Gallup Poll: Only Highest Earners Support Gutting Collective Bargaining | TPMDC

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) does have at least one demographic on his side in the battle to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public unions — the wealthy.

Earlier this week, Gallup released a poll showing that six in ten Americans said they oppose plans to roll back collective bargaining rights for public unions in their own states. As Greg Sargent noted today, only one income bracket within that poll — those making more than $90,000 per year — favors that idea.

In fact, the more money people make, the more likely they are to support eliminating collective bargaining, according to the poll.

Among those who make less than $24,000 per year, 19% support cutting union rights, while 74% are opposed. Americans earning between $24,000 and $59,999 oppose that plan by a 33% to 63% split, while those earning between $60,000 and $89,999 also opposed the plan, 41% to 53%.

Among the top earners, however, 50% said they would support a plan to cut collective bargaining rights to reduce the deficit, while 47% said they oppose such a plan.

There have only been a smattering of polls on the question so far, but surveys so far have largely shown Americans supporting unions over Walker.

Sargent, while also cautioning against extrapolating too much from the limited poll sample, writes:

I think it’s fair to speculate that the focus of Walker’s proposal on rolling back long-accepted bargaining rights, and the massive amount of media attention to it, may have reframed the debate and refocused the public’s attention in a way that is undermining the right’s previous advantage on questions involving public employees.

The Gallup poll was conducted February 21 among 1,000 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 4.0%.

via Gallup Poll: Only Highest Earners Support Gutting Collective Bargaining | TPMDC.

Even the chop-shop Dick Morris instapoll has Gov. Walker (R-WI) losing the public opinion battle in his state. Morris makes lots of effort to lead with the best stuff for Walker. But on the core issue of collective bargaining Wisconsites disagree with Walker 54% to 41%. When even bamboozlement polls show you’re losing, you know it’s bad.

Basically where we are now is that independent and union-sponsored polls show Walker losing badly. Polls by conservative activist organizations show him either in a tie or losing not quite as badly as the real polls show.

via Excellent News for Gov. Walker! | Talking Points Memo.

The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions – Rick Ungar – The Policy Page – Forbes

“Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans. Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, creates the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not. Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.”

Via tax.com

How can this be possible?

Simple. The pension plan is the direct result of deferred compensation- money that employees would have been paid as cash salary but choose, instead, to have placed in the state operated pension fund where the money can be professionally invested at a lower cost of management for the future.

Many of us are familiar with the concept of deferred compensation from reading about the latest multi-million dollar deal with some professional athlete. As a means of allowing their ball club to have enough money to operate, lowering their own tax obligations and for other benefits, ball players often defer payment of  money they are to be paid to a later date. In the meantime, that money is invested for the ball player’s benefit and then paid over at the time and in the manner agreed to in the contract between the parties.

Does anyone believe that, in the case of the ball player, the deferred money belongs to the club owner rather than the ball player? Is the owner simply providing this money to the athlete as some sort of gift? Of course not. The money is salary to be paid to the ball player, deferred for receipt at a later date.

A review of the state’s collective bargaining agreements – many of which are available for review at the Wisconsin Office of State Employees web site – bears out that it is no different for state employees. The numbers are just lower.

Check out section 13 of the Wisconsin Association of State Prosecutors collective bargaining agreement – “For the duration of this Agreement, the Employer will contribute on behalf of the employee five percent 5% of the employee’s earnings paid by the State. ”

Johnston goes on to point out that Governor Walker has gotten away with this false narrative because journalists have failed to look closely at how employee pension plans work and have simply accepted the Governor’s word for it. Because of this, those who wish the unions ill have been able to seize on that narrative to score points by running ads and spreading the word that state employees pay next to nothing for their pensions and that it is all a big taxpayer give-away.

Read the full article here: The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions – Rick Ungar – The Policy Page – Forbes.

Wisconsin Chicanery: A Short History Of Public Employees’ Right To Negotiate | The New Republic

“…What proponents of the rollback in public-sector bargaining rights are unable to explain is how taking rights away from some American workers will improve the lot of others. How will denying collective bargaining rights for teachers, social workers, or parks employees in Wisconsin create good jobs in the private sector? How will taking away the rights of prison guards to bargain collectively in Ohio keep manufacturing jobs in the United States? How will reducing the pensions promised to government workers (often in return for their agreement to forego salary increases) create retirement security for private sector workers whose paltry 401Ks are unable to support them? How will holding down public-sector pay stop the erosion of the American middle-class—of which public-sector workers constitute a significant proportion?

Of course, there are no serious answers to such questions, because what Republicans are now seeking in Wisconsin and elsewhere has nothing to do with helping put America back to work.   It is really all about politics. As the protests that have erupted in Madison over the past few days remind us, even in its weakened state, the labor movement can still mobilize grassroots opposition to the anti-government agenda of Tea Party Republicans like Walker. It is precisely this capability that Walker and others are determined to undermine by taking away workers’ rights to union representation.

No matter what conservative governors say, the extension of collective-bargaining to public-sector workers is not what entangled us in the current economic crisis. Indeed, what is going on in Wisconsin and other states ought to be seen for what it is: a bald attempt to exploit the bad economy, undo 50 years of legal precedent on labor issues, and win a political victory, no matter the cost.”

Full article here: Wisconsin Chicanery: A Short History Of Public Employees’ Right To Negotiate | The New Republic.

ThinkProgress » Koch Industries Front Group Americans For Prosperity Launches Ad To Support Walker’s Union Busting

As ThinkProgress has reported, the global conglomerate Koch Industries not only helped elect Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), but is the leading force orchestrating his union-busting campaign. Koch gave Walker over $43,000 in direct donations and its allies aired millions of dollars worth of attack ads against his Democratic opponent. Then, Koch political operatives pressured Walker to crush labor unions as one of his first priorities. Tim Phillips, a former lobbying partner to Jack Abramoff and current president of Americans for Prosperity, a front financed by David Koch, told the New York Times that Koch operatives “had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.” A Koch-financed front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has prepped Wisconsin GOP lawmakers with anti-labor legislative ideas.

Today, the Koch group Americans for Prosperity announced that it will air an ad smearing the protesters in Madison and calling on the state to support Walker’s power grab. As we noted on Friday, Koch has demanded that collective bargaining rights be curtailed for both private and public sector unions, a step beyond Walker’s already extreme move. The ad disparages the pro-labor protesters for allegedly bringing in “out of state political protesters.” In fact, the small pro-Walker demonstration orchestrated by Koch operatives last Saturday included a number of out of state conservative activists, including Herman Cain (from Georgia), Jim Hoft (from Missouri), and Phillips (from Virginia)

Read the full article here: ThinkProgress » Koch Industries Front Group Americans For Prosperity Launches Ad To Support Walker’s Union Busting.

Fox Reverses Results Of Gallup Poll To Claim Americans Oppose Union Collective Bargaining Rights

Yesterday, USA Today and Gallup released a new poll that found that a whopping 61 percent of Americans oppose efforts like those of Gov. Scott Walker R-WI to strip public sector unions of collective bargaining rights. The poll also found that only a third of Americans support such a policy, indicating that Walker is pandering to the far-right of the American electorate and is hardly representative of mainstream political thought in this country.

This morning, during a debate about the situation in Wisconsin and collective bargaining rights in general, the Fox News show Fox & Friends referenced the USA Today/Gallup poll. With incredible brazenness, the Fox hosts actually reversed the results of the poll in order to claim that two-thirds of Americans supported Wisconsin-style laws rather than opposed them.

Full article here: Net-Facts.org.

Wisconsin Assembly approves plan to curb unions – chicagotribune.com

The Wisconsin state Assembly Friday passed a Republican plan to curb public sector union power over the fierce objections of protesters, setting the stage for a showdown with Senate Democrats who fled the state last week to prevent a vote in that chamber.

After two all-night debating sessions and an eleventh hour Democratic bid for a compromise, the Republican-dominated Assembly abruptly ended all debate early Friday morning and approved the bill by a vote of 51 to 17.

The outcome of the vote, which was taken so fast many Democratic lawmakers who were outside the chamber when it was called were unable to participate, was greeted by chants of ”its not over yet” and “we are here to stay” from more than a thousand protesters who stayed to watch in the capitol rotunda overnight.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators, from inside and outside the state, have converged on Madison in recent days to fight the proposal, which they fear could encourage similar measures in other states and cripple the American labor movement.

Passage of the measure was never in doubt. So as the news sunk in among the demonstrators, the initial confusion quickly gave way and they were singing a spirited version of “We Shall Overcome” within minutes.

Assembly Republicans took a private elevator to an exit sealed off from protesters and did not stop for reporters.

After the vote, the Democrats assembled on a balcony overlooking the rotunda that has been home to tens of thousands of demonstrators, waving at the protesters and telling them the measures prospects in the state Senate are more uncertain.

The protesters shouted “thank you, thank you” and pumped their fists at the lawmakers, who returned the gestures.

Representative Cory Mason, a Racine Democrat, told the demonstrators he believed the abrupt vote, which occurred while several Democrats waited to be heard on the measure, was “a violation of the rules, possibly a violation of the law.”

“What happened tonight, for those of you who dont know, was unprecedented,” Mason said. “Theyre so desperate to take away workers they will do anything to ram this through.” He predicted the move would “backfire” on the GOP.

Representative Barbara Toles, a Milwaukee Democrat, urged protesters to remain peaceful and promised “the fight isnt over yet.”

Read the full article here: Wisconsin Assembly approves plan to curb unions – chicagotribune.com.

Poll: Americans favor union bargaining rights – USATODAY.com

Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators in Wisconsin have proposed cutting union rights for most state government workers and making them pay more for benefits. Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa and other states with Republican governors are considering similar laws.

Thousands gathered in Madison for an eighth day to protest Walker’s plan. Rallies were also held in Columbus, Ohio, Des Moines and Montpelier, Vt.

Arkansas union members rally in support of Wisconsin union members at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock on Tuesday.

Arkansas union members rally in support of Wisconsin union members at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock on Tuesday.

via Poll: Americans favor union bargaining rights – USATODAY.com.

WI Firefighter: ‘We Stand Together, We Fall Together’

Daily Kos: Walker admits to Koch that union-busting is ultimate goal

Republican Governor Scott Walker has dismissed the candid conversation he had with a blogger posing as billionaire David Koch, saying it proved nothing except he “says the same thing in private as he does in public.”

Well, sure. Except for a public admission that Walkers efforts to strip collective bargaining rights has nothing to do cutting costs and everything to do with destroying unions, because during his conversation with the faux-Koch, Walker laid it all out … in fact, he grandiosely likened his efforts to the fall of the Berlin Wall:

“I told my cabinet … about what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. Wed already kind of built plans up but it was kind of the last hurrah before we dropped the bomb. And i stood up and pulled out a picture of Ronald Reagan and said this may seem a little melodramatic, but 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan … had one of the most defining moments of his political career, not just his presidency, when he fired the air traffic controllers. And I said, to me that moment was more important than for just labor relations or even the federal budget, that was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and the fall of communism … in Wisconsins history, this is our moment, this is our time to change the course of history … for those who thought I was being melodramatic you now know it was purely putting it in the right context.”

Listeners learned quite a bit from that 20-minute conversation: that layoff threats are just one of the “four or five angles” Walker is pursuing, that hes working on a ruse to get the quorum he needs, that planting agitators among the protesters was considered, and of course, that Walker is tired of “outsiders” sticking their nose in Wisconsins business — said while detailing his entire governing strategy to his billionaire-backer from Kansas.

But during the entire course of the conversation, concern about the budget never came up. Why? Because its not about the budget. As Walker made clear during his paean to Ronald Reagan, its about union-busting. Or as Walker described it, “the cause”:

“Thanks for all the support and helping us move the cause forward and we appreciate it and were doing it, the right and just thing for the right reasons and its all about getting our freedoms back.”

Freedom. Just another word for nothing left to lose … unless youre a state employee in Wisconsin.

via Daily Kos: Walker admits to Koch that union-busting is ultimate goal.

War on unions