Walker wrong to bust unions

Wisconsin needs budget balancing, not union busting.

Daily Editorial Board

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is not wrong to ask public employees to take pay cuts and pay more into their benefits package. As a way to cut spending in a state facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, thatâÄôs a reasonable request.

But Walker is trying to strong-arm the stateâÄôs public employee unions into giving up their collective bargaining rights. With the unions willing to agree to the benefits cuts and public opinion turning against him by way of dramatic demonstrations in Madison, Walker would be wise to drop the union-busting provisions of this legislation.

Wisconsin has one of the greatest union traditions of any state in the country. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees labor union was founded there in the 1930s and is now one of the countryâÄôs largest public employee unions.

The collective bargaining rights Walker is trying to remove were first passed in 1959, making it one of the first states in the country to allow unionized bargaining from its state employees.

But the stateâÄôs union laws can be friendly to the government as well. Unionized public workers are not allowed to strike, and the stateâÄôs school districts are not forced into binding arbitration with its teachers if it offers a 3.8 percent increase in pay
and benefits.

Wisconsin, a national leader in the labor movement, already has laws on the books meant to not overly extend the unionsâÄô powers.

Following a national trend, Walker and the legislative Republicans elected with him are going to cut the budget to balance a deficit. That âÄî not union busting âÄî should be the main agenda right now.