The unions were dealt another blow yesterday when the republicans in Wisconsin retained control of the senate. They survived by winning four of six recall races. This is significant due to the incredible amount of money that poured into the state from both sides. Estimates ranged from $30 to $40 million. Okay, what does this mean in general to the unions?
First, they lost a do over. Meaning that it was the union's view, that the voters in Wisconsin didn't really mean to give control of the Senate to the Republicans during the last election cycle. They were just hoodwinked. So, being the strong believers in democracy, they gave the voters another chance to see the light, as it were.
Second, the loss shows just how ineffectual the national union machine has become. But be careful here, don't blame the unions for this. It isn't their fault. They've simply done what they've always done. Get sympathetic politicians elected and reap the benefits of favored status from the Capital. No the fault lies in this new breed of candidates like Scott Walker and Chris Christie. These guys have the gall to call BS on the public sector unions in general and the exalted teacher's union specifically.
Walker, Christie and their ilk simply looked at their respective fiscal budgets and discovered that dirty little secret the unions didn't want the public to know. The unions effectively have direct access to the treasury via their Democratic allies in the state legislatures. See it works like this. Dems pass laws that favor union over the private sector, such as collecting dues from union members automatically so the unions have a nice little nest egg. Then come election time, the Dems suddenly find themselves in need of cash. And who do they turn to? Need I say more?
This is why the recall election was so important to the unions at a national level. Loss of clout is one thing, but losing access to the treasury across the country is permanently debilitating. Now, union members will have to write a check to the union rather than automatic deduction. It will be interesting to see what percentage of the workers will actually write those checks every month.
Lastly, if the unions fail in Wisconsin, a traditionally Blue state, what will happen in the blue/purple states?