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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wisconsin Vs Unions: Judge Deals Blow To Unions With Opt-In Decision

By Susan Duclos

A couple updates from Wisconsin where Governor Scott Walker is still leading Democratic candidate Mayor Tom Barrett in the attempt by Democrats and unions to recall Walker.

U.S. District Court Judge William Conley ruled on Friday that unions cannot automatically deduct dues from members' paychecks by offering those members the opt-out option but the members must  opt-in before unions could take their deductions.

JSOnline reports:

State unions were dealt a setback Friday when a federal judge said they would have to get their members to opt in, rather than opt out, to having the state deduct union dues from their paychecks.

What's more, the judge did not rule on dues deductions for unions that he earlier found the state improperly decertified. The state's largest unions were decertified, and the ruling - at least for now - will make it harder for them to get money from dues.

But U.S. District Court Judge William Conley gave unions one beneficial ruling by saying that members who sign up to have their dues deducted from their paychecks can be required to make a yearlong commitment. That will help union leaders budget because they can better know how much money they will be getting, attorneys for the unions said.

Other Wisconsin headlines show that Tom Barrett (D) was in Oshkosh talking with union organizers on Tuesday evening rather than being at the police department's annual Merit Awards Ceremony, which he was scheduled to be at but cancelled at the last minute.

When WTMJ host caught up to Barrett to ask him why he did not attend the police ceremonies, Barrett did not volunteer where he had been, instead he said he would have to check his schedule and get back to them, saying " I was working. I was… I'll have to get back to you about the specifics."

WTMJ found out for themselves where Barrett had been.

620WTMJ reports:

It turns out, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was in Oshkosh talking with union organizers when he missed an event in Milwaukee honoring law enforcement in southeast Wisconsin, including Milwaukee Police officers.

Law enforcement officials are angered and looking for answers after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett did not attend two separate law enforcement recognition ceremonies this week, including one that recognizes Milwaukee police officers killed in the line of duty.

On Tuesday evening, the Milwaukee police department held their annual Merit Awards Ceremony.  Mayor Barrett was scheduled to be at that event.  Organizers tell me he canceled so late that there wasn't even time to take his name off the program.  It was on the printed program that evening.

On Wednesday, the annual ceremony to honor the courage and sacrifice of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty was held.  Organizers say Mayor Barrett said he would be there.  He wasn't.  Governor Scott Walker was there; Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn was there; Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was in attendance; Attorney General JB Van Hollen showed up; Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm and Milwaukee Police Association President Mike Crivello were there.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was not there.

The Walker campaign responded by email to Free Beacon:

 "The fact that Mayor Tom Barrett skipped out on a memorial honoring Milwaukee law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty is offensive and wrong. Barrett clearly thought his time was better spent campaigning to 50 union members in Oshkosh than to honor Milwaukee’s fallen police officers. As if this wasn’t shameful enough, Barrett’s campaign speech was nothing more than an angry tirade against Governor Walker. Mayor Barrett’s hypocrisy is stunning, and highlights his long record of putting his next failed campaign before his duty to those he was elected to represent."

When schedules conflict, a candidate has to choose what his priorities are.

Barrett's choice of unions over police is a case of very bad optics, but who cares about optics when you can get some union money behind you for an election, right?