Balancing the Budget, or Denial of Rights?
It seems like every time you turn on the news there’s no avoiding the latest update on the Wisconsin union debates. However, the more I read, the more I understood where the government struggles with an ever growing deficit, as well as where the employees struggle with their rights and protections being handed over to state control. This video I found gives great detail about the state of Wisconsin and how this whole union crisis came to be. Give it a watch and share what you think; is this about logically balancing a budget, or is it a harsh stripping of union laborers rights?
When it comes to the state of Wisconsin, I believe it makes perfect sense that the idea of breaking up the unions started here. Wisconsin is a state that is $137 million in debt and is projected to reach a deficit of $3.6 billion over the next three years; clearly this is a state that needs to strongly reconsider their budget decisions. However, then the question arises, why would they turn to the unions to save money?
Here’s an example as to why; the video states that public employees in Wisconsin contribute less than 1% to their pensions, leaving tax payers and the state to compensate the other 99%. Do you think its fair that union members don’t have to save for their own retirement like so many others do? And why is it so terrible that Governor Walker is proposing that they only contribute 5.8% to save money, when this is a percentage that is still starkly below the national average?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about helping to protect the rights of workers, but with a deficit like this these cuts seem quite logical. If the unions would be more accepting to the idea that they need to take cuts like all the rest of us, I believe the threat to break them up would be unnecessary. I can see where the concept of collective bargaining gives a voice to laborers, but I can also see where it prevents the passage of decisions that could help save money. Perhaps if it was abolished, the state government could make changes that would not only decrease debt, but also satisfy union members. If you don’t give the state the chance to try their ideas, how will you know?
While I knew that the unions worked to protect employees, I had no idea how much money and political power these unions held. If you’re someone like me, I strongly encourage you to read up on the subject, because you may be as blown away as I was.