Buried in coverage of the news that Kenosha's teachers' union has been decertified was this gem of a quote from a WEAC official: "It seems like the majority of our affiliates in the state aren't seeking re-certification,"said Christina Brey.
Now that Wisconsin's educators have been given the right to choose whether or not to belong to a labor union, the unions are struggling to attract enough members to stay afloat. Proving all along that the union leaders didn't really represent their members, as much as sponge off of them.
Under a provision of Act 10, public employee unions are required to file for annual re-certification by August 30 if they wish to remain a recognized bargaining unit. Thursday Afternoon, Mark Belling broke the news that only 37 percent of the teachers in the Kenosha Unified School District voted to reauthorize the union in a recent vote.
Now, given Brey's comments in the Journal Sentinel, Kenosha is a trend setter, not an outlier.
Kenosha Unified is the third largest school district in the state. It has a well-earned reputation as a district dominated by its unionized teachers. Pro-union school board members helped extend the previously-existing contract to delay the implementation of the Act 10 reforms there.
So, in the end, it wasn't just the mean old Republican lawmakers who had issues with teachers' unions. Teachers themselves were/are dissatisfied with the union's strong arm tactics.
As it turns out, Act 10 was the largest anti-bullying initiative in the nation. Who knew?
Thanks to Act 10, teachers can...and are... exercising their new-found freedoms by declining to support them.
That is what democracy looks like, and it's beautiful.
Oh, and it's not just teachers, either. Earlier press reportsindicate:
In 2010 — the year that Walker was elected governor — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 48 was thriving, having enrolled more than 9,000 workers and reporting income exceeding $7 million.
By the end of 2012, District Council 48 was down to just under 3,500 dues-paying members — a loss of nearly two-thirds of its represented workers.
The local also reported its net worth had plummeted, so it is now more than $650,000 in the red. This was the case even after AFSCME's international headquarters pumped $250,000 into the Milwaukee's union's coffers last year.
Rich Abelson, the longtime head of District 48 who recently left for an AFSCME job in Washington, D.C., did not return calls.
Other public employee unions are faring only marginally better. Most have lost between 30% and 60% of their members in the past two years.
Formerly conscripted union members are saying no now that Governor Walker and Republican Lawmakers gave them the rights and the freedom to do so.