|Look for the Union Label|
People certainly have a way of changing loyalties when unions don't have government factotums collecting their dues for them. Some Oregon republicans have tried to make a similar move in the past. They should try it again.
The Wall Street Journal broke the story last night in advance of the Walker recall election next week.
A provision of the Walker law that eliminated automatic dues collection hurt union membership. When a public-sector contract expires the state now stops collecting dues from the affected workers' paychecks unless they say they want the dues taken out, said Peter Davis, general counsel of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.And:
In many cases, Afscme dropped members from its rolls after it failed to get them to affirm they want dues collected, said a labor official familiar with Afscme's figures. In a smaller number of cases, membership losses were due to worker layoffs.
Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—the state's second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers—fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011, according to a person who has viewed Afscme's figures. A spokesman for Afscme declined to comment.And:
Much of that decline came from Afscme Council 24, which represents Wisconsin state workers, whose membership plunged by two-thirds to 7,100 from 22,300 last year.
In the nearly 15 months since Mr. Walker signed the law, 6,000 of the AFT's Wisconsin 17,000 members quit, the union said. It blamed the drop on the law....The Wisconsin affiliate of the National Education Association declined to comment on any membership change.What did the law do?
- Unions no longer can represent members in negotiations for better working conditions.
- Government ceased automatically deducting union dues unless employee OK'd it.
- Reduced the issues over which unions can bargain such as health care costs and pay raises beyond the increase in inflation.
- Public sector unions must now pay a small fee to help defray cost of health care whereas before they paid nothing.
- Police and firefighters are exempted from new rules.