What do GOP politicians and reality have in common?
Not a whole lot, apparently. This week, two prominent faces of the faltering party have all but said that they want union-quality labor without having to pay for or respect the workers. First there were Scott Walker’s tweeted comments about how unionized NFL referees do a better job, then came Mitt Romney’s comments about how teachers unions should not be allowed to make political contributions. Apparently, Republican politicians think they’re entitled to union-quality work for less than union quality pay.
Scott Walker’s “Bring Back the Real Refs”
NFL referees were giggling in their sneakers after being locked out of a Packers and Seahawks game that ended with a terrible call by the last-minute scabs. The $9.3 billion-per-year football giant didn’t want to adhere to the pension and wage demands of the referee union, so temporary referees – scrounged up from Division III college football, high school football, and even Lingerie League games – manned the field and ended up handing the game over to the Seahawks after a much contested final hail mary pass that may or may not have been intercepted. While the NFL is standing firm behind its decision, anti-unionist Scott Walker had a few comments about the call.
In one of the most talked about tweets yesterday, Scott Walker — the anti-union aficionado — complained about the game’s call and added that we should bring back the “real” refs. Of course everyone who follows him started replying to him with things like, “So you support unionized labor now?” and “the NFL refs were unionized… What a hypocrite!” Walker’s office was quick to explain that the tweet was about the game and not about unionized labor, but the Walker campaign seemingly doesn’t understand is that unionized labor is exactly what it’s about.
For Walker to complain that a call was made by a bunch of amateur referees and that a “real” referee would have made the appropriate call is basically saying that referees with experience and know-how would have done a better job (and no one is arguing with that — especially Packers fans!). What he fails to realize is that referees value their labor, too, and when they ask to be treated like professionals and receive a professional’s salary they should be complimented with the wages and benefits that they deserve, not kicked to the curb and expected to perform in a manner commensurate with a professional of their caliber without the wages and benefits that should go along with it.
Walker receives a generous salary and benefits package as a governor. These benefits do not go away if he doesn’t sign or veto a bill, they do not go away if everyone in his state hates him, and they don’t go away when he doesn’t do his job. “Bring back the unionized workers whom I don’t believe should have guaranteed salaries and benefits,” says the man who has a guaranteed salary and benefits.
Of course, the NFL agreed with the statement Walker didn’t mean to make. The league has reached an agreement with the professional referees – the pension plans have been extended. It just goes to show, you get what you pay for – and what you vote for.