February 13th, 2015
In 2011, in the wake of the largest workers uprising in
recent U.S. history, I was elected president of the Milwaukee Teachers’
Education Association (MTEA). Unfortunately, that spring uprising,
although massive and inspirational, was not strong enough to stop Gov.
Scott Walker from enacting the most draconian anti-public sector labor
law in the nation.
That law, known as Act 10, received
support from the Koch brothers and a cabal of national right-wing
funders and organizations. It was imposed on all public sector workers
except the police and firefighter unions that endorsed Walker and whose
members are predominantly white and male.
Act 10 took
away virtually all collective bargaining rights, including the right to
arbitration. It left intact only the right to bargain base-wage
increases up to the cost of living. The new law prohibited “agency
shops,” in which all employees of a bargaining unit pay union dues. It
also prohibited payroll deduction of dues. It imposed an unprecedented
annual recertification requirement on public sector unions, requiring a
51 percent (not 50 percent plus one) vote of all eligible employees,
counting anyone who does not vote as a “no.” Using those criteria,
Walker would never have been elected.
Read more here