February 16, 2011

"Thousands of people descended on the Wisconsin state Capitol for a second day of powerful protests Wednesday..."

AP reports:
Republican lawmakers met in secret Wednesday morning to discuss Walker's proposal, the boldest move in the nation to abolish labor rights. Wisconsin was the first state to pass a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959.

There were some signs that support for the plan among Republicans who control the Legislature may be waning after more than 13,000 teachers, prison guards, nurses and others converged on the Capitol to speak out during in a 17-hour public hearing.

170 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

My suggestion would be a parallel bill that would raise the Wisconsin income tax to levels that would prevent any cuts in public employees benefits and see how many people descend on the Capitol. Whoever has the biggest protest group wins.

TMink said...

And so it begins. The lefties are well practiced and organized.

But the conservatives are armed.

Trey

Henry said...

This reminds me of the fact that the Ulster IRA couldn't have functioned without the dole.

These people are being paid to protest for more pay.

shoutingthomas said...

The AP is not the most reliable news source.

Super leftie organization.

kent said...

These people are being paid to protest for more pay.

The face of the locust.

shoutingthomas said...

... the boldest move in the nation to abolish labor rights...

Well this could be phrased a 1,000 ways. Right?

How about the right to make huge contributions to Democratic Party candidates, who, upon election, kick back those contributions in pay raises and increased benefits and perks?

As I said, the AP is a leftie organization.

chickelit said...

Descended on the Wisconsin Capitol? The Capitol building sits on relative high ground on the isthmus. They must have descended from Big Bug Hill.

05612610-39fc-11e0-bac2-000f20980440 said...

He's going far too far. It would be much more sensible just to require the 5% increase in pension/health contributions.

If he didn't campaign on this massive change in labor law, it shouldn't be advanced with only 4 days debate.

Coketown said...

Okay, so, Republicans tick off unions and next election they get 2% of the union vote instead of 3%. Chilling.

John Thacker said...

It's only the "boldest move in the nation" because it's a change... some states, like North Carolina and Virginia, have never had collective bargaining rights by public employees.

I agree with FDR, collective bargaining by public employees should be illegal.

E.M. Davis said...

Slightly OT, but I just love getting FB updates from friends who want me to sign on to saving NPR and PBS from the budget axe.

What part of "We have no f-ing money. We are completely broke." do they not understand?

Trooper York said...

Fire all their asses.

ricpic said...

The Pubbies will cave to the noble gimme crowd. Their wives will see to it that they vote the way that will keep those invites from the people who count coming.

AJ Lynch said...

Hoosier wins the thread!

ricpic said...

The people who count being the U of W professoriate. No mercy for the common herd from THEM.

Alex said...

the libs are already spinning this as Egypt Part II. Scott Walker as Pharaoh.

kent said...

the libs are already spinning this as Egypt Part II.

Oh? Planning on sexually asaulting some luckless newswomen, are they?

Econophile said...

Many UW grad students--even the apolitical ones--are convinced they'll lose all benefits that come with their Teaching/Research Assistant positions, like health insurance and tuition remission.

In fact, it looks like the only real change is an increase of ~$24 a month towards health insurance premiums.

But because of a few misleading mass emails from student labor groups and their general credulousness and proneness to hysteria, they can't be bothered with reality.

Anyway, it's been pleasantly calm on campus with all the riffraff on the Square today.

Trooper York said...

Fire all their asses.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Egypt Part II? More like Bishkek Part II. Yap yap yap!

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Too bad they don't have the honesty to hold up passersby instead demanding it be done by proxy.

Comrade X said...

what Trooper said. Opportunity knocks! and what a teachable moment for the students. Math can be fun.

05612610-39fc-11e0-bac2-000f20980440 said...

Average Teacher Salaries in Wisconsin
Starting Salary: $25,222
Average Salary: $46,390

http://teacherportal.com/salary/Wisconsin-teacher-salary

MadisonMan said...

I am suspicious of vague reports that say signs of support may be waning.

I would suggest a 15% cut in everything and the managers who are paid to manage can take care of the details. Not sure why the Governor has to be involved beyond controlling the purse strings.

Trooper York said...

Fire their asses.

edutcher said...

Time for a Tea Party at the State Capitol.

Do what Orde Wingate did to the camels in Abyssinia.

Leland said...

Maybe Walker can show Time and President Obama exactly what "the Gipper" would do in a situation like this. Fire 'em all and see how many of the 8-9% unemployed want a job.

wv: terma Hell Ya, that will do it.

Jason (the commenter) said...

The unions are shutting down government services by calling for a work stoppage.

The protests themselves are proof the law should be changed!

kent said...

The unions are shutting down government services by calling for a work stoppage.

"For the CHILDREN -- !!!"

former law student said...

The professor's ox is not yet being gored? What would it take to make her go to the barricades?

Jason (the commenter) said...

If you think these few days of government work being left undone is expensive, you should see the costs unions impose on the state every day of the year.

garage mahal said...

Madison Man
Your daughter go down to the square today?

former law student said...

Do what Orde Wingate did to the camels in Abyssinia.

Is that what I think it was? In fairness, Gen. Wingate probably hadn't had any home leave for a while.

Scott M said...

I would suggest a 15% cut in everything

I am absolutely clueless why, both at the state and federal level, we're not being hammered from all sides by calls for a 10% budget reduction...across the board in all departments and for every last penny.

As I've said before, both in the military, public employment and private, I have never seen one...not one...organization that couldn't cut their operational budget by 10%.

Assuming someone could get everyone to play ball and do that, both at the state and local level, how much money do you suppose that is?

Ut said...

"Thousands of people descended ..."

These are not merely people who are descending. They are the government.

What Governor Walker is trying to do is not to destroy "union" rights ... but the alleged right of the government to organize against "the people." A right that does not exist in the first place.

It is a concept that should be destroyed.

Here again, you see the media distorting the plain meaning of words to craft a preferred narrative.

The media truly are the enemy of "the common man."

Scott M said...

What would it take to make her go to the barricades?

An anti-pants/pro-shorts agenda by the other 50% of the residents at her address.

Freeman Hunt said...

Public sector unions should be outlawed entirely. I hope their protest efforts fail.

Trooper York said...

Fire their asses.

Sloanasaurus said...

Why would a state rep from, say Eagle River, care about protests in Madison. The protesters need to organize protests in the representatives home districts - places like Green Bay and Hudson.

Madison has 5 reps - all democrats. Milwaukee has 11 state reps - all democrats.

Sloanasaurus said...

Starting Salary: $25,222
Average Salary: $46,390


Does this include the value of their pension, the value of their other benefits that most prviate employees pay for out of their salary.... Does it take into account only a 9 month working year?

Freeman Hunt said...

I wish someone would have the cojones to fire them.

Then I wish someone would have the cojones to end the silly practice of requiring teachers to have a BA in education. Why in education generally? Plus, why does an elementary school or middle school teacher need anything more than a two year degree? Why not offer two year degrees that specialize in things like elementary math or elementary reading? That is done in some other countries with superior results to show for it.

PatCA said...

Onward Fiscal Soldiers!

Hang tough, GOP, it's only beginning.

MadisonMan said...

Your daughter go down to the square today?

She did. The son did not.

NIce Spring day to be outside. I came home from work to be home when they were here, and they both promptly left. Typical.

roesch-voltaire said...

Walker could get concessions and budget cuts without ending labour rights, and so his move is seen a political effort to gut democratic organizations more than an attempt at balancing the budget. What folks do not realize is that most of us are workers- and raising the level of wages and benefits for large segments, helps to benefit others.

MadisonMan said...

I wish someone would have the cojones to end the silly practice of requiring teachers to have a BA in education. Why in education generally? Plus, why does an elementary school or middle school teacher need anything more than a two year degree? Why not offer two year degrees that specialize in things like elementary math or elementary reading?

Because Elementary Education PhDs have to have jobs too, teaching teachers teaching methods.

(Snark aside, I agree with you)

Trooper York said...

Well sometimes you get intimidated when you have to have a discussion with an egghead PHD kind of dude.
Just sayn'

Freeman Hunt said...

Websites listing starting teacher salaries appear to be incorrect. At least, they are for my area. Off (under) by over $10k. Perhaps they are averaging part-time in with full-time.

former law student said...

Freeman brings up a good point. Being a compulsive reader growing up, I read most of my sister's Anne of Green Gables books. As I recall, Anne was eligible to teach elementary school as soon as she graduated high school.

Trooper York said...

Oh one more thing.

Did I tell you the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl?

I hear they may be going on strike too.

You know what?

FIRE THEIR ASSES!!!!!!!!!!

lemondog said...

The unions are shutting down government services by calling for a work stoppage.

Wisconsin is a French protectorate?

former law student said...

Freeman: school teacher salary schedules are public information. They should be posted on any school district website.

Trooper York said...

Today is the first day of pitchers and catchers.

And no that is not a party at Titus's house.

MadisonMan said...

The Milwaukee Brewers are contenders, I tell you. Contenders!

garage mahal said...

Did I tell you the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl?

I hear they may be going on strike too.


Walker received a resounding chorus of boos from the salt of the earth at Lambeau for the award ceremony, before this bill came about. Not to mention current and Former Packers signaling their support for state workers this week. Ouch.

Freeman Hunt said...

Freeman: school teacher salary schedules are public information. They should be posted on any school district website.

I know. I'm talking about these websites I'm finding that aggregate them from all over the country. They seem to be incorrect.

MadisonMan said...

Oh wait -- did they start to play? Never mind.

Chip Ahoy said...

The internets dun put me sum knowledge. A comedienne riffing on Ellaina Morrisett was explaining to her audience the meaning of ironies by contrasting actual irony with Morrisett's non-ironies. I hadn't ever listened to Morrisett's song so it took a moment to get what she was on about. One of her examples she said, "Nooo, a real irony is an airport renamed for Ronald Reagan." The audience roared with laughter. That caused me to search +reagan +airports. It must have taken massive cajones of steel to stand up to PATCO and risk catastrophe on a national scale.

It seems to me that is what is needed here and so most unlikely to happen.

Shanna said...

Then I wish someone would have the cojones to end the silly practice of requiring teachers to have a BA in education.

I know! It’s probably there because education major’s want a monopoly. Think how many people they would be able to hire if they could hire people who majored in Math, History, Science, Business, etc.. to teach those classes. As it is, the barrier to entry as a teacher is too high if you got a non-teacher degree. All you need is a little teaching specific training.

MadisonMan said...

Chip, I believe the ATC were striking illegally. The teachers are not doing something illegal by calling in sick en masse.

Trooper York said...

Garage Green Bay said....
Walker received a resounding chorus of boos from the salt of the earth at Lambeau for the award ceremony, before this bill came about. Not to mention current and Former Packers signaling their support for state workers this week. Ouch.

That was only because the crowd consisted of government workers.
Everybody with a real job had to be at work. Just sayn'

Shanna said...

As I recall, Anne was eligible to teach elementary school as soon as she graduated high school.

Gilbert too!!! (I want to say she got some sort of teaching certificate, but she definitely taught before she went to college).

Scott M said...

The teachers are not doing something illegal by calling in sick en masse.

I don't know about illegal, but what about something that could warrant termination? If the district super can insist on medical notes for calling in sick, then has video evidence that some of those with notes were not ill but were in fact lying about what they were doing or their "sick" status, surely there's a mechanism for punishment up to termination.

Michael K said...

This will certainly be a test of resolve. It could even be an indicator of our chances for the country avoiding hyperinflation and going the way of Weimar Germany.

edutcher said...

former law student said...

Do what Orde Wingate did to the camels in Abyssinia.

Is that what I think it was? In fairness, Gen. Wingate probably hadn't had any home leave for a while.


No, that would be the Moslems.

When his first Long Range Penetration Group - later morphed into the Chindit/Merrill's Marauder concept in Burma (used also by the Marine Raiders in the Solomons and later the Mobile Guerilla forces in 'Nam) - moved against the Italians, the camels transporting their gear decided to have a sit down strike.

Wingate ordered fires built under every camel and the story goes the entire countryside smelled of burned camel.

This is what the Tea Party needs to do to the Republicans.

PS fls' Middle East history, especially where the Limeys are concerned, is sadly wanting. Time to tear up his card for the Kos Lending Library.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If the legislators back down because a few greedy union people took off from work to protest reality.....they are a bunch of pussies.

traditionalguy said...

Let us know when they start setting themselves on fire.

kent said...

Let us know when they start setting themselves on fire.

Just give me five minutes to grab a bag of marshmallows.

edutcher said...

traditionalguy said...

Let us know when they start setting themselves on fire.

No, you guys in WI have to bring the matches.

That business about, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty".

If you let the politicians alone, they'll take the path of least resistance. That means, if they see union slugs and no taxpayers, they'll do what the union slugs want. You have to make them understand the unions are the least of their worries.

The unions, particularly SEIU and the teachers, are treating this as a war - they are marshalling the troops and staging a frontal assault.

Now, the Tea Partiers are going to have to mount a counter-attack.

Triangle Man said...

I don't know about illegal, but what about something that could warrant termination?

Isn't it game over once the district closed the schools?

MadisonMan said...

Isn't it game over once the district closed the schools?

The schools are closed, yes, but the staff are still expected to report to work.

Scott M said...

Isn't it game over once the district closed the schools?

Not if he, as the statement said, is expecting medical notes from all who called in sick.

Robert R. said...

Mass firing sounds good, until you realize that you can't just call in the national guard to fulfill every duty on short notice. The ability to withhold labor is still a powerful tool for skilled workers.

Obviously, elementary school teachers probably are replaceable in the short term, but if the DOT staged a walkout during construction season, much of the construction work in the State would grind to a halt.

And, most of the National Guard aren't really supportive of being called away from their regular jobs due to politics.

Shanna said...

One of her examples she said, "Nooo, a real irony is an airport renamed for Ronald Reagan." The audience roared with laughter. That caused me to search +reagan +airports.

I was flying into National one day, a year or two after they had changed the name to RR National, and I said something about flying into “National” and the lady next to me went into a rant about how happy she was that I refused to call it Reagan National and how much she hated Reagan, etc..etc… I just kind of nodded at her. Of course, I was not making a statement, I just had been calling it National for 4 or 5 years and it’s not easy to switch up names, but I thought it was hilarious that she decided that was some sort of signal that we were simpatico.

Scott M said...

but I thought it was hilarious that she decided that was some sort of signal that we were simpatico.

Did she start in with the anti-dentite jokes after that?

James said...

The bill comes out of the Finance Committee this afternoon and will be voted by the legislature tomorrow. Republicans are confident they have the votes so all these protests are just a waste of time.

James said...

The UW Chancellor weighs in:

"Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin aksed the legislature to postpone a vote on Walker’s bill to allow time for negotiations with the public employees.
"Given the impact of the budget repair bill on state and university employees, I urge members of the Joint Committee on Finance, in the strongest possible terms, to delay executive action on the bill until there has been an opportunity for negotiations. Before curtailing collective bargaining rights that have been in place for years, I am asking legislators to step back and make a sincere effort to develop more creative solutions,” Martin said. “Even a situation that requires immediate attention should still make time for substantive and deliberative exchange. In his inaugural address in 1861, Abraham Lincoln said 'Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.' For the benefit of state employees at all levels, I'm asking for lawmakers to take that time.""

Pogo said...

"Republicans are confident they have the votes so all these protests are just a waste of time."

That is part of the definition of a US gubmint employee protest, and its major point.


Fire everyone who called in sick.
There'll be zero difficulty replacing every single job in less than a week.

Pogo said...

Well, then fire the UW Chancellor, too.

Michael said...

Chip Ahoy: The air traffic controllers thought they had us by the balls. They were the only people on the planet who could maneuver these airplanes at close tolerances through blue and stormy skies. Only they could keep us safe. RR fired them after very fair warning. The replacements immediately separated the planes so instead of flying them insanely close together on takeoff and landing they spread them out a bit. No delays, not even on the first day of the new controllers. No crashes. No problems. And that, as they say, was that.

Now I am not up to speed on teaching, its been 35 years since I taught but i would guess the teacher component of this "powerful" protest could be replaced handily. Eliminate the need for "education" degrees, go to the free market and lots of very qualified people would love to work with kids teaching them what they have learned through a lifetime of doing.

TosaGuy said...

So union members, if no concessions.....how many layoffs are acceptable to you. 5,000? 10,000? 15,0000?

A word to the average union person, the Marty Biels of the world don't care how big that number may be as long as he gets to keep is $175K.

Scott M said...

lots of very qualified people would love to work with kids teaching them what they have learned through a lifetime of doing.

I would dearly love to go in and teach the giant reality check involved with setting up your first apartment. Nothing in high school prepared me for all of those details. Nadda.

shoutingthomas said...

The UW Chancellor weighs in:

Yes, but what does the UW Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate have to say?

This seems the right time for him to explain why he's pulling in $150,000.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Dragging this out just gives opponents and their media friends more time to undermine the bill. Pass it now. If they don't want to work, fire them. It won't be hard to find people to take their place.

Trooper York said...

One of the main players in the teachers union caused a ruckus in an Albany, New York restaurant to the point that the cops had to come.

You see the quail he ordered for lunch was too small and he refused to pay for it.

This is the reality of your teachers and their union.

garage mahal said...

So union members, if no concessions.....how many layoffs are acceptable to you. 5,000? 10,000? 15,0000?

Walker said 1500. In the same interview he said that 200k would be forced of out of medicaid. When told that, no, he cannot remove anyone from Medicaid, he admitted, yes, he didn't look that up before he announced it. So basically you cannot trust one thing out of this guy's mouth.

Pogo said...

The game as played in SE MN:
1) Bond referendum pushed and pushed. It fails.
2) Bring it up again; maybe even a special election. It fails.
3) Do the 'Close the Washington monument' tactic: fire all the assistants, shut down music and athletics, have TV news interview kids about how mean the adults are.
4) Hire a new superintendant from Chicago. he promtly buys a $5000 desk during the budget crisis.

Michael said...

garage: "So basically you cannot trust one thing out of this guy's mouth."

So basically if you get one thing wrong then everything thereafter cannot be trusted? You would apply this thinking to our supreme leader as well?

bgates said...

Yes, but what does the UW Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate have to say?

This seems the right time for him to explain why he's pulling in $150,000.


Once in a while somebody from my side make such a hyperbolic caricature of the other side that I wince, because such an outlandish attack can only make a neutral observer doubt our position.

Then I look it up, and see that it's just as bad as he says.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would dearly love to go in and teach the giant reality check involved with setting up your first apartment.

I used to guest teach a volunteer course in high school that covered things like: payroll taxes, budgeting, buying groceries, paying bills, how to get and keep good credit, interest on loans and what it will cost you in the end, balancing checkbooks, etc.

The kids really loved the part about buying a car, blue booking a vehicle, applying for a car loan, and were shocked by the costs of insurance, maintenance etc.

Real skills for the real world.

Michael said...

Pogo: Exactly. Shutting the zoos first is the main thing. Then insinuating that the animals won't be fed. Then, and only then, do you snare the hapless family who hadn't heard and is standing forlornly at the shuttered gate. "How do you feel (note "feel") about the republicans closing the zoo and starving the animals to death?"

NPR meanwhile is flipping from "the children" won't have sesame street to "the rubes" won't have intelligent radio. Just a couple of months ago they were telling us the govt. didn't give them much of anything. Now we are planning to starve the animals, sorry, rubes. And the children. Always the children.

garage mahal said...

Michael
It's not that he got it wrong. It's that he pulled an arbitrary number from his butt to bolster his case, not knowing how medicaid even works.

nina said...

I'm not sure I understand why we would want to lower salaries of teachers and public employees based on some idea that others in the private sector have suffered more. Who could argue that some have suffered and continue to suffer in this downturn! But still others in the private sector have done quite well. Exponentially better, one might say than an average public employee. Shouldn't the goal be to strive to bring up those who need jobs and benefits, public or private, rather than go after an easy target -- a public employee -- and make sure they earn closer to those who are worse off?

And, too, I must admit that I have not examined the state budget and I would find that even with my degree in economics, I would have a hard time understanding it if it was handed to me. But I would like to hear a discussion of what created this sudden deficit in this fiscal year and what spending has taken place thus far under our governor's tenure.

It's odd to start the discussion with this rather paltry (in terms of the budget) cut with large consequences for a small group of people (public employees), who really do provide a service. If they don't, their jobs SHOULD be phased out. If they do, they should be compensated for it.

I do know about my own back yard -- the university -- and we know here that faculty are severely less well compensated than in private well ranked schools and also quite lower in pay scales as compared to other public universities, and as compared to the Big Ten schools.

But I worry less about the faculty than the vast majority of public workers who do not earn anywhere near a six digit salary (hey, wait a minute, that IS me!).

Of course, we could all strive to be paid similar and low wages, except for a handful belonging to the elite, but I was born in a country that tried that and believe me, it didn't work.

Anyway, if there is a severe budget problem, all (or most, and certainly I)would agree that steps should be taken quickly to reduce it. Perhaps that should have been on the governor's mind when he authorized expenditures (of his choice) just a month ago. Targeting the public employees before even proposing a budget was an odd and seemingly political rather than useful first step to take.

Michael said...

garage: A politician pulled a number from his ass and suddenly you don't trust him? What's up with that? Not sporting for a wing shot to give up so easily. Lead them a bit. They're tricky like teal. Or snipe. Or woodcock. Probably most like the latter.

Michael said...

Nina: I don't see anyone here suggesting that teachers get paid less. I see some real concern that they want more in an environment when the private sector is having to suck it up and when "cuts" are defined by unions as "smaller increases." At issue is whether a unionized teacher is a more effective teacher or one that is sheltered from economic realities. I have the greatest regard for teachers and believe they should be paid very well. I also believe that crappy teachers should hit the road and it is on that point that the unions and I would part.

Sloanasaurus said...

Here is a link to a local Wisconsin blogger lamenting being a teacher.

http://realdebatewisconsin.blogspot.com/2011/02/truly-embarrassed.html

Bart said...

Call in sick, en masse, eh? Is lying about being sick also a breach of contract?

Were I Walker I would demand medical proof of illness either for the individual or immediate family. If unavailable I'd fire 'em for lying to a supervisor.

James said...

@Nina

You should ask Governor Squidward how the structural deficit occurred.

Sloanasaurus said...

How do the teachers explain to the rest of the people - We need you to work until your 69 so that we can retire at 55.

These unions no longer serve any public good. (if they ever did).

MadisonMan said...

I also believe that crappy teachers should hit the road and it is on that point that the unions and I would part.

And yet WEAC wants the same thing.

Link.

TosaGuy said...

Garage....so 1500 state layoffs would be acceptable to you?

That will be a bigger number because local gov'ts and school districts will be cutting too.

virgil xenophon said...

I love the union-card mentality that says that the Harvard/MIT PhD Nobel laureate Physics professor that parents would gladly commit mass murder for in order to get him to teach their 19 yr old as a freshman in the fall, deems him TOTALLY incompetent to teach that self-same 19 yr-old as a Sr in HS in the spring of the same calender year unless he has a State-issued teaching certificate and has taken the required number of worthless "methods" courses.

Pogo said...

"But I would like to hear a discussion of what created this sudden deficit in this fiscal year..."

A degreee in economics?
Criminey.

So, there was this thing that started a few years ago, the Great Recession. Still going on, actually. It cuts into state tax receipts quite alot, turns out. Budgets forecast on higher receipts are, well, wrong. Adjustments must be made to fill the hole.

Thank you.

James said...

Actually Walker said the alternative is to layoff 6,000 state employees.

Michael said...

Madison Man: I am sure that the union "wants" the same thing and that they "plan" to do something about it. So, this is a new union just now representing the oppressed? Just now addressing the work rules? Just now discovering that crappy teachers might not be in their best interest? They do realize, don't they, that the students don't pay dues?

Original Mike said...

"And yet WEAC wants the same thing."

No, they really don't, but they are interested in cutting their losses. Which is fine; if both sides agree, then do it.

cokaygne said...

This will be interesting. I used to manage in state government, not Wisconsin. Middle managers have no say over pay and benefits but have to live with the "rights" that the union has.

Wisconsin, like most states, probably has a civil service system with detailed rules about hiring, working conditions, and discipline (forget about firing it rarely happens in the public sector). Unions are an addition to the civil service system.

This makes it practically impossible for a manager or supervisor to maintain discipline in the work place. Everything must be documented in excruciating detail. The line manager or supervisor must spend precious time preparing for and attending hearings aided by a manager from personnel who does not want to rock the boat, while the worker is represented by an aggressive shop steward who owes his or her position to being as zealous as possible in defending the accused worker. The result for all this time taken away from doing the business of state government is a compromise of probation that will end up back at another hearing in six months or so.

Add to that, and this probably goes for most liberal northern states, the hundreds of state employees who do not work a day for the state by continuing to abuse sick leave, come in late, leave early, take long lunches, and just brazenly refuse to come in to work. Those folks are still eligible for all the generous benefits negotiated by their unions and paid for by the taxpayer.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let me say that 80% of state employees are dedicated and productive, but are afraid of random changes in their pay and working conditions enacted by politicians and political appointees, and that is why they support their unions so strongly.

Michael said...

Virgil: Yep. Gotta have that ed degree. That is where you learn about political correctness and the man and how you can't make it too hard on your minority students. Gotta have it or you can't be a part of the guild.

Browndog said...

I saw the cutest sign today on tv. In small, barely legible lettering at the top it said "political". Then, in big, bold lettering it said "DEATH TO TYRANTS".

Awesome. Probably a history teacher, who happens to be on the subject of "Egypt" this week, and felt like teaching his class from afar.

garage mahal said...

Actually Walker said the alternative is to layoff 6,000 state employees.

Walker said: "The alternative" to higher state worker pension and health care payments "is to look at 1,500 layoffs of state employees or close to 200,000 children who would be bumped off Medicaid-related programs."

The Truth-O-Meter says False

MadisonMan said...

Budgets forecast on higher receipts are, well, wrong. Adjustments must be made to fill the hole.

Apparently, you are wrong.

Link

Executive summary: No budget hole until $140M in new spending goes through Legislature last month. Then, suddenly, we have to fill this gaping hole by cutting off Union Representation.

Michael said...

cokaygne: An honest man. The old 80/20 rule. Of the 80 that worked and were honest 20percent did the heavy lifting if the rule holds.
These systems rob people of dignity, strip them of responsibility. They are just wrong.

Comrade X said...

What my budget does is to put forward some tough choices, some significant spending cuts, so that by the middle of this decade our annual spending will match our annual revenues. We will not be adding more to the national debt.


Unless you include interest payments. What does the Truth-O-Meter say about that?

Michael said...

One of the hard lessons of the downturn in the private sector has been that operating costs have been cut to the bone. Despite massive layoffs productivity has risen because the remaining workers feel the earth trembling beneath their feet. They have worked harder. It is this very real phenomenon that is pissing people off when they see that the public sector has grown in jobs and it is pissing them off more when they see that the public sector is whining about their pay. If you are in the public sector you probably have no frame of reference to judge the sheer fury that this dichotomy elicits from the private sphere.

Pogo said...

Geez, MadMan, just 3 months ago there was a huuuuge WI deficit.

How could the CapTimes possibly be correct?

"The rise in unemployment and a steep drop in revenues from 2008 to 2009 suggest a dire future for a state that has struggled to fill perennial budget shortfalls, according to the Pew Center on the States and its report, "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril.

The top-10 ranking puts Wisconsin in a dubious group with California, a state that issued IOUs to contractors earlier this year. Wisconsin is ranked ninth-worst, tied with Illinois.
The report pinned Wisconsin's budget problems, in part, on the loss of 140,000 jobs and one-eighth of its manufacturing workforce in the current recession. The lagging economy drove down tax collections 11.2%, comparing the first quarter of 2008 with the first quarter of 2009, according to the report.

Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Legislature began the 2009-'11 budget process with a $6.6 billion shortfall. They filled the hole with $2.1 billion in tax and fee increases, $2.2 billion in federal stimulus dollars and cuts in state agency spending and aid to local governments and schools.
The report predicts the 2011-'13 budget will start with a structural deficit of $2 billion, and the slow economy is not likely to produce tax revenues to fill that gap. State numbers show tax revenues from July through September trailed the collection a year ago by 8%.
"

I disbelieve your CapTimes thingy, sir.

James said...

Apparently the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's left hand doesn't know what its right hand is doing (or in the case, saying).

Walker calls for cuts or big layoffs

"Walker said that without what he called modest changes, the state would have to lay off from 5,500 to 6,000 state employees and local governments might have to make a similar number of layoffs."

Original Mike said...

@MM: I have seen Wisconsin listed very high on the deficit/capita scale (not quite California, but close) several times in the last year, so I take the Capital Times article with a grain of salt. The previous administration & legislature "balanced" the current budget with gimmicks. The CT article may be technically correct (or not, I don't know) but it's missing the forest for the trees. We are well and truly screwed.

MadisonMan said...

Pogo, Belief is what you have when you don't have facts.

From your quoted article: Tax collections in Wisconsin appear to be meeting the budgeted expectations in the 2009-'11 fiscal year, according to Bob Lang, director of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

And then the LFB says there's not a big problem. Until Walker spends money creating a hole.

The only thing for certain is that no one in the state knows exactly the state of the state's finances. (Awkward sentence, sorry). That's a great environment to manufacture a crisis.

MadisonMan said...

Suddenly, we're having dinner guests. Time to clean house!

Pogo said...

Hey! Blogger deleted my post. The wascals!

MadMan, cannot link the 11 NOV 10 JSentinel:

"The rise in unemployment and a steep drop in revenues from 2008 to 2009 suggest a dire future for a state that has struggled to fill perennial budget shortfalls, according to the Pew Center on the States and its report, "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril.

The top-10 ranking puts Wisconsin in a dubious group with California, a state that issued IOUs to contractors earlier this year. Wisconsin is ranked ninth-worst, tied with Illinois.

The report pinned Wisconsin's budget problems, in part, on the loss of 140,000 jobs and one-eighth of its manufacturing workforce in the current recession. The lagging economy drove down tax collections 11.2%, comparing the first quarter of 2008 with the first quarter of 2009, according to the report.

Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Legislature began the 2009-'11 budget process with a $6.6 billion shortfall. They filled the hole with $2.1 billion in tax and fee increases, $2.2 billion in federal stimulus dollars and cuts in state agency spending and aid to local governments and schools.

The report predicts the 2011-'13 budget will start with a structural deficit of $2 billion, and the slow economy is not likely to produce tax revenues to fill that gap. State numbers show tax revenues from July through September trailed the collection a year ago by 8%.
"

Original Mike said...

Gee, that's not as bad as I thought it was (not that it's good, of course).

chickelit said...

@nina: Your genteel attitudes on most things here are recognizably European, which, being married to one myself, I can appreciate. But the question here is about sustainability of State Government budgets in the near term--a bit like the sustainability of member countries in the EU. Some countries (states) are doing better than others. The notion of economic equality and especially outcome-based measures of the same are simply foreign to many in the US. But I suspect that you knew that already.

Freeman Hunt said...

Did a group of protesters gang rape and beat anybody? I bet not.

But, as I've been reading elsewhere, that sort of violence can happen anywhere, so you never know.

chickelit said...

pogo said...Hey! Blogger deleted my post. The wascals!

email Althouse and ask her to check her spam mailbox.

garage mahal said...

The only thing for certain is that no one in the state knows exactly the state of the state's finances. (Awkward sentence, sorry). That's a great environment to manufacture a crisis.

I just recently read that Walker's deficit claim is based on 3.9 billion in agency requests. The legislature never approves all requests. The budget forecast for the next biennium projects 1.5 billion in additional revenue, something the last session would have loved to have had.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man:

There is another facet to the growing state deficits.

The public now knows many states have been playing games with pension costs by deferring [aka hiding from current expenditures] So since that trick has been exposed, they can no longer use that gimmick. The affect is, when compared to prior years, it looks like they suddenly have way more [billions] in annual pension expenses to budget.

Freeman Hunt said...

In fact, can anyone think of any American protest where someone has been gang raped in the middle of the crowd? I cannot.

But again, I'm reading that it could happen anywhere, so obviously I'm not thinking hard enough. It couldn't have anything to do with the view of women taken by certain extremist Muslim cultures.

cubanbob said...

Do the unions in WI really believe that when put to the taxpayers the proposition of the taxpayers paying higher taxes in order to maintain government workers salaries, benefits and jobs is going to be a winner for them? Seriously. Asking people who are fearful of losing their jobs, their benefits to pay more in taxes so
the unionized civil servants keep theirs and get the added insult that they will have to work 10 to 14 years longer than the unionized civil servant before they can retire? You need super industrial strength stupidity to believe that.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Nina obviously hasn't spent much time in the real world.

James said...

That Cap Times article is so demonstrable wrong that it's laughable. Wisconsin has had a structural deficits for many years and the Governor and Legislature have papered it over with budget gimmicks and last-year's stimulus funds because the state constitution requires a balanced budget.

But a one-time influx of stimulus funds cannot fund ongoing spending in future years. Doyle and the Democratic legislature played these games last year because of the elections but now the bills are coming due. They are no more special funds to raid; the only way now to address the structural deficit is to cut spending.

chickelit said...

In fact, can anyone think of any American protest where someone has been gang raped in the middle of the crowd? I cannot.

No, but those sorts of horrific things have happened out here at high school dances for example. The whole town pays the price.

Trooper York said...

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...
Nina obviously hasn't spent much time in the real world.

Well Nina knows about as much about the real world as we know about Narnia. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The best place for people like that is in college where they can't do any real harm in the real world.

kent said...

Did a group of protesters gang rape and beat anybody?

Give them half a chance. At this time of day, the typical SEIU Weeble is still dull and loggy from their fifth giant econ-o-bag of Cheez Doodles.

garage mahal said...

That SEIU dude with the hair bonnet that scoops mashed potatoes onto your tray in the basement level of a hospital is one you really have took out for.

VERWY VERWY SCARRRY

Mutaman said...

"Fire all their asses."

"The best place for people like that is in college where they can't do any real harm in the real world."

Are you including Professer Althouse?

Triangle Man said...

That SEIU dude with the hair bonnet that scoops mashed potatoes onto your tray in the basement level of a hospital is one you really have took out for

You mean Jim?

Triangle Man said...

I don't understand why Walker says he is so averse to laying off government workers. He campaigned on small government and that is the only way to do it. Either he is not willing to sit down and make the hard choices, or the moves against the unions are step one, with layoffs to follow when budgets to individual units are cut.

Pogo said...

"The only thing for certain is that no one in the state knows exactly the state of the state's finances.
That's a great environment to manufacture a crisis.
"

* WI unemployment rate (as of 12/10): 7.5%, down from the 3/10 peak of 9.7%, up from 10/10 (7.1%). and still worse than at any time since 1990.
* WI individual income tax collections had a 7.3% decline in 2009 but a 2.1% drop in 2010. The smaller decline in 2010 was from a new 7.75% tax rate for the state’s highest earners and a reduction in the state’s capital gains exclusion.
* Sales tax revenues (the state’s second-largest revenue source) were down 4.3% in 2009 and another 3.4% in 2010, the first two-year decline in at least three decades.
* Corporate income tax and excise tax collections were up, 32.6% and 17.1% respectively. Total state and local taxes claimed 11.6% of income, compared to 11.3% in 2009.
* Sales of existing homes in WI for 2010 were 7.5% below 2009, and the median home price of $141,000 for 2010 was 1.1% below 2009 as well. More than 56% were sold in the first six months, because of the federal homebuyer tax credit program. Not surprisingly, sales of a dramatically in July and remained low the rest of the year.


So the WI economy is not in recovery mode, in the third year of a beastly recession. A manufactured crisis is not needed; you have a real one already.

Trooper York said...

Typical Teacher and Now Union Honcho Continues Food Fight with ALbany Eatery (New York Post, Feb 16, 2010)

A hulking teacher's union honcho whose big mouth got him bounced by cops from an Albany restaurant after he complained his quail was too small was previously reprimanded as a teacher after being accused of brazenly helping test-taking students cheat, officials said today.

Food-lovin' lobbyist Paul Egan was named in a scathing 2000 report by the Department of Education investigator as helping a group of Bronx middle-school students taking a city-wide math exam get the right answers to the test by using "several different methods to cheat."

The then-investigator, Edward Stancik, said Egan while proctoring the 1999 exam "purposely displayed the answers to the first 11 questions by leaving them unguarded on his desk for the students to find," and that he urged students to check individual answers after seeing they had gotten them wrong.

Don't tell anyone that I helped you or you'll be the ones that will be into trouble," Egan told the class as they left after the test, according to Stancik's report.

Stancik recommended that Egan be dismissed from his social studies teaching job at IS 113 -- but the portly instructor was merely issued a reprimand after spending just five months in a so-called "rubber room" for teachers being probed in disciplinary actions.

See the whole sorry story.

FIRE THEIR ASSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trooper York said...

Mutaman said...
"Fire all their asses."

"The best place for people like that is in college where they can't do any real harm in the real world."

Are you including Professer Althouse?"

Yes.

kent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

They need to start over. With all public employees.

Even if they are our pals.

Trooper York said...

Sometimes when you fumigate you get a couple of ladybugs along with the cockroach and bed bugs.

Pogo said...

Troop,

My favorite stories are about the 'rubber rooms' for for teachers under investigation in NY State, where they get full pay to sit at a desk and do absolutely nothing at all.

Trooper York said...

I know Pogo....but going batshit because the "quail was too small"
I mean that tells you it all right there.

FIRE THEIR ASSES!!!!!!!!!!

PETER V. BELLA said...

Don't worry. President Obama will demand the governor step down in face of the "massive" protests. People want freedom in Wisconsin!!!! The President will send SEIU thugs to fight off the police trying to keep order. SEIU thugs will take over and see there is an orderly transition of government.

A new governor will be appointed from the SEIU ranks. Wisconsin will celebrate. The world will be a better place.

Trooper York said...

Hey my link to the story was deleted twice already!!!!!!!

Read all about a typical teacher and Union honcho from the UFT.

Pogo said...

Apparently, blogger sez No mo linkz!, and wrecks the whole internet.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"But I would like to hear a discussion of what created this sudden deficit in this fiscal year..."

A degreee in economics?
Criminey.


@Pogo

My very thoughts. Nina must have gotten her degree from a Cracker Jacks box.

Sheesh.

Trooper York said...

That's not fair DBQ.

She is quite typical for college professors.

Those that can't do, teach.

Trooper York said...

I bet they serve fancy shmanchy food at the teachers lunchroom.

Quail. Big quail.

And the people who pay the bills get Sloppy Joes and fish sticks.

Pogo said...

...Fish sticks, soon to be made with real sticks!

LordSomber said...

"I love it when the youth at our esteemed institutions of higher learning are so smart they protest cutting the pay to public employees which would lower their tuition costs, but at the same time protest against higher tuition costs.

Filed under, 'Never hire a University of Wisconsin-Madison student.'"


http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2011/02/university-of-wisconsin-madison.html

Andrew said...

And so it begins. The lefties are well practiced and organized.

But the conservatives are armed.


Okay?

What the hell does this even mean? Are you going to go all Jim Adkisson on the commies?

AprilApple said...

Modest cuts and secret ballots!
That's not radical - that's called a small return to sanity.

Lisa said...

Those of you blaming the 'union' mentality that requires teachers to have a degree in education and methods courses are blaming the wrong individual.

Most states allowed individuals with a BA in Math or Science to teach in their field and giving them a temporary teaching license and two years to earn certification.

NCLB (you remember... Bush's baby) changed all of that. Since 2005, teachers have been required to be highly qualified in their content area AND certified in their content area. Please recall that the unions were not big fans of NCLB and still are not.

This means, for those of you bemoaning how stupid it is to have classes in how to teach elementary school, that elementary teachers actually have to know not only the content that their students will learn (well, duh!) but also the best practices for teaching that content, as well as child development, how to modify assignments, content and assessments for those with unique abilities or needs, how to teach ELL students... your complaint is with Dubya, not the unions.

Timon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k*thy said...

Not sure why the Governor has to be involved beyond controlling the purse strings.

Me either.

k*thy said...

I hope their protest efforts fail.

I think you'll get your wish.

F4GIB said...

Don't REPUBLICAN legislators understand that none of those 17,000 union member will vote for them IN ANY CASE.

MadisonMan said...

The public now knows many states have been playing games with pension costs by deferring

Many states != Wisconsin.

Henry said...

your complaint is with Dubya, not the unions

And Ted Kennedy, RIP.

The great evil and the great virtue of NCLB was that it forced a standardized set of evaluations upon schools, allowing comparison and criticism. Unfortunately, knowing which schools are rotten doesn't actually help make them better.

NCLB aside,unions have managed to muck up education quite substantially on their own, thank you very much.

A great example is the seniority system that prevents teachers from switching jobs between school districts and between states. Switch jobs (say because another district needs a science teacher and you are a science teacher) and you lose your seniority. Instead, teachers stay put. Sclerosis results.

Anyone who has children in a public school system knows the feeling of hoping particular teachers retire before your kid reaches their grade. That has nothing to do with NCLB.

And it has nothing to do with the bigger issue -- a political movement that funds candidates whose job it is to vote them money of the public treasury.

kcom said...

"a second day of powerful protests"

Does anyone remember the AP ever talking like this about a Tea Party protest? I would say the tone is edging toward reverential. The rest of the article reinforces that impression. It's a press release for the Democrats practically.

"Republican lawmakers met in secret Wednesday." How about met privately? Isn't that more accurate?

"There were some signs that support for the plan...may be waning.."

You can practically see the "Please, oh please, oh please" running through the writer's mind when he penned that sentence.

The AP is a tool. And I don't mean a tool of good journalism.

David said...

I do know about my own back yard -- the university -- and we know here that faculty are severely less well compensated than in private well ranked schools and also quite lower in pay scales as compared to other public universities, and as compared to the Big Ten schools.

So, are they stupid? In most industries, when people find out that the competition is giving better pay, they get a job with the competition. Remember, if you are actually (as opposed to theoretically) underpaid, you are free to take a higher paying job.

wordsmith2 said...

My boyfriend has a Ph.D. in engineering. He took pride in his teaching and was awarded best TA multiple semesters. He can't find a job as an engineer and isn't "qualified" to be a teacher in Wisconsin because he doesn't have a B.A. in education. My sister has her master's in science education and her teaching certificate and has been a long-term sub but never hired as a full-time permanent teacher. There are a lot of experienced, capable people out there who would be glad to step in and take some of these jobs from union tools who walk out of their classrooms.

former law student said...

"I love it when the youth at our esteemed institutions of higher learning are so smart they protest cutting the pay to public employees which would lower their tuition costs, but at the same time protest against higher tuition costs.

From time to time I read the school paper at the local (private) institution of the higher learning.

One year the students agitated for paying the food service workers a "living wage."

Having won that battle, the next year they wrote opinion pieces questioning why food was so much cheaper at local eateries than via their meal plans.

AllenS said...

nina said...
I'm not sure I understand why we would want to lower salaries of teachers and public employees based on some idea that others in the private sector have suffered more.

We don't have the money. We don't have enough money for their salaries and their pensions. It's really not much more than that.

kent said...

We don't have the money. We don't have enough money for their salaries and their pensions.

For an (ostensibly) "educated" "elite," they seem to be having an inordinate amount of difficulty grasping this excruciatingly simple baseline concept.

AllenS said...

So, tell me, nina, what should we do about the state deficit? Should we tax corporations more? Do you know that a large corporation where I live decided last year to move out of the country? Should we have an extra tax for workers whose corporations might give a yearly bonus? Raise property taxes for everyone in the state? What should we do, nina?