The best analysis of Wisconsin that I have yet to read is here, by Charles K of the WaPo.
Note the emphasis on the free-to-choose theme: give people the ability to decide for themselves what is right or wrong from them. In this case, the issue relates to mandatory deduction of union dues from pay checks. When people are asked to make those payments directly, they don’t. Unions only win when they force people to participate. Wisconsin stopped that. Indiana stopped that. WI and IN gave people the right to choose. Unions lost. People won.
Here are the key paragraphs:
“The real threat behind all this, however, was that the new law ended automatic government collection of union dues. That was the unexpressed and politically inexpressible issue. That was the reason the unions finally decided to gamble on a high-risk recall.
Without the thumb of the state tilting the scale by coerced collection, union membership became truly voluntary. Result? Newly freed members rushed for the exits. In less than one year, AFSCME, the second-largest public-sector union in Wisconsin, has lost more than 50 percent of its membership.
It was predictable. In Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) instituted by executive order a similar reform seven years ago, government-worker unions have since lost 91 percent of their dues-paying membership. In Wisconsin, Democratic and union bosses (a redundancy) understood what was at stake if Walker prevailed: not benefits, not “rights,” but the very existence of the unions.”