MADISON, Wis. – The high-stakes fight in Wisconsin over union rights is about more than pay and benefits in the public sector. It could have far-reaching effects on electoral politics in this and other states by helping solidify Republican power for years, experts said Monday.
While Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to wipe out collective bargaining rights for most public employees has galvanized Democrats and union members in opposition, the GOP could benefit long-term by crippling a key source of campaign funding and volunteers for Democrats.
"It would be a huge landscape-altering type of action, and it would tilt the scales significantly in favor of the Republicans," said Mike McCabe, director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which has long tracked union involvement in Wisconsin elections. "This is a national push, and it's being simultaneously pushed in a number of states. I think Wisconsin is moving the fastest and most aggressively so far."
The National Education Association, which represents 3.2 million workers, said teachers' collective bargaining rights are also being targeted by proposals in Ohio, Idaho, Indiana and other states.
And now the Dims admit why they are fighting the measures to balance the budget. It would cost them the future elections.