The first time, it was the “Scott heard around the world.” Back then, it might have been a fluke–like a snowstorm in July. This time, however, it is seemingly incomprehensible to think that Massachusetts’ liberal, Democrat-controlled legislature just voted overwhelmingly to strip unions of most of their right to bargain collectively over health care, striking their union benefactors in a Wisconsin-style smack down.
The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states. But unlike those efforts, the push in Massachusetts was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor to oppose any reduction in workers’ rights.
Unions fought hard to stop the bill, launching a radio ad that assailed the plan and warning legislators that if they voted for the measure, they could lose their union backing in the next election. After the vote, labor leaders accused House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and other Democrats of turning their backs on public employees.
“It’s pretty stunning,’’ said Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected. The same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. The same Democrats who tell us over and over again that they’re with us, that they believe in collective bargaining, that they believe in unions. . . . It’s a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber.’’
While the Democrats’ plan gives unions a little breathing to discuss the changes with municipalities, ultimately, the municipalities would have the right to unilaterally impose their changes.
So, given the fact that their bought-and-paid-for political party (in one of the most liberal states in the nation) has just stuck them with a shiv, what are union bosses going to do?
Though unions plan a lobbying blitz, as Moe Lane notes, you likely won’t see the hysterical reaction like in Wisconsin.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776