With membership now voluntary, Wisconsin AFSCME forced into big cutbacks

Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled state legislature freed government employees from involuntary forced union membership, enabling them to choose or not choose to pay dues. The results have shown that roughly two-thirds have not chosen union membership when given the opportunity. And that has meant big cutbacks for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), one of the most left wing and biggest political contributors to Dempcrats among American unions.

Steven Verburg of the left wing Wisconsin State Journal of Madison, attempts to soft sell the bad news for lefties:

Wisconsin’s three AFSCME councils are merging four years after the state rolled back public-sector union rights, prompting two out of three dues-paying members to drop out.

Mike Fox, a Pennsylvania-based international vice president for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, said losses in membership, dues revenue and staff are only part of the reason for the merger.

AFSCME set a goal in 2006 of consolidating state councils in an effort to offer expanded services to members, said Fox, who arrived in Madison this month to serve as interim director of the new statewide AFSCME Council 32.

Right. It was all planned, and it’s all about better service. And what kind of service will that be?

… the labor groups have shifted their focus to political action, fighting for members by attempting to influence officials through elections and advocacy.

In other words, attempt to reverse the reforms, and once again force workers to join the union, no matter their wishes to the contrary.

Keep in mind that AFSCME was founded in Wisconsin, the state that was the birthplace of the Progressive political movement. Thus, the rejection of forced union membership is doubly painful. And it is already painful for the union bosses:

The three Wisconsin AFSCME councils claimed nearly 63,000 members in 2010. That number is likely less than 20,000 now.

Publicly available tax records for the state workers union show that Council 24 revenue dropped from over $5 million in 2010 to $1.5 million in 2013. Like the other councils it reduced staff to cut costs, but from 2011 through 2013 it spent $1.8 million more than it took in. (snip)

Council 48 spent $1.1 million more than it took in from 2011 through 2014, while Council 40 overran revenues by a total of $863,000 in the last two years.

And there is even more bad news coming:

Act 10 took effect immediately on state workers, whose contracts had expired. Many of the local unions represented by Councils 40 and 48 continued to operate and receive dues under longer-term contracts until recently. But they too have had financial problems, U.S. Department of Labor reports show.

There are even more workers to be freed from the union yoke.

No mention is made of political donations by the unions, but in the past AFSCME has been a major source of money and manpower for the Democrats. That racket is now ending for workers in Wisconsin, and one of Scott Walker’s strongest appeals will be to extend these reforms nationwide.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman