Vito Has a Job For You

April 3, 2011

What does the possibly illegal Wisconsin Public Union boycott have in common with a mob protection racket? A lot!

AFSCME Council 24 has informed the local businesses that if they did not publicly support the Union the business will be subject to a boycott. This public support includes putting a sign in the window of the business stating that they support the Union in their fight against Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda. It is not enough if the business remains neutral. As Bret Jacobson says, “Translation: that’s a nice business you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it.”
Supporting Gov.Walker over Union

It seems even more sinister when the business is paying to harassed. They are being taxed to pay the wages of the public union members. In turn, a part of those wages are taken in union dues, which then allow the union to organize said boycott. Since taxes are taken by force (pay or go to jail at the point of a gun), these businesses are being forced to subsidize their own boycott.

In many ways, this goes to the heart of the matter why public unions in Wisconsin should not exist, in the same way they are illegal in many other states. Unions, overall, are a good thing… in the private sector. As an example, Company A and Company B both sell widgets. Company A is unionized whereas Company B is not. The consumer has a choice whether to shop at Company A or Company B. If through their unionization, Company A makes a better product that people like, so be it. If not, however, they go out of business. Obviously, this is not the case with public unions. You cannot choose which teachers to use (without putting your kids in private school and paying extra), you cannot choose which fire department or police organization responds to your emergency, nor which company repairs the road in front of your house. It seems the public worker does not have a need for unionization, being that they work for monopoly company that forces their customers to pay.

Then to go a step further, a public union can force their employer to give them a raise. If the employer refuses to give them a raise the union can, in effect, fire their employer. They are able to do this through forming PACs to organize votes for or against the very politicians that hold the purse strings. I am sure many of us would love that same power. Consider sitting across the negotiating table from your boss and tell them to give you our raise, or they are fired.

Beyond the obvious illogical nature of the existence of public unions, their boycott actions may be illegal. Here are three excerpts from Wisconsin state law:

943.30 Threats to injure or accuse of crime. (1) Whoever, either verbally or by any written or printed communication,
maliciously threatens to accuse or accuses another of any crime or offense, or threatens or commits any injury to the person, property, business, profession, calling or trade, or the profits and income of any business, profession, calling or trade of another, with intent thereby to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatever, or with intent to compel the person so threatened to do any act against the person’s will or omit to do any lawful act, is guilty of a Class H felony.

943.31 Threats to communicate derogatory information. Whoever threatens to communicate to anyone information, whether true or false, which would injure the reputation of the threatened person or another unless the threatened person transfers property to a person known not to be entitled to it is guilty of a Class I felony.
History: 1977 c. 173; 2001 a. 109.
A threat to injure a manager’s reputation unless a job is offered violated this section.
State v. Gilkes, 118 Wis. 2d 149, 345 N.W.2d 531 (Ct. App. 1984).

134.01 Injury to business; restraint of will. Any 2 or more persons who shall combine, associate, agree, mutually undertake or concert together for the purpose of willfully or maliciously injuring another in his or her reputation, trade, business or profession by any means whatever, or for the purpose of maliciously compelling another to do or perform any act against his or
her will, or preventing or hindering another from doing or performing any lawful act shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not more than one year or by fine not exceeding $500.

Whether this boycott is illegal or not, or if you support unions in general, you must admit one thing. Don Corleone must be looking at the Wisconsin Public Unions… green with envy!

(The author has been a member of two AFL-CIO affiliated unions)

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