DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) Is collective bargaining on the brink after the governor of Wisconsin survived a recall aimed at removing the Republican union foe?
It’s a question on the minds of many in metro Detroit, home of some of the most powerful unions in the country. Charlie Langton had people on both sides of the issue weigh in this week on his morning show on Talk Radio 1270.
The UAW, and other unions around the country, fought hard to remove Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who stripped some collective bargaining ability for Wisconsin city and school workers, with police officers and firefighters exempted.
Both sides of the recall campaign spent a combined $60 million.
And with all that money spent, the fact Walker emerged unscathed has some union supporters worried, Langton reported. “It really calls into question the future of collective bargaining rights,” Langton said.
“He only restricted a very small portion of what unions were able to do in Wisconsin and you see the reaction from unions,” said conservative UAW member and blogger Brian Pannebecker.
A similar effort to recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican who has not stripped union rights, was dropped this week in the wake of Walker’s win.
“They’re upset with Gov. Snyder because he passed some very moderate reforms,” Pannebacker said.
What does it all mean in Michigan? Democrats in Lansing are trying to pass a constitutional amendment that would protect collective bargaining. On the other side, an effort to make Michigan a Right To Work state, which would make it illegal for anyone to be forced to join a union, is on hold.
WWJ 950’s Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reported that Right To Work proponent Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) is pausing the effort while his side battles the proposed amendment that protects collective bargaining.
Caller John from Chesterfield weighed in on the anti-union side, saying, “FDR was against public sector unions … The people who pay the public sector unions have no seat at the table.”
Rev Charles Williams, a labor organizer and civil rights activist disagreed, saying of Walker’s success: “They got work to do. The labor movement dropped the ball on this, the Democratic Party dropped the ball on this.”
Katie, a local city worker who opted out of a municipal union to avoid dues, said, “I just think if I’m a great employee and I work my tail off like I do and I have no say of how my contract moves up, I have no say in how I get my raise … I would rather be bargaining for my own money. My boss sees how I work every day.”
“I don’t want to bargain for someone else, I want to bargain for myself,” she later added.
Responding, Williams said, “She’s not forced to join the union, she can work wherever she wants.”
Roger in Southgate disagreed, saying, “Unions are so important, I work for the city … If we didn’t have a union the city could implement anything they wanted on us at anytime … There’s no bargaining right, there’s no way to argue with the city… Favoritism is a big thing, if you don’t have a union, you’re out of luck.”