Last Friday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker informed the state’s public unions of impending layoff notices to state employees. This action is the latest in a three-week battle over the budget and the role of public unions. During this time, we’ve seen some extraordinary events, such as the mass exodus of the Badger State’s Democratic representatives, who fled to prevent a vote on Walker’s measure.
The bill in question would require schoolteachers, nurses, administrative assistants, secretaries, and other public employees to pay more for their pensions and healthcare insurance. Walker also wants to strip public employees (except police and firefighters) of their collective-bargaining rights. That’s where the controversy boils.
Where do you stand on this issue? Do you approve or disapprove of what Walker and his fellow Republicans are trying to do? They claim their goal is to get the budget under control. Like many states, Wisconsin faces a huge deficit. Critics say the budget is just an excuse to do something Republicans have always wanted to do: Bust the unions.
For example, here’s what John Colson, a writer for The Aspen Times, had to say: Walker “could balance his budget by not promising lavish corporate incentives for companies to come and pillage Wisconsin’s natural resources, or by raising the taxes those corporations pay, or any number of other fiscal moves. But killing unions is part of his game strategy, which includes keeping the working class on the edge of ruin at all times.”
Colson has a point. After all, the public unions agreed to shoulder more of the financial burden, accepting pay cuts and agreeing to pay more for insurance and pensions. But Walker wouldn’t go along. Gutting the unions’ collective bargaining rights is essential to his plan.
Of course, most people don’t work under the protection of unions. Only about 12% of American salary and wage earners are members of unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So, what do you think about this red-hot topic?
Is it time to abolish unions for public employees?
Is it time to abolish unions altogether?
Please, Comment below!
(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)