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Letters to the Editor

Governor hired

February 25, 2011

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To the editor:

QUESTION: Why did the governor of Wisconsin refuse 17 requests to meet with public-sector employees to discuss his budget-repair proposal, and then, when they agreed to concede on pension cuts and benefits, he still refused to drop his plan to gut their collective bargaining rights?

ANSWER: According to Wisconsin campaign finance reports, the governor’s 2010 election campaign received $43,000 from the Koch brothers, who support eliminating public-sector unions in this country.

The protest in Wisconsin is not about the state budget. This governor has been hired by some billionaires to destroy a 50-year-old tradition of labor negotiations in that state, and his ill-considered plan has now backfired. Instead of the word “courage,” which the Journal-World editor used to describe the governor, it looks like the more appropriate descriptors should be “cowardly, capricious and cruel.”

Comments

BrianR 3 years, 11 months ago

Then you shall have your wish.

The $43,000 was only the tip of the iceberg, Americans for Prosperity (Kochs) spent 3.5 million attacking Walker's opponent.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 11 months ago

Cowards are the democrat senators that are in hiding and holding up the legislative process.

notanota 3 years, 11 months ago

Just like that cowardly Abraham Lincoln!

Scott Morgan 3 years, 11 months ago

Milwaukee teachers average, repeat average 105 K in salary and benefits.

There are 250 applicants each time a teaching job is open.

Milwaukee students do not do well compared to the rest of the state.

Now, tell me if this union deal is working for the Wisconsin taxpayer.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 3 years, 11 months ago

Could you provide sources for your salary/benefit claims? After reading your post I looked online myself and the numbers I'm seeing are nothing like this. In fact, they match salaries in Kansas pretty closely.

cowboy 3 years, 11 months ago

i have done absolutely no research on this but would wonder if it is not the norm that inner city students typically score lower than their rural / smaller community schools.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 11 months ago

Ok, take breath, NCLB is school by school, not district. Easy to match apples to apples. Milwaukee schools do not fair well when matched against similar schools.

I find it odd people do not understand the difference in salary and compensation packages. Somebody posted the link proving Milwaukee teachers average a tidge over 100K with benefits.

You may be hearing about these in the near future. County and city managers, some school administrative officials love cash out insurance policies. These are nothing but ways to receive more pay when leaving the job or retiring.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

The police union disagrees with Walkers' abuse of law enforcement to enforce his union-busting agenda.

KSWingman 3 years, 11 months ago

The union disagrees with the Governor's union-busting agenda?

Not surprising.

sourpuss 3 years, 11 months ago

Then the Republican Senators shouldn't have ordered them to go to the Democrat's houses. They were acting under Republican orders, so the bill should be sent to them.

sci4all 3 years, 11 months ago

wissmo sez "Milwaukee teachers average, repeat average 105 K in salary and benefits.

There are 250 applicants each time a teaching job is open."

Got evidence? For all we know, you could be claiming the earth is flat.

monkeyhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Funny thing is that the Kochs, et al probably didn't have to spend a penny. The majority have seen what the progressive regime is all about and they are saying "hell no". Surely the left leaners couldn't think their rule would last forever. Elections definitely have consequences - just wait until 2012. Some people don't get it that they lost. Maybe they could try to have a little dignity instead of now trying to force their way on everyone else. But then again, showing their true colors is what got them where they are today.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

"The majority have seen what the progressive regime is all about and they are saying "hell no""

Actuallly, it's quite the opposite.

Walker didn't campaign on a union-busting agenda, and Americans oppose it by a 2-1 margin. I suspect it's even higher in Wisconsin.

Republicans are overreaching, but they don't have any workable policy ideas, so they're attempting to make up for it with arrogant and hubristic class warfare.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Yea, Democrats, especially, in Washington, have done too good a job at emulating Republicans in being lapdogs for corporate interests.

But you're right, it's not even close-- Republicans have given up all pretense of being anything more than toadies for the Koch brothers.

xclusive85 3 years, 11 months ago

He did run on a "5 and 12" campaign. That directly correlates to this. Maybe you missed it, or are just a puppet of the leftist media?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

That's a proposal that could have been taken up in the collective bargaining process, and the unions have already agreed to make major concessions on those points.

But Walker's goal isn't to fix a budget broken by Wall Street greed and corruption. His goal is to break the unions, because that's what Wall Street (and the Koch brothers) want. Because if/when the economy ever recovers, they have no intentions of sharing in that recovery. This is naked class warfare.

Kirk Larson 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually, in a recent Gellup poll, 61% of Americans support the unions keeping their right to collectively negotiate. Although you wouldn't know if all you watch is FOX.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/23/fox-reverses-poll-union/

I predict this may be the turning point where the thinking public realizes who the republicans' true masters are.

heygary 3 years, 11 months ago

"...wouldn't know it if all you watch is FOX."

The Factor made that poll number abundantly clear last night ... asked reps from both sides why the disparity. Fair and Balanced as always!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

So was the intentional misreporting of these poll results by Fox, as can be seen on Cappy's link, also "fair and balanced?"

Will Fox make a retraction on this misreporting?

Kyle Reed 3 years, 11 months ago

They did at the end of the show. Read the update on the link.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes, after spending the entire show misrepresenting the facts.

Kirk Larson 3 years, 11 months ago

That's a regular tactic of theirs. Use un-facts to make some kind of point then say "Oops, our facts weren't true", but don't acknowledge that their point was invalid. Fair and balanced for you.

Kirk Larson 3 years, 11 months ago

So the average salary is around $56k. I'm curious what benefits they get that are supposed to be worth $44k. Profit sharing? Wall Street style bonuses? What?

Scott Morgan 3 years, 11 months ago

They pay no social security nor retirement, paid college which goes to help them up the pay scale, full health care including after retirement, drug benefits including Viagra, life insurance, adds up after a while.

unite2revolt 3 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

xclusive85 3 years, 11 months ago

OK, one more google search, how about the Wall Street Journal with quotes and figures from the manager for financial planning for the Milwaukee school district?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703408604576164290717724956.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

xclusive85 3 years, 11 months ago

By the way, the exact same figure is used in this story.

unite2revolt 3 years, 11 months ago

still in the opinion section, still written without a link to supporting documentation, and I'd argure that the financial manager has a vested interest in breaking the unions.

MPS has all of their school board minutes and budget info posted on thier website.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

If teachers or other public employees are being overpaid, the collective bargaining process is the perfect place to make that case, and the government, in the end, can make a unilateral, take-it-or-leave-it proposal even if collective bargaining remains in place.

But Republicans don't want to "make a case." They want to dictate terms, with no negotiations.

In short, what they want is autocracy, with folks like the Kochs calling all the shots.

xclusive85 3 years, 11 months ago

wow, my post was just about the people saying they couldn't find anything on the amount of benefits that was posted by another user. I hadn't stated an opinion one way or another on this subject, yet you feel the need to state like I did. Maybe this is because of the posts on LTE this morning bozo?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

And?

I stated my opinion, and that opinion remains the same.

Whats yours?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 11 months ago

The whole collective bargaining process is based on two groups advocating for their point of view ending in some sort of consensus. But there is not two groups here. Depending on how you look at it, it could be one group, or three or four, but not two. Unions represent their membership. Management (if it could be called that) would be the government and they supposedly represent the people. But as we all know, government is made up of (mostly) Republicans and Democrats, each of which is beholden to certain groups. Republicans are beholden to corporate interests and Democrats are beholden to unions. As each party gives concessions to their respective constituency, the interests of the people are compromised. Government does not behave like management and therefore, the collective bargaining process breaks down when dealing with public sector negotiations. Democrats give away too much and Republicans seek to break the union to appease corporate interests. One is better than the other?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Is that why, on average, public sector workers get paid less in combined wages and benefits than comparable private sector employees?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 11 months ago

I said the collective bargaining process breaks down. Government does not behave like a corporation. BOTH Democrats and Republicans have outside interests that override the interests of the people. With each change in party power, the pendulum swings. That said, the tactics of BOTH should be looked at with a skeptic's eye.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

"I said the collective bargaining process breaks down."

I don't agree. It works just like it's supposed to.

There may be some wages and benefits that need to be adjusted to meet the current economic reality.

But the fact remains that neither public employees nor collective bargaining caused this crisis. But they are being scapegoated so that those who did cause it don't have to pay for it.


'“We’re Broke,” Say the Rich, and the Poor Must Pay' by Glen Ford.

http://blackagendareport.com/content/“we’re-broke”-say-rich-and-poor-must-pay

jhawkinsf 3 years, 11 months ago

Let's be perfectly honest, Republicans are in bed with corporations and Democrats are in bed with unions. When Republicans make deals that hurt unions and help corporations, they should be looked upon with great skepticism. When Democrats make deals that help unions and hurt corporations, they should be looked upon with equal skepticism. If this was a discussion of private sector workers and a company, I would say leave it to both sides to work this out, it's none of my business. But when it's the government, who's left to look out for the interests of the taxpayer, (those of us not in unions nor aligned with the interests of corporations)? We can't trust unions nor corporations, Democrats nor Republicans, to look out for our interests. The best we can hope for is that as the pendulum swings, it doesn't go too far either way. And while I do suspect that the Gov. in Wisconsin is taking this whole thing too far, I also suspect that the previous Democratic governors took it too far the other way (through the collective bargaining process) when that governor's political interests were in conflict with what was best for it's citizens. It's those actions that should be viewed with equal distrust as the current governor's decisions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Correction to your post--

Republicans are very faithful whores-- they only sleep with corporations (but can occasionally be seen making out with fundy Christians.)

Democrats' sleeping habits are a bit confusing. Some sleep with only unions, some only with corporations, while others sleep with both corporations and unions.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 11 months ago

Not all teachers and public employees are overpaid. If the left wanted to do a public battle regarding unions, Wisconsin was the wrong state.

Kansas would have been a great one. Teachers get screwed here.

thebigspoon 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes, Tom, the visitor list is part of the answer, and I'm sure that the president has allies in labor. But, what you fail to/don't want to recognize, is that these White House meetings resulted in a ton of labor concessions that, in the end, allowed such giants as GM and Chrysler to continue existing, and millions to retain their jobs, albeit at a reduced income level. You can state your one-sided opinions but it might be instructive to look at the entire situation of which you speak. But, then, that might contradict your one-sided view of the world.

KSWingman 3 years, 11 months ago

How could the regular presence of Stern, from Service Employees International Union, have such an effect on contracts with the United Auto Workers? Stern has no authority to represent the UAW.

heygary 3 years, 11 months ago

Audrey, please read Charles Krauthammer's Editorial on the same page as your letter ... it eliquently addresses the outcome of that 50 year tradition you mention!

heygary 3 years, 11 months ago

Good contribution ... however, I would point out one major difference: I work for a major private sector employer ... management members are compensated well ... the average period of employment is about 2 years! If they do not produce to very demanding goals, they are escorted out! It takes an act of legislation to get rid of a piece of deadwood civil servant! And when layoffs occur, it is based upon seniority not performance. Does the diference in accountability nulify the 7% difference in pay?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Pay differences between the public and private sectors get considerably more pronounced as you go up the pay grades. Top managers in the public sector generally make much less than comparable jobs in the private sector, and when you start looking at CEO pay, the discrepancy gets even greater-- much more than 7%.

At any rate, I'm not sure that the cutthroat mentality that you describe is necessarily the best way to maximize both productivity and creativity, especially over more than a 2-year period. One reason for the turnover is likely just burnout, not the cream rising to the top.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

That could be.

But the question of accountability is a good one - we want for everybody to do a good job, don't we?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Of course, but the fact is that collective bargaining, especially many of the provisions that Walker wants to remove, actually contributes to accountability.

But, clearly, accountability isn't what they're after.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 11 months ago

A problem that I have that I rarely seen discussed is that public employee unions represent members with such different skill sets that it's hard to separate what may be acceptable for one and not another. Teachers, firefighters, police, clerks (at DMV, SRS, etc.) janitors at public buildings, what do these workers have in common? Sure, they all want better wages and good benefits. Everyone wants that. But given the hard times we are living in, taxpayers may see a cut to one group as needed while cuts to others not acceptable. There has been much discussion about the wages of teachers but nothing about a clerk at DMV. Wisconsin exempted police and firefighters from cuts but what about a social worker at SRS? What does the janitor make and do they also pay so little into their pension? Highlighting teachers (traditionally an underpaid occupation) while ignoring overpaid workers (I'm thinking of workers in the public sector like janitors compared to their private sector counterparts) gives a false sense of what is going on over there.

pace 3 years, 11 months ago

Would it be right to say Koch brothers own a memory of governors or a gaggle of governors or surfeit of governors?

Is it a personal collection housed in public housing? We should charge the boys rent for housing their pets.

pace 3 years, 11 months ago

I find the glass eyes look amazingly alive. The voices seem off, lacking affect and natural warmth.

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