Taking Aim At Labor Law

With the earth seemingly crumbling beneath them, public employee unions are reeling. This post for Milwaukee Magazine sums up the surprising views of two guys associated with the Democrats and labor–John Matthews and Mordecai Lee.

The story begins:

Even as Governor-elect Scott Walker and his triumphant fellow Republicans are promising to get tough on Wisconsin’s public employees, some liberals are also raising questions as to whether the rules for public unions should change.

Former Democratic lawmaker Mordecai Lee and veteran Madison teachers’ union leader John Matthews are among those who, well before the November election, had been arguing for major changes in Wisconsin labor law – changes that could lead to more strikes and turmoil. They made their remarks in response to questions from Milwaukee Magazine.

Lee, a quotable favorite of Wisconsin media, is a professor of governmental affairs at UW-Milwaukee. He believes public employees shouldn’t have collective bargaining rights because of their ability, he says, to manipulate elected officials through political endorsements and campaign contributions.

“You have legislators, mayors, county executives, supervisors – all of them subverted by labor’s political relationships,” he says.

Matthews is the dean of Madison labor leaders with 43 years in the cause. He is equally provocative, wanting to legalize public-employee strikes and toss out the landmark mediation – arbitration law that brought labor peace to Wisconsin schools and local governments after the stormy illegal strikes of the 1960s and 70s.

Matthews is fed up with arbitrators settling contracts. “I’d rather have our fights on the street,” he says. “We’ll go and block school entrances. We’ll tell people they shouldn’t be taking our jobs.”

To read more, please go here.

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