Tired of being patsies
In the battle to take government back from the unions which control it, the recall election of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin last week was the war’s Gettysburg, the high water mark of the government union movement.
Even the newspapers in Madison, the Wisconsin capital, pointed out the abuses unions had fostered on taxpayers.
Writing for one of the city’s newspapers, editorial writer Bruce Murphy said, “in the biter aftermath of the failed recall, there will be many blaming a vast right wing conspiracy, out of state billionaires like the Koch brothers and Governor Scott Walkers polarizing take no nonsense style.
“But Democrats and unions might want to take a look in the mirror,” he wrote. “For it was their willingness to abuse government benefits, with sweetheart deals, benefiting only a minority of workers, that directly led to defeat.”
Murphy went on to point out how some local government officials received up to a million dollars in a lump sum retirement benefit in addition to their regular retirement benefits, while many others retired with lump sums of $300,000 or more.
How, during the roaring 90′s, when money was pouring into state coffers, union leaders convinced a bipartisan legislature to sweeten an already generous pension plan by billions of dollars.
Double dipping by school officials, overly generous pensions for some state workers and transit employees were also quietly approved.
Helping out the unions was the fact that these overly generous retirement benefits also went to the elected officials who were part of the retirement system themselves.
This came to an end, Murphy said, only when Governor Walker drew a line in the sand. Many thought he had over-stepped, when he not only cut pension benefits, but killed collective bargaining by the unions.
But, after the votes were counted, Murphy said, the voters had spoken. They were no longer willing to be patsies.
Here, in Washington, state government workers have had collective bargaining since 2005, when Governor Gary Locke gave away the state treasury to his supporters.
And, while the abuses of the system aren’t as great as in Wisconsin, they’re bordering on the same plain.
Hopefully, the high water mark has been reached. Lets hope the time is over, when unions contribute great sums of money to elect their bosses, who then return the favor by granting the government unions sweetheart contracts.
Someone also has to remove elected officials from the state retirement system and stop the abuses fostered on the state taxpayers.
Maybe we’re tired of being patsies too.