On Friday, February 11, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker unveiled a budget repair bill, which, if passed, would cut most collective bargaining rights for most public employees. It also, in theory, helps repair the Wisconsin budget, which had a deficit of $3.6 billion when Walker took office. In the month since Governor Walker introduced his bill, […]
On Friday, February 11, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker unveiled a budget repair bill, which, if passed, would cut most collective bargaining rights for most public employees. It also, in theory, helps repair the Wisconsin budget, which had a deficit of $3.6 billion when Walker took office.
In the month since Governor Walker introduced his bill, there has been an abundance of political activity, catapulting this topic and debate to the front page. Conservatives, and supporters of Walker’s bill, argue that the main issue on the table is balancing Wisconsin’s budget. Union supporters argue that Republicans and Conservative lawmakers are intentionally breaking the unions to restrict worker’s rights and to marginalize Democratic political support.
This issue matters, and not just to the pundits. It matters to Gen-Y, who will be entering the workforce or changing careers in the next ten years. If you are considering employment in a career in which public union benefits are traditionally extended (education, for example), you should be paying attention to this debate. Heck, if you’re ever going to be considering a career change, you should pay attention. If public unions go, will private unions be next?
We are interested in where you stand on this issue. Due to the intensity of the discussions occurring in news media and other media outlets, we’re hosting a network roulette discussion on the State of Unions. It is the first in a series of events that we are hosting to discuss politics and encourage Crossing the Aisle.
Bet you are wondering where I stand on this issue, and which side I’ll defend in the upcoming discussion on Brazen Careerist next Wednesday night.
Here’s the thing: I am not a big political junkie. I’ve learned that the quality of my life actually improves when I am not inundated with political rhetoric. I’ve found that I form better relationships when I discuss specific social issues rather than political ideologies.
This political discussion, however, is of interest to me. There is not a clear argument in support of either side. Furthermore, I am unsure about where I stand on unions. I do believe in the fundamental right for employees to collectively bargain to ensure they have essential access to healthcare, benefits, and livable wages. This is important.
Yet unions also seem antiquated, a politicized relic created in a different era and in a radically different American economy. I learned recently that teachers in unions cannot be fired. Are we serious? We’re virtually incapable of firing teachers that are underperforming? And this is just one of the things that seems slightly off about our current socio-political circumstances as it relates to unions.
I firmly believe this issue has become a political one and is no longer about modifying or fixing a slightly broken social system that is in dire need of improvement. Seems to me that Walker’s antagonistic rhetoric and threats to immediately fire 1,500 public employees are not great ways to problem-solve. It might be the most forceful way, but we cannot just let our politicians try to shove square pegs into round holes. It doesn’t work.
Where does this leave us? What argument makes the most sense to you? Join us on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 8 PM EST (5 PM PST) at the Brazen Careerist Network Roulette to Cross the Aisle and discuss the State of Unions.