Hillary Rodham Clinton shed her usual sunny demeanor last week and snarled at Republicans in general and one presidential candidate in particular.
“Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names stomping on workers’ rights, and practically all Republican candidates would do the same as president,” Clinton growled at Manhattan’s New School. “I will fight back against these mean-spirited, misguided attacks. Evidence shows that the decline of unions may be responsible for a third of the increase of inequality among men. So, if we want to get serious about raising income, we have to get serious about supporting union workers.”
Later that day, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka snapped, “Scott Walker is a national disgrace.”
Liberals like Clinton and Trumka have it all wrong. Workers have been waxing, not waning, under Walker. And they can thank his free-market reforms for improving their lives.
If there’s one thing workers value, it’s work. And on this score, Wisconsin’s Republican governor has delivered.
The Badger State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 7.4 percent in January 2011 (the month of Walker’s inauguration) to 4.6 percent in May 2015 (the latest available figure). U.S. joblessness dropped from 9.0 percent to 5.5 percent over that period. Wisconsin’s unemployment, thus, stands well below America’s.
May’s labor-force participation rate also was higher in Wisconsin (67.9 percent) than across America (62.9 percent). These figures are down in both places, compared with when Walker arrived. In January 2011, 69.1 percent of working-age Wisconsinites held jobs, versus 64.2 percent of Americans. This key metric has slipped 1.7 percent in Wisconsin but has slid 2.0 percent nationwide.
Concerning ready cash, workers are faring significantly better under Walker than under Obama. According to the latest census statistics, Wisconsin’s inflation-adjusted median household income grew 2.7 percent, from $53,795 in 2010 to $55,258 in 2013. During those years, America’s equivalent household income shrank 1.3 percent, from $52,646 to $51,939. Indeed, under Walker, workers’ paychecks swelled by double what they shriveled under Obama.
In terms of “workers’ rights,” Wisconsinites now enjoy the right to work. In March, Walker signed a bill passed by the Republican-led legislature. This new law recognizes a woman’s right to choose whether to join a union. (This statute applies to men, too.) Wisconsinites no longer may be compelled to join unions as a condition of employment. Clinton and Trumka are anti-choice on union membership.
Thus Walker, a very recent addition to the Republican field, leads in state polls of voters and likely voters.
Iowa for example:
Union greed and corruption has driven industry from US shores.
They now have the right to work 7 days a week. It’s strictly voluntary, of course. If your pay is so low that you feel it isn’t, you always have the right to look for a job somewhere else.
Nothing wrong with working 7 days a week. That is the norm for a lot of physicians, myself included. I’d take that over no job or being forced to join a union against my will. My patients certainly appreciate it.
As a person who interviews and hires in southern Wisconsin I can tell you it is very difficult to find good employees even when you are paying 20 to 25 bucks an hour as we do, offer good benefits and an excellent 401K plan….
Most anybody in Wisconsin who is unemployed and looking for a job is unemployed for a reason, they can’t hold a job…
I sit on a number of advisory committees for local technical colleges with other manufacturers in our area and they all have the same problem as we do.
Out of staters such as Greg who pretend they know what is going on in Wisconsin ought to try using other sources than the Huff Post and Mother Jones.