Government Reform

Is The Cleaning of Toilets a Core Government Function?


Forget getting in the gutter to screw over a political opponent. Politico reports on a story from Milwaukee in which union workers affiliated with Democrats are getting in the toilet to protest the outsourcing of janitorial sources in the Beer City county courthouse by a GOP gubernatorial hopeful Scott Walker:

As part of Walker's decision to outsource some government services, 25 members of the courthouse's janitorial staff were laid off. In protest, only four of the 20 scheduled to work show up on December 11 – their last day of work and the day news cameras recorded video of the restrooms.

Still images taken from the report of clogged toilets, overflowing trash cans and used paper towels are posted on the state Democratic Party's website and linked to high up on the Wisconsin Democrats homepage.

Do you get that? Public-sector janitors walk off the job because they're pissed; trash and other awful stuff piles up (as is to be expected); and the slacker janitors and their Dem overlords expect this is an argument in their favor?

Color me stupid, but I don't get the logic here. If anything, this sort of pique will almost certainly make every sap who had to use the bathroom that day vote GOP for at least the next six months, especially if the new, privatized crew is halfway on the ball.

As Walker's communciations person notes, as county executive Walker cut the public workforce by 20 percent, cut debt by 10 percent, and didn't raise taxes during eight years in office:

"Not surprising, the public employee union bosses are yet again fighting his proposals to cut spending tooth and nail, this time encouraging their county employees to ditch work during the transitioning of housekeeping services – the outsourcing of which will end up saving 2.6 million in taxpayer dollars."

Memo to public employees unions: Nobody cares who cleans the toilets as long as they stay clean. But when they get dirty, voters are not going to blame a work crew that doesn't start until 2010. They're going to blame people who were still getting paid and didn't show up for work.