Walker 2, Unions 0
It seems that the unions had good reason to fear Scott Walker.
In news that is unlikely to receive wide play in the legacy media, it appears that a number of Wisconsin unions failed to achieve recertification as a result of year-end member votes.
The recertification votes were a consequence of Act 10, the epoch-making collective-bargain reforms pushed through by Walker in the face of mass demonstrations, vandalism, death threats, and all but open rebellion by unions in 2011. One of act's provisions was that public-sector unions must be annually recertified by a positive vote of at least half their members. The first such vote took place over the past few weeks, with results released Thursday.
According to preliminary results from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, over 5,500 Wisconsin workers chose to abandon their unions. These include an entire unit of substitute teachers in Milwaukee along with food service, maintenance, and transportation units in Dane Country. Both are onetime centers of anti-Walker sentiment.
Other union failures occurred in towns as widely separated as Menomonee Falls (which saw the collapse of its entire teachers union), Lake Geneva, Fond du Lac, New Berlin, Germantown, Beaver Dam, and Elcho.
The vote marks a serious rebuke to the public-sector unions, the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) above all, particularly in light of the fact that Wisconsin is the birthplace of public-sector unionism. It strongly implies that the hold of unions on workers may be a lot more tenuous than previously thought. It also embodies a personal triumph for Scott Walker, who put his career and reputation on the line to see Act 10 through. Walker can now start thinking seriously about 2016.
Hat tip: Bryan Demko