Skip to comments.Unions spent $6.3 million to Lobby Against Walker Bill (WI)
Posted on 09/17/2011 9:43:27 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
Madison - The top four spenders on lobbying the Legislature during the first half of 2011 were labor unions fighting against Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to curb collective bargaining, a report released Thursday showed.
The four unions spent $6.3 million in the first six months of the year, the Government Accountability Board reported. Walker introduced his plan in February and the Republican-controlled Legislature passed it in March.
The unions helped organize rallies at the Capitol in protest over the bill that grew as large as 100,000 people. The debate, which captured the nation's attention, also spurred Democratic senators to leave for Illinois for three weeks in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the bill's passage.
The law curtailed collective bargaining for most public workers, required them to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits, and made it illegal to automatically deduct union dues from paychecks. The state Supreme Court has ruled it was legally passed, but other legal challenges supported by the unions are pending.
The furor over the law led to recall elections this summer targeting six Republican and three Democratic state senators. Unions were heavily involved in those races, which resulted in two Republicans being ousted.
Mary Bell, the president of the statewide teachers union, said the protests her organization helped organize brought together a "historic show of support for what Wisconsin values."
"We engaged with great intensity given the extremely harsh impact the governor's actions have on our students, public schools, our members, and Wisconsin's quality of life," Bell, leader of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, said in a prepared statement. "Our focus was, and continues to be, on grass-roots advocacy."
WEAC, which represents 98,000 teachers and school employees, was the second-highest spender over the six-month period at just over $2 million. The biggest spender was the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO at $2.3 million. Its president, Phil Neuenfeldt, defended action taken by the union against what he called "an all-out assault" on Wisconsin residents.
"At every step, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO spoke out on behalf of their 250,000 members, the voiceless, the poor, the disenfranchised and the entire taxpaying middle-class public in order to provide a check on corporate influence, greed and power," he said.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 11, representing about 66,000 state employees, and AFSCME International, the national union, were next at $1.2 million and nearly $700,000, respectively.
A spokesman for Walker, who has defended passage of the law despite the angry protests, had no comment.
The fifth-highest spender was AT&T Wisconsin at nearly $440,000. It was heavily involved in lobbying in support of a bill deregulating the telephone industry. That measure, which passed with bipartisan support, was the third most heavily lobbied bill through June other than the Senate and Assembly versions of Walker's collective bargaining proposal, according to the GAB report.
In total, $23.9 million was spent on lobbying the Legislature in the first six months of the year. That is a 15% increase over what was spent during the same time period in the previous session that began in 2009.
"It seems like a terrible waste of time and energy and money in the grand scheme of things, but that is what our democracy has come to," said Mike McCabe, director of the government watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "We've got a tollbooth democracy at best, and that's putting it politely. There are countless better uses for $24 million."
There were 725 registered lobbyists twisting arms in the halls of the Capitol the first since months of the year, according to the report. They outnumbered actual lawmakers by more than 5 to 1.
The amount of time spent lobbying the collective bargaining bill - 22,311 hours - greatly eclipsed the deregulation bill at just 1,735 hours. The number of hours spent lobbying on the union bill averaged 169 hours for each member of the Legislature.
Three of the top five groups in terms of hours spent lobbying also were unions, led by AFSCME International at 10,631 hours.
Epic fail on their part. And as the money starts drying up from not having as many forced dues confiscated and not being able to pull the health insurance scam, they’ll only get weaker. The unions are probably behind this FBI witch hunt against former Walker aides.
Union member: one who voluntarily elects and pays a ‘leader’ six or seven figures to eat steak, play golf, and write huge checks to Democrats while the union member barely scrapes by to pay a mortgage, car payment and a low-budget vacation.
Trumka could have bought a lot of sausages with that money.
They’re failing all over. The recall list in Michigan was nearly 30 names long and they only managed to get one name on the ballot for recall. In that case it looks like the company collecting signatures has ripped off the unionistas.
The reign of terror is over. We’re even going to pass a right to teach bill in Michigan.
Since they lost, the auto-pilot dues collection, money laundering scam won't be in place to easily replenish those funds.
The union thugs will be shaking down kids for their lunch money.
“The union thugs will be shaking down kids for their lunch money.”
Most likely true!
Wisconsin may have been the “Gettysburg” of union thuggery. If this can be replicated on a national level, the unions will be so broke they can’t recover. Let’s hope so, so the country doesn’t get so broke it can’t recover. Unions are blocking job growth and get us into more and more debt.
Its a right to work law for teachers.
Former MEA Local Prez: Union May Lose 40% of Members Including Him if Teacher Right to Work Passes
Teacher Right-to-Work Looking Like a Done Deal
Right-to-work for public employees first. Then complete right-to-work in Michigan. That would seriously piss off the UAW.
We’ve been pretty effective since the election. Pitting private against public sector unions is a wise move. Way back in February we freed some 20,000 forced union members from their union. Now they’re suing for the return of the dues they paid.
We can worry about the private sector unions in the future. Right now its effective to remind them that public sector unions cost private sector union jobs.
And 20 some million on the recalls wasn’t it?
Add it all up they’re probably out 50 million. For nothing.
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha... Ha!
The joke’s on them, for sure. Wisconsinites have had enough. :)
Too bad it wasn’t 16.6 million, but it’s a nice start to draining their pockets. Notice we are hearing nothing but how much they bet and lost on the Turner win in NY9 :-)
I feel a ripple spreading across the land. All of these large & small victories are going to add up to a huge bloodbath come 2012.
I want ALL RINOs and LibTards GONE; and I am working locally toward that end! :)