Feb. 21, 2011
The question was asked: As you may know, one way the legislature in Wisconsin is seeking to reduce its budget deficit is by passing a bill that would take away some of the collective bargaining rights of most public unions, including the state teachers’ union. Would you favor or oppose such a bill in your state?
61 percent of those polled said they would oppose such a bill.
Crosstabs revealed some interesting differences in the strength of that opposition.
All age groups oppose this bill, but 75 percent of those aged 18 to 35 oppose it.
74 percent of those earning less than $24,000 oppse; 19 support support.
64 percent of those earning $24,000-59,999 oppose; 33 percent support.
53 percent of those earing $60,000 to $89,999 oppose; 41 percent support.
47 percent of those earning $90,000 or more oppose; 50 percent support.
The question here is why does it vary by income?
No surprises based on political ID though, although the support from Republicans, at 54 percent, is not as strong as one might think given the no compromise position taken the Wisconsin governor. Very few Democats–just 18 percent–support taking away collective bargaining rights.
It is also interesting to note that 51 percent of people who identify as Conservatives support taking away collective bargaining rights. Only 27 percent of moderates support and 18 percent of the liberals support ending collective bargaining rights.
Why such relatively weak support among conservatives?
The governor of Wisconsin is championing a law that does not have popular support. When government strays too far from the majority, people will make their voices heard. Gov. Walker and the Republicans might learn a lesson in democracy on this one. Police and fire-fighters also have unions–and unions are sticking together.
Data can be found at: Washington Post
While the focus has been elimination of collective bargaining by public unions, there are other elements of the bill that is troubling from a public administration standpoint: this includes eliminating transparency in contracting out, eliminating competitive bids, and basically given the governor the authority to privatize and give out contracts at his whim.
According to Paul Krugman:
And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state.” … The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”
Read: Krugman article
In his view, this is a set up for cronyism.
In my view, this is not good public administration.
What do you think? And why has this issue not made headlines?