Fibbing to the End: AP's Bauer Claims That Act 10 'Stripp(ed) Most Public Employees of Their Union Right to Collectively Bargain

June 5th, 2012 6:08 PM

As he has for nearly 16 months, the AP's Scott Bauer once again included a false statement about what the budget repair legislation also known as "Act 10" passed by Wisconsin's legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker last year did to public-sector unions and their ability to collectively bargain.

He wrote: "Enraged Democrats and labor activists gathered more than 900,000 signatures in support of the recall after they failed to stop Walker and his GOP allies in the state Legislature from stripping most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." Y'know, Scott, you've been writing this garbage for 16 months. You can keep it up for the next 16 months or 16 years, but what won't change is that fact that your statement today and the equivalent statements you've written in the past simply aren't true, and never will be.

It has been pointed out repeatedly in dozens and probably hundreds of places, but to stubborn people who might as well be partisan political stenographers it doesn't seem to matter. What follows are several published examples contradicting Bauer's "stripping" claim (bolds are mine):

  • On February 22, 2011, shortly after Walker's legislation was introduced, CNS News, which is the real essential global news source, reported that "state employees would maintain the ability to collectively bargain for wages as long as the union’s proposed wage increases are no greater than the annual change in the consumer price index."
  • On March 12, 2011, the day Walker signed the law, USA Today reported that "The bill would make various changes to limit collective bargaining for most public employees to wages. Total wage increases could not exceed a cap based on inflation unless approved by referendum."
  • On May 25, the Beacon Hill Institute noted that Act 10 "limited collective bargaining to wages and salaries and instituted other reforms."
  • Yesterday, AP competitor Reuters was somehow able to communicate the truth while Scott Bauer and AP continue to engage in falsehood: "Collective bargaining is limited to the issue of wages, and wage increases are capped at the rate of inflation, with a voter referendum needed for larger increases."
  • On February 17, 2011, "someone" at the AP wrote that "Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized." What this "someone" described is not "stripping most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." The AP writer acknowledged that the law sharply limits collective bargaining rights, but that it doesn't completely strip them away.

Oh, I almost forgot. The "someone" who wrote the statement quoted in the last bulleted item was Scott Bauer.

Scott Bauer continues to abuse his position as an Associated Press reporter to repeat a statement he must agree, based on what he wrote himself 16 months ago, is a falsehood. His employer, whose output is used throughout the nation, also continues to abuse its position by (knowingly or not; I vote for the former) spreading Bauer's falsehood; today, in something I'm certain occurred thousands of times around the country, I heard a rendition of "stripping collective bargaining rights" on a top-of-hour radio broadcast which virtually echoed Bauer's false statement.

Thanks to Scott Bauer and AP, many in America will be surprised to learn after the Walker recall election ballots are counted that regardless of whether Walker survives, public-sector unions even beyond police and firefighters (who were exempted from Act 10) will still exist and engage in contract negotiations, however limited their scope, in the Badger State. What a disgrace.

Cross-posted at