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Have Wisconsin Unions Jumped the Shark?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

There’s an old TV saying given to the moment when viewers realize a series has peaked – it’s called “jumping the shark.” It’s in reference to the fifth season of Happy Days, when the Fonz is waterskiing – complete with leather jacket – and proceeds to jump over a shark. The scene was so outlandish and ridiculous, that viewers realized the show as creatively bankrupt. The popularity of the series declined from there.

We may have just witnessed the Wisconsin public employee unions’ shark-jumping moment.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) has been organizing its members to show up to school board meetings to protest the cost-saving measures being implemented, thanks exclusively to Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair law.

WEAC crybaby sessions at local school board meetings are becoming a weekly event.

See EAGtv’s report on the latest episode.

But to WEAC’s dismay, school board members who have been targeted for intimidation are showing up to these meetings prepared for the protests. So are local residents who have had their fill of union bullying.

Last week, if you recall, WEAC members from around the state packed into a Greenfield school board meeting to protest the adoption of a new employee handbook, which replaces the comprehensive collective bargaining agreement outlawed by Act 10.

In Greenfield the protesters packed into a very small room and complained about the lack of seating. They shouted down a school board member as he read a prepared statement. At one point the police had to be called to restore order.

The Greenfield school board approved the handbook, despite the ugly scene.

Forward to this week in the New Berlin school district, where WEAC protesters from all over the state again gathered to protest the pending adoption of a similar employee handbook. Radical union members are mad because Act 10 allows elected school boards to write handbook rules without union approval.

But the New Berlin board was prepared for the temper tantrum.

The board moved the meeting to a much larger room, so the crybabies couldn’t complain about a lack of seating. And somebody apparently spread the word about the protest to the local community, because dozens of residents, many self-identified taxpayers, showed up to support the school board.

Many carried signs correctly protesting “union bullying.”

At one point a teacher complained that property taxes in the district were going down instead of increasing, prompting applause from taxpayers and groans from money-hungry union members.

Later in the meeting a citizen spoke in favor of Act 10 and praised Gov. Scott Walker. Such talk prompted a walkout by the union members.

Nobody, we’re sure, was sad to see them go.

With calm restored, the New Berlin school board unanimously voted to adopt the handbook, take control of the district and go about the business of education.

School board member Art Marquardt summed up the situation when he said, “They thought they would come to New Berlin and change our minds by trying to intimidate us. It was not going to happen.”

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