Public employee union negotiates deal saving taxpayers millions; conservative heads explode

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The ultimate example of conservative heads exploding:

A public employee union representing faculty, counselors and professional staff at the Milwaukee Area Technical College negotiated a one-year agreement with the school, which the MATC board approved. Officials say the deal will save the school $122 million over the next 25 years, due to long-term reductions in early health benefits that will go forward. A one-year deal that saves a nine-figures amount of tax dollars ... Now THAT is good government. Unless, of course, you're a Republican.

Conservative reaction (summarized): This deal is an outrage! Schools can't negotiate with defrocked public employee unions, even if a judge rules they can! The Wisconsin Republican Party made it so!

Conservative action: Sue MATC! That'll make things better, oh yeah.

The lawsuit came from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative group managed by Rick Esenberg, a Marquette University adjunct law professor. The suit alleges the college engaged in collective bargaining that's illegal under Scott Walker's anti-union Act 10 law.

Despite the huge savings that the deal represents, Esenberg insisted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that MATC "chose to ignore us, the law, and, most importantly, their taxpayers."

Yes, it's now come to Republicans claiming that public institutions "ignore their taxpayers" by cutting a deal to save tax dollars. What's next? Complaints the school "ignore" students by cutting their tuition?

For its part, MATC says its lawyers studied the matter and decided it was perfectly permissible to negotiate with the union for a contract. While the school's statement didn't get into detail, this probably is another situation where a Wisconsin public employee union and a public employer acted upon a circuit judge's ruling that Act 10's ban on most collective bargaining is unconstitutional, without a stay pending appeals. Conservatives hang their hat on the argument that many of the public employee unions are "decertified" under Act 10, meaning they are inelgible to bargain, ever. But that definition is at the heart of whether the law is constitutional, and for now a judge has ruled it isn't.

No, Scott Walker, the Republican Party and the conservative authoritarians in general can't ever allow successful labor negotiations, because that would undermine their argument that collective bargaining and fair labor standards are too costly, and that employee unions are to blame for all the troubles in the world.