In Wisconsin battle, it’s not about the budget

You still can’t find a single Democratic state senator in the entire state of Wisconsin. All 14 of them remain in self-imposed exile in Illinois, and as long as they stay there, they can continue to prevent passage of a highly controversial bill that would sharply reduce benefits for teachers and other government employees and, more importantly, gut public labor unions.

It’s that second aspect of the bill that has drawn national and even international attention. As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

The bill would require most public workers to pay half their pension costs – typically 5.8% of pay for state workers – and in many cases at least 12% of their health care costs. Union leaders have said they are willing to accept those concessions, which total nearly $330 million through June 2013.

Under the bill, the unions could not bargain over anything but wages, would have to hold annual elections to keep their organizations intact and would lose the ability to have union dues deducted from state paychecks. Employees would no longer have to automatically pay union dues, but could choose whether they want to do so.

In other words, the unions are willing to swallow the economic demands. If givebacks are necessary to help balance the state budget in a time of crisis, the employees say they’re willing to do their part.

However, Gov. Scott Walker has refused to accept that offer and also refuses to negotiate with labor or Democrats. He doesn’t see this merely as a chance to win an important battle against organized labor; he sees it as an opportunity to win the entire war, forever, by stripping state unions of most of their power and influence. And if he succeeds, the implications for the labor movement nationwide would be profound.

At the moment, only five states prohibit collective bargaining by teachers and other public employees, as the map below demonstrates. Georgia is one of the five. (Note: The right to bargain collectively does not imply the legal right to strike in many states.)

workermap-1

Teachers unions in particular have long been a favorite target of conservatives, with a lot of people blaming unions for poor classroom performance. So the map above made me curious: How does the ability of teachers to form unions and bargain collectively correlate to classroom performance? If strong teachers unions truly do hamper education, the five states that ban collective bargaining by teachers ought to rank fairly high in educational performance.

Here are the numbers for the five states in question, plus Wisconsin, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, given annually across the nation to fourth and eighth graders.

naep2

naepga2

Texas, North Carolina and Virginia are roughly at the national average. Georgia and South Carolina trail in most categories. Wisconsin does very well.

Here are the state rankings for average SAT scores for the six states in question:

Wisconsin 2
Virginia 33
North Carolina 39
Texas 45
Georgia 47
South Carolina 48

The numbers above might be a little misleading, given that most Wisconsin seniors take the ACT rather than the SAT. Then again, Wisconsin ranks second on the ACT as well.

– Jay Bookman

618 comments Add your comment

Lord Help Us

February 21st, 2011
9:35 am

Nice graph…reminds me of the one that shows that the reddest of the red states are also the biggest recipents of federal largesse…

Normal

February 21st, 2011
9:39 am

I am neither opposed or for Unions. I understand their value and laud their efforts to keep work places safe. I am at a loss to understand the Wisconsin Governor’s putting a “Union Busting” rider on a budget bill? Seems to me they should be discussed/voted separately, but I guess that’s why I’m not Governor of anything but my family…when my wife says it’s OK… :)

Granny Godzilla

February 21st, 2011
9:39 am

Why is collective bargaining good for my classroom?

Here are multiple examples of why collective bargaining is necessary for schools in America.

Collective bargaining is about:

- boards and associations desiring to incorporate such understandings into written collective negotiations in the belief that such action is in the best interests of the residents, the students attending school therein, and the teachers represented by the association

- a mutual covenant between two interested parties

- fair employment practices

- prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, marital status, age, weight, political activities, sexual orientation or membership in association or other employment organizations

- protecting employment standards and working conditions

- ensuring that qualified professionals are working with students

- allowing for teachers, parents, staff, and students to have a say in curriculum development

- giving teachers and school staffs grievance procedures, due process, and just cause for firing

- protecting the personal property of teachers

- allowing school employees to view and manage their personnel file, and remove any inflammatory or potentially damaging information

- giving employees a say in staff development

- encouraging professional growth and advancement

- ensuring that administrators follow the rules when evaluating staff

- giving staff a say in class-size and balance

- ensuring that staff has a role in school improvement

- setting standards of professional responsibility, obligations to students, a code of ethics, obligation to the public, and disciplinary action, if needed.

From Daily Kos

This is a GREAT video

Lord Help Us

February 21st, 2011
9:40 am

I am torn on the issue of collective bargaining for federal, state and local employees. This ability seems to have been used as a lever that is unavailable to most citizens.

The thought of taxpayer money being cycled through union dues and into PACs and special interest lobbying is tough to swallow.

lovelyliz

February 21st, 2011
9:44 am

@Lord Help Us
It has been that way for a long time. A conservative I knoiw tried to just ify those numbers by blaming the miltary bases and welfare recipienrts. As if there are no miltary basis in the rest of the country and evidently, no poor people either.

Normal

February 21st, 2011
9:45 am

Good morning Granny G!

A great post!

Did you see downstairs that I’m going to be a three time Great Grandpa come September? Like I said below…another left wing liberal born into the world. Life is good.

Keep up the good fight!

February 21st, 2011
9:45 am

As the unions have agreed to accept all financial concessions in the proposed bill and the governor still insists that the anti-union provisions for the selected unions that did not politically support him are required, it is obviously that this is not about budgets, education or taking away the right of employees to unionize….this is about Republican politics against working people and the middle class.

Interesting graph Jay…..

AmVet

February 21st, 2011
9:46 am

That Dixie does so abysmally awful in educational rankings is more than likely a cultural problem. Not an institutional one.

Though given that, and many other graphs, facts, data sets and evidence, right-wing politics sure seems to exacerbate the issue.

In the Midwest, Northern Plains, West and Northeast, education is generally highly valued at the family level. And is regarded in high esteem at the local and state level.

Here?

Hmmmm…

I think the Republicans are just enraged that there are no Conservative Arts degrees to be had! LOL…

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
9:47 am

“The thought of taxpayer money being cycled through union dues and into PACs and special interest lobbying is tough to swallow”

Once it is paid to the employee it is no longer “taxpayer money” – it is EMPLOYEE money.

Del

February 21st, 2011
9:47 am

“In other words, the unions are willing to swallow the economic demands. If givebacks are necessary to help balance the state budget in time of crises.” Jay, could you identify and quote the union leaders who indicated that the membership is willing to “swallow the economic demands”? I haven’t read any reports of such willingness. When you see what these union protesters are putting on their signs that they’re waving around I’m sure many parents in Wisconsin wouldn’t want them back in the classroom. Public labor unions have no business in the federal, state or local government. These people are paid by the taxpayers.

One Nation Under educated

February 21st, 2011
9:48 am

Why would one political group glorify willful ignorance?
What is gained by that?
How does that help our children?

Wingnuts, whats it like to just, have no shame? no remorse

cranky old man

February 21st, 2011
9:49 am

The public sector is the last bastion where unions are, more or less, immune from the traditional tactics of union busting employers: 1.) outsourcing; 2.) off-shoring; 3.) illegal labor; and 4.) moving operations to more “business-friendly” states.

1.) Although certain government functions can be outsourced to private contractors, many others cannot. And many of those functions that have been outsourced probably should not have been (prisons, “charter” schools, student loans), because the much touted efficiency and cost savings of the private sector have either failed to materialize at all or been lost to corruption.

2.) Off-shoring government functions to China or India would create obvious political problems, although I’m sure some city, state, or local government comptroller somewhere is working diligently at finding a way to slip it past the political process.

3.) As with off-shoring, hiring illegal immigrants as teachers, police officers, or DMV clerks would be politically problematic.

4.) It would be a headline worthy of The Onion if, say, California or New York, were to move all government functions to Alabama in order to take advantage of cheaper labor costs and “right-to-work” laws. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t crossed someone’s mind, of course.

What the right wingers ultimately hate about public sector unions is the bad example they set for the private sector. Public workers have so far been spared most of the indignities that have been heaped upon their private sector counterparts over the past 30 years or so, particularly at the lower rungs of the ladder. Private employers fear that some day their arsenal of union busting weapons (see above) will not be enough to fend off the demands of their lower skilled employees to be brought back to the same level as their public sector equivalents. So far, of course, it hasn’t worked out that way. Many of those private sector workers who have been most hurt by the race to the bottom over the last 30 years are loyal audience members of Rush Limaugh and Fox News. They have been worked up into a fit of indignation at the thought of having to pay higher taxes to support the “lavish” benefits of public sector workers, even as they’ve seen their own wages, pensions, and health care benefits diminish.

Georgia Boy

February 21st, 2011
9:49 am

What are you tryin’ to say, Jay. I like the pictures though. Is that something about the states that plan on seceding.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
9:49 am

Right. In Wisconsin it’s about those racist, bigoted Tea Partiers who walk around protesting with signs calling people Hitler, Mussolini, Mubarek, and talking about how an elected official is “raping” them. And these are just a few of the mean spirited messages being conveyed by those “neo con” Tea Partiers.

Oops…..my bad. It’s left leaning “progressive” teachers and union officials spewing the hate.

kayaker 71

February 21st, 2011
9:50 am

“Unions are willing to swallow the economic demands” ……”If givebacks are necessary to balance the state budget, the unions are willing to do their part”. I keep remembering the You Tube video of Chris Christie debating the union teacher in NJ. He asked the unions for some minor concessions regarding health care premiums and self donations to their retirement plans. The answer? Not no, but hell no!! The unions blatantly refused to concede a single thing. Only when their backs were pushed to the wall were they even somewhat cooperative and understanding of the problems the states have in funding their demands. If there was not a budget crisis, they wouldn’t be having this debate. But if that’s the way they want it, perhaps the time has come for their demise.

Zedd

February 21st, 2011
9:51 am

The Dems and the unions can make some concessions now or face even harsher terms later when the state declares bankruptcy and then all their union contracts will be considered null & void. Pick your poison! It’s not so much an all out assault of unions that Jay and the liberal media would have you believe. Fire all the teachers that called in sick and forced school cancellations too!

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
9:51 am

stands for decibels

February 21st, 2011
9:51 am

Jay, remember, awhile back, when I laid into you for failing to fully back the Employee Free Choice Act? How I said, “if you give these b@sta@rds an inch, they’ll take a mile?”

Chickens, roost, etc.

/drive-by

Granny Godzilla

February 21st, 2011
9:54 am

Normal

What wonderful news!!!!

Congratulations.

My 87 year old Pop is with us for what we are calling “Grandpa’s Winter sleep away camp” and watching him with Baby G, his 13th great grandchild has been such a blessing.

Life is good.

Keep up the good fight!

February 21st, 2011
9:56 am

Public labor unions have no business in the federal, state or local government

Certaintly an opinion that not everyone holds. Interestingly, enought, the WI governor would leave in place those who politically supported him. So apparently to the WI governor some public employees are deserving of unions

Granny Godzilla

February 21st, 2011
9:59 am

Keep

And the unions that Gov Walker would allow to remain….support the protesters.

America is pretty great.

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
9:59 am

“could you identify and quote the union leaders who indicated that the membership is willing to “swallow the economic demands”? ”

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council
Marty Beil, executive director of AFSCME Council 24

“said in a conference call with reporters that workers will do their fair share to narrow Wisconsin’s budget gap”

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_a05349be-3be1-11e0-b0a1-001cc4c002e0.html

AmVet

February 21st, 2011
9:59 am

No wonder, right wing bloggers say the stupidest things.

They parrot Ronald Dumsfeld, the most deadly, incompetent screw up at his job since Robert McNamara

That man should be waterboarded and then made to publicly apologize to the American people for being such a grade A loser.

And, more importantly, to those 5,000+ American families…

andygrdzki

February 21st, 2011
10:00 am

From the Capital Times, a report from Todd Berry. : True, this year’s deficit is the largest ever reported. But it is the fifth consecutive year that the GAAP shortfall exceeded $2 billion and the ninth that it has topped $1 billion. We have not had a recession every year since the late 1990s. This recession didn’t really get under way until early 2008.
Even more troubling than the size of the deficit is its trend. Since 1999, the shortfall has grown in every year except one: $830 million in fiscal 1999, $1.21 billion in 2000, $1.48 billion in 2001, $2.24 billion in 2002, $1.93 billion in 2004, $2.12 billion in 2005, $2.15 billion in 2006, $2.44 billion in 2007, $2.50 billion in 2008, and now, $2.71 billion in 2008-09.
Wisconsin has only 5.6 million residents. When 2007-08 deficits are compared on a per capita basis, the Badger State had the largest GAAP deficit in the nation ($445 per person), followed by Illinois ($305), Maine ($181), and California ($113).
And let’s talk about student to teacher ratios in Wisconsin… they range from 8 to 1 to a high of 18 to 1. There was even one district with a ratio of 4 to 1….. Not too bad….. a lot of teachers…. And if you look at the average numbers of students to teachers, looks like about 15.1 to 1. The student teacher ratios for the states you mentioned are:
WI 15.1 to 1
VA 13.2 to 1
NC 15.1 to 1
TX 15 to 1
GA 15.7 to 1
SC 15.3 to 1
I think there are bigger issues to address the wide disparity between rankings and results.
From MONEY at CNN…
Under Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s plan, many state and local workers would pay about 5.8% toward their pension and about 12% of their healthcare benefits. They currently pay little toward their retirement benefits about about 6% of their medical premiums, Walker said.
Walker says these changes would help the state save $30 million in the last three months of the current fiscal year. Wisconsin is facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit for the biennium that starts on July 1, according to the state’s Department of Administration.
Even more controversial, Walker is looking to limit collective bargaining for most public employees to wages only. Local law enforcement and fire employees, as well as state troopers and inspectors would be exempt.
That means health care and pension contributions would no longer be subject to contract negotiations, giving state officials greater freedom to raise them.
Looks like the Teachers and State and locals workers have a sweet deal….. How many of us have the same plans…… And they want us to support them……
Dems leave the state and teachers are using phony medical excuses – can’t fire them as they are Union, well the teachers any way….
And if you listened to NPR Radio this morning, they discussed why the removal of collective bargaining is needed….. As I understand it, it requires a two step process…..

Del

February 21st, 2011
10:00 am

Evidently, FDR didn’t support public employee unions.

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:02 am

Hey look, FACTS!

This is funny: If strong teachers unions truly do hamper education, the five states that ban collective bargaining by teachers ought to rank fairly high in educational performance.

It’s almost unfair, since they are all southern states. However, there is strong evidence that teacher’s unions either don’t hurt or actually help students, rather than the other way around. There is, however, NO credible evidence that teacher’s unions cause problems in education, except to cause (very minor) damage the pocketbook of the state.

With all the things that get vilified in the name of saving money, it almost makes me wonder if the people who keep calling for cuts in education, health, and the like are willing to pay for ANYTHING.

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
10:02 am

“Interestingly, enought, the WI governor would leave in place those who politically supported him”

and those same, exempt, unions are out there supporting the others every day!

jt

February 21st, 2011
10:02 am

I still say………………………..

it isn’t a union if you are using tax-payer money. Unions are fighting a losing battle when they involve themselves with tax-payer money.
Could this be intentional?

This issue should be left up to the ballot.
Not extortion.

Still hoping my local police stage a sympathy “sick out”…And every Federal agency that starts with a letter of the alphabet.

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:03 am

Del: Reagan DID support unions. I think perhaps the tables have turned a bit. And your hero was president a lot closer to our timeline than our last true war president.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:03 am

AmVet
February 21st, 2011
9:59 am

I did not “parrot” Rumsfeld. You obviously read just part of the article. I just think it’s hilarious that some in the “unbiased” media, such as Crowley, continue to chant the 2008 election talking points mantra.

Lil' Barry Bailout

February 21st, 2011
10:04 am

The public employee union maggots have eaten all the way to the bone. When these parasites have collective bargaining power, the only folks missing from the negotiations are those paying the bills–Americans. This rigged game needs to stop, and all Americans hope that Governor Walker is successful in busting the union.

Public employee unions: Un-American. Parasites.

Del

February 21st, 2011
10:05 am

“said in a conference call with reporters that workers will do their fair share.”

I wonder what their definition of “fair share” means? Sounds like P/R disinformation to me.

Jay

February 21st, 2011
10:06 am

Del, from the Wisconsin State Journal:

“Top leaders of two of Wisconsin’s largest public employee unions announced they are willing to accept the financial concessions called for in Walker’s plan, but will not accept the loss of collective bargaining rights.

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, and Marty Beil, executive director of AFSCME Council 24, said in a conference call with reporters that workers will do their fair share to narrow Wisconsin’s budget gap.

“We want to say loud and clear — it is not about those concessions,” Bell said. “For my members, it’s about retaining a voice in their professions.”

The two insisted their positions have not changed and Friday’s call was intended to clarify their opposition to Walker’s proposal. Bell, who represents 98,000 educators, and Beil, whose council includes 60,000 members, repeated calls for Walker to sit down with them.

Senate Democrats also reached out to Walker, sending him a letter urging him to remove the bargaining provisions from his bill.

But Walker repeated that he would not back down.”

Jimmy62

February 21st, 2011
10:07 am

FDR, god of the left and the American welfare state, was vehemently against public sector unions. And for good reason. These people say they are all about the children, yet they are currently preventing the children from getting an education because they want things the rest of us don’t have. And who are they negotiating against? The people of Wisconsin pay their salary, and the people of Wisconsin elected a guy who campaigned as being a hardass who would cut spending.

The Wisconsin reps who fled the state have abandoned the jobs they were elected to do. There should be special elections held to replace them with people willing to do their jobs. This is an assault on democracy. We were told over and over again after Obama won that elections have consequences. They certainly do, and now we’re seeing the result of the choices made in November last year. Too bad the left becomes anti-democratic when people choose something the left doesn’t like.

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
10:07 am

“I wonder what their definition of “fair share” means? Sounds like P/R disinformation to me.”

“One of the missing Democratic state senators, Jon Erpenbach, said all state and local public employees — including teachers — have agreed to the financial aspects of Walker’s requested concessions on paying more for employee health care and pensions.

“In return they ask only that the provisions that deny their right to collectively bargain are removed,” Erpenbach said. “This will solve the budget challenge.”

http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/02/21/wisconsin.budget/index.html?hpt=T2

kayaker 71

February 21st, 2011
10:09 am

For far too many years, the scenario has been, you support my demands, I will see that you get our votes. Unions have intimidated non members by insisting on an open vote instead of closed vote proceedings to be able to see how others voted and then harass those who did not cooperate. Union dues have been deducted directly from paychecks and not voluntarily. Just imagine the legalized bribes (PAC contributions) that have originated from unions such as these to politician’s re-election campaigns. The average teacher’s salary in NJ was around 59K/yr. This is for working a 9 month year. Pro rate that over a 12 mo year and the salary equivalent is about 79K. Then throw in free health care, no funding of your retirement plans and collective bargaining and you have a pretty sweet deal. No wonder teacher’s unions kiss the a** of every politician that runs.

arnold

February 21st, 2011
10:09 am

Thank God for South Carolina. :-)

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:10 am

I don’t think Jimmy62 read the article before posting….

LBB: The Internet is partially government subsidized. You should get off the Internet if you don’t want to be a parasite. You don’t want to be a parasite do you?

Mary Elizabeth

February 21st, 2011
10:11 am

On The Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC, 2/18/11, Rev. Jesse Jackson said regarding the situation in Wisconsin, “Teachers are being used as scapegoats in a broader economic scheme.”

I think the words, “economic scheme” were well chosen by Jackson. And, the word “broader” implies that political forces greater than those simply in Wisconsin are at work.

BTW, the five states that disallow unions are Old South states, which have traditionally been paternalistic towards teachers. (In 1970, female teachers could not wear slacks to school unless they wore tops that covered their hips. I was part of that, so I know firsthand.) Paternalism treats teachers (and minorities) as childlike. If teachers cannot think or react as a equal adults, how can they feel free to teach children to think for themselves – the essence of intellectual curiosity?

Only after NYC teachers struck for higher pay in the 1960s were they given decent wages, but more importantly, they were finally afforded respect.

AmVet

February 21st, 2011
10:11 am

No offense meant, Lamp.

I wanted to post that Dumsfeld nonsense yesterday.

The man is a complete disgrace and an inveterate liar.

The point made in that report you linked is classic, though. Classically dumb.

So let’s see if I have this correct. All the lunatics in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Islamohomicidal havens don’t like BHO.

Zooks!

It would seem that would make you unhappy.

Why not ask our historical allies who they respect? The current CiC or his predecessor.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to know the result of that survey, huh?

Though in one way, they must have loved George.

They didn’t have to send their sons and daughters to die for nothing, because the rogue cowboy and toy soldier morons sent almost all of them in his coalition of the willing. Kids from Milwaukee and Miami and Memphis and…

harvey

February 21st, 2011
10:12 am

So much for the future of democracy when a bunch of pouting politicians can pull out of their duties. They should be recalled and replaced. The governor might just want to give up on this compromise, and fire about 7000 of those teachers, reducing the government payroll that way. Then people would moan about that too, but hey, somethings got to give.

Jay

February 21st, 2011
10:12 am

Del, it’s not a point in contention. Everybody in Wisconsin from the governor on down understands that the unions are willing to accept what Walker has demanded from them in terms of economics.

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:12 am

kayaker: Unions have intimidated non members by insisting on an open vote instead of closed vote proceedings to be able to see how others voted and then harass those who did not cooperate

There’s something wrong with open voting now? Actions have consequences and people SHOULD be held accountable. You’re acting like unions are mafias, and that’s just not the case. They don’t go around breaking people’s legs for not voting their way.

Del

February 21st, 2011
10:13 am

Adam, How Reagan dealt with the air traffic controllers was close to our time line. “last true war president.” The thousands who’ve died in wars since WWII and those who have in our present war would be glad to know that that they really weren’t fighting in a true war and that it was all make believe. They all could come back to life with that good news.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:13 am

AmVet
February 21st, 2011
10:11 am

Would you consider the leaders of France in Germany in that mix?

AmVet

February 21st, 2011
10:13 am

Also, hysterical is how the right wingers now almost magically seem to respect FDR’s judgment.

Good, because I have a whole lot of other info regarding him, they can now respect.

LOL…

larry

February 21st, 2011
10:14 am

From the Milwaukee Journal……………………….

Walker pushed through new tax breaks, mostly for business, that add about $140 million to the deficit. We question the utility of some of the breaks, especially adding $25 million to the already underused state Economic Development Tax Credit program. The break for health savings accounts, while a good idea, didn’t have to be done now. We’d rather see more focus on existing business clusters and promoting innovation.

Repeal those tax breaks and there is your 30 million shortfall for this year taken care of.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 21st, 2011
10:14 am

Good morning all. We agree with the headline, but the rest of the essay uses the standard flawed-leftist” correlation is causation” argument, as if unions have anything to do with the performance of the teachers in the classroom. Tell that to Chicago and DC and Atlanta and Los Angeles and Philadelphia and inner city Boston and East St. Louis. (Or maybe Jay is arguing that unions make a beneficial difference only in white suburbs?).

On the hand, I do agree that the democrat-sponsored action has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with overturning democracy. Gov. Walker ran on a platform of restoring the budget of Wisconsin to a sound basis, and the mob-intention is to subvert that promise. The intelligent solution to the “unrest” would be for Gov. Walker to follow the PATCO example.

AmVet

February 21st, 2011
10:14 am

Historical allies. Who do you pray tell, think they are?

Libya and Yemen?

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:15 am

Del: We call our current conflicts wars, but WWII was the last true “war.” Congress has not declared war on another nation since.

Murph

February 21st, 2011
10:15 am

I have no sympathy for Unions that protect bad teachers. However, a good teacher/employee who is mistreated/fired/demoted unjustly deserves due process. It’s the American way. Right now, as it appears, this right would be taken away if the Governor gets his way. It’s easy for us to sit in judgement when we’re not involved, and denigrate the protesters as “maggots” and “parasites”. It’s quite another when we’re the ones treated unjustly, when we get fired unjustly. Those of you supporting the governor now may someday find yourself in such a situation, but without recourse, other than spending money you don’t have on a lawyer. Jay’s right. This is NOT about budgets.

TaxPayer

February 21st, 2011
10:15 am

I thought Walker (R) was threatening to cut 6000 jobs if those meanie teachers did not listen to him stomp his little footsies. Well, he should put up or shut up. The little wimp.

Jay

February 21st, 2011
10:16 am

Sorry sfd. Card check is wrong. Union elections should be a secret ballot process and people should be free to vote their own conscience, free of intimidation and coercion from either side.

Walker’s extremism should not be used to justify extremism on the other side.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 21st, 2011
10:16 am

Dear Jay @ 10:12, good morning, we agree that the unions are insisting on their “right” to compel acceptance of constrictive work rules and the closed-shop, as those and “sick outs” are the means of undermining intelligent management of the schools.

Del

February 21st, 2011
10:16 am

Jay, I haven’t seen or read specifics about their willingness only vague reference, such as what you’re reporting. Where are the quotes?

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:17 am

Ragnar: Gov. Walker ran on a platform of restoring the budget of Wisconsin to a sound basis, and the mob-intention is to subvert that promise.

Guess you missed the memo about how he RAMMED THROUGH bills that broke his promise.

Jimmy62

February 21st, 2011
10:17 am

Few of us care much about FDR, but since he gets quoted a lot by the left, I thought it only fair to mention his opinion on this. It’s not really fair of you guys to ignore everything you disagree with. Sort of like how the left likes to ignore the bad stuff about JFK, like how he got us in to Vietnam, how his father bought him the presidency (something people whined a lot about GW Bush for) using ill-gotten gains from criminal enterprises, how he screwed up Cuba and brought us to the brink of nuclear war because he just wasn’t that good of a diplomat, stuff like that.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:17 am

AmVet

By the way, I was just posing the question on France and Germany. I haven’t hosted a State dinner in ages and haven’t actually talked with various foreign leaders. You, however, must talk with them regularly.

Again, read the article. Crowley said Obama wasn’t disliked in foreign countries like W. She didn’t say which ones.

MPercy

February 21st, 2011
10:18 am

Lord Help Us @9:35 am “Nice graph…reminds me of the one that shows that the reddest of the red states are also the biggest recipents of federal largesse…”

By far the largest recipient of federal largesse is the District of Columbia. Our state of Georgia is well to the red end of the spectrum, but is essentially a break-even state where we “receive” almost exactly $1.00 in federal money for every dollar collected from Georgia residents. Some years it’s $0.98 and some years it’s $1.01, but for the last 20 years or so it’s averaged right at $1.00.

As for California and NY being “ripped off” by receiving only 85 cents on the dollar, well, a goodly percentage of the US’s millionaires live in either NY or California. There are over one million millionaires in those two states alone (over 368,000 millionaires in NY and over 663,000 millionaires in California), and we want to tax the rich, right? So it seems like that’s working out exactly as planned.

@@

February 21st, 2011
10:18 am

For 12 of the 13 years I’ve worked at my school (private), we had no sick pay, vacation pay, health insurance or investment opportunity. The total workforce? 15.

We sat down with our administrator and were able to get three of the four. No vacation pay since we’re off during the summer months.

Collective bargaining without having to pay union dues.

Never, would we consider walking away from our little charges. Their future is too important to us.

Though, I will say,…..sick pay has resulted in more absenteeism so I’m not sure it was a good thing.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 21st, 2011
10:19 am

Dear Adam @ 10:17, good morning, yes I missed everything suggesting that Gov. Walker rammed through bills that would explode the sound economics of Wisconsin. Thought sure that was the prior democrat administration.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:19 am

TaxPayer
February 21st, 2011
10:15 am

“The little wimp.”

Such decorum you bring to the debate.

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
10:20 am

I thought about this issue some during a long drive this weekend, and one thing I realized is that if Gov. Walker succeeds in this union busting plan…one result is going to be a return to the union forming campaigns of the past. Exactly the OPPOSITE result that he hopes to get.

And union organizing will be much easier and quicker now that it was 100 years ago, because the organizers will not have the same depth of fight to teach the workers the value of unions. Plus, we have the example of the Middle East and Africa to show how quickly social networks can be used to spread information and plan rallies.

If he doesn’t cave on this, we could very well see a BIG increase in unionionization as a result.

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:20 am

Murph: It’s easy for us to sit in judgement when we’re not involved, and denigrate the protesters as “maggots” and “parasites”.

Actually, it’s very easy for me NOT to see them that way. Teachers are worthy of respect. A few bad apples doesn’t ACTUALLY make the whole bunch bad. That’s pessimism to the extreme, and it seems to be the way Republicans see most things public sector. It’s sad they don’t apply the same standard to the private sector, which can do no harm ever in the eyes of those who have this public sector pessimism.

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:21 am

Ragnar: Here’s the memo: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Misc/2011_01_31Vos&Darling.pdf

Of note: 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).

MPercy

February 21st, 2011
10:21 am

Jay @10:16 am “Sorry sfd. Card check is wrong. Union elections should be a secret ballot process and people should be free to vote their own conscience, free of intimidation and coercion from either side. ”

Once again, Jay pleasantly surprises. Not entirely unexpected, though still a nice surprise.

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:21 am

Ragnar: Also please note the date. The protests didn’t start until way after that

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 21st, 2011
10:23 am

1-The bill would require employees to pay half their pension costs. That is something that should be open to negotiation but the employees have said they’re willing to do it, so it’s a moot point.
2-The bill would require employees to pay up to 12% of their health care costs. Same as above.
3-Employees would no longer have to automatically pay union dues. I don’t have a problem with this, as I don’t believe anyone should have to join a union, that doesn’t want to.
4-The unions could not bargain over anything but wages. That’s a power grab by the Governor, in my opinion.
5-The union would have to hold annual elections to keep their organizations intact. This is a union busting tactic, plain and simple. Maybe they should hold an election for Governor, every year.
6-They would lose the ability to have union dues deducted from state paychecks. This is another union busting move.

What we have here, has little to do with the budget. It’s an idealogical battle being waged by true believers. I wouldn’t be surprised Gov. Walker has aspirations for higher office and is using this to try and make a name for himself.

Jimmy62

February 21st, 2011
10:24 am

What about the ability to withhold union dues from paychecks? That’s BS, too, and I’m glad they are ending that one. Why should taxpayer dollars be used to collect money for a group that then negotiates against taxpayers for more money? Yet more reason that public sectors unions should be banned. The people that pay their salaries don’t actually get to negotiate. Instead you have people with no stake in the game, like politicians who will be out of office in 3 more years and have no responsibility to any of it, making the decisions for the people who actually pay the bills.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:24 am

Doggone/GA
February 21st, 2011
10:20 am

“…to teach the workers the value of unions”

Please substitute “value” with “cost”.

jt

February 21st, 2011
10:24 am

Throw an increase in cigarette tax on it.

That’ll solve this whole problem………………….for awhile.

Maybe a hoop-cheese tax too.

AmVet

February 21st, 2011
10:24 am

My point is that is the ones that matter.

“At a time when we must face huge challenges together, your election has raised enormous hope in France, in Europe and beyond said Sarkozy.”

Mr Sarkozy was soon followed by international colleagues. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said she was confident Mr Obama could tackle the “significant challenges” he would face immediately after taking office in January.

Mrs Merkel said: “I am convinced that Europe and the United States will work closely and in a spirit of mutual trust together to confront new dangers and risks and will seize the opportunities presented by our global world.”

There was praise from Africa, where Kgalema Motlanthe, the president of South Africa, said the continent “stood proud” of Mr Obama.

Manmohan Singh, Indian prime minister, praised his “extraordinary journey” to the White House, which he said had inspired people across the world.

And in Israel, President Shimon Peres proclaimed “high regard” for Obama and his belief that “the future belongs to the young,” a point that would seem to exclude 71-year-old Republican nominee John McCain.

It’s OK to hate the president, just don’t pretend that everybody, or anybody else of note, does as well…

Southern Comfort

February 21st, 2011
10:25 am

I am torn on the issue of collective bargaining for federal, state and local employees. This ability seems to have been used as a lever that is unavailable to most citizens.

The thought of taxpayer money being cycled through union dues and into PACs and special interest lobbying is tough to swallow.

Think of it this way… A union, such as a teacher’s union, is a organization of professionals working in the same profession who group together to try to help shape and influence their profession. Unions are no different than the American Bar Association (or their derivatives), the AMA, or any other professional organization. The only difference is that unions actively work for workplace improvements as opposed to just allowing the status quo or employer dictate workplace standards.

On union dues and politics. By law, union dues can not be used for political campaigns. Unions, like other organizations, have created PACs that members CAN donate to if they so choose. At the most basic level, everything a public employee does with their money can be stated as using taxpayer funds for something because they are paid using taxpayer funds.

Mr. Snarky

February 21st, 2011
10:25 am

Let’s see, if I wanted to manufacture a crisis to justify my union-busting agenda, what would I do?

I think I’d cut taxes for business, then when the projected deficits were huge blame it on the unions…yeah, that’s the ticket!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 21st, 2011
10:25 am

Dear Adam @ 10:21, your memo confirms the standard leftist view, that tax reductions have no potential beneficial effect on economic activity and that excessive spending is never a factor in weak economics. We would agree that conservatives do not share that analysis.

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
10:25 am

“Why should taxpayer dollars be used to collect money for a group that then negotiates against taxpayers for more money? ”

It isn’t taxpayer money once it’s paid as salary to the employee.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:26 am

AmVet
February 21st, 2011
10:24 am

…and the dates of these quotes?

ncgreybr

February 21st, 2011
10:26 am

Hate to break it to you LBB, but public employee union employees are Americans and apparently a lot more American in their thinking than you.

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
10:26 am

“Please substitute “value” with “cost”.”

Most things of value also have a cost

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:27 am

Well, the unions are not without accomplishment. Shoot, they’ve contributed greatly to the economic growth in China.

Mr. Snarky

February 21st, 2011
10:27 am

Did I mention that my wife, Morgan Fairchild, came up with this idea?

Keep up the good fight!

February 21st, 2011
10:27 am

Granny….I think its great that even the unions that are not impacted by the proposed law are out in force to support the teachers and other unions!

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:28 am

Keep up the good fight!
February 21st, 2011
10:27 am

In other words, they’re laying out of work as well.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:29 am

Mr. Snarky
February 21st, 2011
10:27 am

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 21st, 2011
10:29 am

Union elections should be a secret ballot process and people should be free to vote their own conscience, free of intimidation and coercion from either side.

I agree with that.

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
10:29 am

“I think its great that even the unions that are not impacted by the proposed law are out in force to support the teachers and other unions!”

and it’s going to be highly interesting to see if there’s a sea change in which candidates those exempt unions support future elections

Southern Comfort

February 21st, 2011
10:29 am

Del @ 9:47

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/21/earlyshow/main20034365.shtml
Speaking to “The Early Show” Monday from an undisclosed location outside Wisconsin, Mark Miller, one of 14 Democrats who left the state, said that Democrats and the public employee unions have put forth a compromise. “The problem is, is that the governor has to agree, and the governor has not done anything except insist that it has to be his way – all or nothing.

“He should have negotiated with the workers and he refused to do that. He tried to impose his will. And he unilaterally is stripping away workers’ rights.”

“The governor needs to recognize that this is a democracy, and in a democracy you negotiate,” Miller told anchor Erica Hill. “The unions, the public employees, have agreed to the economic demands. All they ask is that they be able to retain the workers’ rights. And we’re supporting them in that.”

also in the same article:

Walker also lost backing from the head of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association. Tracy Fuller, executive board president of the WLEA, said in a statement that he regrets endorsing Walker in last year’s governor’s race, and describes the governor’s proposal (which is referred to as a “Budget Repair Bill”) as draconian.

“This bill carves out an exemption for ‘public safety workers,’ but if we are honest, those exemptions will be limited. Once the draconian changes are implemented on the rest of the public employees, it’s only a matter of time until they catch the public safety workers too.

Even the public union guys that supported Walker are seeing the writing on the wall.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:30 am

AmVet
February 21st, 2011
10:24 am

Regarding my 10:26, most of these sound like the lovefest from the 2008 election.

MPercy

February 21st, 2011
10:30 am

When corporations support certain legislators or legislation, it is viewed as “special interests” or “corporate welfare” or “politicians in business’ pocket”. When unions do the same, it’s all cake. Sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

It seems unholy somehow that government employees unions (I have different expectations from private sector unions) get to elect their own bosses and get those bosses who are beholden to the unions to make the rules. It seems reasonable that elected officials who were strongly supported by unions might not always consider the best interests of the taxpaying public when “negotiating” with unions.

StJ

February 21st, 2011
10:31 am

Now if we can just get the Dems to leave the country when Repubs in DC take up bills they don’t like…

…then lock the door behind them.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award".....

February 21st, 2011
10:32 am

Doggone/GA
February 21st, 2011
10:29 am

You’re kidding right? Or did I misread your post? Are you wondering which party the unions will support in the next election? BAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Del

February 21st, 2011
10:32 am

This disinformation that the union and their membership will accept Walkers increased contributions to their pension and health care is just exactly that, disinformation.

AmVet

February 21st, 2011
10:33 am

Typical Republican.

The guy jacks up spending even more and then contrives this to offset it.

He should at least man up and say what the real reason is. And it has almost nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with giving his base what they want – union busting, whether it makes sense or not.

Anti-worker. Anti-American.

Southern Comfort

February 21st, 2011
10:34 am

For far too many years, the scenario has been, you support my demands, I will see that you get our votes.

Kayaker, are you talking about the Chamber of Commerce or unions????

Granny Godzilla

February 21st, 2011
10:35 am

Del

February 21st, 2011
10:32 am
This disinformation that the union and their membership will accept Walkers increased contributions to their pension and health care is just exactly that, disinformation.

and you know that just exactly how?????

Doggone/GA

February 21st, 2011
10:35 am

“Are you wondering which party the unions will support in the next election? ”

I refer you to the dictionary to learn the difference between “candidate” and “party”

Adam

February 21st, 2011
10:36 am

Jimmy62: Why should taxpayer dollars be used to collect money for a group that then negotiates against taxpayers for more money?

If you’re a public sector employee, just where else is the money going to come from?

Ragnar: your memo confirms the standard leftist view, that tax reductions have no potential beneficial effect on economic activity and that excessive spending is never a factor in weak economics.

Actually the point I was trying to make is that before his bill pushing, there would have been a surplus amount of revenue over cost, even with things as they are. Now there’s a shortfall, and none of the bill that caused the shortfall have anything to do with teachers, or unions, and that’s who gets the blame.

Secondarily, taxes really don’t have anything to do with job creation. They have plenty to do with economics, but not a lick of lowered taxes go to creating jobs, and not a lick of slightly raised taxes really breaks the bank for a company that hires people. The largest and perhaps only factor worthy of note in job creation economics is PROFIT vs. LOSS. Nothing else.

@@

February 21st, 2011
10:36 am

“After the 2005-07 state budget was approved by the Legislature, Governor Doyle partially vetoed 752 words out of a large section of the budget to create a 20-word sentence. The result was a raid of $427-million from the Transportation Fund to pay for schools, an appropriation the Legislature never authorized.

The 2007-09 state budget transfers $200 million from the state’s Patient Compensation Fund to the general fund. The Wisconsin Medical Society is now suing the state because of the raid that could be illegal.

When citizens pay a tax or fee designated for a specific purpose, they expect the funds will be used in that manner. The use of funds for other programs or services other than those the funding was intended for is a serious breach of faith and trust with the public. These raids are wrong and must be stopped.”

Doyle starts with “D”.

Deficit starts with “D”.

Democrat starts with “D”.

jewcowboy

February 21st, 2011
10:37 am

I may just be cynical..or naive..not sure which, but this strikes me as a bargaining ploy. The Gov. puts something totally unpalatable on the table (ending collective bargaining), riling up everyone…making his other proposals increasing individual contributions to pension and healthcare the starting point of negotiations if he drops the attack on collective bargaining.

“I want your kidney and to blow your brains out.”

“That is unacceptable…if you don’t blow my brains out, you can have my kidney and my corneas”

“Ok…If I don’t blow your brains out, I want your left kidney, both corneas, and both testicles.”

“Well that kind of sucks..but at least I won’t be dead…you’re on.”

Murph

February 21st, 2011
10:38 am

Adam. I agree. This whole idea of “Unions are Bad” parallels the thinking that “Government is Bad”. Niether could be further from the truth. Again, some love to repeat both of these lines, that is until they find themselves in the crosshairs. Then their tunes change, and they want to be bailed out.