How Collective Bargaining Costs Government

It may be difficult for some to believe this, but Republicans aren’t focused on public unions just to be big, bad meanies. There are legitimate reasons to limit public unions, and Governor Scott Walker has now released specific examples:

Example #1 WEA Trust

Currently many school districts participate in WEA trust because WEAC collectively bargains to get as many school districts across the state to participate in this union run health insurance plan as possible. Union leadership benefits from members participating in this plan. If school districts enrolled in the state employee health plan, it would save school districts up to $68 million per year. Beyond that if school districts had the flexibility to look for health insurance coverage outside of WEA trust or the state plan, additional savings would likely be realized.

An additional $68 million or more a year for education? But it’s the GOP that’s anti-education, or so I’ve heard. Here’s another example:

Example #3 Unrealistic Overtime Provisions

On a state level, the Department of Corrections allows correctional workers who call in sick to collect overtime if they work a shift on the exact same day. The specific provision that allows this to happen was collectively bargained for in their contract. Cost to taxpayers $4.8 million.

What city couldn’t use some of that extra $4.8 million to make ends meet? Especially when the state governments have had to trim the aid they send to cities and counties. Perhaps those firefighters and police officers who have lost their jobs due to decreased state funding don’t mind the wasted millions their own union helped create. Especially in light of Example #2:

Example #2 Viagra for Teachers

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) tried to use a policy established by collective bargaining to obtain health insurance coverage that specifically paid for Viagra. Cost to taxpayers is $786,000 a year. (Reference)

I hope some of my more progressive friends will excuse me at this point for not joining the Teachers for Viagra movement. If they want better pay and more money for their students, perhaps they should reexamine where the wasteful spending originates and consider ways they could better spend the money they already do have.

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