Government unions shrink in Wisconsin
Public-employee unions in Wisconsin have experienced a dramatic drop in membership -- by more than half for the second-biggest union -- since a law championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker sharply curtailed their ability to bargain over wages and working conditions.
Now with Mr. Walker facing a recall vote Tuesday, voters will decide whether his policies in the centrist state should continue -- or whether they have gone too far.
The election could mark a pivot point for organized labor.
Mr. Walker's ouster would derail the political career of a rising Republican star and send a warning to other elected officials who are battling unions. But a victory for the governor, who has been leading his Democratic opponent in recent polls, would amount to an endorsement of an effort to curtail public-sector unions, which have been a pillar of strength for organized labor while private-sector membership has dwindled.
Public employee unions should not be permitted to negotiate with anyone whose election was supported by them monetarily or otherwise. The conflict of interest is obvious as is the corruption bargain that comes from it. It is why taxpayers have suffered under having to pay salaries and benefits to government workers that are greater than the comparable work would pay in the private sector. Walkers reforms were actually quite modest and more should be done to reduce the cost of government.That could mean the sharp losses that some Wisconsin public-worker unions have experienced is a harbinger of similar unions' future nationwide, union leaders fear. Failure to oust Mr. Walker and overturn the Wisconsin law "spells doom," said Bryan Kennedy, the American Federation of Teachers' Wisconsin president....