Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Two stories over at HotAir really provide a nice contrast on the issue of public employee unions in Wisconsin. The first concerns the protest outside a school visited by Governor Scott Walker.  With all the problems with education, you would think that Messmer Preparatory Catholic School would be celebrated for its success, as 85% of its students continue on to college.  Sadly no.

While the teachers’ unions like to claim that they are out there fighting for better education for our children, in reality they don’t really care one wit about children. It is only about what they can get for their members. Messmer’s clear educational success is irrelevant at best, and more likely a threat.  That they have improved the neighborhood is likewise irrelevant.

What matters is that they provide an alternative to the union dominated schools.  In the video below, one protestor can be seen haranguing a Messmer staffer saying that he was “ashamed” to have them in his neighborhood (@1:46). Very strangely, he goes on to sarcastically  ask her, “you must be really proud of what you have accomplished here” (@2:35)  I would have liked to ask this protestor: A school successfully teaching children  to succeed in life;  what is not to be proud of?  I think his answer would have been very enlightening.


When you compare the actions of the protestors outside the school with the students inside, the contrast is really pretty stark, particularly when you consider that vandals filled a number of the school’s locks with glue.  Schools like Messmer threaten the unions’ place at the government trough.

This position at the trough is highlighted by another story contrasting two Wisconsin cities, Oshkosh and Madison.  While Oshkosh waited till after the new public employee union law had taken effect to conclude contracts,  Madison rushed ahead so as not to be affected by the law.  As a result, Oshkosh is looking to save millions of dollars, Madison is looking at cutting 38 police officers, 27 firefighters, reducing or ending a number of city services, and this is with a proposed 3% increase in property taxes.

Madison’s plight demonstrates that the public employee unions do not even care all that much about their members.  They have a lifeboat mentality.  Those thrown overboard (i.e., laid off) are irrelevant. What matters are those who are left.   They certainly do not care one wit about the taxpayers who must yet again do with less, so that they can have even more.

Why the stark contrast between Madison and Oshkosh?  Not only were the public employee unions bargaining for wages, they were requiring that health insurance be purchased from them. Under Walker’s new law government agencies are free to shop around for health insurance.   The result is that in a time of rising health care costs, government agencies in Wisconsin are suddenly seeing millions of dollars in savings on health care.  In short, the unions had a monopoly on health care, and were using their monopoly to overcharge local governments.  Governor Walker’s bill broke the union’s monopoly and as a result cities like Oshkosh are saving huge amounts of money. Those, like Madison, that rushed to have contracts signed before the bill went to effect are not.

With the new school year kicking off, it is now clear why the unions opposed Walker’s bill.  Rather than balancing the budget on the backs of public employees – who by the way have higher pay and better benefits than do their the non-government counterparts who pay their salaries – in reality what Walker’s bill did was end the direct siphon of government money into union coffers.

While the unions frequently complain about greedy businesses that exploit their workers, Walker’s bill has turned a spotlight on the situation. It turns out that it is the public employee unions that have been the ones caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  Thus, at places like Messmer Preparatory Catholic School, they are screaming about the injustice of it all.

Aug 29th, 2011

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