Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, has been shouting at a rally in Madison, Wisc., in “solidarity” with public employee workers who have been disrupting the state this week. The situation’s not funny, but Trumka’s hyperbole is hilarious. From the AFL-CIO’s Tweet coverage:
According to Gov. Scott Walker’s office, the governor is asking the following of public employees:
Governor Walker’s budget repair bill strikes a fair balance—asking public employees to make a modest 5.8% pension contribution, which is about the national average, and 12.6% health insurance contribution, which is about half the national average.
Legislation proposed by Gov. Walker would limit public employee collective bargaining to salary issues alone, but it does not prevent anyone from joining a union. In any case, these are terms that are subject to review and change, and given the state’s $3.6 billion budget hole, voters last November elected candidates who promised this kind of change.
We pay attention to Trumka as a leader of unions representing private-sector employees, and judging from his involvement in the Wisconsin activities, employers should anticipate protests, disruption and worse if they ever get crosswise with Big Labor. Here’s some of what he’s endorsing:
In Wisconsin, the schoolteachers and other “public employee” beauties are going to the homes of Republican lawmakers, screaming, denouncing, etc. The situation has gotten very bad. We know where you live. Yesterday, I had a talk with Sen. Randy Hopper, recorded here. Republican lawmakers have received threats, and credible ones: threats to their physical well-being. They are not disclosing their movements, whether they are sleeping in their own homes. They are working with law enforcement on how best to protect themselves and their families.
That’s from Jay Nordlinger at National Review, who has been commenting fiercely on the wrongdoing under way in Madison and elsewhere. Teachers calling in sick and then showing up at the Capitol? Well, let’s be clear: They’re liars and bad role models.
That flu is still going around: The teachers of Madison, Wis., have called in “sick” again, shutting down the schools. Of course, there is no flu, and the only sickness is a nasty unionism, an epidemic of lying.
I wonder how these teachers — I’m tempted to put that word in quotation marks: “teachers” — can look themselves in the mirror. How can their students look at them the same way again?
Meanwhile, Democratic state senators abandoned their responsibilities as elected officials and headed for the hills — or rather, an Illinois hotel room — to avoid a vote on legislation. They may be gone for weeks.
Some protesters banged drums in the Capitol, for crying out loud, while others marched with signs comparing Gov. Walker to Hitler (mostly ignored by the media). Meanwhile, President Obama missed an opportunity to urge restraint and respect for the law — perhaps through a beer-cheese summit? — and instead sided with Big Labor in a purely state issue.
This really does appear to be a test case: Will organized labor be able to block the will of the people? Will threats, disruption and contempt for the democratic process win the day?