February 16, 2011

Madison schools close for a second day tomorrow, as the state teachers' union calls for more protests against the Gov. Walker's budget.

Wisconsin State Journal reports:
"This is the scariest thing I've ever seen," Betsy Barnard, a physics teacher at West High School, said of the Walker proposal. "This is going to change Wisconsin forever."

Barnard and other teachers at the rally said they are willing to make wage and benefit concessions to help fix the state budget, but Walker's plan to effectively dismantle the 50-year-old collective bargaining process for public employee unions goes too far.

"We risk our public image," Barnard said...
ADDED: "Lawmakers are making some changes to a bill that would make public workers pay more for their benefits, but the bill will still take away almost all union rights from them."

Here is Michelle Malkin's coverage, with video.

GayPatriot says: "What’s happening in Wisconsin should be happening in California, with public employee unions upset at anticipated cuts in their benefits and legislation limiting their power. Both the Badger State and the (once-)Golden State have similar rates of unionization in their workforces, 16 and 17% respectively. Both face huge budget gaps."

51 comments:

PaulV said...

what image?

Beldar said...

How's that whole air traffic controller strike working out now, anyway?

Henry said...

"We risk our public image," Barnard said...

Yup.

TosaGuy said...

The image of a tax hell run by whiny unionized public employees?

Be great to lose that image.

Henry said...

I'm have a question, for those in Madison. How many of the schools being closed serve working class and minority communities? If Madison is anything like my fair city then the people who are really getting screwed this week are blue collar parents.

How many suburban and outlying schools have closed so their teachers can go protest?

traditionalguy said...

Their image is that they are in charge of hiring and firing the Governor and most legislators at "The next election". That is a blatant conflict of interest and a method of extortion from the politicians they claim that they only want to bargain with.

BigFire said...

Moonbeam Jerry is bought for and owned by the public employee union. Hell, he's the one that allows the public employee to unionized in the first place. Nope. We here in California are doomed.

k*thy said...

Henry, so far I've heard Madison, Monona Grove, Verona, Oregon, Middleton Waunakee, Deforest, Milwaukee and Oshkosh schools.

Ann Althouse said...

"If Madison is anything like my fair city then the people who are really getting screwed this week are blue collar parents."

Madison has people at all levels, but on the average, it's a very affluent community. Lots of professionals and people who work for the university.

Jason said...

Remember...this is all about the children. And teachers teach because they enjoy it; they dont do it for the money.

edutcher said...

Their public image is that of bureaucratic slobs who espouse No Tolerance as a mindless CYA; push PC, multi-culti, and diversity rather than literacy, mathematics, and analytical thinking; and want to see everyone's taxes go up so they can have a fatter pension.

Oh, and nothing says, "We're doing this for the chil'run", like closing school and dragging the kids off to be props for the useless-idiot Establishment Media.

chickelit said...

How many of the schools being closed serve working class and minority communities?

Very few.

The Drill SGT said...

"kill the bill."

How's that civility thing going?

The Drill SGT said...

These Teachers should note what FDR said about collective bargaining in the Public sector and about how it lacked the balance of the private sector:

he wrote to the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in 1937, Roosevelt reasoned:

“… Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the government. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations … The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for … officials … to bind the employer … The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives …

“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees. Upon employees in the federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people … This obligation is paramount … A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent … to prevent or obstruct … Government … Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government … is unthinkable and intolerable.”

Jason said...

How many of the schools being closed serve working class and minority communities?

-----------------------------

None, so far. The only schools closing so far appear to be districts in or around Dane County. The only one Ive seen farther away that is closing is River Valley, which isnt suprising...Spring Green is easily as liberal as most of Dane County.

mrs whatsit said...

It says something about the clueless oblivious taken-for-granted soft protected cushy cocoons in which today's Americans -- at least, today's publicly-employed Americans -- live when a physics teacher says that the possibility that she might not get as many big raises in the future as she's used to the scariest thing she's ever seen.

mrs whatsit said...

IS the scariest thing she's ever seen. Grr.

Sloanasaurus said...

These protests are only making it worse for the Unions. They are shrill.

AJ Lynch said...

It appears the teachers took the bait. I assume Walker could give up his demand to de-ball the unions but he'd still get the monetary savings he wants. So I say it's win-win for the new governor and he lets the union bosses save face for now.


wv = cartl [how does it know?]

MadisonMan said...

Madison has people at all levels, but on the average, it's a very affluent community.

The percentage of kids who get reduced lunch in MMSD schools is around 45%, I think.

Calypso Facto said...

MM: That's because urban public school teachers send their own "relatively affluent" kids to private schools at twice the rate of the general population....

Calypso Facto said...

Like I said yesterday, I think the sick-in hurts the teachers' cause with the people most likely to support their effort--people with kids in school--and proves Walker's point that the unions are out of control to much of the rest of the public.

Freeman Hunt said...

Closing school for two days, eh? And they want the sympathy of the people they're milking?

Not a lot of strategerists in that union I suppose.

Freeman Hunt said...

I love to imagine Bushisms grating on public sector union ears.

If Walker is successful, maybe CA can work on importing him.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

What the armchair commandos are most upset at unions for is their having given us the weekend. Fuck that! Don't stop until you're on Althouse for 72 hours a week to complain about how horrible modern civilization and collective bargaining is.

Mary said...

Can we borrow Gov. Walker here in Illinois for about a year? After our yahoo governor raised taxes by about 60-70% claiming that it would cover any shortfall, he has announced within the last few days that he needs to borrow another $8 billion because he's come up short. Again. What can I expect, however, from a state like this where the biggest worry of our senior senator is whether MLB players use chewing tobacco.

Like the 200,000 who have bailed on Chicago in the last 10 years, I'm truly looking for work outside of Illinois. The axe is going to fall in a devastating fashion within the next few years and I don't want to be here for the carnage.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Come on, guys. Let's starve the beast a li'l more first.

James said...

Racine Unified School District is open tomorrow. They have this little $90 million referendum coming up in April so they probably don't want to rile up voters too much.

Themis said...

An empty public-school playground sounds like an ideal place for a lunch-time school-day brown-bag counter demonstration. Any plans in the works?

Richard Hannay said...

To quote Ms. Barnard, "This is going to change Wisconsin forever." I think that is the whole point. Once public employee unions go away, they aren't coming back.

wordsmith2 said...

Madison has always been an interesting mix of highly educated government/university jobs and blue-collar workers, within an agricultural county. The average salary is about $39,000 in the city, with median household income of $42,000 - $46,000 and median family income of $60,000 (depending on which government data source is used). By comparison, the average teacher's salary in the Madison Metropolitan School District is $47,000 - 51,000, which is about $13,000 higher than private school salaries in the area.

But teachers are saying this isn't about their salaries; it's about silencing them, taking away their first amendment rights, descending into barbarianism, etc.

Coketown said...

Somewhere in New York, in a dark study, Francis Fox Piven is laughing diabolically.

"Baby steps, my union darlings. Baby steps."

kent said...

Closing school for two days, eh? And they want the sympathy of the people they're milking?

Never, ever interrupt your opponent while he's obliviously sawing away at his own carotid artery. ;)

dick said...

C4BDH,
So then all those weeks I averaged over 70 hours with no overtime went for naught? And don't forget that one of the biggest employers who pushed 8 hrs/day and good wages for all workers was the union buster Henry Ford - and he did that 25 years before he had to deal with union busting. You need to up your game, old sir, you are losing badly at this one.

Deb said...

Did they take the students to the demonstrations with or without parental consent?

Michael said...

A question for the good folks of Wisconsin. How many government employees have been laid off during the recession? Is 9.7 percent of the workforce the number? If not, why is that?

mrs whatsit said...

If, as Ann says, many of the parents in the closed school districts work for public employers -- the state, the University -- the teachers' union might get more sympathy than one might otherwise guess.

vet66 said...

One must wonder what union "genius" decided to pull out the supposed trump card which pimps their students for union gains? As mentioned above, apparently teaching history these days does not include the PAC strike during Reagan's Presidency.

I thought students and teachers in Madison were smart enough to consider the implications of their actions in a budget crisis. What this tells me is that they are used to having their way with elected officials while totally disregarding the people who do the electing and pay the bills.

I say fire them all and start from scratch. In this economy there is an ample supply of teachers who were the victims of 'last in first out' victims of tenure and union protectionism. This is what happens when the job of teaching becomes a business unto itself at the expense of the students.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@dick

Good 'ole C4BDH ('Ritmo') never let a fact get in the way of one of his fabrications.

Thats' golden rule #1 of today's MSM as well.

Besides, we need to keep our eye on the ball, here...its about the children.

wv- survers

Jay said...

"This is the scariest thing I've ever seen," Betsy Barnard, a physics teacher at West High School, said of the Walker proposal.

Wow.

What a sheltered, privilege life Betsy must be living...

Robert R. said...

There's no question that getting off your butt and actually showing up and being a physical presence is actually more effective than complaining from a keyboard. Which is apparently what the recommended option is, which is going to be totally ineffective.

The bill goes far beyond balancing the short term budget. I suspect that if it just included the benefits changes, and didn't exclude a couple of classes of public employees, it would have sailed through with little problem. But it includes much more than that.

It already has some issues, including costing the State Federal money for transit systems as is.

kent said...

Good 'ole C4BDH ('Ritmo') never let a fact get in the way of one of his fabrications.

Ritmo is the Serene Branson of Althouse posters.

kent said...

"This is the scariest thing I've ever seen," Betsy Barnard, a physics teacher at West High School, said of the Walker proposal.

We've been treated to non-stop whinnying and bleating these past few days -- from both poutraged protesters and their online apologia choir -- to the monotonous martyr's tune of: "... well, you know: we could easily be making two or three times in the private sector what we're making here."

Okay, then. Fine. No need to suffer on our ungrateful collective behalf even so much as one single, solitary moment longer, by golly. Tug out those nails, hop down off of that cross and go, go make yourselves fabulously fat and wealthy with those marvelously marketable workplace skills of yours, by all means. No one's stopping you, so turn off the waterworks, set those weak things you've been using in place of chins and just freakin' GO, already.

No one -- no, not even sweet, precious, eternally cosseted and exquisitely over-educated you, little gumdrop -- is ever, ever irreplaceable, out in the real workaday world.

I suspect you already know that, however... and that that's actually "the scariest thing" you've ever had to contemplate, up until now.

Herb said...

Texas has similar union rules too what is proposed here and everything seems just fine.

Henry said...

@Althouse: Madison has people at all levels, but on the average, it's a very affluent community. Lots of professionals and people who work for the university.

That's true of Providence too, but none of the affluent send their kids to public school.

MadisonMan said...

How many government employees have been laid off during the recession? Is 9.7 percent of the workforce the number? If not, why is that?

The Govt had to hire more people to staff the unemployment office?

People in the private sector are let go when demand for a product wanes. Unless you reduce government rules and regulations, how does the need for government services drop?

That's one reason I think Walker is proceeding down the wrong path. You don't first cut taxes. That's too easy and requires no thinking. You cut *programs* -- that is, you decide what Govt programs are unnecessary, and you fire the people working in the program and stop funding it. Of course, this is a hard thing to do, and most Legislators don't have the stomach for it, so they take the easy way out and just cut taxes.

Shanna said...

You cut *programs* -- that is, you decide what Govt programs are unnecessary, and you fire the people working in the program and stop funding it.

Absent this, you can easily reduce staffing of agencies over time by natural attrition. That's generally how budgets get balanced at government agencies, when they aren't forced to do the hard cuts.

MadisonMan said...

Yes, and that generally makes the Dept more efficient. The problem with that scenario is: when times are good, people get hired back into the vacated positions.

A politician, after all, has to get his cronies hired somewhere.

Calypso Facto said...

I agree MadMan, but if the legislators were any good at making difficult choices, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. I'd take your across-the-board reduction plan, or this budget fix, or just about ANY proposal to cut government spending at this point....

Sofa King said...

I suspect that if it just included the benefits changes, and didn't exclude a couple of classes of public employees, it would have sailed through with little problem.

Why would you suspect that? What in the previous history of public union negotiations could possibly lead you to this conclusion?

We all know they would scream bloody murder about anything that slowed their gravy train even a little. So, might as well give them something to scream about.

E.M. Davis said...

Listening to "Unbroken" in the car on CD. Edward Hermann is a very good audiobook reader.

However, it struck me, listening to Zamperini's early life in Torrance of how the way people used to live. Yes, the entire goal was to improve life for the generations that follow.

Now, we seem to have lost the understanding of the struggles of our ancestors, and that all suffering is now relative.

Betsey Barnard is wholly ignorant of the past.