Wisconsin Law Ravages Union Membership

'There's nothing the union can do anymore'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2012 9:02 AM CDT
Wisconsin Law Ravages Union Membership
Protesters gather in Wisconsin's state capitol after Republicans pushed through a controversial bill stripping public unions of most of their bargaining rights, March 10, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.   (Getty Images)

Scott Walker will learn Tuesday whether the anti-union law he championed was good politics, but if its goal was to cripple public unions, it's already an unqualified success. Wisconsin public union membership has plummeted, the Wall Street Journal reports. The state's American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, for example, saw its membership cut in half, from 62,818 to 28,745. Another smaller union saw its membership fall by two-thirds.

In some cases, the drops came because workers lost their jobs, but more chose to leave—which is especially easy now that the state has stopped automatically collecting union dues. Now workers have to specifically opt in, and many aren't willing to do so now that unions have lost their bargaining rights. "It was a hard decision for me to make," says one teacher. "But there's nothing the union can do anymore." (More Wisconsin stories.)

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