Mar 25, 2011
Rightwing Koch brothers also bankrolling union busting crusade in Michigan
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to bust public sector unions and replace local control with centralized power in Lansing with this army of unelected and all-powerful emergency financial managers (EFM) has ties to the same union busting effort in Wisconsin.
Mother Jones magazine did a piece on the EFM bills Snyder signed into law earlier this month that gives an EFM, after just two days of training, the power to void union contracts, run a school district, fire the elected boards and councils, call for millage elections, disincorporate or dissolve the municipal government and kill collective bargaining.
Last month Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was pranked when he thought he was talking to conservative billionaire David Koch, one of the Koch brothers who has bankrolled teabaggers and is financing the current union-busting movement, on the phone when he was really talking to a liberal blogger that showed Walker’s so-called “budget repair bill” was just a ploy to bust unions. The Mother Jones article shows that the Koch brothers are also behind the effort in Michigan. Like Walker, Snyder is creating budget deficits by taking away money from school districts and local governments with a $1.8 billion gift to businesses, allowing more EFMs to be needed.
The article says that since 2005, the rightwing Michigan think tank “Mackinac Center for Public Policy has urged reforms to Michigan law giving more power and protection to emergency financial managers.” “…In January, the free-market-loving center published four recommendations, including granting emergency managers the power to override elected officials (such as a mayor or school board member) and toss out union contracts. All four ended up in Snyder's legislation.”
The think tank has a history of union-busting and support for privatization, especially going after teacher unions. The article goes on to say that “the Mackinac Center does not disclose its donors. But a review of tax records shows that the group's funders include the charitable foundations of the nation's largest corporations and a host of wealthy conservative and libertarian benefactors. Between 2002 and 2009, the Mackinac Center's donors included the Charles G. Koch Foundation ($69,151), founded by the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, who, with his brother, David, is a major backer of conservative causes,” including the union busting efforts in Wisconsin and funding teabaggers.