The Wisconsin union fight isn’t about benefits. It’s about labor’s influence.

By Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The battle between Republicans and labor unions in Ohio, Wisconsin and other states is ostensibly about public workers’ pay, benefits and bargaining rights. What is really at stake, however, isn’t labor’s income. It’s labor’s influence – not just in the American workplace but in American politics.

Critics of unions cast them as exclusive clubs for which the rest of Americans pay the dues. Wisconsin’s GOP governor, Scott Walker, likes to say that unions are the “haves” and everyone else the “have-nots.” And it’s certainly true that unions aggressively pursue their own interests – sometimes to others’ detriment. When asked in the early 20th century what the American Federation of Labor wanted, the union’s gruff head, Samuel Gompers, famously replied, “More.”

Read the full story at the Washington Post.

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