Teachers ditch classes and encourage their students to skip school. Holding kids and working parents hostage. Classic union irresponsibility which has driven states and localities into bankruptcy. Public servants are our masters, but Wisconsin's new Republican governor Scott Walker is pointing out some home truths and, with a newly elected Republican majority in both legislatures, reflecting the will of we the people:
The protesters are taking issue with Walker's budget repair plan, which he presented last week. The governor said besides removing workers' collective bargaining rights, except when negotiating salary, state employees need to pay more for health care benefits and their pensions. Local firefighters, such as local police and members of the Wisconsin State Patrol, are exempt in the bill.
The governor said that the moves are necessary to better contend with the state's fiscal problems and he can't negotiate with the unions since the state has nothing to offer. The bill's supporters said public workers must make sacrifices to help balance the state's budget. The state has a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall.
It's the only thing to do. What future will these kids have if they have to pay for people who retire early with cushy salaries and benefits. Wisconsin is trying to fend off the death spiral that Illinois is embracing.
More. Right now Wisconsin public employees pay nothing for their pension or health care coverage. Walker is proposing they pay about half the national average on their health care and contribute something for retirement. WSJ:More. The bill is now before the state Senate. The majority leader says the new legislation would give state and local government the flexibility they need to balance their budgets. ABC:
Mr. Walker said the dramatic action is necessary to close the state's gaping budget hole for the fiscal year starting in July and avoid massive employee layoffs.
"We're at a point of crisis," Mr. Walker told reporters. And while he said he appreciated the concerns of the public employees shouting outside his office door, taxpayers "need to be heard as well."
Beyond eliminating collective bargaining rights, the bill would force public workers to pay half the cost of their pensions and at least 12.6% of their health-care coverage.
Collective bargaining by most public employees would be limited to wages. Other changes would require collective bargaining units to take an annual vote to maintain certification as a union. Employers would be prohibited from collecting union dues, and members of collective bargaining units would not be required to pay dues. Local law enforcement and fire fighters would be exempt from these changes.Yes, but now near-bankrupt states are trying to roll this back--because there is a direct link with this profligate and thuggish behavior and fiscal ruin for the rest of us. Are these employees working in sweat shops? They can't advocate for themselves as educated individuals? Are they child laborers? No. Actually, if this kind of looting isn't stopped Wisconsin kids and ours will be laboring into their graves.
Richard Hurd, professor of labor studies at Cornell University, says Walker is acting well within his authority as governor.
No federal law requires states to offer collective bargaining to public employees. Each state can determine what, if any, those rights will be. Hurd nonetheless calls the situation in Wisconsin "dramatic" and "unusual," in light of the fact that Wisconsin has such a long history of collective bargaining: In 1963 it was one of the first states to offer it to public employees.
More. *** ***Drudge is all over this:) Great column by Patrick McIlheran, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal: Unions want to overturn the election result. Key point:
But they miss a bedrock difference. Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness. In government, workers are already protected against unfairness by civil service laws, and Walker has supported expanding those. Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters....Switching to listen to El Rushbo:) On Wisconsin.
The president is sticking his nose in. Who's assaulting whom?
...Charlie Sykes on the air now, a Senator emails in he and his staffers were shoved around. More. Ben Smith, Politico: DNC playing role in Wisconsin protests. The president's henchmen:
The @OFA_WI twitter account has published 54 tweets promoting the rallies, which the group has also plugged on its blog.
Read on for malicious rumor-mongering. The public employees will still have civil service protections. The National Guard is in reserve only to fulfill core public functions if need be. And what are these civil servants doing at the capitol? Blocking and intimidating.
More. Rush reporting Repeal Walker signs with crosshairs over his face. In this video I linked to earlier: More. Dems latest move--their Senators leaving to thwart a quorum.SykesCharlie Senate Dems go on strike too. Dems boycott senate to block debate and vote. Need 20 present. Only 19 GOPers. Hilarious:
I asked the state Democratic Party for comment on this latest report, but communications director Graeme Zielinski was unable to confirm anything. "I know the whereabouts of not a single Democratic senator," said Zielinski. "I do not know what latitude they're on, or know what longitude they're on. I assume they're in this hemisphere, I'll say that."Gee, maybe they are hanging out at the Obama mansion in neighboring Illinois. Another state Dems have run into the ground. Unfortunately we don't have a courageous governor to stop the fiscal ruin.
More. Steve Hayes with some perspective:
Walker, who had served in the state legislature, was elected as Milwaukee County Executive in the spring of 2002 in the aftermath of a pension scandal that had voters in the mood for reform. He promised to cut spending and overhaul county government. Walker delivered and was reelected in 2008. Eight months before Barack Obama beat John McCain in Milwaukee County with 67.5 percent of the vote, Walker won 59 percent.
Walker says he’s sympathetic to the concerns of hard-working public employees, but says he also has to look out for Wisconsin taxpayers. What’s more, he says, he is simply doing what he was elected to do. “I campaigned on this,” he says. “These are the promises I made. I’m keeping them.”