August 15 2011
Some folks in Wisconsin are losing their jobs, and I have to say it couldn't be happening to a nicer bunch of people.
The executive director of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the largest teacher's union in the Badger State, confirmed on Monday that layoff notices have been issued to 42 union employees, thus reducing its staff by 40 percent.
Some blame the job cuts on the public employee reform law that Republican Governor Scott Walker and the Republican-led state legislature passed this spring, but this assertion is misguided. If WEAC wants someone to blame, they should blame teachers who are planning to vote with their feet and leave the union.
In 2009, prior to the new law's enactment, WEAC collected $23.5 million (which is the most recent IRS data available) by automatically deducting $481 per year from public school teachers' paychecks. After the law passed, unions can still collect dues, but the union dues may no longer be automatically deducted from teachers' paychecks.
For the first time in modern history, teachers in Wisconsin actually have the right to choose whether or not they will be a part of a union. Who believes a significant number of teachers will keep the five hundred bucks and spend the money on something other than Democratic Party politics? WEAC labor bosses, that's who. For in scaling back its staff so dramatically, WEAC is revealing that the union leadership itself doesn't have the courage of its oft-stated conviction that it and it alone can fairly represent educators' interests at the bargaining table, the legislature, the court of public opinion.