Election Lesson: Bring Wisconsin to Pennsylvania

The Wall Street Journal today writes about “Big Labor’s Losses” in Tuesday’s election. This may seem hard for many Pennsylvanians to fathom, given the role government union bosses and money played in reelecting President Obama. However, the Journal notes the defeat of Proposition 4 in Michigan—an effort to entrench collective bargaining power in the state constitution.

Moreover, the Journal highlights the legislative victories in Wisconsin, solidifying voter support for the Scott Walker-led reforms enacted there last year.

Why the Wisconsin results? The collective bargaining reforms enacted last year saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $2 billion, according to an analysis released by the MacIver Institute for Public Policy.

Wisconsin’s Act 10 required public employees to contribute more to their pensions and health care premiums, and limited collective bargaining to wages for most employees. These reforms provided flexibility to municipalities and school districts to make changes to costly benefits and avoid raising property taxes or cutting vital services.

Act 10 also allowed employees to opt out of paying union dues and eliminated automatic payroll deductions for dues. No person should be forced to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment, and the government should not be in the business of collecting dues for unions. (Check out this grateful teacher’s letter to the editor, in which she notes how her money was taken for 15 years “to support policies and politicians I did not believe in.”)

Pennsylvania lawmakers should follow Wisconsin’s lead, giving government workers the choice to support (or not support) a union and ending taxpayer-funded collection of union dues. Such reforms could save residents billions here in the Keystone state, while ending the “squeeze” government union bosses have over taxpayers.