It’s hard to believe that, only a year ago, Big Labor was attacking Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker for supposedly abolishing public employees’ “right to join a union.” Back in the spring of 2011, union bosses who were enraged by Act 10, a major government-reform measure Mr. Walker had recently signed into law, hoped this line of attack would bring down the then-recently elected governor.
Of course, the accusation that Act 10 revoked the right to join a union, or even narrowed it in any way, was false. Act 10 actually protects the freedom of teachers and most other state and local government employees to join and financially support a union, or refuse to do either, without being fired as a consequence. It also limits the scope of union monopoly bargaining. It leaves fully intact public employees’ right to join a union, which is at any rate safeguarded by the U.S. Constitution.
This spring, the union hierarchy, which is now spending tens of millions of dollars in a campaign to oust Mr. Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R), and several of their state legislative allies in “recall” elections this June 5, has given up on last year’s lie, which never got much traction with Wisconsin citizens. Instead, they are using cherry-picked economic data to suggest Wisconsin’s economy has suffered a horrific decline during the Walker Administration. (See the first link above.)
Unfortunately for union propagandists, a dispassionate reading of all the relevant federal data reveals the Badger State economy is actually getting back on its feet after suffering a severe decline during the 2008-2009 recession.
For example, the latest civilian labor force data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – see the second link above) indicate that, from March 2011 to March 2012, the number of Wisconsites holding jobs went up by roughly 18,500. Over the same period, Wisconsin’s unemployment fell from 8.3% to 7.5%.
The early evidence suggests that, contrary to the latest Big Labor propaganda, Act 10 is in fact fostering a better climate for job creation in Wisconsin.