In May 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) had lost 34,073 and at least 2,455 have left since then. American Federation of Teachers- Wisconsin (AFT-Wisconsin) told the Wisconsin State Journal that they had lost about 5,250 members, while the UW-Madison Teaching Assistants’ Association lost 1,350 members. Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) lost around 50,000 members prior to this latest round of voting. Even the Wisconsin Professional Police Association lost 1,700 members. In total, the public reports indicate Wisconsin unions have now lost more than 100,000 members since Act 10 became law.
Big Labor’s playbook to stop these reforms has failed. First, they flooded Madison with protesters from across the nation, then their State Senators fled to Illinois to prevent a vote. After they inevitably returned and the bill passed, they tried to not publish the bill to prevent it from becoming law. When that failed, they went to court to halt the law. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately weighed in and said the collective bargaining reforms did not violate the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. But that didn’t stop the recalls, several more lawsuits and other temper tantrums from the Left.
Now we know exactly what the Left was so scared of: government workers having a choice about whether they are represented by a union. Perhaps more importantly for the union bosses is a loss of union dues in the millions of dollars. Conservative estimates show that with 100,000 members opting out of unions, around $60 million less will be flowing to unions in Wisconsin. In terms of pure political dollars (PAC Contributions), more than $2 million less will be at the Left’s disposal for upcoming election spending and lobbying. Gone are the days of public sector unions going unchecked, ripping off Wisconsin taxpayers, and amassing war chests full of political money.
States need to follow in Wisconsin's footsteps to allow freedom for government employees and relief for taxpayers. Wisconsin shows that public sector union representation is not providing value to their members and public sector unions are on the decline. Government workers in all states should have the right to vote on the value of the public sector unions’ services. After all, out of state union protesters came to Madison after Act 10 was introduced and shouted, “This is what Democracy Looks Like!”
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