Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, in an exclusive interview with the Heritage Foundation, called union collective bargaining a “vicious cycle,… one I think people have realized we can’t afford anymore.”  Government unions bargain for more taxpayer money, collect dues from their membership, and come right back to the table demanding more.  In the case of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), more means Viagra, Cialis, and the like for male employees of Milwaukee public schools.

In 2002, through collective bargaining, MTEA won the inclusion of Viagra in its members’ health plans, and by 2004, 10% of union membership (which isn’t a male-dominated set) was subscribing to the benefit — at a cost of more than $200,000 per year to the Milwaukee school district.  Not until 2005 was the school district finally able to convince an arbitrator to drop the coverage.

Last year, while the school district faced a $10 million dollar budget shortfall, the MTEA decided it was time to revisit those drug benefits and filed a lawsuit demanding their reintroduction to union health plans—at a projected cost of $786,000 in 2010.

It may look like the union trying to raise costs for taxpayers, but MTEA spokeswoman Kristin Collett insists that it’s really a matter of fundamental rights:  “this is an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members.”  (Lest any private sector employee forget that Viagra is a right.)

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