Boots & Sabers

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1445, 17 Jun 15

Stay Classy, Marty Beil

Marty Beil, the long time head of Wisconsin’s AFSCME, is retiring. In his parting press release, he displayed the same class that characterized his entire tenure.

“In spite of Act 10, Scott Walker, Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald, the “tea party” and every other nut job that is out there, I have a strong message…”

Good riddance.


1445, 17 June 2015


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Clearly, Marty is not seeking a future job in public relations.

  2. Northern Pike

    Given the title of the post, I expected to read that Beil had said something really vile. In today’s political discourse, “nut job” is actually pretty mild.

  3. kay

    Aside from being blunt in his opinion and language, did Marty Bell make an inaccurate assessment?

  4. Kevin Scheunenann

    Yes. He called anyone supporting Act 10 “nut jobs”.

    Given what is happening in IL because they failed to embrace similar legislation, there is huge consequences to not supporting Act 10 in terms of public sector job loss.

  5. Nashotah Conservative

    Marty Beil did alot of damage to this state. While I think some of Governor Walker’s policies have flaws, I think Act 10 has been a pretty positive (and necessary) step for this State.

    The union movement once served a purpose. Too bad that purpose can’t be refocused to get the tens of millions of able bodied adults in this coutnry back to work.

    We could save hundreds of billions and gain tons of productivity if that happened. Then we’d have all the money we need for bridges, schools, innovation, etc…

    Sad thing is, it will take a generation (or longer) to eliminate that “slacker/moocher” element in our society

  6. scott

    The function of unions was to raise the wages of a whole lot of American workers–unionized or not. This played a key role in the prosperity enjoyed from the end of WWII to the 80s. It’s why so many people could, on a single income, afford houses and cars and vacations and retirement savings. The decline of unions has left Americans working longer for less money, the necessity of two incomes, and increased debt.

    Saying that unions “served their purpose” and are no longer necessary seems to be missing the point.

  7. Kraig Sadownikow

    Careful Scott, in many cases, Union demands on wages and benefits pushed American companies to a price-point for their products that was no longer market sustainable. The auto industry and the shell of a city Detroit has become, comes to mind.

    Unfortunately, under the threat of strikes, companies agreed to contracts that in the long term were detrimental.

    Forcing higher wages may feel good today but hurts more tomorrow.

    Supply and demand principles for products should determine the ultimate price of wages to make those products. This is the best way gauge labor value in the market.

    In the end, folks feel as though wages/benefits have been taken away when in reality, if the market dictated, they never would have been offered.

  8. scott

    Thanks for the response, Mr. Mayor! The period of time I’m referring to was a period of high economic growth despite high union membership. And I thought it was other things–persisting in making big cars, the energy crisis, and poor reliability–that caused the American auto industry to stumble so badly. Although I think when the Japanese makers started manufacturing here they set up shop in union-unfriendly states in the south. That probably hurt Detroit, but I’m not sure the lesson there is that unions were to blame.

  9. Kevin South

    Scott-what you may be forgetting in your history lesson on unionism and American manufacturing is, unions were the strongest in the 50’s and 60’s. The reason why is after WWII, America was the only nation with manufacturing capacity-think we were the China to the world during that period-Germany, Japan, destroyed, no manufacturing capacity.

  10. scott

    Why does being the world’s post-war manufacturing leader raise union membership? And so what if it did? Not sure I’m following.

  11. Northern Pike

    “The union movement once served a purpose.”

    It still does. Just ask your local police officer.

  12. Patrick Leddy

    I grew up with Marty. I was a member of Illinois Afscme. I firmly believe
    AFSCME sold US labor down the river when it adapted the democrats world view of illegal immigration.

    Beil is a friend with whom I disgree from time to time. But, he has, in his life, done much good. He once saved the life of a classmate of ours in highschool on Lake Beaulah who had fallen through the ice. Marty “skootched” over to the guy and lifted him out of the water while being prone on his stomach.

    He was very cordial to my family on an occasion when my spouse was interviewing in Madison for a job.(She didn’t get it)

    Like all of us( myself included), Marty can do good and evil. But my bet is he will join the creator when his days on earth come to and end.

    Patrick Leddy

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