Milwaukee magazine has a very lengthy examination of “The Aftermath” of Act 10, the Wisconsin law that greatly restricted the power of the state’s public employee unions.
It’s worth reading, no matter your position on the law. I only want to comment on this sentence spoken by Betsy Kippers, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. “We are really moving to a much more member-led, member-focused, community-driven union,” she said.
I realize this statement is used in lieu of “We’ve been totally decimated by Act 10 and I don’t know if we can survive.” Kippers wants to show WEAC can adapt, evolve and win.
But if we take her quote at face value, we have to ask:
1) If WEAC is now more member-led and member-focused, what was it before?
2) Why did it take action by hostile forces for this change to occur?
3) If WEAC is now more member-led and member-focused, how bad can Act 10 really be?
The aftermath of Act 10 also reinforces the theory that in politics it is better to fail spectacularly than succeed quietly. We learned yesterday that a coalition of unions and community groups in Chicago have formed United Working Families, a political advocacy group, and hired Kristen Crowell as its executive director.
Crowell was previously the executive director of We Are Wisconsin, a coalition of labor unions that raised millions of dollars in the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Last time I checked, Walker was still governor of Wisconsin, which is an encouraging sign for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
I’m reminded of a scene in The Magnificent Seven where two villagers want to hire gunmen to protect their crops from bandits. One spots a likely candidate and says, “There’s one – look at the scars on his face!” The other replies, “The man for us is the one who gave him that face.”