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Majority Opposes Limits on Collective Bargaining Power, Poll Finds

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Most Americans say they are against any laws reducing the collective bargaining power of unionized civil service workers as a way to balance a state's budget, according to a new survey out Tuesday.

The USA Today/Gallup poll comes as there's no end in sight to the week-long budget showdown between Wisconsin's public employee unions and Gov. Scott Walker.

Pollsters found that 61 percent of respondents would oppose a law in their state similar to the one being floated by Walker that would reduce the ability of Wisconsin's state employee unions to bargain. Just 33 percent said they would support such a measure.

For the eighth straight day, protests for and against Walker's plan have clogged the streets around the state capitol in Madison.

The poll also asked about other methods elected officials could use to solve budget shortfalls. USA Today pointed out several key findings:

-- 71 percent oppose increasing sales, income or other taxes while 27 percent are in favor that approach.

-- 53 percent oppose reducing pay or benefits for government workers while 44 percent are in favor.

-- 48 percent oppose reducing or eliminating government programs while 47 percent are in favor of cuts.

Read Gallup's complete poll results here.
Filed Under: Poll Watch, Jobs

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Hello Carol

I agree with brueecc820, 66% of Wisconsin's 8th grade students fall below required reading levels. Whatever
happened to teaching the 3 basics first, reading, writing and math, unil they know it backwards and forwards.
These are the things our children will need to live in the real world. I see kids everyday, that can't do simple math,
if they don't have there phones, to do the math for them. I'm all for paying for good teachers, but why are they any better than anyone else (as they get tenure), if they are a good teacher, they would not need it. Pouring more money into education is not the answer, that has already been proven.

March 04 2011 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What needs to be limited is the how taxpayers are being held hostage by unions. Non-union employees don't get to bargain with their employer. They don't get to go on strike if they don't like what they're getting paid. Unions are bs and should be stopped. I understand them trying to protect their turf, but as a taxpayer, I'm sick and tired of the unions getting away with holding taxpayers hostage in the public sector. We're paying for it. And it needs to stop. I really hope Governor Walker starts laying off state employees. My guess is they won't be missed.

February 24 2011 at 7:18 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

as a stuggling proud union member ,we gave,as for ceo,s and corp america they still rub it in our faces with bonuses and raises ,i find it apauling that a ceo of a stockhoder comany can have a salery of 20 plus million a year,we just want our fair share,after all we break our backs for these ceos and corp exects to make their profound saleries ,and we are payed back with more job cuts and overseas out sorcing,,

February 23 2011 at 10:51 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

I'd love to the see the sample used for this survey. I don't buy it for a minute. The only people who oppose reduced civil service union rights are........people in the civil service unions.

February 23 2011 at 6:17 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

everyone here acts like unions are some 3rd party organization. Does anyone know how the unions work. The 'ELECTED OFFICERS" of the union are and were employees.... union members and workers before they were union officials. They are elected by their fellow members as their representative.

Stop this nonsence. You have the right to dislike unions, thats the american way. But they (the teachers and others) also have rights to collective bargaining. And thats the bottom line.

February 23 2011 at 5:17 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Here is what so many uneducated, ignorant people do not understand and will not take the time to understand. If collective bargaining is retained, there is nothing stopping the unions from turning right around after the debt is brought under control and doing the same thing. Bargaining for the same sweetheart deals and running the state debt right back up until we are in the same mess again. REMEMBER:::: The guys who run the unions are now fighting for their very survival and the money they could lose if they lose the fight in Wisconsin. That is the bottom line.

February 23 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment

What sweetheart deals are you talking about? Unions did not get the state into the mess it is in. Walker's reckless tax cuts to wealthy corporations did that. Medicaid explenses have gone up and are contributing to the problem. The median pay for teachers is under 40K. The Teachers in public colleges hold PhD's and some make 65K-76K. These are a minority of teachers. Who is held accountable for the salaries and benefits of lawmakers? Unions around the state are likely to strike and cost the state a LOT more money if the law is enacted. The law also has other odius provisions such as granting Walker the ability to award no-bid contracts and appointing a health care czar who would be able to unilaterally cur Medicare benefits and some other benefits for the poor! Walker has essentialy given a pay raise to the rich, through targeted tax cuts to them, and decided to pay for those tax breaks on the backs of the poor and middle class!

March 03 2011 at 3:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Yea Right!

In your dreams,,,unless you spoke to union officails.

February 23 2011 at 3:46 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Two other polls (Rasmussen and Zogby) contradict the USA Today poll (I smell a push-poll with regard to the USA Today poll).

UTICA, New York - Two-thirds of likely voters agree that state legislatures have the authority to cut state employee salaries and 52 percent agree they can void collective bargaining agreements to reduce spending, according to a Zogby International poll.

February 23 2011 at 3:27 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brucecc820's comment

Actually those number refer to a question only asking if legislatures have the authority to suspend collective bargaining rights.. which of they do.. at least until challenged in court. A question later in the poll asks if legislatures SHOULD set aside collective bargaiing rights and 50% said yes and there was no record of how many disapproved or were unsure. Rights should never be stripped away with such a small majority.

March 03 2011 at 3:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

>> You raised a good question, 'Have unions improved our educational system?' Very doubtful, for look at how the USA ranks scholastically with the world. <<

When watching news coverage on the Wisconsin public sector union strike, one of the protestors was holding a sign that read: "If you can read, thank a teacher." Then, last night on the news, I saw where 66% of the the 8th. grade students in Wisconsin schools fell below that grade's required reading skill level. The irony was amusing.

Several years ago, I was watching on-the-street interviews with striking teachers in Washington D.C. At the completion of one impromptu interview, the reporter asked: "...and what subject to you teach?" The teacher replied, "I 'teaches' English." I almost fell off my couch laughing -- that teacher was striking for a raise.

Public union salaries and benefits that out-strip the private sector, do not automatically ensure a quality education.

February 23 2011 at 3:15 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to brucecc820's comment

You think that was good. About 4 years ago Jay Leno did his man on the street segment where he asks people basic question to see their response. The show is aired from California. He asked a woman what is the state capital of California?
She thought for a minute and finally stated I do not know. He asked her What she did for a living? School Teacher.Have you lived in California long? All my life and even went to school here. Just think about that Born,raised,educated and teaches school in a state that she has no clue what the capital is.

February 23 2011 at 5:26 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

ok quality of eduacation will lower when we put 60 childern in a class room. That will happen when they shut down schools they say they can balance the budget. quality of education will lower with along with shutting down schools they lay off half the teachers. half of those 60 childern will fall through the already strained cracks in our system. balance the budget I say balance the budget with the health insurance we pay for with our tax dollars for or elected officials and their familes. Let them pay for their own Insurance Like we have to. I say lower their salary's like they have taken away from millions of people. Lets see how far we can balance the budget this way. We have paid enough.

February 24 2011 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know who they polled, but it wasn't me. The unions have no place in the Government sector of public workers. Bargaining is not in their vocabulary other than a symbol what they do is destroy you. Did they offer to bargain b/4 the law, NO, and that has been proven, now they want to Bargain and how do they do that they call for mass protests, (everyone is on sick leave)and they close down the business or schools all in the pretenses of bargaining. They use terror tactics, look at them marching on the homes of the legislatures and Governors and tactics they use in con tundra. If anyone who thinks the Government workers need Unions to bargain for them because they work in sweat shops, or don't have decent wages, or teachers who need job protection if they don't teach, etal is in LA LA land. The government has more Labor laws than they can keep up with, they have more automatic pay increases than any one who in government needs a Union.

February 23 2011 at 3:07 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

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