…and he explains how recent history shows that both public workers and the taxpayers will benefit from the collective bargaining reform for government-employed workers.
First, Walker provides an example on how the unions are preventing the improvement of education…
In 2010, Megan Sampson was named an Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin. A week later, she got a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools. Why would one of the best new teachers in the state be one of the first let go? Because her collective-bargaining contract requires staffing decisions to be made based on seniority.
Ms. Sampson got a layoff notice because the union leadership would not accept reasonable changes to their contract. Instead, they hid behind a collective-bargaining agreement that costs the taxpayers $101,091 per year for each teacher, protects a 0% contribution for health-insurance premiums, and forces schools to hire and fire based on seniority and union rules.
My state’s budget-repair bill, which passed the Assembly on Feb. 25 and awaits a vote in the Senate, reforms this union-controlled hiring and firing process by allowing school districts to assign staff based on merit and performance. That keeps great teachers like Ms. Sampson in the classroom.
Later in the article Walker points out that the contributions workers will be asked to make are very modest (still enviable), and even gets a little jab in at the hypocrisy of the Obama administration’s stance on this issue in Wisconsin…
While it might be a bold political move, the changes are modest. We ask government workers to make a 5.8% contribution to their pensions and a 12.6% contribution to their health-insurance premium, both of which are well below what other workers pay for benefits. Our plan calls for Wisconsin state workers to contribute half of what federal employees pay for their health-insurance premiums. (It’s also worth noting that most federal workers don’t have collective bargaining for wages and benefits.)
Yet, Walker putting state employees on the same level as most federal employees is, according to Barack Obama, an “assault” on unions and working Americans? Give me a break! The hypocrisy of Obama’s attempt to disparage Walker is palpable, here.
Here’s where recent history comes into play, and bolsters Walker’s position and disproves the unions…
When Gov. Mitch Daniels repealed collective bargaining in Indiana six years ago, it helped government become more efficient and responsive. The average pay for Indiana state employees has actually increased, and high-performing employees are rewarded with pay increases or bonuses when they do something exceptional.
Truth hurts, doesn’t it?
The fact of the matter is, if you are guaranteed your salary because you have tenure and because your union is given so much power, you have no incentive to do your job to the best of your ability unless you’re one of the rare few who do it for “the love of the job”. Most people will do their best for the love of the job, but they want to be recognized and rewarded for their performance. People like having an incentive to do more than a merely satisfactory job. It gives you something to strive for…besides simply earning another year in tenure. Unfortunately, the public worker unions wouldn’t allow that in Wisconsin.
Now, the government employees in Wisconsin won’t have to worry about waiting around for tenure to protect them…now, the quality of their job performance will protect newer employees from the chopping block, should layoffs ever come. If that’s not incentive to step it up your performance (and, in turn, create more efficient and effective public services that cost less in taxpayer dollars), I don’t know what is.
Now, before you go and comment that I’m somehow anti-union, and that I don’t know anything about why unions are a “good thing”…it should be known that my father is a retired DC Firefighter and he was a member of the IAFF (Local 36), and he agreed with this. It should be known that my mother is a teacher and a current member of the NEA, and she agreed with this. They recognize the facts in this matter, and they don’t see where the teachers or the other public workers are going to be hurt by this.