The truth being revealed in the fallout of the turbulent legislative session in Madison Wisconsin earlier this year is instructive for many public union scenarios.
Racked by stories of destruction the liberal media in Madison and indeed across the country painted a picture of financial carnage for teachers and school districts. Now that some time has passed and the law implemented reality is somewhat different and somewhat rosier.
Byron York in a column on the WashingtonExaminer.com website describes the windfall one beleaguered school district will enjoy.
The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.
Far from disastrous, in fact because the bargaining now taken from the unions for contracting for health benefits led to a reexamination of the cost of these plans to the district. Lo and behold, a sweetheart deal for the union was undone and everyone benefited (except maybe be the union itself.)
In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the
teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance
coverage from something called WEA Trust -- a company created by the
Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective bargaining agreement
that we could only negotiate with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you
know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor." This
year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase
Now, the collective bargaining agreement is
gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And
all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. "With these
changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust
said, 'We can match the lowest bid,'" says Republican state Rep. Jim
Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At
least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust, but saving
substantial amounts of money.
The reason this is instructive for school districts in Wisconsin as well as government entities all over the country is because this is the kind of thing going on with many public unions. It's the public unions that fund political campaigns almost exclusively for Democrats. The representatives they help get elected create these spiffy little arrangements. The elected official has a vested interest in the status quo since they derive their war chests from some of this money as it gets folded back. These exclusive contracts cost the tax payer a ton of money. Honestly, it should a crime, but it isn't. This sort of thing wouldn't stand up to public scrutiny, but it never has to because the media just doesn't report it.
American tax payers should be incensed about these things, and Gov. Walker should be thanked for exposing the gratuitous under belly of Democratic politics. He won't be, it just doesn't fit the view of Walker as a cold hearted, anti-worker monster. These sorts of deals and the incredibly generous pensions afforded to public workers are out of whack, and even the retirees will admit this privately - whispering "I don't know how it can go on like this". It can't.
This is the kind of thing Gov.Walker was after. He shoots, he scores!