain in the middle class.

Beeee K
Beeee K

I hope they have better, more humane strategies.

Norwood44

Nav. You don't make sense. You just don't. Jobs created the middle class by the way.

repubsaresheep

Looks like you agree then! Yes, good paying (union) jobs created the middle class. What sustained that - until the 1980's? Demand for products/services. That demand is there because households had disposable income - because of good paying union jobs.

No disposable income (with a race to the bottom on wages) leads to no demand. No demand. No jobs. Seems we are headed back to the days of Upton Sinclair's Jungle type of workplace….

Norwood44

Sheep. I think you are right. But during that economic decline public unions rose in number and strength. What did they do for the middle class decline you describe? I keep asking and no one answers. I work in the private sector. For the life of me I can't tell you how they have lifted the standard of living for the rest of working America.

IsthmusMadison

Lol the republican paid trolls aren't even trying to hide the leases around their neck. News flash, if screwing over unions actually helped you in life, you wouldn't be sitting on your computer writing about it In the comments section, you'd be to busy relaxing on your yacht

Norwood44

Isthmus. It's not about screwing over unions. It's about what citizens want our government to do and what we are willing to pay. It's interesting that your notion is that that unions have rights but the citizens they serve shouldn't debate what they want from those who serve us. A bit bass ackwards really. And to assume those who want a different union model are Republicans explains why you have lost at every turn.

koala

So ... UW-Madison senior faculty are paid 20% less than their competitors at peer institutions and have never been unionized. Is that enough abuse, Norwood, or would you prefer actual enslavement?

sebastian

Maybe their competitors are overpaid by 20%.

Norwood44

koala. Get down off your cross, we need the nails. The solution to your terrible situation lies in your own post. Go work at those other institutions. Problem solved. Good luck to you. BTW, you know that there are all sorts of schools that pay LESS than the UW as well. So there's really no need to feel abused or enslaved. Just take control of your own fate. Notice, I don't hold you accountable for MY job happiness. In fact, I'd never think of it. I accept complete responsibility for my own professional fulfillment. You should try it. It's liberating. Unless of course your skill isn't as marketable as you think, in which case the problem is you, not taxpayers or the system. Either way, best of luck.

Umgwana

Norwood44 below instructs union supporters to "take control of their own fate."

That's what collective bargaining is all about Norwood44. Those who reflexively reject collective bargaining generally object to people taking care of their own fate. Unless, that is, taking control of one's fate means going away quietly.

Norwood44

Umgwana. You don't understand the definition of "own" in my post. By "own" I meant the individual in question. A singular person and not a collective. FYI, workers still have the right to collectively bargain. But they also have the right to not pay dues or be forced to belong to the collective. Which right a remarkable number of workers have exercised. So, in review, the word "own" means an individual person.

Umgwana

But I do understand your definition of own Norwood44. Your numerous posts across these threads make your definition very clear. Unless you can control the outcome, you don't want individuals to work in concert to control their own fates.

Beeee K
Beeee K

Zerowood (above, below, side-to-side), we all know what you mean by "take control of their 'own' fate".

You mean divide and conquer.

Norwood44

Bee and Umgwana. So you are victims...right? You are being subjugated by the people of Wisconsin beneath the awful burden of employment, great benefits and a monster pension fund. And the people of the state have no right to take a stand on what we are willing to pay in one of the most heavily taxed states in the country? Sorry. Not buying your martyrdom. Granted, it's tough in the public sector these days. But no one has a gun to your head making you stay in your job. This isn't 1970 East Germany. Seek opportunity elsewhere, as was suggested to koala. Literally millions of people change jobs every day. Why can't you?

Beeee K
Beeee K

Nice try Zerowood

Beeee K
Beeee K

That was odd. I didn't post that yet....


Nice try Zerowood. Making this about me is/would be foolish. I know that nobody cares. This is much more about EVERYBODY than it will ever be about me.


I'm not divided, and you can not conquer me.

I do find it interesting that you think that your politics should be able to redefine jobs and benefits for workers, but that they should have no say other than to walk out on their jobs...

And you act as if jobs are a dime a dozen and that just anyone who has ever had one could easily perform any other job out there. And if they cant, then you feel triumph in having conquered them.

I don't need to work. This isn't about me at all.

Norwood44

Bee K Your quaint name calling says as much about you as the content of your posts. I've really been surprised at how juvenile some of the union supporters are. I am not trying to divide and conquer anyone. I am simply giving my thoughts on the most interesting political event in Wisconsin of our time. If you think the unions haven't misplayed their hand, there isn't much I can do to convince you otherwise, except to point to the lost election, recall failure, court rulings, and the fact that running on overturning ACT 10 is viewed as political suicide in the state, even by the Democratic candidate. Sorry, but not all of that is on the Kochs, or ALEC or the Free Masons. Walker is a convenient villain for you. But you are blind to reality if you deny that the unions were not complicit in their own fate. As I said, blaming everyone else isn't a strategy. It's an excuse. And it's political immaturity. You know what unions have yet to do? Make a case for themselves based on the real value and quaility of their work for the people of our state. Because rght now, for whatever reason, folks aren't buying it. If I were you I'd try to figure out why, and I'd start with my own product and reputation. Or you could just blame someone else. How's that been working?

Beeee K
Beeee K

ZeroWood (below),Name calling?

Cry like a baby. Who called you what name?


You might want to read some of my other posts before you call me blind. Perhaps one I made directly above. I think it was you that suggested another poster read 5-6 years of your posts before saying anything to/about you/yours. Have a mirror?

Do your homework before you attack me. I've read almost everything you have ever written here, and I know you inside and out. You are more than complicit in the "divide and conquer" strategy. Your "simply" given thoughts serve to do exactly that.


Gouvernor Cough Syrup is not "convenient" by any stretch of the imagination. He is way to criminal, way too savvy, and way too well funded. He's the Bill Climpton of Wisconsin's current Republican Party, but instead of creating a bubble, he is popping every tiny bubble he can find.

Norwood44

Bee K. Wow. Such bluster and chest thumping. Have a nice afternoon.
Good luck with your career.

repubsaresheep

People, ultimately, don't want to pay for anything. But 'willing to pay' is a false argument. We live in a representative democracy, not a true democracy.

I have an idea. Let's save all of us some money and have trash pick up once a month. How about we don't spend the hundreds of millions of dollars on roads that I don't drive on? Oh, but other people use those roads. For the collective good of our society….

Right wingers like to complain about 'spending'….until it affects them.

Norwood44

Sheep. You know we do weigh in how often we want trash picked up. Think if a local pol campaigned on picking up trash every day. Which would mean more workers and trucks. The first thing voters would want to know would be the cost and tax impact. That politician would then win or lose his/her run based on what citizens prefer re cost and trash pick up frequency. A similar debate is happening now. Folks are frustrated with the cost and value of government workers, so we voiced it at the polls. And you make a mistake thinking that it's just right wing Republicans who have a problem with the old union model. Obama swept Wisconsin in the same election voters rejected the recall. So there's that.

Norwood44

sheep. If you look at the percent of income people pay for taxes, the cost of government is a huge issue. 35-40% of most peoples' income goes to taxes. That is more than a shiney object. Further, in local budgets, personnel is 70% of the budget, if not more. I argue that the governed have every right to weigh in on the cost of government. It's not a conspiracy. It's a totally legit issue for the average person. And yes Walker jumped on it and also tried to hamstring the Dem money stream. But I argue that he didn't create the issue, he exploited it. There was clearly bipartisan voter frustration with the old public union model in Wisconsin, especially in a depression. You can create all the conspiracy theories you like, but if public workers don't look at themselves and their leadership, and ask the tough questions about voters' perception of their work and value, they are making a colossal mistake. Blaming other people is not a strategy. It's a recipe for disaster. And it's playing out right now before your eyes.

Beeee K
Beeee K

Zerowood, Do you ever wonder why you are trying to lower the wage of the everyday worker in the midst of the ridiculously exponential increase in the wage gap between rich and poor?

You probably should. We don't need to be divided to be conquered. We CAN just be that stupid.

You say, "Blaming other people is not a strategy. It's a recipe for disaster." I'm not sure I completely agree. Blaming the people who create/support the creation of the problem may very well be an early step in a strategy. But if you believe it, look in the mirror and say it aloud to yourself.

Norwood44

Beee K below. I am all for a minimum wage hike and unionizing fast food workers. But I reject the public union trope that somehow you are a friend of the working class. I have seen nothing to indicate that public unions helped the autoworkers of Janesville, or the meat cutters, machinists or tradesmen for Oscar Mayer, Gisholt or the Wisconsin and Madison construction industry. Further, while public union membership increased over the last forty years, the income gap grew and private sector union membership declined. There is no data to indicate that government unions have done anything to close the income gap and help working middle class families, other than garner better job security, benefits and pensions for themselves while the average American worker didn't. A working class hero you are not. Yet you keep trotting out that solidarity stuff. Hell, half your own members quit when given the chance. You should spend more time talking to them than me. It seems even half your former members don't believe what you say. Don't you see that as a real problem for your "brand"?

Beeee K
Beeee K

ZeroWood (below),

I thought you didn't like to blame people.

Maybe you think that the corporations and the media they own have been doing a fantastic job of reporting on the facts and circumstances that pertain to the American citizen. Perhaps you think everyone should know everything regardless of their education. Perhaps you think everyone should just be happy to have a job.

You seriously fail to understand that I do not suggest that we need union thugs. I suggest we need unions. We need a collective voice of the people forced to "work" to survive.

joe

It is humorous that an academic study declared income inequality was due to unions memberships decreasing. Gee, nothing about WTO or China competition. Duh, why did unions decrease? So completely ignorant to how the economy works. The public sector has the follow the private sector and that is what it is doing. As long as we compete with third world countries, the unions will decline. Does academic mean ignorant?

Umgwana

Your dismissive attitude towards things you don't understand tacks well with perceptions that conservatives are fact averse.

Your post above is a blatantly false straw man. The academic study of which you speak did not "declare income inequality was due to unions memberships decreasing."

In fact the academic study, “Unions, Norms and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality, found that the decline in union power and density since 1973 explained a third of the increase in wage inequality among men since then, and a fifth of the increased inequality among women. "

Your inability to correctly represent facts is disturbing.

joe

The unions backing of Burke will guarantee her failure. Unions, please start stomping again to help the rest of us understand what spoiled brats you represent.

IsthmusMadison

Please Sheep, apple tab back to your Facebook.

kd2632

I suppose that position goes over well on a liberal campus and makes front page news for a liberal paper, but it won't sell elsewhere. Especially for public sector unions, people just see higher taxes coming.

The Sarge

General strike!

Norwood44

Sarge, I think that would be a very interesting thing to see. I've wondered why it hasn't happened. Oh sure, there are some laws about it, but when justice is at stake, why not take a stand?

1blueheron

Having worked in a union shop here in Wisconsin for one of the top manufacturers in the state, I would say the most important thing a good union does is provide a safety program that greatly reduces injuries and deaths due to hazards in the workplace. Safety is key to productivity. Where American corporations have undermined the relationship between unions and themselves is by looking outside of their employee base for supervision, instead of bringing up workers from the union into salaried positions. In doing so, they lost the experience, knowledge, relationships, and respect, that used to be afforded union workers who moved into corporate supervision. The context for Act 10 was the post Iraq war looting of the nation and Wall Street's Housing scandal. We will first get the full impact of Act 10 in the near future. In our current context, despite almost 8 years of total noncooperation by the GOP, the economy is much better, and better than Wisconsin's economy, because austerity is not the path to prosperity. If manufacturing is going to continue to be the base of Wisconsin's economy, unions are going to be part of that picture. As for public unions, we will soon see the state of our state and the state of our schools, and we'll see how Wisconsin stacks up to the state's with unions for their teachers, such as Minnesota. My guess is that Minnesota will leave Wisconsin in the dust.

ButSiriuslyFolks

I hope everyone doesn't mind, but I'm going to go completely off-topic and address the actual article this comment section is based on.

I've been stating this for years: the wealth redistribution has been in effect since the 1980's, and is growing exponentially. As more wealth ends up in the hands of the most powerful few, the control over out government is becoming more bold and brazen than ever.

Mind you, I'm not foolish enough to deny the fact that the wealthy have always had significant influence over policy. But its becoming so evident and in-your-face that this is only going to end up ugly.

Nick Hanauer, an unapologetic 0.01%er, wrote this piece for Politico a few months ago. It reflected my viewpoints exactly (from a much richer point of view). Please read and enjoy.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html

"But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when."

Hanauer, predictably, was reviled by the right and particularly the business Republicans and wealthy for his views, but he's right. This has happened so many times before in history, and we can only take so much of the wealthy class subsidizing everyone else, and complaining incessantly about subsidizing everyone else while taking more and more for themselves.

In 20 years, the unions will be back, public and private. They will have reinvented themselves and will lead a new Labor Party to majorities at the state and national level. The exodus of the wealthy "patriots" from our country with their hoard of money will be like watching rats fleeing a burning ship.

True Americans, them.

And we'll be left to rebuild. And I'll be honest with you, what is rebuilt will be a heck of a lot better than this system we have now, that is so hopelessly broken but everyone is afraid to fix.

No, it won't be socialist. In fact, it will be the opposite of socialist. It will be homegrown capitalism. It will be "take care of our own first" before we send out all our cash overseas and finance the rest of the world. Communities will crash and hit rock bottom before the revolution, thanks to the inequalities Hanauer describes, and will rebuild like a phoenix.

There. My soapbox is done. You may now return to your bitter partisan spitting match. Sorry for taking up your time with this.

graefental
graefental

Siriusly--

Don't apologize. You (and Hanauer) are completely correct, and only an idiot wouldn't see it.

Thanks for sharing this.

Norwood44

I actually agree with Hanauer's assessment. If you don't share the wealth, eventually a whole lot of people are going to come and take it from you. And it won't be pretty. Those who most benefit from capitalism should be the ones to safeguard the model in the most equitabe way possible without killing the energy that drives it.

repubsaresheep

Siriusly -

Well stated. The 1% drive policy, and the corporate media promotes it. There will soon come a day when the masses stop blaming various sub-groups of people (blacks, latinos, Indians, liberals, homosexuals, our neighbors, refugee children……) for their lot in life and turn to the real problem. The ever-concentrated 1%.

Norwood44

"I hope everyone doesn't mind, but I'm going to go completely off-topic and address the actual article this comment section is based on."

Bravo. Well played.

InTheMiddle

BSF, this was an interesting article, thanks for posting it. I believe the problem of the disappearing middle class is so complex I don't know how we fix it. The greatest problem we have is that we are falling behind the world in educating our population. It's free for the taking, but far too many still drop out of high school. And even a high school education only buys you a low wage job in this world economy.
Washington Post article:

......"Those students without high school diplomas face a bleak life of “poverty and misery,” Duncan said.

“High school graduation may have once been a finish line, but today it is just a beginning,” Duncan said, adding that the nation needs to also concentrate on college graduation rates, which have been slipping.

A generation ago, the United States led the world in college graduation rates. But today, 11 other countries have surpassed the United States, where 43 percent of young people have a college degree, Duncan said."

The other major problem I see is that 70% of our economy is based on consumption vs production. We don't make anything anymore, we buy it from low wage offshore workers. And even what we do make many times isn't the best. When I was a kid we used to laugh at "Made in Japan" as the quality was so bad. Now, look at the top recommended autos in the last Consumer Reports. We've lost the auto industry to Japan. And we're losing to them and others in education.

At the very least, if we don't begin with education and respect it's value as a society we are doomed. You could take all the money from the 1% and redistribute it....but eventually, if we are not at least as educated as the world, we will become the low wage workers of the world. Recognizing the value of education is key to our success.

Norwood44

Nav. If unions are so wonderful can you explain the sizable drop in public union membership now that membership is voluntary? That phenomenon is fascinating. Can you share your wisdom with us?

spooky tooth

Gee, do you think maybe it had something to do with taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights?

Why did Waker consider injuring and killing the men, women and children protesting Act 10 if he wasn't afraid of unions?

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@spooky tooth;

"Why did Waker consider injuring and killing the men, women and children protesting Act 10 if he wasn't afraid of unions?"

That's sheer Looney Tunes; honestly well over the top of what I usually read from you which is for the most part intelligently smithed together.

The Gotch

repubsaresheep

Over the top, yes. True. Absolutely. Walker's own words.
Tough to hide from the truth, so resorting to personal attacks is all that's left I guess.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@repubsaresheeep (below);

I say this with all due respect; this post makes less sense than usual, if you're keen to how much sense they usually make.

"...so resorting to personal attacks is all that's left I guess."

Your perception of my post makes less sense yet.

The Gotch

Norwood44

Spooky. So the cause isn't worth a hundred bucks a month, or whatever your dues are? Some cause.

Norwood44

Spooky. Your hyerbole undermines your creed completely. Get ahold of yourself.

Norwood44

Happy days. My union experience is very similar to yours.Thanks for the candid take.

Norwood44

Nav. If companies are as exploitive as you assert, why do 92% of Americans work for them? Could it be that they like the compensation ?The work? The culture? Profit sharing? Stock options? Competition? Wealth?Can't wait for your keen analysis of this phenomenon. Please. Tell us what is wrong with the work most of us do?

IsthmusMadison

It could have more to do that 99% of us are wage slaves. Including you.

Norwood44

Isthmus. I am actually very happy with my lot in life. You, on the other hand, sound bitter. Here's hoping things get better for you.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Norwood44;

"I am actually very happy with my lot in life."

Altruistically speaking, would it be possible that your "happiness" might actually be enhanced were other posters to be happy as well?

To wit: would you at least consider not discouraging @IshmusMadison?

My easily entertained side would like to rope-a-dope (literally) a few rounds, until she hits the paywall leastways.

The Gotch

Norwood44

Nav. If companies are as exploitive as you assert, why do 92% of Americans work for them? Could it be that they like the compensation ?The work? The culture? Profit sharing? Stock options? Competition? Wealth?Can't wait for your keen analysis of this phenomenon. Please. Tell us what is wrong with the work most of us do?

Nav

The workers see the corporations they work for all making out like bandit, but their wages are stagnated. Their benefits reduced. They are having to work more hours.

Logic dictates that workers cannot simply accept that as their fate. This is the reason why more and more workers will start gravitating towards the unions. According to this article, the overall membership in unions in WI has INCREADED, not declined. Do not let Norwood44 tell you otherwise because he seems to be anti worker.

By definition, the union is FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WORKERS first and foremost. Ask anyone who is in the union why they are one, and you will BE IMPRESSED.

Who opposes THE UNIONS? Why, it's employers/CORPORATIONS! They ant to be able to treat/mistreat their employees any which way they want. and with impunity. This is why they hate the Government. They hate unions. They hate anything that will check on their activities.


happydays

AHH - how much does the union pay you to copy their brochure rhetoric and transfer it to articles dealing with unions?

IsthmusMadison

FAIL, this retort can only be used when talking about republitards and their paid brood of online trolls.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@IsthmusMadison;

"FAIL, this retort can only be used when talking about republitards and their paid brood of online trolls."

Well my goodness, a new Lefty joins the fray it typically Lefty tolerant fashion, in the wee hours no less.

Curious timing, couldn't wait to get in on monday and start posting on your taxpayer-funded email account on your employer's dime?

Do you not have a job so it doesn't matter?

The Gotch

Norwood44

Isthmus. My, aren't we the angry one? So anyone who disagrees with you is a "republitard and paid brood of online trolls". Wow. You are really uncomfortable in the world of ideas and democratic debate. You are unhappy and we are the problem? Here's an idea. Don't depend on the government or others to make you happy. If you do, you are going to die of a broken heart. Take care of yourself, because you're the only one who knows what you really need. Good luck to you.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Nav/Nav1;

"...the union is FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WORKERS first and foremost."

Thanks for clearing that up.

Is that why Unions spend the 2nd greatest amount of time hiding poor performance rather than tying to promote good performance?

The 1st most time-consuming effort is the top heavy Union management lavishing themselves with dues-supported salaries & perks.

"Ask anyone who is in the union why they are one, and you will BE IMPRESSED."

I have and wasn't.

I've spoken with numerous FORMER Trade (Plumber's, etc.) & Teachers (in the MMSD & an Aurora, IL husband & wife) Union members.

They do not support your rather broad contention AT ALL.

Do others feel the same they do? It'd be kind of stupid to think not, wouldn't it?

Now is that a fair, representative sampling, no.

Something tells me that if you asked one member that gave you the answer you wanted it would be.

"Who opposes THE UNIONS? Why, it's employers/CORPORATIONS!"

That's the most logically bereft, intellectually prepubescent, and simplistically superficial assessment I've read in a looooooooong time..

It's not only the evil employers/CORPORATIONS, regardless of what Big Eddie is feeding you, which appears to be a load of meadow muffins brought in on the Lefty Honey Wagon.

The Gotch

Conservative Digest

Polices of Obama and the Left created this problem Mortgage disaster was Clinton mess

Norwood44

Not true. Both parties had their snouts in the securitized mortgage trough. It was the perfect storm.

snootyelites

First, post doctoral fellow in Sociology means the guy can't get a real job. Next, who is funding this nonsense. All non-science UW academic research is highly suspect as they tend be radical leftists in the high 90 percent with dubious funding sources. They all drink IPA and think its a fine beer another historical fallacy.

Now! We have a 80 years union history that proves what this guy is peddling absolute tosh! With current union membership at 11% in the nation and in a free fall his hypothesis is in search for non existent data. Republicans have as much to do with union membership decline as the Tin man getting his heart from the Wizard - it's fiction. It is, however, lot to do with free market wealth creation, the founding principle of America.

A similar prediction was made in another great junk research book called North Will Rise Again in 1978s. The socialist academics, hippies and unionistas are still waiting and talk about the glorious socialist future ahead. Everyone must also know what happened to socialist Utopias from Russia, China, India, Brazil etc etc. They caught the American wealth creation bug while progressives praise the virtues of what rest of the world shunned. Thats precisely what this juvenile hipster is doing.

Let's admit to one thing that is unions were good at fighting for wages at one time but that purpose started to erode long ago. They moved on to bigger and better things such as election politics and the mob! Then unions were exposed for their corruption & racketeering and the membership collapsed. In Wisconsin, the erosion of union rights were also pretty much part of free markets long before Walker. Jim Doyle, Mary Burke's boss did not remember to ask that union contracts to be renewed - It was not important - everyone knew it. Doyle never liked unions.

Boeing is building 787s in South Carolina, TESLA/Panosonic is about to set up a battery factory in Texas. While Detroit is stuck in the 50 years Democrat/Union wretched past, auto plants are flourishing all over south. State of NY is pounding day in and day out what great state it is to set up business - no takers. If you observe carefully there is a trend emerging that is companies and entrepreneur want to invest in states with Right to work laws and minimum regulatory framework. There are plenty of states that do that. Encouraging risk taking should be part of government agenda at some point. Putting in policies that facilitate entrepreneurship are essential. This is a global phenomena. Who would have thought you would want an iPhone - let alone an indispensable tool for billion people - it came from no where. Imagine Steve Jobs punching one of these union bosses and picking his marbles and moving to China.

If you disagree look at the millionaires & billionaires created in formerly socialist BRICS.

EPA/DNR employees acted like they were the king of the jungle dragging permits for years - you simply can not do that. It's lost opportunity costs and companies can seek damages in court as the recent court rulings showed. Even Doyle's own staff were on the phone all the time with godforsaken state agencies to move forward approvals.

Wisconsin stagnated with 10% unemployment and politicians were afraid to experiment. It's only Walker now & Thompson in the recent past who attempted to radical engineer states economy. Dozen Republican governors across the country doing the same. Democrats desperately trying to catch up but caught in their special interests with contrary goals. Democrats simple squander the opportunity as we see with Obama. That's the ultimate danger of a Obama/Doyle/Burke continuum.

Wisconsin has structural problems vis a vis middle class creation. There are vestiges of years past. First, damn the progressive past, it ain't coming back from its glory days and the last vestiges have to be removed like appendix as they don't add much to state's GDP or jobs. Never did. All they did was kill off new entrepreneurs, business sitings and jobs.

Government workers should have faith you can be middle class without being in a union, working for government or University. They also need to understand the country's backbone is small businesses not lefty academics and union government workers.

graefental
graefental

There are plenty of corporations out there that treat their employees well and don't require unions to keep them in line--I should know, I've worked for several and work for one right now.

The problem with Act 10 is its real intention--which is removing all worker protections, including those of private-sector unions and safety legislation. If Scott Walker gets another term, I think most private-sector union members (and, for that matter, cops and firemen) know that they're next on the chopping block.

Act 10 was a template, in much the same way as the US Constitution. It was intended to be amended and its goals furthered. With Republicans in complete control of the state government, any legislation that furthers the wants of our corporate barons (Rebecca Kleefisch: "How can we love you more?") can and will be enacted. Joe Lunchbox has absolutely no say in the matter.

What is the danger in this? Certainly not that responsible employers will suddenly become irresponsible and immoral. The danger is that bad employers (and right now that certainly includes our state government) will become worse, and that good hardworking employees will be punished as a result. Ask any worker--right now, state employees immediately come to mind--what it's like to work for a boss who hates you and has unlimited power.

Norwood44

graef, I do agree that ACT 10, as it was done by Walker, was a political power play. It was not done to create a new and better model for all. But unions have to examine the dissatisfaction Walker's people tapped into among citizens. All was not well or fair with the old union model. To blame it all on Walker is to live in denial. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

graefental
graefental

44, I see it like this: Some unions did indeed go too far (like John Matthews and his Madison Teachers Inc., who gave the impression they were holding Madison hostage to their demands). In the end, it was like the one bad kid in class who changes the rules for everyone else; most state, county and municipal employees in Wisconsin were hardly overcompensated, and they are now paying the price for the bad behavior of a few heavy-handed unions.

Unfortunately, it is fairly obvious that Scott Walker is doing the bidding of powers that in no way represent the people of Wisconsin (the Koch brothers, ALEC). And he himself told Diane Hendricks of ABC Builders Supply that he intended to "divide and conquer" the people of Wisconsin to forward the agenda of his overseers.

He sure delivered on that promise.

Norwood44

Graef. I agree with your analysis. The future for out state lies somewhere between Walker and Matthews, both of whom are entrenched ideologues. You can't work rationally with either. You just have to take away their power and put better folks in charge.

Nav

Norwood44,

You have a problem with any poster who is not anti union like you.

No need to keep harping on previous elections. A new one is coming in November, and I hope we will have a new Governor.

Norwood44

Nav. You really aren't very qualified to discuss what is germaine to the topic. I am sure you are a good person, but honestly, you mind is so closed it is no longer of much use in these discussions. These are important times. Healthy discussion is required. But it requires an open mind. Your's isn't.

midwestguy

No surprise that the unapologetic wing nuts see this as another victory for their skewed cause. The reality is that the unions over estimated their own viability (ergo "street value) for so long that the "rabbit hole" eventually disappeared behind them. The solution beyond that suggested in the article is a "rebranding" that gives people an updated image and simultaneously addresses the propaganda.

happydays

Public Unions should never come back. never. However, I don't have a problem with private unions if they really serve the employees.. However, these past years have shown that they are little more than a business unto themselves. They pay their leadership too much, get to political, spend too much on "fun" for leadership and do very very little for the membership. That is why they are failing. They forgot who they served. Once all the old leadership, who sucked at the teat of the worker, is dead and gone - there may be a chance that unions will become popular again. The little guy standing up for the little guy. Now it is just the fat guy guy, doing very little, and demanding from the little guy.

graefental
graefental

Ever occur to you that public employers can abuse their employees too? That's happening all over Wisconsin right now. Already you see the roads littered with decaying animal carcasses, because the people who used to pick them up retired after Act 10 and were never replaced. You're going to see longer waits at the DMV and it's going to take longer to get your tax refund or deer license--for the same reason. And let's not even get started on education.

You can't expect to kick hell out of state employees (which Walker backers take a peculiar delight in doing) and not have it come back to bite you in the butt. Ever hear that old saw, "You get what you pay for"???

happydays

I worked for the state for many years (and got out because I hated the unions) and saw many workers who did jack. And the minute they were called on it - they ran to their union steward (who usually "did jack" also in their jobs). It got to the point that more workers had to be hired to do the jobs of those who just sat around and did nothing. It took too much time and effort for supervisors to get rid of the bad - so they simply hired more. I blame supervisors for that also. I hated working around people who had no skin in the game and didn't care. I'm not saying they were all like that - what I'm saying is that it made me sick to see union stewards stand up for them. It hurt the workers around them - but that didn't matter to the union. Let's just say - we always got what we paid for (or should I say - who the unions protected). By the way - there were always long waits at the DMV - look at the post office - They stand around and talk and the lines are out the door. Do you think they speed it up? NO way. Like I said - you need some skin in the game

InTheMiddle

Happydays, I worked in the private sector, both in the union and then in management. My employees were begging me to fire several union workers...these were professional IT employees. It took me two years, two files each 5 inches thick and arbitration to finally be able to fire ONE employee. It takes so much time and money to fire union employees (and they know that) that many managers simply give up. I did not because the rest of my staff demanded it. Unions are killing themselves.

John_Galt

The last sentence of the article says it all.

It's too bad people don't get it at all though.

Unions want and want and want, and they drive up costs. Corporations see costs go up and start producing in China.

Union workers demand more, but don't show solidarity and spend their money at Walmart buying stuff that USED to be made by their neighbors, but is now made in China and they don't get it when they get no sympathy.

Don't go on strike to "save" your job, that will only drive the company into the arms of China.

If you all truly want to make a difference, turn the tide and refuse to buy chinese made crap.
Demand american made goods and stand by it. Be willing to pay more for it, if you do, jobs can and will come back.

spooky tooth

yeah, right john, ignore the rigged game, just don't buy from them.

Norwood44

1) How have public unions helped working class Americans?
2) How have public unions decreased the income disparity gap between the ultra rich and middle class Americans?

Norwood44

Mic check. One...two..check. Check.

graefental
graefental

1) Public unions helped boost civil servants into the ranks of the middle class. As the enactment of Act 10 quickly showed, many taxpayers are under the illusion that stuff will "just happen," even if they're not willing to pay civil servants decently. We're seeing how that's going to play out.

2) See above. Most civil servants don't aspire to be ultra-rich or even rich... but they do enjoy receiving an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, just like the rest of us. There are people in the upper echelons of society who have a problem with that, because they feel entitled to all the money they can get their mitts on.

Norwood44

graef. You are right. Civil servants benefitted from unionizing. But that wasn't the question. One of the public union tropes has been how they stand for working people everywhere. I argue they don't. In fact they borrowed liberally from the workers' rights equity of coal miners, auto workers and steel workers, but left those very same people in the dust. Public unions have lifted public union standards of living, but not the standards of the citizens they serve. That is the fundamental truth that Walker exploited during the worst economy in nearly a century. He laid bare the real friction of government workers having better job security and benefits than the people who pay for them. Say what you like about Walker but it was a political play that worked. And a strategy that public unions have yet to counter in a way that resonates with voters.

Norwood44

graef. One more thing. Look at your answer. All you discuss is the plight civil servants. Public unions need to understand that voters care about their own pay and benefits and financial security, not that of government workers. Sad perhaps, but true. Walker was smart to make it about citizens, not public workers. And the public unions have yet to make a benefit argument to voters. Their only argument has been entitlement. And that doesn't work. Unions have to focus on what's in public union deals that benefit everyone. They don't get it. And the election results prove it out.

graefental
graefental

Norwood (below): BUT you're forgetting something... public servants have long traded job security and health insurance benefits for SALARY. It was a calculated trade-off. One might even argue that it was the bet any reasonable conservative would have made--providing for your family at the expense of your own comfort.

Now, post-recession, the private sector went after wages and benefits with a vengeance. Suddenly folks in the private sector looked around and realized that they had no real power... and that workers in the public sector were actually more secure, and were better situated to ride out the recession.

Then Scott Walker comes along and winks: "People, that's YOUR money that enables them to live the high life."

Which may be true, up to a point. The point is that 1) few public workers are or ever were living the "high life," 2) Public workers made a good long-term bet; 3) Walker's sabotaging that bet had only one real effect: Lowering the standard of living for everyone in this state. Which is why states like Minnesota are laughing at us today as they continue to grow, add jobs, and raise their standard of living.

pensive1
pensive1

Sorry, but there is no need for public sector employees to be unionized. Aside from police or fire fighters, what "hazards" do office workers face? Paper cuts? Give me a break. They get great benefits (which is the primary reason people want government jobs) and thanks to unions and the government itself, there is little to no accountability.

graefental
graefental

No, actually, their benefits suck now thanks to Act 10 and no one wants to work for the public sector because their wages suck too (like always) and there's no job security (again, thanks to Act 10). Used to be hard to get a state job. Now they'll hire anyone crazy enough to apply. You'd do better washing dishes at Texas Roadhouse-- at least they have line dancing and profit-sharing, and you won't get fired because some out-of-state billionaire thinks you shouldn't have a job.

Nav

I am so disappointed that our Conservative friends on here have such a hard time either reading the articles or discussing what's in them.

Norwood44 comes up with his own take of what the article should be about.

The Gotch never providing a solution of his own and rarely commenting in the article is quick to judge those who DO say something related to the article.

I think the article by the good professor is very insightful, and I totally agree with it.

Furthermore, when I speak of the unions, I am speaking for public employee as well as private unions who have the SAME goals, namely, to PROTECT their workers from abuse by employers. An employer who treats its employees with respect and dignity need not, does not, fear unions. Those who do not have the right to fear unions.


Norwood44

Nav. How have public unions helped working middle class Americans over the last four decades, as public unions grew in membership and working class unions shrunk? Secondly, How have public unions helped close the income gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us? Tick Tock. Tick Tock. OK...and if the answer is that public unions haven't helped America's middle class or reduced the wealth gap, then what we are left with is that public unions created job security for themselves and tax hikes for the rest of us. Where is the justice in that?

The Sarge

SIEU has saved countless lives in the area of medical misadventure. this is statistically provable. Norwood...what happened to you? was your daddy a union steward who beat you with his lunch box?

Norwood44

An employees who has an employer who them with respect and dignity doesn't need a union.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Nav/Nav1;

"The Gotch never providing a solution of his own and rarely commenting in the article is quick to judge those who DO say something related to the article."

Short answer: "Huh??"

Long answer: "You have your hobbies, I have mine."

"An employer who treats its employees with respect and dignity need not, does not, fear unions."

I have always believed that there should be limits to the hardships an employer may impose.

Hardships do NOT include, expecting employees to fulfill their job requirements, i.e. show up sober, on time, etc.

Do you think unionized Chinese TREK fear their employer?

I do.

"Those who do not have the right to fear unions."

You think any employers, including the taxpayer/employer of public employees, ever have anything to fear from the Unions?

The Gotch

The Sarge

Snatch...nip it boy nip it.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@The Sarge;

"Snatch...nip it boy nip it."

Your mercifully infrequent posts are becoming increasingly...um...eclectically esoteric.

What I mean to say is, perhaps they're not intended to be understood by inhabitants of a reality-based existence?

If that's the case, it's working!

The Gotch

Norwood44

How were you abused as a public worker?

Nav

Norwood44,

Not EVERYTHING I write about pertains to me.

Have anything to say about the article itself?

Norwood44

Nav. I did have some questions that pertained to the article. You refuse to answer them, which is understandabe because you don't like the answers. They don't fit your selfish rhetoric. You want yours. Everyone else is immaterial. Public unions grew, private sector unions declined. Meanwhile the public unions increased the tax burden on average citizens of the private sector who were making comparatively less. Ponder that while waiting for your pension check.

Norwood44

Nav. Let's put a finer point on things. Let's make it local, as all politics are.
How did WEAC members help the meatcutters at Oscar Mayer? How did AFSCME help the machinists at Gisholt? What have the public unions done to help young Epic workers? Where were the public unions when the bottom fell out of the construction industry trades? Public unions have wrapped themselves in the coat of the working man, while doing nothing for them. And Walker smartly exploited the blatant hypocrisy of it.

EWT

Far as I can tell, public unions are there to take what they can from the taxpayer. By the time they were legalized in the 50s, labor laws were in effect. They weren't needed. This is backed up now by all the government worker that are fleeing the unions today. They don't provide value anymore. Kind of like being a blacksmith next to an interstate highway.

graefental
graefental

EWT--come on, don't be a child. Labor laws ain't for jack. If you have a malevolent employer, the bottom line is still "There's the door." If you haven't been physically or sexually assaulted, that's the end of the story.

Get real. How many people do you know who work "undocumented" overtime, or routinely work through their "legally required" breaks-- because the alternative is losing their job?

kurtass

I think that unions need to spend more time on educating workers. The majority of workers have no clue as to what the union is there for. They don't get that they have rights and therefore do not exercise them. They don't stand up for themselves nor do they stand together on the shop floor. I see so much infighting and petty arguing among the members while the company walks all over them. The unions need to get the worker involved and teach them to realize that they, not the stewards and officers, are responsible for fighting on the front lines.
Businesses are using Six Sigma and other tools to trim the workforce and I think it is time for the unions to come up with a plan to take up their side of the fight and give the workers some ownership.

Nav

Kurtass,

I agree. The unions have done a very poor job of explaining what they can do for the workers, That needs to change.

The workers need to be explained that Unions are not political creatures as Norwood 44 wants us to believe. Their PRIMARY job is to protect the workers by negotiating a perfectly legal agreement with the employer in which both the employer and the workers feel a sense of win-win.

However, like anything else, it takes money to run a union operation. They have expenses that have to be paid. If a Union is going to protect a worker by hiring an attorney, it needs money. There are also administrative expenses just as any organization would have. Unions do not get funded by tax payers!

Joining the union is the best bargain a worker can have. In exchange for paying a small amount in union dues, the worker may be protected from just being fired arbitrarily or without cause. The alternative, of course is, not to join the union, save a few bucks on your union due, and face a layoff next week with NO protection at all.

If workers knew these things about unions, they would not only never leave them but would become very active in them.

Please stay AWAY from the right wing propaganda spewed on these sites by Conservatives. Most of them are business people who would love to pay the lowest wage possible and fire you at whim.

Norwood44

Nav. What have public unions done for working class Americans? We would all like to hear your answer. Data would be helpful.

Nav

Norwood44,

Unlike you, I comment on what is in the articles. You are encouraged to do the same!

I think the professor is right about his predictions. However, I want to say that ANOTHER reason why more workers will join unions is because of union haters like you who never stop trying to drive a wedge among public and private workers.

Workers are workers. Whether they join a public union or private union, they will get pretty much same protection. Period.

Norwood44

Nav. I don't hate unions. I don't even hate the Chicago Bears. Though I don't care much for self-interested posters who care about their deal and nothing else, yet pretend to care about the working man and woman. That self-interested poster would be you.

Norwood44

Nav thinks that facts are, by their very nature, conservative.

Norwood44

Two questions. 1) How did the rise of government unions help the standard of living for private sector, middle class workers over the last four decades? 2) How did the rise of government worker unions lessen the income gap between the super wealthy 1% and the rest of working Americans?

Norwood44

Crickets.

The Sarge

I'm not you're research monkey but 15 minutes would supply the answers you are pretending don't exist

EWT

Unions may come back to private sector workers. But hopefully they will get ejected form government. Even Roosevelt said they didn't need them. Government unions are just a way to screw the taxpayer. No corporations involved - just plain ordinary taxpayers who have yet to realize that they are electing union shills in Dane county to empty their wallets.

oldmanriver

Keep living in the past - unions will never return to their "glory" days. The world is changing and it's not the 40's anymore. Hope and change......

spooky tooth

You would think unionizing would be a no-brainer for people wanting to make a living wage again.

Poverty = Fox TV and Hate Radio.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@spooky tooth;

"Poverty = Fox TV and Hate Radio."

So if the democrat strongholds of Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, Newark, NYC, Baltimore, etc., etc., etc., would turn them off then, problem solved?

The Gotch

spooky tooth

Gotch,

The Koch brothers Big Economic Plan is working to perfection. International Trade Deals where only a few at the top can profit and the rest get high unemployment, low wages and no job security. People in poverty, living pay check to pay check, are easy to control. Fox calls this rigged game "The Free Market".

How did the greatest manufacturing cities in the world become the rust belt? You get rid of the old engineers that worked their way to the top. The people that knew how to keep the factories competitive by updating and making high quality products. You replace them with MBA whiz kids (like Romney) that knew nothing about manufacturing, but promised share holders quick profits. Never reinvesting in new equipment, meant share holders got bigger dividends and the CEO's got huge pay checks and bonuses. But the factories got old and couldn't compete with the always reinvesting Japanese and the Germans. Not to worry, the MBA whiz kids backed by Big Money and political puppets made new International Trade Deals that allowed them to move to slave labor countries.

The bottom 80% of the people in the US are left to divide up 7 cents out of every dollar, poverty is everywhere, not just the rust belt.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@spooky tooth;

Bill Clinton, Barack Obama & Uncle Georgie Soros carry water for the Koch Brothers?

Who knew?

The Gotch

augdog04
augdog04

Instead of looking at the past this guy should be looking at the future. Technology has reduced the number of needed workers and will only continue to do so in the future. Less workers equals less mobilization and lessons the need to appease them. Improvements in technology only benefits the one percent. The middle class is screwed.

Nav

There is no QUESTION unions will return to protect the workers. But the workers will have to pay dues for that protection. Nothing is for free.

Many people who used to belong to the unions fell in the Conservative's trap of how these Unions were sending THEIR dues to a political party. More and more workers are coming around to seeing through the Republican strategy and questioning the wisdom of left the unions.

If there is ANYONE who thinks that en employers is going to look after an employee's interest even more so then the union, they live in la la land, and are delusional. No one should buy into that type of wrong propaganda.

The workers are not slaves of the corporation. They need to rise up and form more unions, and where there are unions, to support them.

Norwood44

Nav. I see you still have your bad case of unionitis. Unions aren't a story, at least accordiing to Nav. If you are going to discuss issues on this board, you should try and do it with fairness and integrity. Right now your ethic is that only YOU can discuss unions. With YOUR view only as the one that matters. And if someone else offers an opinion on this issue of the day, they are a right wing Republican. Total BS. Insipid. Here's a question. What happened to middle class unions over the last four decades as government unions grew? Did you take care of your fellow workers? Not even close. And just for the record, I do think unions are justified in fast food and other low wage positions of our economy that have taken the place of what our manufacturing jobs once were. But you won't get government union workers doing much for those people. Just as they did nothing for the auto workers in Janesville or the workers in the construction trades. This piece coming from a junior academic and run in the Cap Times doesn't pass the objectivity test. And also, Pete is spot on. Obama's greatest disappointment has been the treatment of Wall Street, or lacke thereof. Those traders and CEO's crashed the world's economy, and we gave them billions. Obama's greatest failure to my way of thinking. They should have been part of the highest net worth perp wall in history.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@Nav/Nav1;

"No one should buy into that type of wrong propaganda."

Riiiiight! We should buy into YOUR wrong type of propaganda.

With all due respect, nearly every time I read one of your posts, I hear Tattoo intoning "De Plane, De Plane!"

The Gotch

The Sarge

all i I hear the snatch's snapper snapping

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@The Sarge;

"all i I hear the snatch's snapper snapping"

Now you're "hearing things?"

I will quickly, and without equivocation, confirm that something has clearly snapped.

Prepare yourself for the disappointment that it may not be what you suspect.

The Gotch

happydays

Well said Nav -- "THEIR" dues. You didn't even realize it but you hit the nail on the head. You spend all that money on Obama who was going to put his walking shoes on and walk the line with you. How well did that work out? But you still were sending them money, when they backstabbed you with obamacare. But you were still willing to send "THEIR" dues hoping and believing like a battered wife that "they" would change, put on their walking shoes and join the line. Ain't happening honey - you were used and abused

pete
pete

the last sentence says it all imo: "When the top 1 percent captures almost the entire economic growth of the past four or five years, it’s saying something about the whole system and how it allocates resources,” Eidlin says

Wall Street has loved this president. (remember the "main st vs wall st" guy?) obama has failed miserably to help the middle class like he promised. His failure to help the poor is even greater.

Nav

No Pete, the last sentence does NOT say it all. This article is about how Unions will make a come back because the workers have seen a decline in their living standards resulting from the corporations making out like bandits at their employees' expense.

You have anything to say about that?

Norwood44

Nav. Answer the questions posed above. How has the rise of government worker unions over the last four decades helped America's middle class? How has the rise of public unions over the last four decades closed the income gap disparity between the 1% and the rest of American workers? Be honest Nav. You don't care about the rest of us. You want a guaranteed gov job and great benefits at the expense of the public sector's tax dollars. It's OK to admit it. Here's your chance to be honest. You'll feel much better if you come clean.

happydays

The only things unions are looking at now are the illegals. companies are hiring them left and right and the long time workers are taking it in the pants. They are being laid off and not called back because the businesses can get cheaper labor - and the unions are right there helping the business because they can sign up the illegals as members. And they still collect from the poor schmuck who is laid off because otherwise the poor schmuck will lose his union insurance and benefits. The whole union thing is a scam.

Cornelius_Gotchberg
Cornelius_Gotchberg

@pete;

"His failure to help the poor is even greater."

That's a little harsh.

Didn't he once show genuine concern over the price of Arugula at Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods?

Has the first Post-Racial President brought us closer together?

Not exactly.

When asked if the Black community is better off since the self-anointed 4th Greatest President EVAH!! took office, arch conservative Tavis Smiley (who reportedly is Black himself) didn't mince words:

“No, they are not. The data is going to indicate sadly that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category,”

"He added that President Obama should be 'held responsible' for his failure to address the needs of the African-American community."

Not a real resume' enhancer, am I right?

Think he could have that and every other foreign & domestic policy blunder created by the most Transparent Administration EVAH sealed away?

Or should we just continue to blame Bush/FOXNEWS/Racism/Koch Brothers?

The Gotch

mbadger

Pete, the top 1% has benefited from Obama's easy money policies with a soaring stock market. When the fed finally stops this insane easing, and we working stiffs can start getting some decent interest rates, things will turn around. I am also sick of the crony capitalism this regime engages in. When we become competitive by reducing the insane,uncompetitive corporate tax rates. Reduce/reform regs- the middle class wages will increase and the middle class will catch up.

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