14 Democratic senators flee Wisconsin, teachers strike for second day in a row

February 18, 2011

By Jackie Larkin

MADISON, Wisconsin: Newly elected Governor Scott Walker and Senate Republicans are facing the wrath of many Wisconsinites this week, due to a controversial new piece of legislation introduced Tuesday focusing on reining in state spending.

Assembly Bill 11 was introduced by the Committee on Assembly Organization to help ease the state’s $136.7 [1] million budget crisis. The bill attempts to chip away at the deficit by dealing with state finances, and limiting collective bargaining rights, compensation and fringe benefits of public employees. [2]

In light of an almost certain Republican victory, all 14 Democratic senators fled the Capitol on Thursday morning, leaving the 19 Republicans one vote shy of a quorum. Ted Blazel, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, went looking for the missing legislators, but to no avail. Reports later confirmed the senators fled to a resort in Rockford, Illinois. [3] State police were dispatched to retrieve the senators, but are unable to do so because of their inability to cross state lines. [4]

Wisconsin State Senate Partisan Breakdown

Party As of February 2011
Democratic Party 14
Republican Party 19
Total 33

Questions concerning potential consequences for the 14 Democrats have also arisen. According to the Wisconsin Constitution, Article IVsections seven and eight, each house has the authority to discipline members or compel them to attend. No specifics are given as to the nature of the punishments.

Teachers in the metro Madison and Milwaukee areas have also fled their positions, and taken to the streets. Thousands of union teachers called in “sick” on Wednesday and Thursday, joining the masses of already gathered protesters in numbers estimated at around 20,000 in and around the State Capitol building. Due to the large number of absenses, many schools were forced to call off classes on Wednesday and Thursday, with many threatening to do the same on Friday. In the Madison area and surrounding communities, 21 districts closed their schools. [5] About four schools in the Milwaukee area closed, two of them canceling parent/teacher conferences.

With respect to state law, legal issues are surfacing with this week’s “sick out.” Wisconsin law prohibits teacher strikes, however, many argue for the legality of the protest, claiming it is not directed at an employer, disqualifying it as a strike. John Matthews, the Madison Teachers Inc. executive director, referred to the events “a political action,” not a strike. [6] Peter Davis, legal counsel with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, a commission which administers collective bargaining laws, thinks differently. “A strike includes any concerted work stoppage by municipal employees, any concerted interruption of operation of services, or any concerted refusal to work or perform normal duties for the purpose of enforcing demands on a municipal employer.” [6]

The bill, if passed, would prohibit future strikes of the same kind. The bill reads, “This bill authorizes a state agency to discharge any state employee who fails to report to work as scheduled for any three unexcused working days during a state of emergency or who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the of operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls. Under the bill, engaging in any of these actions constitutes just cause for discharge.” [2]

As of Thursday, nine people have been arrested in Madison as a result of the massive protest. [3]

47 Responses to “14 Democratic senators flee Wisconsin, teachers strike for second day in a row”

  1. Simply says:

    Well, it’s about time one state has its head screwed on right. Entitlement is gone, along with all Obama’s other programs.

  2. Norma Jean Higuera-Trask says:

    Arizona teachers are with our fellow educators in Wisconsin. We in Arizona (a right to work state) are also fighting the “Lords of the manner”. We have lost our tenure and are currently fighting Govenor Brewer and the new Attorney Ganeral, Tom Horn who thought they would arbitrarily, without reading the research, make it against the law to teach African, Native American and Mexican American ethnic studies. The Governor was a x-ray technitian prior to her political career, and Tom Horn was the head of public instruction of the State of Arizona (never a teacher, never an historian) when he initiated SB#2281,the bill that made it illegal to teach African, Native American, and Mexican American US history.

  3. Ray O:Neal says:

    Reminds me of the actions of air traffic controllers years ago and the resulting actions. I support the actions of the government to bring balance to their budget just as the rest of us do.

    This time it seems that the folks that were elected to do this job have tucked their tails and ran. Hats off to those that stay the course and take appropriate action to balance the budget and assure that the state senate functions.

    Could just dismiss 5% or whatever percent (?) of the people to accomplish the balance.

  4. Sue Christensen says:

    I can’t believe the greedy teachers! Jessie Jackson? HAHAHAHAHA! He is a joke.

    Don’t pay the Senators for running away from their elected duties.

    On Tuesday, if teachers are not in their classrooms, they should be FIRED!

  5. c fally says:

    They all should be fired ,we have all had enough

  6. Bluerider says:

    Does no one else see how forbidding strikes is robbing the right of employees to demand a fair wage? These Wisconsin laws amount to stripping citizens the right to protest! If educators are fired for demanding fair compensation and working conditions, who will be left to teach kids to read in Wisconsin? If your family was having trouble with income, would pulling your kids out of school be a good way to solve the problem?

  7. bigfish says:

    To Norma Jean – You have a valid and qualifying argument but it fell by the wayside with your poor abuse of language. Had you proofread your argument and/or used a dictionary, you would have noticed two glaring spelling errors (“Ganeral” and “technitian”). If our teachers can’t spell, proofread, and re-read then our educational system is likely in a world of hurt anyway so why keep paying for something our children aren’t getting? And I’m not just referring to the english language.

  8. Brenda Wilkerson says:

    The 14 Senators should be fired, impeached, and or heavily fined
    for not doing their jobs as elected. If nothing else they should not be re-elected.They should serve at the will of the people and adhere to the majority will and not to their party. Those who refuse to do their jobs Senators, Teachers etc., should be
    given a set time to return to their jobs,or else! I hope Wisconsin will not give in to this blackmail by the unions and it,s members.

  9. Mike Madsen says:

    Of course Scott walker doesn’t want to negotiate. This bill doesn’t hurt him any, he’ll still have his big house and take his weekend vacations with his family, makes no difference to him. He’s just tired of his teachers not being good little silent worker bees. So to deal with them, he’ll just take away their rights to assemble and if that doesn’t work he’ll just take away their jobs. When he looks at the public employees he doesn’t see people, just dollar signs. $$$$$$$$$$

  10. Judy Ann Ritter says:

    It my estimation every public employee should stop working now. What in the world would Walker be able to do, fire them all. He does have enough people to replace even the teachers if enough stood up and continued a strike. Somebody has to have a clear head here. It may be the only way to get Walker to realize what he is asking. In a way he is asking for taxation without representation. Teachers are being asked to give money back (since they already have contracts) but have no rights to discuss the ramifications to their jobs. Teachers have always had a lower salary that private works with the same education and experience. Now Walker is attacking the public workers who have been given less in salary all along. And the way that he is approaching this is to ramrod the bill like some kind of dictator. “Kill the Bill” and in two years please join me and get Walker out of the government.

  11. Time says:

    Good for the republicans. I work in corporate America and haven’t had a raise in three years and my medical insurance costs have increased each year. There is no reason teachers shouldn’t have to experience the same. It is tough everywhere and it’s time for our government to be more fiscally responsible.

  12. Chris says:

    It is about time a state stand up for what is right. I have always wanted to be a teacher. Am I? No. There are no job opening in the 4 parishes surrounding my house. Why? My state believes teachers can get the job, perform poorly and still have jobs. I instead, work for the private sector. I was, until recently, employed in the fast food industry, and I must say, I got more from my high school students that I employed than most states get from there collage educated teachers. How are we as Americans supposed to get anywhere when all we are taught is entitlement in our schools???

    It is time to stand up to entitlement thinking! WI, please stand your ground for the good of our great country! We can no longer afford to stand by and let our poorly performing teachers corrupt the youth of America!

    To educators all over America, you have my dream job! Perform your job the way it should be done. Teach what should be taught, keep your views OUT of the classroom, show up to work and steer this country into prosperity or get out of the classroom! I work 60+ hours a week to do my job for a salary less than most teachers, work your 40 hours 8 months out of the year without complaining. GROW UP!

  13. Mary Hollinger says:

    When you consider that prez Clinton could be investigated and brought up for impeachment because of perjuring himself about a private sexual matter, doesn’t it seem like we should be able to have Walker investigated for 1) lying about his real agenda for governing Wisconsin, and 2) telling multiple falsehoods about the state’s finance issues (see Brian Schremp’s Politifact link), so as to purposely present falsehoods with the purpose of confusing and misleading citizens, especially the vulnerable citizens who don’t have access to the facts (elderly, infirm, illiterate, non-English speaking, uneducated & children). We should have a new law in Wisconsin, called the Walker bill, which requires those running for office to tell the truth about their plans for governing, and those found to have had hidden agendas which they did not reveal (kind of like truth in advertising) can be investigated, charged and brought up for impeachment. All of Walker’s communications with the Koch brothers, with corporate powers, etc. could be submitted as evidence that this was a conspiracy to defraud the citizens of Wisconsin, and to (in effect) work towards crushing the middle class. This to me is an act of treason against the people and against democracy as an institution, and I think Walker should not only be taken out of office, I think he should serve time in prison, because he was put in this high office by people who thought he was planning to SERVE — not destroy –the lives of an entire, very large percentage of the people of Wisconsin. Traitor of the People! An enemy of the people, without doubt. Public Enemy #1.

  14. Educate says:

    These are the times that try men’s souls.

    The budget must be balanced. Every American family will be affected. I am a teacher and know that change is inevitable. I would rather address and endure cuts now than have my children and grandchildren suffer the excesses of our generation for the next 25 years. We must be bold and make the tough decisions like our ancestors made during the years of the great depression. Times were tough, but families and communities came together to successfully survived a difficult time in our nation’s history.

    “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
    public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.” -Cicero

  15. Chad Carrow says:

    I am embarrassed that we have elected public officials who are too afraid to stay and perform their duty! As far as I am concerned they should be fired for job abandonment. If any one failed to do their job and just run from it, would be terminated.

  16. ann says:

    These 14 senators are huge COWARDS and sore losers! Get back there and do your job with some effing dignity! I hope everyone of them is not re-elected….better yet they should be fired for walking off the job just like these teachers who have now become bad influences on our children! This is just egregious!!!

  17. MM says:

    “Arizona teachers are with our fellow educators in Wisconsin. We in Arizona (a right to work state) are also fighting the “Lords of the manner” ”

    ‘Lords of the manner?’ Are you a teacher? Are we talking about etiquette? As a student in Arizona, I’m glad you never taught at my school. Maybe they were right to ban ethnic studies when the teachers apparently need more English lessons.

  18. Thom Culpeper says:

    Oh, Indeed, Ray…You must have been replaying old tapes of that dementia case Ronny Ragun…thousands of Air controllers sacked and the military strike breaking goons sent in…I laugh at your idiocy…Bernie Madoff and the kleptomaniacs of Manhattan and the plutocratic corporate burglars of Washington are the creeps who you should be demanding compensation from…And don’t even think about bashing the teaching fraternity, because the likes of you and all the no-hoppers you could call on, don’t have the where-withals (brains) to teach a class of 5 year olds! Pay attention idiot.. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Saudi-Arabia maybe Israel today… Uncle Sam tomorrow…You going to shoot all the unemployed, you turkey… That’s 21% off The population of The Exited States!.. And you’d better remember, that is if you ever knew it, Wisconsin has a proud history of Socialist Mayors. It’s about time they put in a call to the electorate to dumped those Republican dolts, straightened out the so called Democrats, especially those beholden to the Chicago annex…Got some balls, gaoled the Wall St. thieves and delivered justice for the citizens of Wisconsin!
    Get it!

  19. Wisconsin Teacher Strike Supporter says:

    I agree and support the teachers in Wisconsin. What else are they to do to make their stand? They have the RIGHT to make their stand! To all the comments bashing teachers and how they work… Are you a teacher? Do you have any clue what all goes into teaching and all the work that teachers do? I would be glad to walk anyone that is not a teacher through my day and work week. It is not just a 40 hour work week and 8 month job. We don’t need to just grow up already. On an every week basis I work 50-60 hours a week at my school building. I also work about another combined 10-15 hours at night after I come home from work and on the weekends. I work and know many teachers that do the same. We do have work to do over the summer months not just making it an 8 month job. We however don’t get recognized for this or paid for it. We work on getting materials and resources together for YOUR children so they have something more than what is provided. We spend OUR money on YOUR kids to give them a better education. On top of that, many of us like me work a part-time job just to make ends meet. Also, to the comment on the level of education the teachers are giving to students is based on what teachers are told to teach. There are academic content standards that the teachers have to abide by. To the comment on spelling errors…Yes, I may have spelling errors. Yes, this may be grammatically incorrect. I am not perfect nor are you. I am sick and tired of people giving teachers this notion that they need to be PERFECT every minute of every day. We are human for goodness sake. I am not teaching the children at this moment, therefore, I am free to have a few errors. They have a right and should stand up for what they believe. Their level of education and their dedication to their job and students should not be in question because of it. If they don’t make a stand they will continually have pay raises, benefits, etc. taken away. What will they take away next if they don’t make this stand?

  20. H1Rules says:

    It’s time to buck up, put your crying towels away and get back to work. The tax payers of my state elected our representivites to balance the budget, and that is what they will do.

  21. Greg M says:

    Why don’t we just treat these people as if they worked in the private sector. If you illegitimately call in sick, you get fired… Senators, and teachers alike.

    These people have better hours, better pay, and better benefits than the average person in the private sector, and they’re out there crying as if it’s the end of the world. Grow Up and welcome to the real world – where those of us in the private sector (who pay these bills) have been living all out lives. If you don’t like the deal that is presented… go work somewhere else! NO ONE is forcing anyone to work as a teacher if they don’t want to.

    As for their right to protest, no one is denying that either. Most of the tea party protests were over weekends, because most of those people WORK in the real world, and cant just up and leave work in the middle of the week (without the risk of being fired)

    WE THE PEOPLE who pay these salaries and benefits are tired of the crying, whining, snotty attitudes of Govt employees with a false sense of entitlement. Time to treat them like the private sector employees.

  22. Jules says:

    To “bigfish”:
    You should not use ad hominem attacks as political arguments. Pointing out an individual’s petty spelling mistakes proves nothing. These kinds of arguments belong on facebook, not a sophisticated news website. Besides, your second to last sentence is a terrible run-on sentence and “english” should be capitalized.

    You have no relevant argument, the nonsensical argument that you did make is ridiculous, offensive, and extremely bad, and you are behaving more like an upset child than a mature adult. I know dozens of high school teenagers who can form a better argument than you.

    Moreover, I fully support the teacher strike. Politicians have abused their power for far too long and people need to start standing up to them and defend their rights. These teachers are doing the only thing that will get a sufficient amount of attention and create a large enough impact to make a difference.

    It is a terrible thing that they had to resort to these measures, but it is better than the alternative, in which soon enough no teachers would be left to teach the coming generations. Because if the people do not fight for their rights now, then soon enough they will have none. There are many more efficient and less harmful ways to raise money for the state.

    Most teachers do not teach for the money. They teach because, out of the kindness of their hearts, they want to make a difference in the lives of our youth. Taking from them harms the students as much as, if not more than the teachers.

    If my teachers went on a strike in order to protest something similar to this, I would stand by them in full support. Teachers, of all people, should not be penalized by corrupt governments.

    Sincerely, a high school junior

  23. Susan Shockley says:

    The Senators that left are deceiving thenselves if they think they are doing their jobs. I have to actually show up in order to get paid, do they? Their pay should be docked or better yet, if they don’t want to do their job, quit.

    Entitlements are over. I have to earn my money.

  24. Martha Pervin says:

    The average wage of a Wisconsin government employee is about 51,000 a year. The teachers in Wisconsin are totally out of line.

    Unions did have a place in our country 40 years ago or so but now there are lots of laws protecting workers from the horrors that they faced in those days. In the current economic climate, the “new world order”, unions have become obsolete. The federal and state governments are broke. If the teachers in Wisconsin can’t see that simple fact, they are out of touch and not fit to teach our children. These teachers should be replaced with teachers who have a grasp of just how dangerous the economic climate and unemployment rate are in this country and throughout the world.

  25. Jeff says:

    I went to public schools and managed to learn to read (also taught grade school in a public school). Thanks to this education, I was able to look up the Arizona bill SB#2281 and read it. Its intent is nothing like what writer Norma Jean Higuera-Trask implies. Smear tactics and exageration do not work with an imformed public. A little advice…Next time you intend to make false claims, do not refer to material that will discredit you…

  26. Jodi says:

    To all those talking about “poor teachers” and the like:

    To any of you who have never been a teacher in a public school, you need to realize the simple fact that all of your criticism directed towards teachers is quite superficial if you have yet to do the job. Many people who start teaching, especially with secondary schools, don’t last. Summer is recovery time. The average span of a teaching career is eleven years–and that’s with the summer. You are fooling yourself if you think a teacher’s day ends at the last bell. For someone like me, an English teacher, do you seriously believe I have adequate time to grade essays within a school day? With 150 students, this is quite difficult. This is no get-paid-by-the-hour job. 40 hours? Guess again. Many teachers spend considerably more time after school grading papers, planning lessons, and leading extracurricular activities. In fact, many teachers spend more time with some kids than those kids’ parents do.

    That teachers have no right to strike is true because they are public servants. As a result, they often get bullied and forgotten, especially in times of economic adversity. In Florida, over the last three years, I have only received a raise for one year, and that raise was reduced a few thousand dollars from what had been promised in the contract. In sum, I have been shorted out over eleven thousand dollars in the last three years that the original contract had guaranteed (and that I had contributed union dues for–and those dues aren’t free, either). I am sure that any of you nonteachers out there would be just as irate over a pay cut or annoyed at paying someone to do something that does not get done.

    Meanwhile, while not making what was expected and having to work a part time job as a result, I still try to teach the kids as well as guide many of the ones in my classroom to a better way of life (and I don’t get paid a dime for this fringe benefit the kids get from me). I strive to nurture them enough to make them believe in themselves and to build their self-esteem. Many come from broken, abusive, poverty-level households. Some have even been homeless. I fork out my own money for books so I can have a rich library in my room. I buy pens, paper, pencils, glue, posterboard, kleenex, hand sanitizer, and the list goes on. The federal government gives us a $250 a year for all of this. I spend four times that over the summer just to get ready for the first day of school.

    Perhaps as public servants we do not have the right to strike. As American citizens, though, we should have that right. Maybe if we had a little leverage, we would not be taken so much for granted. Rather than tolerate the bullying, which we do, and act like a herd of sheep, which we do, we could stand up for what we deserve and maybe quit that extra job. Keeping all of this status quo, however, will breed more supposedly “poor” teachers, who may be decent in good situations, but “poor” when working too much to get by.

    Support your teachers, Wisconsin. Get around to realizing your kids are your future and their teachers guide them there! How you treat them determines what they can do for you.

  27. HORSE-SENSE says:

    Why are these 14 Democrats so upset about a LITTLE bill that has been discussed and probed for three days and is only 140 pages long and only afects ONE state ? Didn’t ALL THEIR WASHINGTON COMPATRIOTS JUST RECENTLY PASS A MONSTROUS EXPENSIVE BOONDOGGLE OF A MESS – THE OBAMA HEALTH CARE BILL – that they actually ADMITTED NOT ONE OF THEM HAD READ,OR COULD READ, AND THEY SHOVED THOSE THOUSANDS OF PAGES DOWN THE THROATS OF ALL AMERICANS IN ALL 50 STATES AGAINST THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? THEY DON’T LIKE THE SAME TREATMENT DO THEY? WHO WERE THEY THINKING OF THEN? I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT THEY CARE MUCH ABOUT THE UNIONS – I THINK THEY ARE MORE AFRAID OF LOSING THE FUNDS UNIONS POUR INTO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

  28. younged says:

    Jodi, hello I agree so much with what you are saying!!! As teachers we are given little money for pay and expected to make sure all kids are at the same level. Anyone who believes that a teacher works from the first bell to the last bell at 3:30 are not thinking clearly. How do we come up with our great lessons that inspire youth of today to be better people and want more for themselves if we aren’t using every once of daylight to get those ideas down to lessons for the next day. I also don’t know a teacher who works from the time school starts to the end of the school day, most put in ungodly hours to make sure that their students learn all that they need to be respected and highly productive adults, who will be running our country in years to come.

    You go Wisconsin teachers and citizens, stand up for what you would want your kids to do and believe in.

  29. Martha Pervin says:

    To Wisconsin teachers:

    Why aren’t you grateful to have jobs that give you a decent wage in this economy?

    Perhaps it is because you’re out of touch with the current economic situation that is going on in your state, country and throughout the world.

    Perhaps it is because you are simply greedy or just flat out stupid?

    I don’t know. What I do know is you have a very sweet deal right now. You enjoy tenure, You don’t have to pay as much into your health plans as those people in the private sector. You can’t be outsourced like almost every other working person in this country. It is in your best interest to stay under the radar and enjoy your unique working situation.

    Most importantly, you are sending the kids you teach the WRONG message. When they go out to find jobs, they will be competing with people who have years of experience and have been out of work for over 2 years!

  30. Martha Pervin says:

    To striking Wisconsin teachers:

    What if you lose your battle?

    First your sob stories are going to be much gloomier!

    Secondly, who is going to hire someone who was stupid enough to gamble giving up a decent job in this economic climate? There are lots of experienced teachers who may have been laid off itching to get off of unemployment, or whose unemployment benefits have run out, that would love to have your jobs.

    Why don’t you all THINK about it and get back to me on that one.

    On the bright side, your students will learn a VERY valuable lesson. If one has a job in this economy that provides them with a living wage, that person should hang on to that job at all costs!

  31. dave says:

    i think they should all be fired. if i miss a days work i get fired so should the Wisconsin teachers and the 14 Democrats supporting them. Canned as of yesterday. I once told one of my workers THOSE WHO CAN DO, DO. THOSE WHO CAN’T DO, TEACH. Some of my most heated disagreements are with college educated people who have no practical sense or zero common sense. so FIRE ALL THE UNION PRICKS.

  32. BamBam says:

    I have always had great respect for the American people and their constitution. You pride yourselves with being by the people for the people. You frown upon the communist and facist regime that many of your people faught and died for. You have become a respected nation for this state of mind and way of life.

    I have seen this type of oppression in my lifetime. Governments wanting to smash the weight of the unions, that were set up by the people for the people. Look at my country England, what a pompass ass of a country, a nanny state. just another hunk of rock that used to have guts.
    America, you are now experiencing the facist undertones of your new dictators. Be very concerned as to where your country is going, and be prepared to do something about it. Remember your history, people moved in droves to the USA to escape this type of tyranny in their own country. You have the right to peaceful demonstration and if this is a collective demonstration, thats the feeling of the people. Your constitution demands this without persecution.
    Scott walker will have to play diplomat and do what he is paid for. Its easy to pass legislation and move on, its much harder to play diplomat and work for a resolution for both parties.

    Don’t let you nation end up like mine. I had to leave my country to live the life that I wanted to. Just my thoughts.

  33. el oh el says:

    To BamBam, quoting a few lines…
    “Look at my country England…”
    “Don’t let you nation end up like mine.”

    The real Americans are trying to prevent that. Thanks to your Parliament’s complete corruption and servitude to your trade unions, your people cannot keep nearly any job with being forced into a group that provides nearly no benefit. Because of the trade union’s ulterior motive for a never-ending stream of uneducated workers, your immigration laws have become lax enough to allow foreign terrorists into your county.
    We ARE trying to keep our country Democratic and- yes- capitalistic. This is nothing better than socialism that is being introduced into our country, and no individual should feel that they are entitled anything in this country. You work for it- just like our ancestors had to.

  34. Molly says:

    Bigfish and Norma Jean,

    Bigfish, I could not agree with you more. Oh wait, I could. Norma Jean, not only did you fail to correct your grammatical mistakes but more importantly, you failed to read the entire bill to which you referred. I wonder if you even took the time to read the bill yourself. If you had taken the time you would have noticed that Section F states that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict or prohibit the instruction of the holocaust, any other instance of genocide or the historical oppression of a particular group of people based ethnicity, race, or class.” The bill also states that it shall not be construed to prohibit “courses and classes that include any ethnic group and that are open to all students.” Those ethnic groups would be the African, Native and Mexican American groups that you were referring to.

    Again, I can’t help but wonder if you did not read this bill yourself. If you did you must not have read it in its entirety.

    You are a teacher?! I hope that you do not teach your students to mindlessly take word of mouth as fact and/or read any piece of writing to partial completion.
    BIGFISH, I am a teacher. There are some competent teachers out there in this country. I assure you of that. Is there an abundance of competent teachers in the United States? I am sadly skeptical of that being a truth.

  35. Max says:

    Teachers have a right to make thier voice heard, NO MATTER WHAT, that is free speech. The teacher have said they are willing to take cuts and lose benefits, but are not willing to give up collective bargaining and that is thier right. You strip them of this now what happens when we are no longer in a crisis and the goverenment has teachers under their thums? Teachers will never have a fair shake at pay or benefits when the state will be fully capable of giving them. People act like being a teacher is a job where you can walk into the Boss’s office and talk about getting an extra 0.50 cents an hour or a raise in pay, they have to have an organized group to talk to a government body to get such things.

    Being a teacher is a hard job and they should have good pay and that is what they have, good pay. It is not grate or over the top they get enough to like on it is not like they are eating caviar and driving a BMWs. As for teacher not doing thier jobs, that has more to do with how the goverenment organizes curriculum then how the teachers teach. Teachers actully have little power in that because they are always preping students for government tests.

    Besides all this thier is no way that any person no matter what job they have is not going to fight for their pay, their benefits, or their rights to organize. If what ever job you have walked in and said you are being striped of those things, oh and by the way we are taking your right to try and get them back latter, that would not fly.

  36. el oh el says:

    @Max – I looked up the median pay for a teacher in WI. 65k a year. Full benefits. Don’t have to pay into their pension. That’s not “enough”, that’s privileged, at least from what I’m experiencing in the private sector. And they’re complaining? At least they’re getting raises.

    Someone once told me that you should never trust anyone else to speak for you. I’ve lived by that policy; if you’re too passive to walk in and assertively negotiate for what is fair for you, then you don’t really deserve it in the first place. Unions were great when places of employment were hellholes with a chance of injury at 90% per day. There’s laws for that now, enforced by the federal government. Unions couldn’t care about anyone but their own interest- shown thus in the massive political contributions they make to “fund” politicians that will block things like Right to Work on a federal level. If this is a free country, why can’t I choose not to belong to a group? And yet that is the case in states that are not Right to Work- I have to be in a union if I want to work at a place of employment.

    It’s time to repeal the union’s ability to rape the economy and encourage our jobs to go overseas. If there shall be trade unions, they should not have the ability to negotiate pay or strike over it.

  37. diviner says:

    You know, I’ve been reading a lot of the responses posted to this thread, and I just can’t believe the level of stupidity that runs rampant in the United States these days.

    I’ve seen some people complain of how those 14 senator fled the state rather than participate in the vote. But I say, why stay and be a part of tyranny? The filibuster is a tried and true democratic method used by the minority to try to force an unreasonable majority to back down from unpopular measure. By leaving the state, they were performing a filibuster.

    But, lets look past this for a minute. Why is the state budget not balanced? Well the Republican government decided that this was the best time for another round of corporate welfare. That’s right, corporate tax cuts equal welfare for the already wealthy corporations. Oh sure, Republicans and the “Fair and Balanced” news media try to tell us that Corporate Tax cuts mean wealth. But anyone who spends a little bit of time searching on the internet can find study after study that state that Corporate Tax cuts simply don’t work. For every dollar of tax revenue given to a corporation only about 30 cents of that will go to actual job creation. In contrast, tax money given to the unemployed generates $1.60 towards job creation. There’s a number you will NEVER see on CNN, Fox News or any of the other Corporate Propaganda outlets.

    It’s a simple fact, a corporation will only hire someone if there is a demand for their product or service. If you give a dollar to a poor person, they will spend it on the necessities of living Which will generate demand, thus jobs. If you give a dollar to a wealthy corporation, they’ll give some it to their top execs as bonuses, some to their shareholders as profit, also they may save some for a rainy day, or use it to fund moving their operations overseas. They don’t really need to hire anyone, because their current staffing levels meet the demand for their services.

    So, if I need money to give to my corporate buddies who fund my re-election campaigns. Where am I going to get it? Why, I’ll go after those with the least power to affect my campaign budget, public employees. Today it’s the teachers, tomorrow perhaps the maintenance workers, fire departments, state police and any other public employee who doesn’t have the right to stand up for themselves with collective bargaining.

    If you are looking for someone to blame for the rape of the economy and jobs that are being shipped overseas, don’t blame unions who are only attempting to stand up for their membership. Blame the greedy corporations, banks and the politicians they have bought and paid for. And remember, just because you see someone on TV say something, that doesn’t mean it’s true.

  38. gary1234 says:

    el oh el, you ask, “If this is a free country, why can’t I choose not to belong to a group? And yet that is the case in states that are not Right to Work- I have to be in a union if I want to work at a place of employment.”

    Of course in the broadest sense you are free NOT to work at a union shop company.

    But you certainly make a point.

    However, Say that you did work at a shop in which you had the right not to join the union nor to pay the equivalent of union dues.

    In this shop the company bargains about wages and working conditions collectively with the union, (and not individually with you, of course).

    What is the best way to determine your proper proportion of the benefits gained for you in negotiations versus how much you should contribute to charity?

  39. mark says:

    it’s too bad that Chris doesn’t have a cue.

  40. diviner says:

    Gary1234

    It’s actually worse than that. In a “Right to Work” state, unions can exist in the workplace, but they are required by law to provide all the same services to the non-paying workers that they provide to their membership.

    Not only does that mean that when they bargain with the employer for wage and benefits increases, those increases apply to both union and non-union members alike. These unions are also forced to provide other services like grievance resolution, employment counseling services or other services to the non-members for free.

    Now I ask you, had the choice would you prefer to pay for those services, or get those very same services for free, what would you do? What other organization is ever forced provide services to a customer, who simply decides that they aren’t going to bother paying?

    Right to work, is simply another union bashing law.

  41. ironworker says:

    Well said diviner!