Last night the Wisconsin Supreme Court (finally) agreed that the legislature—not the courts—writes the laws. This is a huge victory for Wisconsin taxpayers.
Collective bargaining powers give unions a monopoly on labor services provided to government. The voters’ elected representatives may not hire employees except on the terms the union agrees to. Unfortunately, monopolies have the same effect in government as in the private sector—raising costs and reducing quality.
Until now, government employees in Wisconsin paid just 6 percent of their health care premiums and next to nothing for generous pensions, and the average teacher in Milwaukee makes $101,000 a year. Government union contracts also require layoffs to occur on the basis of seniority. Long-time government employees can rest assured that they will never get laid off.
Monopolies are great for monopolists. But they do tremendous harm to the public.
Union contracts are one of the reasons Wisconsin has the fourth highest tax burden in the country. Preventing performance-based layoffs keeps ineffective teachers in the classroom for decades.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) and the state legislature decided this needed to change. They passed legislation restricting collective bargaining in government and requiring government workers to pay more for their benefits. They also allowed workers to choose whether or not to pay union dues.
Government unions strongly opposed taking away their monopoly. They filed suit and persuaded an activist district court judge to enjoin the law. Now that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has reversed that decision, the law will be enforced. Wisconsinites will finally get a government that serves them instead of the other way around.