Remember all those dire predictions about the damage Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s public employee union contract reforms would do? Remember the angst of Wisconsin’ teachers and other “vital workers” over what they saw as the end of the line for their cushy jobs and control over their state? Well, they were right to be worried. They are getting crushed and put out of existence.
Now that two years have passed and the dust has settled, it’s safe to say that the union protesters who filled the legislative offices and camped out in Wisconsin’s state capital were actually optimistic. The results of Walker’s changes have been more devastating than either side could have feared or hoped for, depending on their point of view.
Since Act 10 passed two years ago, public employees’ unions have been in a steep decline they may not be able to come out of. Like a plane whose engines have failed will crash and burn, these unions are on their way to crashing and burning.
Savor this roll call of collapse in just two years.
Among Wisconsin’s fastest declining unions is AFSCME Council 24, which has seen a jaw dropping 88% (5,900 to 690) reduction in its dues paying members.
Another union, the WSEU, has shrunk from 22,000 members before Act 10, to less than 10,000 as of last December.
Wisconsin’s AFSCME Council 40 has lost 35% of its membership (31,730 in 2011 to 20,488 today).
Council 48 situated in Milwaukee County had 9,043 members two years ago. Today, it has 3,498 dues paying members.
Wisconsin’s teachers’ unions have lost 29% of their members, and there is no reason to believe the bleeding will stop anytime soon.
More than this, the whole state is experiencing a collapse of union membership, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistic release that set union membership at 11.2%, down from 13.3% just two years ago.
One poor union thug summed up Wisconsin’s sea change in attitudes toward unions this way: “If the public doesn’t care about the messenger, it’s not going to care about the message. If constituents don’t care, politicians aren’t going to care.”
There now, wasn’t that a fun read?!