by IDI AMIN DADA and MOBUTU SESE SEKO
It's extraordinarily upsetting that so many Americans broadly oppose unions without giving much thought to the reasoning behind their opposition. In the case of Wisconsin, critics of union workers are especially difficult to understand. Newly elected Governor Scott Walker wants to use a budget crisis to not only crush the take-home pay of unionized state workers, but to strip public employees of the right to collective bargaining.
His supporters assert that Wisconsin public-school teachers net much more in salary and benefits than private-sector teachers. And despite the fact that this is not true, and that Walker's initiatives to give out generous corporate welfare
One could argue that in the long-run, Walker's stance saves the state money, as public unions periodically negotiate contracts to obtain higher wages and more benefits at the state's expense. Two polls regarding this issue are available at the moment. The first comes from the firm Clarus Group and shows 64% of Americans think that government employees should not be represented by labor unions. However, the firm admits that its phrasing may have swayed responses with language seemingly mirroring that of deficit hawks.
Another poll, this one conducted on behalf of the right-leaning group "We Ask America" shows that those in Wisconsin actually oppose the bill by 51%, with 43% supporting it. However, this same poll also shows that 55% of Wisconsinites want Democratic senators — who fled to Illinois to avoid giving the bill a quorum — to return to the state to vote on the bill anyway; only 36% of those polled disapprove of the idea. Such an action would make the bill pass, as Republicans seem unwilling to compromise, already have the votes they need, and Walker's disdain for those opposing him remains unwavering.
His attitude might make sense if not for conservatism's twin enemies of history and math. Wages for American middle and lower class workers have been all but stagnant since the 1970s, compared to the actual productivity and output of their work; meanwhile, profits for corporations and bonuses for CEOs annually reach record highs. At a time when many states desperately need funds — and corporations reaping record profits pay little to nothing in taxes — the acceptable course of action, according to a vast majority of Republicans, most Independents and some Democrats, is to point to the household working paycheck-to-paycheck and say, "Their desire to negotiate for fewer sleepless nights might hurt the state's finances. It's belt-tightening time."