Wisconsin Dairy Cows Unionize – Some Experts Say Cost of Milk and Cheese to Rise

Union for Wisconsin dairy cows will seek more pasture time    

© 2014 The World Post Times 

MADISON, WISCONSIN -- Now that the National Labor Relations Board has approved the Wisconsin dairy cows’ petition for collective bargaining rights and union recognition, some economists predict the cost of milk and cheese products will sharply rise by year end. Other economists disagree, and believe the unionization of the dairy cows will not significantly increase consumer prices.

Milwaukee labor attorney Richard Schulman, who helped organize the union, said the cows will demand more pasture time and union-approved milking machines which are more udder friendly.  Watkins said there is no reason to believe these simple demands will adversely impact consumer prices.

Third generation dairy farmer Hal Redding from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, who has opposed the union, stated if the cows make unreasonable demands “We’ll just give the damn cows the keys to the dairy and let them fend for themselves.”  Other dairy farm owners have threatened to move their business to more farmer-friendly states, such as Iowa and Minnesota, which have no unionized livestock.

Watkins stated he wasn’t buying into the “hyperbole and speculative rhetoric” of the farmers who claim the union will destroy the dairy business in Wisconsin. Watkins called the union a “win-win” situation for the farmers and the cows “because everybody knows happy cows give more milk.”

Yale University law professor Ronald Kahler, a labor law expert, predicts the Wisconsin dairy cow union will be strong because the dairy cows will be virtually impossible to replace with scab cows. “This will be nothing like the failed egg-laying hens union formed in Arkansas in 2009,” which Kahler referred to as “an unorganized and ill-advised disaster.”  There, the egg farmers refused the hens’ demands and broke the union the day after the hens went on strike, by shipping in millions of replacement chickens.  Most of the union chickens were then sold to KFC, and the union disbanded less than three months after being formed.

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