The Competitive Enterprise Institute reports.
Today, teachers in Kenosha, Wis., voted to decertify their union, the Kenosha Education Association, by a margin of nearly two to one. Only 37 percent of the teachers opted to retain the union in an election made possible by the labor reforms enacted under Gov. Scott Walker (R). The result goes to show that when workers have a choice on whether to join a union instead of being forced into one by law, they often choose to vote down the union.
Competitive Enterprise Institute labor policy analyst Matt Patterson said regarding the vote in Kenosha:
“Gov. Walker’s bold and effective reforms have loosened the grip of unions on Wisconsin’s public purse, to the benefit of taxpayers and to the detriment of Big Labor bosses. The news today proves what unions have long feared – that when workers are actually given a free and fair choice, they will often choose opt out of union membership altogether.
“The public at large—and an increasing number of union members—have become wise to the fact labor unions stifle innovation and burden governments and businesses with unsustainable costs and regulations.”
What that means is that the union not only does not get automatic contributions from teachers, but that the the school district cannot even withhold funds from teacher pay checks. Teachers will have to come to some sort of arrangement with the union to give them money on their own, if they want to.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel added some more details.
Christina Brey, speaking for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, downplayed recertification, calling it just another hoop for local unions to jump through.
Unions can exist without certification, but they cannot bargain for limited base-wage increases with the district. And there are fees involved with chasing recertification.
“It seems like the majority of our affiliates in the state aren’t seeking recertification, so I don’t think the KEA is an outlier or unique in this,” Brey said.
She added that certification gives the union scant power over a limited number of issues they’d like a voice in.
Sheronda Glass, the director of business services in Kenosha, said it’s a new experience for the district to be under Act 10.
She said that, without the union being certified, the district is not obligated to even sit down and hear the concerns of the union over issues such as base wages and working conditions, a clause known as “meet and confer orders.”
Also, she said the district can no longer hold wages for union dues if the union is not certified.
Employees would have to pursue a different avenue if they want their wages withheld, she said.
“We’ve heard all kinds of stories about what has happened in other districts that came under Act 10 and had no teachers’ contract,” Glass said. “It’s interesting now that we’re in it.”
That comment “It seems like the majority of our affiliates in the state aren’t seeking recertification” is good news.
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