Depending on which newspaper you read, or which network news you watch, there are many lessons that might have been learned. I think it is simpler than that, and it doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth to explain.
Here we have a state governor who effectively stuck his finger in the eye of Big Labor by legislatively out manoeuvring state employee unions, and canceling some of their awesome political power. Therein lies the genesis of the fight. It was all about power.
When it came to crafting messages for the electorate, the argument was always economic. To the voter it was all about money, and the unions could not argue on that basis. Union employees would not be fired, and their pay would not decrease. But, here is the winner. Union members would be forced to fund part of their pensions and part of their healthcare. Every private employee in Wisconsin was already funding their own pensions, and a good bit of their healthcare if they could afford it.
Logically, why should the taxpayers of Wisconsin fund all of the state employees pensions and healthcare when they couldn’t afford to pay for their own? In retrospect the results were obvious.
The unions did not lose any rights. They lost the power to blackmail the citizens of Wisconsin into paying more and more for state services, higher and higher union pensions, and using non-competitive healthcare providers. The power to take money from a population is not a right. The unions message could never could dominate, and the governor’s common sense message won.
I believe this election will have little effect outside of Wisconsin, but the unions are gearing up for a similar battle in Ohio. A skillful governor can use the same tactics on the unions in Ohio because I don’t believe the unions understand why they were defeated.
Being outspent seven to one is the union excuse, but that number that doesn’t stand up to inspection. The unions paid workers to go door to door, and to protest Governor Walker’s events. A good bit of the governor’s money came from small donors outside of Wisconsin.
This will be the mother of election years.