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Opinion: Morning Examiner

Wisconsin SEIU's message: Nice job you got there, be a shame if you lost it

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Wisconsin,Scott Walker,SEIU,Minimum Wage

Mobsters making offers that can't be refused typically do so in the bluntest possible language, but SEIU leaders in Wisconsin are running a close second.

Gov. Scott Walker's landmark reforms -- including guaranteeing workers the right not to be forced to pay dues to a union they don't want to join -- is costing SEIU thousands of members.

The 8,385 members SEIU has lost since the reforms became law are solid evidence that before Walker came along the union depended upon force, rather than consent, to keep the dues revenue stream flowing.

Nice job ya got there

So the union's leaders have come up with a backdoor way to force employees to fork over the dues money. It's a novel variation on the Living Wage/Minimum Wage campaign.

Here's how it works: Milwaukee County officials approved a living wage requirement for local government contractors to pay at least $11.33 per hour. SEIU's Wisconsin Jobs Now campaign was the main backer of the requirement.

But the new law includes a convenient way for contractors to avoid having to pay the living wage — they can agree to force their employees to join SEIU.

Pay up or else

In other words, SEIU's message is this: You can pay us this way or you can pay us that way, but the bottom line here is you are going to pay.

The union doesn't care which way you go. If a contractor opts to pay the living wage, the union can claim credit, thus strengthening its appeal to workers to join voluntarily.

Or the contractor can get off the hook by shifting the burden to employees who then have to pay the SEIU for the privilege of holding a job.

Expect to see this approach more frequently across the country as unions cast about for ways to reverse the membership decline that has been evident for years.

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Author:

Mark Tapscott

Executive Editor
The Washington Examiner