In Wisconsin, a bitter labor battle likely to alter national scene

Maybe it’s a hangover from the Super Bowl, but the folks up in Wisconsin have gone a little wacky on us.

Last Friday, GOP Gov. Scott Walker announced a surprise bill to immediately strip some 170,000 state and local workers — teachers, clerks, etc., — of their unionized negotiating rights as well as the right to deduct union dues from their paychecks. The legislation also mandates that unionized state workers pay significantly more for pension and health-insurance benefits. To justify the change, Walker has cited a $137 million projected deficit in the current state budget.

The announcement shocked the state labor movement, which has responded with large protests, demonstrations and sleep-ins at the Capitol.  Thousands of teachers have refused to report to class. President Obama has weighed in, saying that while pay freezes and other moves might be necessary in these times, the scale and intensity of Walker’s proposal make it look like “an assault on unions.”

And as it turns out, the projected deficit cited by Walker is largely the result of pro-business legislation that he and his fellow Republicans passed last month. (Republicans control the Assembly 60-38-1 and the Senate 19-14). As a Madison newspaper reports in an editorial:

“(The state’s) nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus.

In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.

To the extent that there is an imbalance — Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit — it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes — or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues — the “crisis” would not exist.”

The fiscal office report does indeed make those claims.

So a couple of hours ago, with the Senate about to vote on the measure, Senate Democrats just disappeared. Reports are they have fled the state altogether, but thems that know ain’t talking. And without at least one Democrat in the chamber, Senate Republicans don’t have a legal quorum and can’t take a vote. I guess you can say the Democrats have gone on strike.

The standoff is almost certain to have national consequences, potentially analogous in some respects to President Reagan’s decision to fire the striking air traffic controllers.

– Jay Bookman

663 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

February 17th, 2011
4:23 pm

the folks up in Wisconsin have gone a little wacky on us.

uh no, not “the folks,” but the lying governor and his GOP stooges, Jay.

The folks are making a spirited protest, the likes of which should shame the pathetically paltry turnouts seen by the astroturf TP habitues. The folks are making me bloody proud, actually; pity they didn’t turn out when they really needed to, in Nov. but that too can be corrected.

(But you know that.)

Paul

February 17th, 2011
4:25 pm

One can see it coming to this in other states. But only a $137 mill shortfall? That’s it? That’s what the fuss is over? ‘Course, then one gets into the circular “how much is too much before we act?” arguments. We’re in knots over a state deficit around $20 billion. Now, those are some education cuts.

Still, isn’t the issue if there are unfunded liabilities in this pension scheme? Current year coverage is one thing – what’s it look like 5, 10 years out? I understand that’s where the state angst is elsewhere.

stands for decibels

February 17th, 2011
4:25 pm

some good coverage of the goings-on here:

http://www.dane101.com/

(this blogger appeared on Sam Seder’s Majority Report podcast today, is the reason I happen to know.)

Kamchak

February 17th, 2011
4:26 pm

I guess you can say the Democrats have gone on strike.

Or gone Galt.

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:27 pm

Sounds so typical of the Republican party — create a problem then cite said problem as reason for attacking others that you disagree with. They do it all the time in order to have their way.

0311/0317 - 1811/1801

February 17th, 2011
4:27 pm

Headline: “What’s Next for Wisconsin and the Middle East?”

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:27 pm

The Dems look like idiots to people who are tired of paying to much in taxes….

josef nix

February 17th, 2011
4:28 pm

I know it won’t win me many friends among my liberal peers, but I’ve got a real problem with teachers not showing up or going on strike. There are some professions which have the public well-being in hand–police, fire fighters, and others among the. Teachers who do not put the students and their safety, well being and education above all else, well…let’s just leave it with, I’ve got a real problem with that…” It’s the same line of logic and moral compass I put on those furloughing teachers, etc.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:28 pm

“or gone galt”

you mean disrupting the process of democracy? Yep. Democrats are disgusting.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:29 pm

thanks jonix – I made the same point earlier today. Anyone concerned these kids aren’t currently getting an education? Apparently not those teachers on strike with very generous benefits, wages, and lifetime employment contracts and seniority protection.

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:29 pm

It looks as though we are going to need more moves such as this by the Dems in order to keep the underhanded Republicans in check. Good for the Dems.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:30 pm

I will support the teachers any way I can.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:31 pm

From the pervious blog, but pertinent here:

“Part of the Wisconsin hoopla is because unions are being asked to pay more for their pension and healt benefits. Hardly abuse. Hardly”

“Last Friday, GOP Gov. Scott Walker announced a surprise bill to immediately strip some 170,000 state and local workers — teachers, clerks, etc., — of their unionized negotiating rights as well as the right to deduct union dues from their paychecks. The legislation also mandates that unionized state workers pay significantly more for pension and health-insurance benefits.”

That’s just a TAD more then “being asked to pay more for their pension and healt benefits”

The abuse ALWAYS comes first.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:31 pm

Jay, don’t you at all find it absurd, ridiculous, and just abusive of the democratic process that a bunch of Democratic legislators disappeared so they can’t vote?

Makes me look forward to a possible government shut down when we hit the debt ceiling, if Dems want to engage in these kind of shenanigans.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:31 pm

The thieves want their money….

josef nix

February 17th, 2011
4:33 pm

jm

The teachers get about the rawest deal of any profession out there and believe me even the highest pay scales in the highest paid states are no great inducement to join the profession when you take into consideration the number of hours you have to put in to do your job and do it right…but, the kids come first, Either that or go find another job…

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:33 pm

As for teaching disruptions, I did not see our locals put forth every possible effort to get the kids in school when it snowed or to keep the teachers in the classroom when the money was not there without implementing a tax hike or a cut from some pro-business scheme, etc., so I would claim that anyone pointing a finger at those teachers up north need to take time out to reflect.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:33 pm

Go Wisconsin! Fight the good fight!

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:34 pm

You can look at it this way, they can make it up at the end of the year, just like snow days. Although you gotta see it from the teachers point of view, we lose today, we lose more tomorrow, we lose it all before long

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:34 pm

josef nix – some of the new pay for performance contracts pay even early teachers in excess of $100k including bonus in some states. Arne Duncan himself was bragging about that yesterday on CNN.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:35 pm

“I know it won’t win me many friends among my liberal peers, but I’ve got a real problem with teachers not showing up or going on strike”

Josef…in principle I agree, but the problem is when your principles are being used against you in order to abuse you. In this case, that is what would happen if they “stuck” to their jobs.

According to a news report I heard last night, the unions that supported the campaign of the new Wisconsin governor were EXEMPTED from the provisions of this “emergency” bill…but chose to support the walkout anyway.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:36 pm

Doggone

Are you in the union

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:36 pm

If you don’t like the deal in Wisconsin, go teach in another state. Simple as that.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:36 pm

“but, the kids come first”

What’s the matter, they don’t have parents?

stands for decibels

February 17th, 2011
4:37 pm

I will support the teachers any way I can.

As will I, even though my last union membership was many moons ago (and frankly, not all that wonderful an experience, personally–but that doesn’t change in any way my feelings about the basic belief in the ability of workers to organize and collectively bargain with management.).

Otherwise, well, like the pastor said: “Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up because I was not a trade unionist…”

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:37 pm

Those cowardly Republicans would deny their own children a basic education in order to give more to their business masters or take away from labor unions. The Democrats are doing the right thing by walking out in support of their constituency. It’s show time.

Jay

February 17th, 2011
4:37 pm

I’d agree with much of that, Josef. I don’t think public employees should have the right to strike; their ability to organize and vote for (or against) management already gives them influence that their private-sector counterparts don’t have. Because of the nature of their jobs, they also have a monopoly on the services they provide, which again gives them a power that their private sector peers do not have.

All that said, this is raw, ugly union-busting, as the attempt to strip the dues-paying provision demonstrates.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:38 pm

“I would claim that anyone pointing a finger at those teachers up north need to take time out to reflect.”

I agree…it’s not like they can never make up that “lost” time. And they’re getting a real example of “people power” in action. Quite a good lesson to be learning.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:39 pm

“Are you in the union”

None of your business

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:39 pm

If you want a vote in Wisconsin, move there. Otherwise, pick a side and show your support. I am with the Dems even though I have never been in a union and never will. I know they have just as much right to join forces and fight for what they believe in as any group of tea partiers or Koch snorters.

Bosch

February 17th, 2011
4:40 pm

“some of the new pay for performance contracts pay even early teachers in excess of $100k including bonus in some states”

Certainly not in this state….

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:41 pm

Too bad Republicans didn’t just walk out of the Senate and House when Obamacare rolled around. (If Congress has such a rule)

Kamchak

February 17th, 2011
4:41 pm

you mean disrupting the process of democracy? Yep. Democrats are disgusting.

I thought that Randians were all about the individual instead of the collective or the few instead of the many, but here you are defending the majority. Where is that vaunted exultation of the minority that stand up for principle?

Maybe that is suitable only for the pages of fiction.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:41 pm

Jm

Sure just up and leave the life you have built instead of fighting for your rights. Easier said than done, these teachers have a lot invested in the communities as Josef Nix has amply demonstrated on this blog with his touching and humorous stories

josef nix

February 17th, 2011
4:42 pm

Like I said, I don’t expect to win any friends with my opinions on teachers and striking/walking off the job.

Bosch

February 17th, 2011
4:42 pm

josef,

Are you required to give money to GAE? Or PAGE? Can’t remember which one, but the OB has (I think) $100/month taken out. Just curious if that was state wide.

Jay

February 17th, 2011
4:42 pm

As to the process and the Democratic manuever, jm, no it does not offend me. Announcing a change of this magnitude on a Friday and trying to pass it into law in less than a week is itself an abuse of process and a breach of faith. The GOP chose to play hardball power politics, and the Dems have done the same now.

Politics ain’t beanbag.

thomas

February 17th, 2011
4:42 pm

Those protesting need to be very careful of the type of rhetoric and kinds of signs they are using!

Why have we forgotten how mad we all were at crosshairs, and hitler comparrisons, or calls for acts of violence.

Why are these things the protestors are doing not being mentioned, and condemned?

I respect their right to protest, but whay was Palin insighting violence with crosshairs on district battles, yet these protestors have crosshairs over the govenors face!

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:43 pm

Bosch 4:40 “certainly not in this state….” presumably not

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:43 pm

” their ability to organize and vote for (or against) management already gives them influence that their private-sector counterparts don’t have.”

and I don’t agree. They can vote, not appoint. They have no more power than do employee shareholders in a private company have to influence who’s at the top

“Because of the nature of their jobs, they also have a monopoly on the services they provide, which again gives them a power that their private sector peers do not have”

and again, I don’t agree. There are still private schools and home schooling in this country. You don’t HAVE to send your children to public schools.

Paul

February 17th, 2011
4:43 pm

I’m reading the proposal calls for teachers to contribut 5.8% for retirement and 12.6% for health.

Then it gets muddy. Seems it’s supposed to be 11% for retirement but districts can override that. Also seems – saw one comment from a teacher – if they don’t contribute to retirement they lose the state match. My question is, how does one collect a retirement? Writer indicated they’d still get one but it would be smaller.

I’d have expected this in NY or Calif, where they have real problems. NY teachers have pensions exempt from state income tax. Calif – good friend’s a teacher, pays nothing for health insurance and was upset here copays for dr visits was going up to $40. Those states appear to be pretty generous, with generous salaries to boot, but no explosions there, yet.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:44 pm

None of your business

Just asking, you sound like a union man, obviously you are not.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:44 pm

Dudley 4:41 – when did it become a “right” to get a job in any state any place you want? This is insane…. I mean, liberals are insane.

Jay – when you can’t vote, that appears to be a violation of the voting process, which seems to be a violation of democracy. i hope the legislators go to jail.

Granny Godzilla

February 17th, 2011
4:45 pm

AN order of cheese for everybody on me!!!

ON WISCONSIN!

Jay

February 17th, 2011
4:45 pm

Doggone, I don’t think that argument holds up when you see the political influence of city workers on the Atlanta City Council, to cite an example.

stands for decibels

February 17th, 2011
4:46 pm

“some of the new pay for performance contracts pay even early teachers in excess of $100k including bonus in some states”

Certainly not in this state….

although that doesn’t stop people in this state from indulging in the usual wealth envy upon hearing such SCANDALOUS factoids. Oh noes! some professionals are actually compensated in a manner somewhat commensurate with what they might see at a similar level of experience and education in the private sector! weer dooooomed!

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:46 pm

“Just asking, you sound like a union man, obviously you are not.”

I cannot be baited into answering your question. It’s none of your business.

Paul

February 17th, 2011
4:46 pm

josef nix

Your 4:33 makes the point quite well. Give it time, though. Some awareness-deficient yet cliche-rich blogger will come on with “what do they expect for working six hours a day with three months paid vacation?”

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 17th, 2011
4:46 pm

Any effort to rein in the obscene, out of whack public employee union pay and benefit packages are welcomed by all Americans.

But not by Democrats. They’re still high on the rush from their Idiot Messiah’s spending binge.

Democrats: Un-American.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:46 pm

“You don’t HAVE to send your children to public schools.”

Jesus. Liberals are loco.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:47 pm

Doggone – I’m glad you’re an advocate for vouchers now.

“You don’t HAVE to send your children to public schools.”

josef nix

February 17th, 2011
4:47 pm

For the record, we will be in school making up one of those snow days on President’s Day…we will also have those days added to the calendar at the end of the year. The kids’ safety first, snow in Georgia not conducive to public safety, their classroom time not to be compromised…

JAY
Those are pretty much my sentiments as well, and, yes, this smacks of union busting..

BOSCH
Yeah, I’d like to see some of that $100,000 as I’m sure so would Miz B! :-)

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:47 pm

These people standing up and fighting back even though they are public employees is no worse than the Republicans threatening to shut down the government if they do not get their way. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Of course, if they stay out for a year, then the parents of those children might want to ask for the taxes back and maybe move to another state where their children can get a quality education on the cheap, like Georgia.

stands for decibels

February 17th, 2011
4:48 pm

Why have we forgotten how mad we all were at crosshairs, and hitler comparrisons, or calls for acts of violence.

you can relax–your corporate overlords have already started the disinformation campaigns about phony death threats on the Intertubes…

https://phoenixwoman.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/hey-vicki-mckenna-pics-or-it-didnt-happen/

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:48 pm

“I don’t think that argument holds up when you see the political influence of city workers on the Atlanta City Council, to cite an example”

the closer you get to your officials the greater the potential for influence. How much influence do those city workers have at the state level?

Jay

February 17th, 2011
4:49 pm

Ask ex-Gov. Roy Barnes about the teachers.

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:50 pm

Let’s entertain for a moment the idea this is union busting. So what? We live in a free labor market world. Why can’t teachers negotiate their pay on an individual basis just like everyone else?

If they don’t like the terms from the state, go elsewhere or go teach in private schools. Simple.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 17th, 2011
4:50 pm

Geithner says his Idiot Messiah’s plan is doomed to failure. With a straight face. Anyone who supports Obama is a tool.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:50 pm

Jm

I didn’t say it was a right. I just said your statement was a simplistic answer to a complicated question.

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:50 pm

I wonder if other states might consider adding on days in order to make up for missed days. What a novel idea.

Pogo

February 17th, 2011
4:50 pm

The thing in Wisconsin is a prelude to what is about to happen all over this country. When the money well runs dry, as it has in America and all of those that have been spoiled by the easy money provided by deficit government spending realize that they can’t get it anymore, chaos and anarchy will result. There just isn’t enough money to fund idealism and un-realistic social plans anymore. The states are broke and many of them are about to be downrated. In fact, the whole nation is broke and these people in Wisconsin are up there protesting because they are not willing to sacrifice not even one little thing because they trully are representative of what the average American has become which is greedy and self-serving and damn the good of the whole. They are willing to let the whole thing go down the drain just to have the entitlements provided in their previous union negotiations. Even the Auto Workers were willing to make concessions to the manufacturers but with the public workers unions that doesn’t seem to even come into play. The Government is both provider and the destroyer and it is increasingly becoming the latter. I am willing to give up my SSN payments and my medicare when I retire if the people and our government will just wake up and realize that they cannot keep going down the same abysmal deficit course they have been. Of course, I anticipated these days 25 years ago and have lived my life knowing that the moment of the great American default (and the anarchy it would bring) would come. I based my whole life upon knowing that when it came to having the so-called government “guarantees” (SSN, Medicare) that were supposed to be provided to everyone of us just because we existed and because we were American, they would not be there. Neither of these programs were ever designed to be permanent nor guaranteed but they have morphed into that.

Oh yes, protesting in the streets is so appealling to those that subscribe to what I call the “60’s” mentality which still exist even today. But make no mistake, if anyone thinks that what happened in Egypt is positive, which has spurred on protests all over including maybe even the Wisconsin one, they are fools. If you think that what is going on in Wisconsin is good, then you are a damned fool. That state’s Governor is trying to set his states books straight as best he can and the totally selfish public unions don’t want to give an inch. For those that are defending the protestors, have you even read what the Governor is asking from them? It amounts to even less than that that the rest of us in private sector have already been dealing with. Dark days are indeed headed our way. Be prepared. Thank God I don’t live in a big city.

I work in a very large and very technical industry and I can tell you that the product of todays American Public educational system, even with all the billions and billions of dollars we have spent upon them, are lacking in even the most basic skills needed to compete in the world market. When seeking new employees, we are seeing about 40% of applicants that can even have the reading comprehension to even pass the pre-employment tests, which are really, really basic. And out of that 40%, we see more than half of those that can’t actually pass the more detailed and stringent training required for the particular job which leaves us with hiring about 15% of the applicants that apply to us. America’s public education system is a dismal failure and no amount of money will help it.

Stephenson Billings

February 17th, 2011
4:50 pm

Guess they didn’t get the “civility” memo:

Scott Walker compared to Hitler.

“At yesterday’s demonstration against Scott Walker’s budget plan, Meade took this video of a woman with a sign portraying the Governor with a Hitler mustache. Meade conducts a short interview, then catches a young man with a bullhorn explaining that we need to tax the rich.”

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:51 pm

“I’m glad you’re an advocate for vouchers now”

Wrong

Bosch

February 17th, 2011
4:51 pm

“what do they expect for working six hours a day with three months paid vacation?”

Paul,

And I’ll add….I’ve NEVER met a teacher that fits that description. The OB works 12 a day on weekdays and at least 10 hours on any given weekend. And three months vacay? Whew, I’ll have to tell that story later….

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:51 pm

Jay 4:49 – exactly. They wield immense power, even in GA. Yet I have argued ad-nauseum with folks in this circle that just because GA teachers don’t have collective bargaining rights in this state, does not mean the GA Teachers association (a union) doesn’t wield immense power.

have fun wading through all the double negatives.

Paul

February 17th, 2011
4:52 pm

RE: union-busting. Municipalities and states are tied to their contracts. Many proposals call for revisions for new members, not for those already retired. That’s a problem. We’ve seen the ideas on how states, short of having a bankruptcy provision, could alter those contracts if the union did not want to revise terms. Rather looks like the Wisconsin governor has tried a new way.

I don’t think it’ll catch on.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:52 pm

“Ask ex-Gov. Roy Barnes about the teachers.”

If that was addressed to me, I asked about the Atlanta city workers…not the teachers

TaxPayer

February 17th, 2011
4:52 pm

I don’t see much support from the Republicans for lobbyist busting.

Jay

February 17th, 2011
4:52 pm

jm, your question assumes that there is something unethical or immoral about collective bargaining. And there isn’t.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:53 pm

Not baiting. It’s just that you are obviously not a union man, or if you are, then you are obviously ashamed of it. Done with you

thomas

February 17th, 2011
4:53 pm

stands for decibels

February 17th, 2011
4:48 pm

Keep up!

I didn’t say anything about death threats.

Only about the crosshairs.

Why was it an issue then and not now, when it has the gov.’s face with a crosshair on it?

Or are you supporting the crosshairs?

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 17th, 2011
4:53 pm

Your Idiot Messiah’s budget adds at least a trillion dollars to the deficit every year for the next decade.

Your Idiot Messiah said “We will not be adding more to the national debt”.

Your Idiot Messiah is an America-hating liar.

josef nix

February 17th, 2011
4:53 pm

Jay
@ 4:49

Yep. :-)

BOSCH
I do AFT myself and that’s my deduction..to tell you the truth, I have no idea how much they take out. The reason I belong is the lawyer thingie in case it’s ever needed, a sort of insurance policy.

Bosch

February 17th, 2011
4:54 pm

Pogo,

Um, I usually like to read your posts…..but a 12 inch post is a little much for this tiny liberal brain…

:-)

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:54 pm

“It’s just that you are obviously not a union man, or if you are, then you are obviously ashamed of it. Done with you”

Again, I can’t be baited. It’s none of your business.

Jay

February 17th, 2011
4:55 pm

Doggone, it doesn’t matter how much influence those city workers have at the state level. The state isn’t their employer, it doesn’t set their pay and it doesn’t hire or fire them. So I guess I don’t get the relevance of the question.

Terri

February 17th, 2011
4:55 pm

A little wacky? Oh really? Citizens coming out in droves to protect themselves, their fellow workers and children is “a little wacky”? I think your reporting is a little ‘wacky’. Show some integrity and respect Jay Bookman!

“Maybe it’s a hangover from the Super Bowl, but the folks up in Wisconsin have gone a little wacky on us.”

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:55 pm

Jay 4:52 – when the revenue source to pay your wages is (relatively) limitless, I do think there is something immoral about collective bargaining. Monopolies of any fashion are abhorrent to me.

I don’t like Microsoft any more than I like unions….

Kamchak

February 17th, 2011
4:56 pm

jm, your question assumes that there is something unethical or immoral about collective bargaining. And there isn’t.

Randians have this Pavlovian response to the word “collective.” Just sayin’.

Paul

February 17th, 2011
4:56 pm

Bosch

Like I said: awareness deficient and cliche rich.

Bosch

February 17th, 2011
4:56 pm

josef,

I couldn’t remember which one — but yes, it makes me chuckle to hear those screaming about the big bad teacher unions here

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 17th, 2011
4:56 pm

Nothing wrong with collective bargaining, as long as the employer is free to bargain with others besides the union.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:57 pm

If walker was serious about this then he should have done it the right way, through contract negotiations. My union just took a pay cut on our check to put it in our and welfare

stands for decibels

February 17th, 2011
4:57 pm

A little wacky? Oh really? Citizens coming out in droves to protect themselves, their fellow workers and children is “a little wacky”?

I really don’t think that’s who Jay was calling “wacky,” although i’ve already chided the man (ever so gently) about the potential for ambiguity in the lede…

Bosch

February 17th, 2011
4:58 pm

jm,

“when the revenue source to pay your wages is (relatively) limitless”

Yeah, which explains the furloughs and lay off teachers had last year. :roll:

AmVet

February 17th, 2011
4:58 pm

Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January.

Jay, do you have any details?

And it looks like your observation this morning about children at the adults table had zero effect.

What a shocker…

jm

February 17th, 2011
4:58 pm

Teddy Trustbuster would’ve been whacking away at the unions.

josef nix

February 17th, 2011
4:58 pm

There are no teacher’s unions in Georgia. Associations, yes, unions no. Teachers do not wield power so much as influence…there’s a sizeable number of them and there is still, believe it or not, some respect from the public for those in the profession as we can see from some of those blogging here…

BOSCH

Yeah, that “three months!”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 17th, 2011
4:59 pm

While we disagree on the merits of the proposed legislation, I think your essay generally fair and balanced, Mr. Bookman.

Wisconsin has a short-term opportunity to steal a lot of business from Illinois and the public-union-busting gambit is a smart move, for a lot of reasons, to maximize the opportunity. The smart way out of the democrat retreat would be for a single republican to declare himself a democrat and vote against the bill.

As to the national implications, I think you are undoubtedly right. Given so many states in the rust belt (and at least one near and dear to us) have daunting unfunded contingent liabilities attributable to state employee pension plans, success (or failure) in Wisconsin may have ripple effects all over. Your perceptive, and neutrally-phrased observation, is worthy Mr. Bookman.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
4:59 pm

“I do think there is something immoral about collective bargaining”

Please give us an example of a public sector union that has even ASKED FOR unlimited pay. I won’t ask you to prove the impossible…that one was ever successful in doing so.

Dudley (proud Union member)

February 17th, 2011
4:59 pm

Sorry, health and welfare

Stephenson Billings

February 17th, 2011
4:59 pm

“In addition to eliminating collective bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage — increases Walker calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector.

Republican leaders said they expected Wisconsin residents would be pleased with the savings the bill would achieve — $30 million by July 1 and $300 million over the next two years to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

[snip]

Under Walker’s plan, state employees’ share of pension and health care costs would go up by an average of 8 percent.

Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 17th, 2011
5:00 pm

Apologies; misplaced final comma @ 4:59 should have preceded “observation.”

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
5:00 pm

“If walker was serious about this then he should have done it the right way, through contract negotiations”

Oh but he IS serious…he’s serious about busting the unions

jm

February 17th, 2011
5:01 pm

“The smart way out of the democrat retreat would be for a single republican to declare himself a democrat and vote against the bill.”

That’s hilarious and a good idea….

Jay

February 17th, 2011
5:01 pm

Amvet, the fiscal office reports:

“More than half of the lower estimate ($117.2 million) is due to the impact of Special Session Senate Bill 2 (health savings accounts), Assembly Bill 3 (tax deductions/credits for relocated businesses), and Assembly Bill 7 (tax exclusion for new employees).”

jm

February 17th, 2011
5:01 pm

Doggone 4:59 – I never said they asked for unlimited compensation.

Tychus Findlay

February 17th, 2011
5:02 pm

@Lil Barry Bailout

Spot on.

Jay

February 17th, 2011
5:02 pm

Hilarious, if you say so. But a good idea, no.

They need 20 votes for a quorum. The Republicans have 19. They’d have to have one member divide like a paramecium to make it work.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
5:02 pm

“The smart way out of the democrat retreat would be for a single republican to declare himself a democrat and vote against the bill.”

If it’s a quorum issue? That usually means you have to have a certain percentage of bodies in the room. Simply changing sides won’t add any more people to the equation.