It looks like the Middle East freedom contagion is flowing west to the Land of the Free. The state capitol of Wisconsin appears under siege by striking teachers. The teachers are upset with a bill that proposes that teachers contribute a greater amount of their pay to their pensions. The bill also proposes to strip the teachers’ union of their collective bargaining rights.
Collective bargaining rights is a method of negotiation where employees use authorized union representatives to assist them.
I can’t comment on the bill itself because I haven’t read it. Unions, overall, do more harm than good. The bottlenecks they create only drive up the costs of hiring and retaining employees.
The pension plans that these people are griping about are an example of onerous expenses that municipalities and states are being crushed by. Depending on the jurisdiction, some state constitution or state law may express that there is a contractual obligation to pay former employees for being nonproductive during the twenty or thirty years they live past their last day at work.
Personally, I‘d rather local and state governments stop offering the pensions and encourage future employees to save on their own while buying out the pensions of current recipients. It will be expensive on the front end, but at least future taxpayers will have the option of putting more tax revenues toward other purchases like infrastructure and public safety.
Unfortunately, given combined state budget deficits of some $80 billion, the contagion will continue to spread.