At the outset of the public-union standoff, educators had made dire predictions that Walker’s reforms would force schools to fire teachers. In February, to take one example, Madison School District Superintendent Dan Nerad predicted that 289 teachers in his district would be laid off. Walker insisted that his reforms were actually a job-retention program: by accepting small concessions in health and pension benefits, he argued, school districts would be able to spare hundreds of teachers’ jobs. The argument proved sound. So far, Nerad’s district has laid off no teachers at all, a pattern that has held in many of the state’s other large school districts. No teachers were laid off in Beloit and LaCrosse; Eau Claire saw a reduction of two teachers, while Racine and Wausau each laid off one. The Wauwatosa School District, which faced a $6.5 million shortfall, anticipated slashing 100 jobs—yet the new pension and health contributions saved them all.Despite the fact that potentially thousands of teachers have kept their jobs, the unions are still working hard to recall this wildly successful governor. Why? Simple:
The benefits to school districts aren’t just fiscal, moreover. Thanks to Walker’s collective-bargaining reforms, the Brown Deer school district in suburban Milwaukee can implement a performance-pay system for its best teachers—a step that could improve educational outcomes.
What had the unions most up in arms, however, was a reform that ended mandatory dues for members. Wisconsin unions were collecting up to $1,100 per member per year in these obligatory payments, which they then spent on getting sympathetic politicians elected. In the last two elections, for instance, the state’s largest teachers’ union spent $3.6 million supporting candidates. Walker’s reform meant that government workers could now opt out of paying these dues—savings that could help offset those workers’ newly increased health and pension payments, the governor said. The unions knew that, given the option, many of their members would indeed choose not to write a check—and that this would strangle union election spending.There's lots more great info on the Wisconsin miracle in the rest of the article. Read it all here.
I'm hopeful that the citizens of Wisconsin will not be swayed by the union thugs who would return the Wisconsin to a state in constant financial peril and will reject the recall effort. To date no candidate has come forward to challenge Walker, and that probably says more than anything about the union's hopes for kicking him out. By the time the actual election comes up this summer the state's numbers will probably be even better, making this whole recall an expensive exercise in stupidity. I guess you could call that the real tribute to unions.