Esme’s Blog: A Gift For Unions?

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

For years union membership has been on the decline. In the mid 1940s 36 percent of American workers were union members. In 2007 the figure was just over 12 percent.

Now comes the battle in Wisconsin. With Gov. Scott Walker signing a bill that strips state workers of most of their collective bargaining rights union power appears to have hit a low point. But tucked into the analysis of this nationally watched news story is speculation that the chaos in Wisconsin may be a gift for both unions and democrats.

Consider this passage from a New York Times article today:

“From a policy perspective, this is terrible,” said Mike Tate, the leader of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

“But from a political perspective, he could not have handed us a bigger gift,” Mr. Tate said of the governor.

In the last 24 hours, he added, the state party had received $360,000 in contributions and volunteers have streamed into offices where signatures were being collected for recall bids.

Wisconsin voters sent a clear message in the last election that they wanted change. With a Republican Governor and a Republican legislature voters are getting that change. The question whether this type of change is what the voters really want will ultimately be settled 20 months from now when voters go the polls in November 2012.

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