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

willydoit?

February 17th, 2011
11:11 pm

Southern Comfort:

I have to agree on that point. Provided you get out with your life, they are both pretty sweet retirement packages.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
11:11 pm

“Indeed , “One man’s meat etc etc etc” Yes some ‘meat’ is really challenging , but exciting and energizing to partake of”

Yes…but in a lot of ways I’m still more pragmatic about working than a lot of people. I never had any strong drive towards any particular job. And I only work because I can’t afford not to. So I’ve always taken the attitude that “this job” is paying my bills, so I might as learn it the very best I can and get good at it. I always enjoy doing something I’m good at, so in order to be of value to my employer I get good at whatever job I do.

But I make sure I stay away from a teaching job! I can teach the job I’m doing, but I couldn’t do teaching AS a job.

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 17th, 2011
11:12 pm

Del

I don’t have the figures in front of me but I believe the Army Air Corps had more casualties in Europe than the infantry. Maybe 0311 can shed some light on it.

Southern Comfort (E.O.I.)

February 17th, 2011
11:14 pm

Don’t you mean parent since liberals have worked tirelessly to destroy the nuclear family?

Nope. I meant parents. It does take an egg AND sperm to create a child.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
11:14 pm

“Don’t you mean parent since liberals have worked tirelessly to destroy the nuclear family?”

Hon, why don’t you relax, sit back, sip whatever it is your drinking at the moment and watch how the grown-ups have an adult conversation?

Adam

February 17th, 2011
11:15 pm

SoCo: i>It does take an egg AND sperm to create a child.

Bad example! Just sayin

Southern Comfort (E.O.I.)

February 17th, 2011
11:16 pm

I have to agree on that point. Provided you get out with your life, they are both pretty sweet retirement packages.

With guns falling out of student’s backpacks nowadays, I think the military have a better chance. They actually have training of what to do in live fire situations, and how to disarm or stop any impending threat. Most teachers lack even the basic skills in those areas.

I’m beginning to worry more about those in my line of work. So far, this isn’t looking like it will be a good year to be a law enforcement officer.

Reality Check Dawg

February 17th, 2011
11:17 pm

This is the first of many long days and nights between the union goons or free loaders as I call them vs. the American taxpayer who works in the private sector.

Screw every union and gov’t officail Dem or Repub who supports unions. They had a place in time many decades ago but today in a global economy they have little if no place.

We are going to start seeing these types of demostrations across our great country in the coming years, months and days like what we are witnessing in WI this week. We have no more money to give to these govt unions anymore, we are taxed to death to pay these lazy and worthless state and federal works. Unions have ruined this great country not helped it in any way. So bring it on union goons, the fall of your threating ways is near! Ha Ha Ha …

Scott

February 17th, 2011
11:17 pm

I once remember a guy named Barry telling Americans and the GOP elections have consequences? Hmmmmmm, now they want to quit and take the ball home and stop playing?

Typical Libs. Half the folks out there have no idea what is going on, just being paid $20 and a free lunch if they hold a sign for 8 hrs. What a joke. There are millions in that state that disagree with the protest, and only a few thousand protesting. Lets get some prespective here.

Del

February 17th, 2011
11:18 pm

H.D. I don’t know but I’ll go with that great professional baseball pitcher Bob Feller who once said, “my hero’s are the ones who didn’t make it back”.

Southern Comfort (E.O.I.)

February 17th, 2011
11:18 pm

How is that Adam? I took biology, and unless there’s something that has evolved over the past 10 years, it’s still the same process. Whether it’s done naturally or in a lab, it still takes a male and female contribution to create a child.

Doggone/GA

February 17th, 2011
11:19 pm

Time for hitting the sack. Night all

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 17th, 2011
11:20 pm

Here’s a site you guys might want to check out some time. Lists missing and dead from WWII, state by state and county by county, by name.

http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/ww2/army-casualties/

There is also a link there for Navy/Marines/Coast Guard

Nite all.

0311/0317 - 1811/1801

February 17th, 2011
11:21 pm

EDIMGIUSAFAD :

That’s true but we’re talking about percentages and volume.

You could be killed in a truck wreck in a supply unit but the odds are much higher that you will be killed by the enemy in an infantry outfit.

However, every life lost is just as mourned.

Del

February 17th, 2011
11:21 pm

Good Idea…Taps

JKL2

February 17th, 2011
11:22 pm

SoCo- Nope. I meant parents. It does take an egg AND sperm to create a child.

I said parent not baby daddy. Or did you mean an egg, a sperm, and a government check?

willydoit?

February 17th, 2011
11:23 pm

Good night. Thanks for the article and conversation Jay!!

Southern Comfort (E.O.I.)

February 17th, 2011
11:28 pm

I said parent not baby daddy. Or did you mean an egg, a sperm, and a government check?

Once again, nope. I meant parents. Every child born has a set of parents. Whether or not the parent is an active parent is a different story. However, all children have a set of parents. You can try to score partisan points, but biology is biology and no ideological rhetoric can change the facts of science.

The question remains: If we removed all of the teachers, who would educate our society? If it’s not homeschooling by parent(s), there will have to be a teacher involved.

0311/0317 - 1811/1801

February 17th, 2011
11:32 pm

Del:

I know it’s hard to belief but the Army Air Corps (8th and 9th Air Force) in the European Theater in WW II had more KIA than the entire Marine Corps.

1) The 8th Air Force in World War II
Stars and Stripes
Published: July 18, 2010

Number of members killed: 26,000

http://www.stripes.com/news/europe/uk/the-8th-air-force-in-world-war-ii-1.111450

2) World War II, 7 Dec. 1941 – 31 Dec. 1946 19,733 Marines KIA

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq56-1.htm

0311/0317 - 1811/1801

February 17th, 2011
11:33 pm

TAPS !

“After all, tomorrow is another day !”

JKL2

February 17th, 2011
11:34 pm

SoCo- The question remains: If we removed all of the teachers, who would educate our society?

Since there is no longer a nuclear family to nurture the child, that responsibility has been unfairly thrust upon teachers today. Liberals are the problem, not the solution. Until our country gets morally back on track it will continue it’s decline.

Southern Comfort (E.O.I.)

February 17th, 2011
11:39 pm

Since there is no longer a nuclear family to nurture the child, that responsibility has been unfairly thrust upon teachers today. Liberals are the problem, not the solution. Until our country gets morally back on track it will continue it’s decline.

Liberals are not the problem. Highly partisaned people such as yourself are the problem. Our country is not morally off track. The majority of this country is pretty centristic in beliefs. Unfortunately, partisans on both sides have hijacked the conversation, so you don’t hear from the centrists at all. Until the partisans shut their mouths and realize that their solutions are not the only solutions, we’ll keep chasing our tails instead of progressing as a society.

Southern Comfort (E.O.I.)

February 17th, 2011
11:42 pm

Time for me to call it quits myself…..

Adam

February 17th, 2011
11:49 pm

we are taxed to death to pay these lazy and worthless state and federal works.

Uh, no. Taxes are lower than they have ever been. Stop complaining about the taxes already.

Since there is no longer a nuclear family to nurture the child, that responsibility has been unfairly thrust upon teachers today

Even WITH a nuclear family, parents often thrust the responsibility on the teachers. A number of things happen when they do that, not the least of which is that the child doesn’t grow up knowing what the parents want them to know. Another thing that happens is the responsibility is given to the teacher, so when the child doesn’t perform as the parents would expect, then it’s the teacher’s fault.

GOPGuy

February 17th, 2011
11:53 pm

Jay,

You have your figures wrong, not that you care. The budget shortfall is not $137 million but $3.6 BILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be a liar & a fool, present the facts to your readers!

Adam

February 17th, 2011
11:55 pm

GOPGuy: Quite a big difference you have there. Do you have any proof?

Abrazos

February 18th, 2011
12:00 am

“Since there is no longer a nuclear family to nurture the child, that responsibility has been unfairly thrust upon teachers today. Liberals are the problem, not the solution. Until our country gets morally back on track it will continue it’s decline.”

Then I’m a little puzzled why the moral Red States have divorce rates WAY higher than the immoral Blue States. Maybe it’s because they have so much respect for marriage that they just don’t feel deserving of it. Yeah, that’s got to be it.

Night all. It’s been fun.

Hootinanny Yum Yum

February 18th, 2011
12:12 am

SoCo,

Regarding your earlier post, “Well, how do you feel about the military? Start at 18, retire at 38 with lifetime benefits.”

Aside from the obvious and inherent dangers of military service (death or disability from combat or peacetime training operations), some things to consider regarding the career Soldier’s, Sailor’s, Airman’s or Marine’s 20 year service.

1. Serving two to three, 12 month long remote tours away from your family and loved ones.
2. Moving every two to four years; which severely limits one’s ability to establish roots, provide some stability for your children or build up equity in a home.
3. Difficulty in pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees when you’re deploying every 12 to 18 months.
4. The cost of establishing a new “home” every two to four years.
5. The sacrifices your spouse makes to his or her career as they follow you in your career.
6. The increased likelihood of nagging little things like tinnitus, depression, and hearing loss when you “retire” at the ripe young age of 38.

Also, I believe some people have an overly inflated view of how many men and women actually retire from the military. You also assume the service is continuous; that service members don’t have breaks in service during their “20″ years. Also, there are different health programs for those who retire, depending on when they served. it can vary from free care for life to quarterly premiums similar to those payed by most everyone (albeit at a substantial savings).

Military service has it’s perks: travel, opportunity to learn a trade, pursue an education, serve your country and, if you’re fortunate enough, to draw a pension.

Don’t know if you’re in the Atlanta area or not. But if you are and have the chance, go spend a day at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center in Decatur. It might provide a different perspective on that “Start at 18, retire at 38 with lifetime benefits” perception.

GOPGuy

February 18th, 2011
12:19 am

The Original Get Real

February 18th, 2011
12:21 am

Unbelievable…all that is being asked is for public sector unions to pay something towards retirement and health care and it still significantly less than what the private sector pays. The governor was elected to clean up this crap and now he is doing it and he has the majority of Wisconsin behind him. If the teachers continue to walk out then they should be fired like Reagan did to the air traffic controllers in the 80s…

Hootinanny Yum Yum

February 18th, 2011
12:24 am

Oh, and SoCo,

If I had a chance to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

cs

February 18th, 2011
12:27 am

I’m gonna hold my nose and agree with the democrats on this one.

Left wing management

February 18th, 2011
1:41 am

Jay:

Looking ahead to tomorrow, any interest in a discussion of that latest candidate for national office whose campaign might not amount to diddly? :)

Really?

February 18th, 2011
2:06 am

Really these teachers are making 100k per year and pay nothing in healthcare or there pensions now they were asked to feel the pain like everyone else and they said uh no! Leave it to a liberal democrats to be the victim liberals don’t want to work they just want to show up and pick up there food stamps and welfare and add to the problem not be part of the solution! Remember to thank all the idiot liberal friends tomorrow for voting in the incompetent boob
In the white house I have never seen this country so divided this experimental presidency has been a complete disaster we need a leader in the oval office not a community organizer how emberrasing it must be to be a liberal today what a joke 2 years since stimulus and Libs still can’t come
Up with a legitimate defense of it another disaster the only good
Thing about all this chaos is that bozo the clown
Will be gone in little less than two years

ODDOWL

February 18th, 2011
2:58 am

“WORKERS OF AMERICA UNITE” The time has come for the over worked, under paid, victimized workers of America to rise up and join the mass protest demonstrations against the cutthroat corporate bosses, the greedy bankers and their bribed, lap dog Republican politicians. The rich and elite corporate boss has become an antique relic like the Dictators and the strong men in north Africa and the middle east. They harking back to a romantic past that has become obsolete in the 21st century. “Share the wealth, tax the rich, pay down the debt.”

gandalf, the Grey

February 18th, 2011
4:10 am

This is tight! I always thought Wisconson was a very liberal state…go Govenor!

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 18th, 2011
6:09 am

Paul
I kinda think you can say the Defense budget goes to support a whole lot of parasites. They just don’t wear uniforms.
——————————–

I hear this a lot, but mostly it’s from the libbtard left, who think anyone selling products/services purchased by the military is taking corporate welfare. I don’t get the feeling that you agree with that idiotic stance–I think you’re criticizing the duplicative, wasteful, home-district type pork spending that does sometimes happen, and I would agree with that.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 18th, 2011
6:12 am

The Wisconsin budget is 3.6 billion in the red and state workers aren’t willing to pay a dime for their health care?

Wisconsin public employee unions: Greedy.

TaxPayer

February 18th, 2011
6:18 am

CEOs and hedge fund managers are greedier.

TaxPayer

February 18th, 2011
6:21 am

who think anyone selling products/services purchased by the military is taking corporate welfare.

They do it for profit and that doesn’t say anything good about them and it is taking of tax dollars no matter how you try to paint it. Wasted tax dollars.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 18th, 2011
6:25 am

Idiot Messiah: “These folks are teachers, and they’re firefighters and they’re social workers and they’re police officers,” he said, “and it’s important not to vilify them.” Mr. Obama is right that he knows nothing about the bill because it explicitly excludes police and firefighters.
——————–

Another WTF, “acting stupidly” moment from your Idiot Messiah.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 18th, 2011
6:26 am

TaxPayer, thanks for ID’ing yourself as one of the capitalism-hating libbtards I spoke of earlier.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 18th, 2011
6:30 am

TaxPayer, government union employees take tax dollars too.

TaxPayer

February 18th, 2011
6:36 am

Lil BB worships an idiot messiah. What’s his name, Jim Jones. Charles Manson. Do you buff his shoes. By the way, that’s quite the ID you have — idiot messiah worshipper. And, what is a libbtard. Are there lots of them. Where do you find them. How many do you talk to in one day.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 18th, 2011
6:37 am

How many do you talk to in one day?
——————-

One, so far.

TaxPayer

February 18th, 2011
6:43 am

Standing in front of the mirror, Lil BB while you do that talking because I cannot hear a thing from you myself.

TaxPayer

February 18th, 2011
6:47 am

“Read my lips: We’re going to cut spending,” Boehner declared.

Now THAT’s funny. A Republican cutting spending.

TaxPayer

February 18th, 2011
6:53 am

If disapproving of people profiting off of war makes me a hater of capitalism in Lil BB’s Brain, then so be it. It’s still better than approving of profiting off of war.

Southern Comfort (E.O.I.)

February 18th, 2011
7:41 am

Hootinanny Yum Yum

Just like everyone else you overanalyzed my comparison. You obviously also did not read my subsequent posts either. That’s ok, I expected knee jerk reactions when I posted that, and I wasn’t disappointed either.

buck@gon

February 18th, 2011
8:08 am

10% of the nation is unemployed offiially. Double that number if you include underemployed, discouraged, out of work for many years. It’s even much more when you consider that young college graduates are going back home to live with Mommy and Daddy. Ex-students aren’t realizing the benefits of their education.

Teacher’s unions and union types want to have a (to borrow a phrase) hissy fit?

Fine, but don’t expect that you will be able to pull the whole rest of the country down into the third world just so you can get your benies, teachers. Don’t expect, liberals that you get to do this just to protect the illusion that you give a crap about the “common man”.

JKL2

February 18th, 2011
8:18 am

gandalf- I always thought Wisconson was a very liberal state

Unforunately the state is run by the Socialist republic of Madison and the Welfare state of Milwaukee. The rest is indians who pretty much stay to themselves and conservatives who get overrun by the metro areas in all the polls.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 18th, 2011
8:44 am

The Wisconsin showdown: Union members vs. American taxpayers.

Left wing management

February 18th, 2011
8:48 am

The Wisconsin showdown: Union members vs. American taxpayers.

Union members – American taxpayers. Unite against the plutocrats who are gutting your country.

Left wing management

February 18th, 2011
8:49 am

The Wisconsin showdown: Union members vs. American taxpayers.

Union members – American taxpayers. Unite against the neoliberals who are pillaging your country.

Mr. Right

February 18th, 2011
9:34 am

Wow them tea party demonstrators look like they are violent–oops that isn’t the tea party!!

Junior Samples

February 18th, 2011
9:50 am

well..the unions did practically bankrupt the airline and automobile industry. i’m sure barry doesn’t want to have anyone drop out of unions….they are sure to vote democrat.

Adam

February 18th, 2011
10:13 am

GOPGuy: Your link doesn’t work. :(

Really these teachers are making 100k per year and pay nothing in healthcare

Really? Suddenly being a teacher is quite lucrative! I think I’ll move to Wisconsin and be a teacher. 100k per year is much more than I could make entry level anywhere else.

Or could it be that figure is COMPLETELY MADE UP?

Libertarian

February 18th, 2011
10:16 am

I read yesterday that the bill only wanted them to contribute about $12 a week to their healthcare. If that is true then they need to suck it up. That is nothing.

I’m tired of teachers and their whining. I mean, so you make $40-$50k a year. Well guess what, you only work for MAYBE 9 months of the year and you have the best healthcare and retirement. Boo hoo.

Adam

February 18th, 2011
10:28 am

Libertarian: I heard yesterday that Google was in bed with the government and that liberals want an Islamist state caliphate everywhere. It must be true! You know, because I heard it.

GOPGuy

February 18th, 2011
2:39 pm

DLink

February 18th, 2011
4:59 pm

I’ve made it about 1/2 way through the comments and these are my thoughts.

There has been rioting in Greece, Tunisia has ousted their leader, Egypt has ousted their ruler, Iran is in lock-down, Iraq and Darfur in flames, Afghanistan overthrown, Democrats and Republicans fighting tooth and nail…. The world is in economic imbalance. When the masses cannot afford to feed their children, aka, a chicken in every pot, there is rebellion.

Theft, riots, burning… When the few win at monopoly, the others throw the board at them and on occasion kick them out of the house, because they have the numbers to do so. Class warfare is erupting throughout the world in the current economy. A few rich folks and lots of slave labor, and that has traditionally never ended well. Just my thoughts, on mulling this over.

independent thinker

February 18th, 2011
11:57 pm

Those so called public servants In Wisconsin need to kiss their union bosses goodbye. Any loyal Democrat should follow the beliefs of the most famous Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt about public workers unionizing. He basically said it was illegal and a violation of their duties as public servants.

Adam

February 19th, 2011
12:47 pm

independent: If Democrats followed Roosevelts idea of unions, and Republicans followed Reagan’s, then Democrats would be the ones who oppose unions and Republicans would want to keep them.