Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Why New York State Is Not Wisconsin.
The UFT leadership has been using scare tactics that if Janus is upheld by the Supreme Court, our collective bargaining rights and pensions could be in danger. They point to what happened in Wisconsin in 2011 as the example.
Wisconsin passed Act 10 that eliminated all union negotiating rights, except for raises limited to the inflation rate. That meant that all other issues like health benefits, job protections, and work rules were non-negotiable, The result is that union power was significantly eroded and despite still being able to negotiate limited raises, the raises have been smaller and even making teaching jobs non-competitive and resulted in high teacher turnover. You can read what ACT 10 did to educators Here.
Wisconsin's Act 10 eliminated collective bargaining and saw a significant reduction in union membership. One study showed a reduction of 40%! Since Act 10 allows members to "opt out" of paying union dues and many members did so.
By contrast, New York State is a union friendly state and collective bargaining will still be in force, regardless of the Janus decision. While theoretically if the Republicans somehow take over all three branches in New York State, and try to change the rules is always possible. The likelihood of this happening is slim since the State Assembly has always been dominated by the Democrats. Moreover, any changes in the State Constitution will have to wait another twenty years for the next Constitutional Convention. Finally, any legislative changes would also be subject to court challenges that could ne tied up in the courts for years.
The bottom line is that what happened in Wisconsin will not happen in New York State, regardless of the Janus decision.