Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Collective Bargaining Not Feasible?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker continues to say that collective bargaining rights must be stripped to balance the budget. However, the only evidence he provides is his own anecdotal evidence from when he was a county executive about how "difficult" it is to bargain with unions. That's not enough evidence to pass any bill, much less a bill that strips people's rights away. So what does the evidence say about the effects of collective bargaining for public employees on the state budget?

Wisconsin has had collective bargaining rights for public employees since 1959. We've faced larger budget deficits in the past in which public employees have taken financial concessions to keep the state moving. We've never had to strip collective bargaining rights to balance the budget, because our government leaders have done the difficult task that many business owners do of negotiating with the unions. Gov. Scott Walker has only held office for a few weeks.  How could he have made a genuine effort to negotiate with the public employees in such little time?

And now that the public employees have agreed to the financial concessions needed to balance the budget, what does stripping collective bargaining rights give our state that we don't already have? I can also ask, what does stripping collective bargaining rights take from Wisconsin?

Go here to see a summary of the history of labor rights in Wisconsin.

Feel free to discuss this in the comments, and I'll revisit this question in the near future.

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