Saturday, September 15, 2012

So was Act 10 worth it, Scotty?

Obviously yesterday was good news for us in Wisconsin who still believe in a shred of decency and respect for people who perform public service, as Act 10's rules against public sector unions were struck down for local government employees. And it illustrates the biggest failure (among many) of this incompetent Walker administration- they got greedy with Act 10, and instead of reducing expenses, it'll end up costing taxpayers more than if they'd stopped themselves.

First, the basis of the ruling is important to bring up. I'll give you the State Journal stenographer version, and then I'll explain a bit more on it.
In his decision, Colas disagreed with the unions' contention that the enactment of the law violated a constitutional clause limiting special legislative sessions and said the law does not violate the constitutional prohibition against taking a property interest without due process.

But he wrote that while collective bargaining is not a constitutional right, once the government has permitted it, "it may not make the surrender or restriction of a constitutional right a condition of that privilege."

He wrote that the law imposes burdens on employees' exercise of their right of free speech and association, limiting what local governments may offer union-represented employees and prohibiting them from paying dues by payroll deduction, "solely because the dues to go a labor organization."

"Conversely," he wrote, "employees who do not associate for collective bargaining are rewarded by being permitted to negotiate for and receive wages without limitation."

Colas also wrote that the law creates distinct classes of public workers who are represented by unions and those who are not. The law also prohibits payroll deduction for dues for general labor unions but allows dues deductions for public safety and transit unions.
First of all, the reasons Colas struck down the law have nothing to do with the Supreme Court decision last June, where the 4 con judges said that the method of passing Act 10 was OK. Colas says the METHOD the law was passed was legal, but has a problem with WHAT WAS IN THE LAW, and the case is extremely different as a result. We'll see if that matters to the Supreme Court once the inevitable appeal heads its way, but if I were Justice Patience Roggensack and up for appeal in 6 1/2 months, I might want to rule on the side of the justice and not try to make shit up, because we're just begging to put a target on her back (I'm just saying, Patty).

The decision once again exposes the exemptions carved out for police and fire fighters, which Walker did as a payback in exchange for their support in the 2010 elections, help to make Act 10 illegal (the transit workers were added later, when the stare realized they lose nearly $50 million in federal transit funds if they took away bargaining rights for transit employees). Walker admitted to crazed tax-ducking billionairess Diane Hendricks that this was part of the "divide and conquer" plan when he kissed up to her in 2011.

The plan was to try to get police and fire to stay out of the fray so there'd be less resistance. Well, given all the "Cops for Labor" signs and the ascendance of Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin president Mahlon Mitchell as a key Dem voice against Walker, I'm thinking it didn't go as planned for ol' Scotty. And now the divide and conquer, "separate the types of public employees" strategy is a big reason why Act 10 got shot down. So that's Walker FAIL #1.

Here's Walker Fail Number 2- If we live in a time of Citizens United and money = speech and "corporations are people, my friends," then employees certainly have the right to associate with whatever groups they wish, including forming unions. Hey, if this decision leads GOPs to understand that Citizens United is a bad deal and leads to special interests getting too much power and should be limited, I'm all for it. But I'm guessing that's not the way the average self-absorbed Sykes listener and Koch head is capable of seeing it.

And that leads to FAIL #3, because Walker and company made the blunder of wanting it all, and now they'll get nearly nothing. They decided to reach down from the state level and get in the way of local governments and their negotiations with their local unions, instead of limiting their screw job to state employees. And they tied the hands of local governments by drastically reducing state shared revenue, and limiting the amount of levy increases these communities could do, so even if a community valued its employees or if a district valued its teachers, it couldn't pay them or raise the revenues to retain qualified employees (you know, like any other business could).

Judge Colas has now said that the restrictions on local government are overreach (especially when it comes to interfering with the Milwaukee ERS systems, which are separate from the state retirement system). Now these systems that used Act 10's "tools" to screw over public employees have to deal with the double-whammy of renegotiating deals with these public workers, while having to deal with Walker's and WisGOP's cuts. If Walker had merely left the local public workers alone, even with the stupid levy limits, I'd bet that both sides would have worked out deals that would have left things closer to the way they were, while still leaving the local communities and districts with better services than they they have now.

And because of the cuts to take-home pay, many teachers and other public employees moved on from places where they weren't being valued, like in pro-Walker Germantown, where mass resignations have led to teaching vacancies at the start of the school year after imposing Act 10's "tools" on staff. (Gee, who could have seen that coming? Oh, THIS GUY! )

Instead, you can count on a lot of public workers filing suits to get back money that they are entitled to, but had taken away due to the illegal rules in Act 10. Basically, it'll be a replay of the $4.5 million Milwaukee County taxpayers are paying back due to Walker's flouting of contract law with furloughs in 2010. But not only will Walker's policies fail in being effective policy for maintaining services, it won't even save them any money past this year (I'm not even counting all the money that the state has blown on lawyers for defending this dumb, illegal law).

With local governments having their budget debates over the next 8 weeks, watch for some serious changes and cuts in services that would have been unneccessary without the idiotic Act 10. And I'm somehow not thinking the employees are going to be so nice to management now that they've seen how quickly some Bagger governments cut their take-home pay the last time. Hey, as I've said many times, these communities wanted Fitzwalkerstan, and now they're gonna get it! While communities that saw the problems coming and valued their public employees signed multi-year agreements with concessions in them are now in good shape, (like Madison Teachers, who are still under a contract signed in 2011) the Bagger towns that denigrated and imposed Act 10 on their teachers are losing...badly.

But let's be honest, the biggest fail of them all comes from Sen. Scott Fitzgerald's dimwitted "tell" in March 2011, when he admitted that Act 10 was never about helping to balance the budget, but was instead about the November 2012 elections.

Well beating Obama in 2012 ain't looking like it's gonna happen either, Scotty. So count that as FAIL #4, and no gerrymander that you did will be able to save you by the time people see the wreckage that is Fitzwalkerstan by 2014. So I hope this 20 months of posing and pitting neighbor vs. neighbor was worth it for Scott Walker and company, because Act 10 and its results are A MASSIVE FAILURE for most of us in Wisconsin.

No comments:

Post a Comment