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Wisconsin question
Old 02-20-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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I'm embarrassed to admit this but I'm a little lost as to what's going on with teachers right now. I know it has to do with losing money/jobs, but since having my daughter not long ago I RARELY watch the news or have time to read the paper. Can someone clue me in? I've seen posts on PT about supporting the teachers there, which I'm all for, I'd just like to know why I'm supporting them!

Please don't bash me for not knowing what's happening--I honestly would like to know the details. I just feel bad I don't know more already.


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In a Nutshell...
Old 02-20-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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In November, Wisconsin elected a new governor. His name is Scott Walker (Republican), and he was formerly the county executive of Milwaukee County. He didn't win by a landslide, but he won. Along with his win, state voters elected a Republican State Assembly and State Senate. This was pretty much a green light to the governor to propose what he wanted, and he would get it!

To make a long story short, Governor Walker is beginning to enlist the help of our Republican Assembly and Senate in proposing that Wisconsin state workers, including teachers, pay 12.6% of their health care, 5.8% of their retirement which is based on take-home pay, and lose all collective bargaining rights. The latter would mean workers would have no right to negotiate anything except salaries. There would be no bargaining on retirement, early retirement, or health insurance. Things like grievence mediation or arbitration, protection from discipline, suspension, or layoffs, and other permissive subjects would become void. Over the years, teachers and other public employees have taken benefits instead of raises. With this bill, these benefits would disappear.

Police and firefighters are not included in these cuts. Their unions supported Governor Walker in November.

Governor Walker and the Republican Assembly and Senate refuse to sit down and talk about any of these issues. Public workers have come to the conclusion that money contributions are a done deal, but would like to save collective bargaining. Still, the governor, senators, and assembly people refuse to have a conversation. Our governor's proposal was made on Friday, February 11, and he wanted it passed by Thursday, February 17...no debate, just pass it.

Last Monday, state employees began gathering outside our State Capital in Madison. The crowds have grown each day, and school districts have even closed because too many teachers called in sick. Many of those who called in went to march in Madison.

On Thursday, the day the State Senate was to vote, our fourteen Democratic Senators left the state. They knew if they stayed, there would be no debate. The bill would be voted on and passed. Instead, they had a meeting outside the Capitol and went to a hotel in Illinois. No one is likely to go get them from another state.

Crowds continue to grow...college and high school students, parents, and other union and non-union workers have joined the daily gatherings. We are talking tens of thousands of people! The estimated crowd on Saturday was 70,000! The Tea Party showed up on Saturday, but their numbers were few compared to the other group.

I hope this helps you understand what is happening. Wisconsin teachers at ProTeacher are finding so much support because in Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana, states with Republican governors, the same thing is happening/about to happen. What is happening in Wisconsin is bound to spread across the nation if someone does not take a stand!!
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:36 PM
 
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Connie--Thanks for explaining. I had seen all the news about rallies, and heard about the great opposition to the governor but I just didn't know exactly what he was trying to pass. That helps a lot. It's sad to see how government can have such control and make a decision that negatively affects so many people, especially teachers. I hope the protests are able to make some kind of difference!
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ConnieWI...
Old 02-20-2011, 03:36 PM
 
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nice job explaining things!
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Our Governors must be brothers
Old 02-20-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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In Florida, our new Governor (Republican) is pushing for the same things.


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ditto
Old 02-20-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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NJ has a nutcase gov also.
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Just wanted to add...
Old 02-20-2011, 04:07 PM
 
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Quote:
in proposing that Wisconsin state workers, including teachers, pay 12.6% of their health care, 5.8% of their retirement which is based on take-home pay, and lose all collective bargaining rights.
That union leaders have already agreed to all of the above, EXCEPT the loss of collective bargaining. Walker won't even talk to them. Obviously this has nothing to do with money and everything to do with union busting.

Another important detail: Despite Walker's continued claims that the state is "broke," their budget office continues to predict a surplus this year. I forget the figure but I think it's in the range of $120 million. Other sources say no, there's a deficit, but the ONLY reason there's a deficit is that in the month and a half since he took office, Walker gave the exact amount of the surplus away in tax cuts to big business. He deliberately forced a budget deficit in order to give himself an excuse to destroy unions, in other words.
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Old 02-20-2011, 04:25 PM
 
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Thanks Connie for the concise explanation. I teach in Ohio and we're definitely in the same boat. Watching and admiring what the teachers there are doing.

To the OP, don't be embarrassed. Good for you for finding out.
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Ohio
Old 02-20-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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I am a teacher in Ohio and we are forming a protest in our capital on Tuesday. This Bill will eventually effect ALL unions, not just the Teachers. We are a wonderful group of professionals. I am very proud to be a teacher.
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thank you for posting this!
Old 02-20-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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I was also looking for an explanation of what was going on in Wisconsin and thank you Connie WI for an excellent explanation. Also it was good to be informed that this trend is happening in other states!


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Old 02-20-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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Connie, you summed the situation up very well. The only thing I want to add is that only 4 local unions (each city/department has their own local union) supported Walker. 2 of them were the City of Milwaukee unions. The state unions for fire and police did not support him.
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:30 PM
 
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This bill contains a whole bunch of things, all bad as far as I can tell.

Walker wants to be able to appoint people to important goverment positions.
It affests poor, elderly, children, not just teachers, state workers and unions.

He did his best to give it hand it out and hope to vote on it before anyone saw it.

To late.
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