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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wisconsin’s Legacy for Unions

From The New York Times:

[Gov. Scott] Walker’s landmark law — called Act 10 — severely restricted the power of public-employee unions to bargain collectively, and that provision, among others, has given social workers, prison guards, nurses and other public employees little reason to pay dues to a union that can no longer do much for them. Members of Mr. Beil’s group, the Wisconsin State Employees’ Union, complain that their take-home pay has fallen more than 10 percent in recent years, a sign of the union’s greatly diminished power.

Wisconsin was the first state to grant public-sector unions the right to negotiate contracts. Before Gov. Gaylord Nelson signed that law in 1959, only unionized workers in private companies had a government-protected right to bargain collectively. But the Wisconsin idea soon spread around the country. Act 10 is an about-face, and Mr. Walker and his Republican supporters see it as a tough-minded strategy that other states can follow. History repeating itself, if in reverse.

Many labor leaders and union members are still fuming about the law. It bars public-sector unions from bargaining over pensions, health coverage, safety, hours, sick leave or vacations. All they can negotiate is base pay, and even that is limited: any raises they win cannot exceed inflation.

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