The undersigned groups would like your company to publicly oppose Governor Walker’s efforts to virtually eliminate collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin. While we appreciate that you may need some time to consider this request, we ask for your response by March 17. In the event that you do not respond to this request by that date, we will assume that you stand with Governor Walker and against the teachers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, and other dedicated public employees who serve our communities.
In the event that you cannot support this effort to save collective bargaining, please be advised that the undersigned will publicly and formally boycott the goods and services provided by your company.
Now, this would not be a contemptible letter if it were signed by members of private sector unions. Private sector unions work in trades, and they have the right to make informed business choices (and even uninformed ones). But public sector union members are supposedly public servants – and they are expected to avoid even the hint of impropriety in their labor disputes. This is a barely-veiled threat from the cops and the firemen that organizations subject to the anti-labor reform boycott cannot expect a prompt and effective response from them in case of emergency. Simply put, there are different standards of behavior for emergency responders. Stricter ones, because being a repository of the public trust carries with it an expectation of behavior that is appropriate for that trust. This letter harms that trust.
Stop. Let me explicitly say that I do not believe any pious excuses along the lines of “That’s not what they meant!” This is precisely the kind of let’s-imply-without-saying, sneak behavior that we’ve all come to expect from union ‘negotiators.’ Let me also explicitly say that the cops and firemen have nobody but themselves to blame for making anybody trust them less as a result of this letter: if they don’t want people to have legitimate concerns about public ‘servants’ taking partisan sides, then public ‘servants’ shouldn’t take partisan sides. There is no margin for ambiguity or nuance, here: there should be no margin, either. That there is anyway merely confirms why the notorious small-government conservative FDR was entirely correct in opposing public sector unions in the first place.
If I lived in Wisconsin, I would be pounding the table right now and demanding that every signatory to that letter hand in their badges. Since I don’t, it’s incumbent on Wisconsin citizens to make an answer to this.
Moe Lane (crosspost)