This was what they feared, the day when they would have to convince public sector union members to kick in union dues voluntarily and separate from payroll deduction.

While it is too early to say how successfu the unions will be, early signs are that there will be a cash drain, as reported by the Wisconsin State Journal:

Leaders of the major unions say it’s too early to talk about how many are  paying by writing checks or arranging automatic withdrawals from bank accounts,  but two locals contacted by the State Journal reported early successes and  continuing efforts to win 100 percent participation.

The local representing Jefferson County highway workers reported 70 percent  are on board with a $35 a month payment, while just under half of Grant County  support service workers have chipped in the $35 to $40 a month their local has  requested.

“The more we stand up and fight, the more we’ll get,” said Chris Marfilius, a  trustee for Grant County’s Local 918 of the American Federation of State, County  and Municipal Employees.

Marfilius said that some of her co-workers haven’t signed up because they  believe the union can’t do much now that state law limits collective bargaining  to cost of living raises, and forbids negotiations on anything else including  sick days, work hours, overtime or grievance procedures.

Participation rates of 50-70% may seem fine on the surface, but this still represents a loss of 30-50% of union income, and those number likely will dwindle over time.

This will not affect the current statewide political battles in the short run, since national unions (and those opposed to them) are putting in huge amounts of money.  The effect longer term will be damaging to the power of the local unions, once the national unions have moved on to national battles.