Wisconsin labor education requirement used to improve union acceptance, recruit members

The 2009 law that requires Wisconsin teachers to teach labor union and collective bargaining history to the state’s kids is seen by union bosses in the state as a means to promote their cause, frame labor’s message in a favorable light and increase membership.

When The Daily Caller reported that the state passed such a law in December 2009, it wasn’t clear that union organizers planned to utilize it to further their agenda. Newly uncovered information from an April 2010 conference, the Wisconsin Labor History Society, a pro-union group that pushed the new law through the all-Democrat state government in 2009, shows the state’s labor organizers and union bosses do indeed plan to use the controversial new law as a propaganda tool.

“I believe we are in the midst of an irrepressible labor conflict that has pitted the haves versus the have-nots,” said University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, history professor Andrew Kersten at the conference. “As Warren Buffett has said recently, ‘There is a class war, alright, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s waging it, and we’re winning.’ It’s not merely the money or the political power they crave, they seek to transform the way we think and act on a daily basis.”

At the conference meant to help teachers prepare new curricula to comply with the new AB 172 law, Kersten went on to say that teaching union history and “the struggles of working men and women and of unionists is vital to maintaining a healthy democracy.” In his speech, Kersten also attacked President Barack Obama for not focusing on labor unions in his 2010 State of the Union address, for not getting card-check legislation passed and for failing to get controversial former union lawyer Craig Becker appointed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The history professor, who was supposed to be helping teachers prepare new classroom materials, also took a shot at then newly elected Sen. Scott Brown, Massachusetts Republican, for being the deciding vote against Becker on the NLRB.

“The reason why he rushed to take his seat in Washington, D.C., was not to block Obama’s medical and health insurance reforms, but to stop the appointment of Obama’s NLRB nomination, Craig Becker, the union lawyer and associate general counsel for the Service Employees International Union,” Kersten said.

  • truebearing

    Collective bargaining is not a right, and has no constitutional basis whatsoever. The blithering idiots on the left insist it is a right because some Marxist professor told them it is, but the constitution doesn’t protect group rights, only individual rights. Our constitution does not guarantee the right to the union’s fascist corporatism, in fact it was written as a protection from such power leveraging tyranny.

    Unions have bullied their way into getting increasing amounts of power and tax dollars by essentially pitting the financial well being of their public sector union members against the financial well being of the taxpayers who have to pay for it.

    The unions, and the Democrats who serve as their lackeys, have established a special class of citizens who collectively force the other citizens to pay the disproportionately larger salaries and benefits of the Public servant class. The irony is that it is the average private sector worker who is the servant in this dynamic.

    When unions for public workers engage in collective bargaining, or strike, it is a strike, or an increase in taxes against the taxpayers, not the governor, or majority in the legislature. The unions and the left have tried to frame this struggle as between Republicans and Democrats, or Walker and the unions. Bullsh!t. That is just more of the typical leftist lying we are way too accustomed to. The conflict is between taxpayers and unions who want to use the people’s taxes to finance their unending lust for more power.

    The left loves to lionize past Progressives and union leaders. lets see what they had to say about government worker unions:

    “President Franklin D. Roosevelt, thought it “unthinkable and intolerable” for government employees to be able to go on strike against the citizenry. The legendary labor leader George Meany, who was president of the AFL-CIO concurred, saying, “it is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

    In 1959, the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO explained the troubling constitutional ramifications of public sector unions in terms that would make current AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka’s heart sink. That body counseled that, “In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress — a right available to every citizen.”

  • talibangelical

    Here is something you won’t find on the Daily Caller, a bit of news about those “small government” Wisconsin Republicans so concerned about government spending:

    At least three of the Wisconsin state Senate Republicans currently demanding that public workers sacrifice benefits, wages and even collective bargaining rights for the sake of the budget have applied for and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies.

    From 1995 through 2009, state Sens. Luther Olsen, Dale Schultz and Sheila Harsdorf all had stakes in farms that received between them more than $300,000 in taxpayer funds.

    Obviously those are federal, not state funds. But these guys were sure ready to take government handouts when they could get them.

    Yes, I know this is off topic a bit, but thought I would post it anyway. I find it hilarious.

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  • Dee2008

    As someone who DID grow up in a union household, whose spouse was a union worker for many years, and who herself was a non-union worker in a large unionized corporation, I would like the opportunity to teach children about the downside of unions. Somehow I doubt this class will teach them about the fear tactics and violence associated with strikes. Nor will they learn about the financial impact on the workers of mandatory dues and the wage interruptions that come with work stoppages. Or the gut wrenching stress that comes every three years at contract time. Or even the dampening effect of unions on worker initiative and motivation. If they did learn these things as part of a balanced presentation, then I would support the class. But propaganda has no place in the classroom.

  • Iowa48

    For those of you claiming that teaching union history in Wisconsin constitutes “indoctrination,” you are flat out wrong. Once the teachers
    explain to their students that we no longer have a steel industry thanks
    the United Steelworkers Union, nor do we have a viable auto industry thanks
    to the UAW, and that California is being bankrupted by public employee unions,
    then the thoughtful discussions which ensue will surely be informative and
    balanced. And when the students hear from their teachers about how the ever
    increasing expenditures on education have resulted in such fantastic gains in
    student performance, they will understand why $12,000 per student per year is
    indeed a real bargain. And teachers explaining how unionized public employees make 1/3 to 2/3 more than comparable private employees will surely outweigh any tendency to pro-union bias. Hardly what I would call indoctrination.

    • SunnyJ

      Ummmm…did you read the article? That is not what is going to be taught. They are very clear that the union intent is to use it for “recruitment”. You would be right if the “when” in your response was ever going to happen…but, it’s not…and that’s the rub. The union used their dues to buy legislators to write this legislation so that they could recruit in the K-12 schools all across this country. And that, is indoctrination.

      • Iowa48

        Sorry, my sarcasm got the better of me!

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