Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law Friday eliminating most collective-bargaining rights for the state’s public employees, while boosting how much they will pay for their benefits and making it tougher for public unions to retain members.
[..] Under the law, unions said it will be more difficult for them to retain members. The new law requires that 51% of all eligible workers—including those who don’t vote—approve a union, which means unions can win a majority of votes cast, but still be barred from representing workers. Previously unions had to win a majority of votes cast. The state also will stop collecting dues automatically as soon as contracts end. Peter Davis, general counsel of the Wisconsin Employee Relations Committee, the state agency that oversees union elections, said he didn’t believe any other state requires unions to win a majority of eligible voters.
[…] Many union members object to the tougher election requirements. “Annual certification is just a complete tactic to bust the unions,” said Chris Fons, a 45-year-old high school teacher from Milwaukee. Mr. Walker defended the changes in union elections. “It really puts the onus on saying if the union wants to provide value they have to prove it,” he said. “If people believe it then they’ll come out and vote.”
Under the previous system state workers were forced to pay money to unions that they did not approve of. In fact, in the 28 non-right-to-work states, unions had negotiated provisions that forced government employees to pay union dues — or get fired.