(Fred Weinberg/The Penny Press) – I’m not certain that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s blowout win in his recall election means that much in national politics, but it certainly sends a loud message to people who suckle at the public teat.
Don’t be greedy.
People used to take jobs with the civil service for two reasons. One is that it was steady work for reasonable pay. The other was that in return for taking a reasonable but not outstanding paycheck, you got a guaranteed retirement.
That formula is no longer valid.
We have firefighters in Nevada making $168,000 a year (Clark County) and retiring on such good terms that us common folks can no longer afford to keep the retirement deal.
The state of Nevada has an astonishing number of employees making over $100,000 a year with commensurate retirement packages.
When Walker—who was the Milwaukee County Executive (essentially the County Manager) prior to being elected Governor—got into office, he was faced with the same sort of nonsense as he tried to balance that state’s budget.
He, having the advantage of a GOP dominated legislature, asked for and got some legislation which stripped the public employees’ unions of two essential things. Automatic dues collection and collective bargaining authority.
This is not unprecedented.
Back in 1937, the patron saint of the organized labor movement, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote to the President of the National Federation of Federal Employees:
“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”
It didn’t go viral back then because there was no Internet, but think of it as an entry in FDR’s blog.
You would have thought, from the reaction of union leaders to Walker’s budget balancing initiatives that modern day labor leaders have never learned from history.
Militant doesn’t begin to describe the recall campaign against Walker.
Frankly, they acted like three-year-olds throwing a tantrum before nap time.
And the voting public spanked them appropriately.
I don’t think that any hard working American is amused by public employees acting like spoiled brats or members of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
While I don’t expect this election to have much of effect on the national elections in November, I do think that Wisconsin is not unique and that if similar circumstances were to present themselves in the 49 other states, the results would be the same.
One final note: I saw, on Fox News, Martin O’Mally, the Governor of Maryland tossing veiled threats that maybe Walker would be indicted soon. That clown should remember that one of his predecessors is Spiro T. Agnew who actually did plead guilty to bribery when he was the Governor of Maryland (after he was already Vice President of the United States). Governors who live in glass houses should be careful where they throw rocks.
Walker’s Wisconsin experience just shows that voters are a lot smarter than the media and what passes for leadership in the Democratic Party give them credit for.