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Take Action Now! Details becoming clearer on governor's plan to strip rights from workers

Posted: 2/10/2011 7:08:02 PM

Take Action Now! Call the Wisconsin Legislative Hotline, 1-800-362-9472, or cyberlobby at www.weac.org/cyberlobby. Urge your representatives not to take away the rights of workers.

 

Details are becoming clear on the governor’s deficit bill details. As reported by state media, Gov. Walker’s budget adjustment bill items include:

 

Employee Compensation

  • PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS. Require that employees of WRS employers and the City and County of Milwaukee contribute 50% of the annual pension payment. The payment amount for WRS employees is estimated to be 5.8% of salary in 2011.
  • HEALTH INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS. Requires state employees to pay at least 12.6% of the average cost of annual premiums. Require changes to the plan design necessary to reduce current premiums by 5%. Local employers participating in the Public Employers Group Health Insurance plan would be prohibited from paying more than 88% of the lowest cost plan. The bill authorizes the DETF to use $28 million of excess balances in reserve accounts for health insurance and pharmacy benefits to reduce health insurance premium costs.
  • HEALTH INSURANCE COST CONTAINMENT. Directs the DETF and Group Insurance Board to implement health risk assessments and similar programs aimed at participant wellness, collect certain data related to assessing health care provider quality and effectiveness and verify the status of dependents participating in the state health insurance program. Modifies membership of the Group Insurance Board to require the representative of the Attorney General be an attorney.
  • PENSION CHANGES FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND APPOINTEES. Modifies the pension calculation for elected officials and appointees to be the same as general occupation employees and teachers.
  • MODIFICATIONS TO WRS AND STATE HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS. Directs DOA, Office of State Employment Relations and DETF to study and report on possible changes to the WRS, including defined contribution plans and longer vesting periods.
  • GENERAL FUND IMPACT. Authorize the DOA Secretary to lapse or transfer form GPR and PR appropriations, excluding PR appropriations to the UW, to the general fund estimated savings of about $30 million from implementing these provisions.

State and Local Government and School District Labor Relations

  • COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. Make various changes to limit collective bargaining for most public employees to wages. Total wage increases could not exceed a cap based on the CPI unless approved by referendum. Contracts would be limited to one year and wages would be frozen until a new contract is settled. Collective bargaining units are required to take annual votes 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. Changes effective upon expiration of existing contracts. Law enforcement, fire employees and state troopers and inspectors would be exempt from the changes.
  • CAREER EXECUTIVE TRANSFERS. Allow state employees in the career executive positions to be reassigned between agencies upon agreement of agency heads.
  • LIMITED TERM EMPLOYEES. Prohibit LTEs from being eligible for health insurance or participation in the WRS.
  • STATE EMPLOYEE ABSENCES AND OTHER WORK ACTIONS. Authorizes appointing agencies to terminate any employees that are absent for three days without approval of the employer or any employees participating in an organized action to stop or slow work if the governor has declared a state of emergency.
  • QUALITY HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY. Repeals the authority of home health care workers under the Medicaid program to collectively bargain.
  • CHILD CARE LABOR RELATIONS. Repeals the authority of family child care workers to collectively bargain with the state.
  • UW HOSPITALS AND CLINICS BOARD AND AUTHORITY. Repeals collective bargaining for UWHC employees. State positions currently employed by the UWHC are eliminated and incumbents are transferred to the UWHC Authority.
  • UW FACULTY AND ACADEMIC STAFF. Repeals authority of UW faculty and academic staff to collectively bargain.

Debt Restructuring

The bill authorizes restructuring of principal payments in FY201011 on the state’s GO bonds. The provision reduces debt service costs by $165 million.

 

Medicaid

  • ADDRESS FY11 MEDICAID DEFICIT. Increase Medicaid GPR appropriation to cover estimated $153 million deficit.
  • AUTHORIZE DHS TO RESTRUCTURE PROGRAM NOTWITHSTANDING CURRENT LAW. Authorizes DHS to make program changes, nothwithstanding limits in state law, related to specific provisions.
  • TECHNICAL CORRECTION. Repeals a provision in Act 28 requiring unused GPR expenditure authority in the Medicaid GPR appropriation at the end of the year to be carried over to the subsequent biennium.
  • AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTERS. Transfers an estimated $3 million in savings in the appropriation to Medicaid.

Corrections

  • Provides $22 million to address shortfalls in the Dept of Corrections adult institutions appropriation.
  • TANF. Allocates $37 million of excess TANF revenues to increase TANF funding for the EITC from $6.6 million to $43.6 million in FY2010-11. GPR TANF funding is decreased by a similar amount.

Income Augmentation Revenues

  • Allow the Dept of Children and Families and DHS to utilize $6 million of already identified income augmentation revenues to meet FY 2010-11 lapse requirements.

Act 28 Required Lapses by DOA Secretary

Act 28 required a lapse or transfer of $680 million in 2009-11 from appropriations made to executive branch agencies to the General Fund. This bill would reduce the amount by $79 million to ensure the lapses can be met in the next five months.

 

Lapse of Funding from JFC Appropriation

The JFC appropriation includes $4.5 million related to estimated fiscal year 2010-11 implementation of Act 100, OWI enforcement changes. Funding is not anticipated to be needed in FY2010-11 and the bill lapses that amount to the General Fund.

 

Sale of State Heating Plants

Authorizes DOA to sell state heating plants, with the net proceeds deposited in the budget stabilization fund.

 

Shift Key Cabinet Agency Positions to Unclassified Status

Creates unclassified positions for chief legal counsel, public information officer and legislative liaison activities in cabinet agencies. An equivalent number of classified positions are deleted to offset the new unclassified positions.

 

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Comments 32

  1. Fred 3/29/2011

    Turn about is fair play!  E-mail legislators to end Joint Rule 85 of the Wis. Statutes Section 13, 123 (1).  End all legislative per diem expenses for food and lodging.  Let legislators keep track of their expenses and claim it as a deduction on their taxes like the rest of us!

    As listed on WisTax, Wisconsin is one of 19 states where enrollment is mandatory for legislative retirement benefits.  Ten states do not do retirement benefits for legislators.  In 2009/2010 Assembly roll calls were 36 times.  In 2007/2008 Assembly roll calls were 27 times.  DO WE NEED TO PROVIDE WISCONSIN LEGISLATORS RETIREMENTS when they meet so few times?  They are forcing us to pay more for our retirement when it is now an earned benefit.  Can we do less for them?

    Our Constitutional Officers received a 5.35% increase in their pay from the previous term while they allow us perhaps a "cost of living" which is 1%.  Very unfair, we should fight to return them the favor.

    The balance of power in Wisconsin is becoming very annoying as politicians are advancing their causes to the judicial which backs them up.  We no longer seem to have the distinction meant by our Constitution.  While our top wage earnings in our district just moved beyond $50,000 per year, with a MS plus over 25 years of experience and lots of additional credits, we see Judicial branches with wages going from $128,600 for a Circuit Court Judge to $152,495 for a Supreme Court Chief Judge.  Yet we are frozen! 

    Legislators make what we do without the training.  Many have great ideas but are stopped from doing something unique because if they don't follow party lines they do not get on committees.  We need to get our State back! 

    Throwing up signs help but the information gets misconstrued by the general public.  We need to become more active!
  2. Nancy W. 3/13/2011

    When will the Wisconsin government workers- like gov. Walker take a 17% pay decrease? 
    And how much has it  and will it continue to cost us because Walker refuses to listen to the people and bargain?
    We gave in to the health and pension payment  so why can't we have the bargaining rights as they stand?
    Who will Walker go after next?  He says the police and fire dept are not part of this ( is this because he needs their protection?) or are they next and dno't know it yet?
    What benefits do the representatives and senators have that we don't know about that should be stripped from them?  (I heard their children do NOT pay college tuition is that true?)
  3. Mark K 3/10/2011

    The teachers of Wisconsin are 82% female. The state troopers, police, and firefighters are 92% male. The Republican Party once again rears its ugly platform of bigotry and hate! The members of WEAC should sue the state for billions over the obvious discrimination against a profession that is predominantly women! I'm willing to bet that most of the other state employees being targeted are also women!
  4. Jay 3/7/2011

    A lot of overreaction hyperbole on here. Me thinks we all doth protest too much. Let's get real. We all know that something has to be done. I think it is important to protect current employees nearing retirement and that may mean we  have to be flexible with respect to new employees and other short term employees.

    In exchange for what Walker wants let's ask for a payrool system like federal employees where grades and pay rates are guaranteed. After all that system works pretty well on the federal level.

  5. Scott B. 3/5/2011

    Fellow Wisconsinites,
    Taking away collective bargaining rights from the working class in Wisconsin is no different that eliminating concrete ramps at cross walks where curb and gutters once impeded access to people in wheel chairs. Because of ACTS like the "Americans w/ Disabilities Act of 1990" more Wisconsinites were granted access to public sidewalks. We cannot let the Republican Corporate Agenda impede the rights and quality of life for the middle class in this country of ours.  
  6. Bob Wells 3/3/2011

    I agree with Robin Booth.  With the Rotunda Community court-ordered departure this night (Thursday), with the Governor threatening to issue the first round of layoff notices on Friday, with the Republicans calling for $100 daily fines for legislators not in session, and with the Dem 14 still united against the Budget Repair Bill, it is disheartening to see that no formal rally is scheduled for Saturday or Sunday. The Governor feels "very frustrated" because he is unable to get the "reasonable and responsible" Democrats to agree with him (his words at during a 6:00 PM news conference); therefore, I hope this weekend will once again find the Capitol Building surrounded with large numbers of "reasonable and responsible"citizens standing up for their rights and standing in opposition to the frustrated one.
  7. robin booth 3/3/2011

    WHY are we not organizing in Madison on Saturday and Sunday???The bus of Walker supporters are going to be there.  Where is the AFL-CIO now? We need busses to be running on Saturday and Sunday and we need WEAC to declare those days as days of protest.
  8. Karen Kierstyn 3/2/2011

    What about the $28,000,000 that Walker is going to take from our pension fund?
  9. fred 2/27/2011

    WE tried to bring the GOP into the 20th century kicking and screaming.
    Oops, too late.  It's now the 21st and they want to go back to the 19th???
    No accident.  This is indeed a plot against the whole US middle class by the GOP.
  10. Louis Lessor 2/27/2011

    100,000 strong at Saturday's Rally. Gov. you have really helped to re-energize the unions in this state! I was proud to march with ironworkers, electricians, nurses, police officers and countless other union brothers and sisters. I will continue to pay my fair share of our great state's debt. However I refuse to lose my rights as an employee for this state. You have already cost our WI students some of their best and brightest teachers who are retiring in the thousands because of your mean spirited attacks. Sit down with the unions and settle today!
  11. PSB 2/17/2011

    Teachers in Indiana are supporting you! We are looking at similar measures being taken by (the republican) Governor Mitch Daniels. Daniels was heard (by a fellow teacher who was at the statehouse in Indianapolis lobbying against similar "reform" measures) saying "Teachers are all making too much money. You are making 22% more than the taxpayers who are paying your salaries." I guess the disdain and contempt for the teachers there that day was palpable.
    Daniels' name has been tossed around by the national media as a contender for the republican ticket in 2012. He wants his name "in lights" and doesn't care who he has to step on...and he sure doesn't care about children. Why would you propose an explosion in charter schools and the "right" to a teaching staff with up to 50 % of the "teachers" not even holding college degrees!!!  Talk about a slap in the face.
    There is something more sinister going on here. It is no coincidence that all these republican governors have all decided to try to bust unions. Who do unions typically support? Democrats. This is a calculated POLITICAL decision to try to silence workers and put their votes into play for the next election.
    One more thing. Why isn't the national media covering Wisconsin protests like they covered Egypt? Interesting. Very interesting.
  12. Bob 2/17/2011

    Due to the Rebuplican majorities in the Wi. assembly and senate, we need to plan for ''what's next''.  We need to recall this governor...!
  13. Mike G. 2/16/2011

    We're worried in Michigan that our new governor has similar plans for unions here, especially as the public school teachers are concerned. I hope the people of Wisconsin begin the recall petition soon. That man is truly a menace to society. It's his kind of fascist behavior that causes good people to "go postal."
  14. Steve 2/16/2011

    As a teacher in Michigan, I find the Wisconsin governor's proposal appalling.  My salary is fair but I'm making less than any of my friends who have similar experience in their professions which also require college degrees.

    Your governor clearly does not value education.  He values union-busting principles.  These policies have nothing to do with education.  Well, you get what you pay for.  Slashing teacher salaries while ratcheting up the ridiculous pressures and expectations of education is a highly mismatched set of policy decisions.  Teaching is already among the lowest paid degree-required professions in America.  Destroying salaries will further discourage intelligent young people from pursuing this career.  It will become a job of last resort that will drive people out of the business as they use the job to build resumes rather than taking a sincere interest in the work.

    Teacher shortages already exist in America and policies such as these will drive it into a further crises.  Elementary and secondary teachers are among the most in demand jobs.  This is largely because they already don't pay well compared to other professions.

    Wisconsin will become increasingly unattractive to prospective employers who desire an educated workforce.  This is a price that no state can bear.
  15. mad 2/15/2011

    how could mike thomas even find it in himself to present this proprosal
    to the membership let alone endorse it .
  16. Lynette Winger 2/14/2011

    Please say NO to Gov. Walkers repair bill! What a Slap in the Face to all the Good workers for the state of WI!!!!!!!
  17. Ann Marie Kraemer 2/14/2011

    I am a professional educator of 20 years currently employed by the Germantown School District. I am appalled by Governor Walker's current proposal to slash the collective Bargaining rights of public employees under the guise to ensure monies for Medicaid recipients.  This tactic of combining issues in order to achieve a political gain is nothing short of despicable.

    As you are well aware of the historical background of collective bargaining in Wisconsin, the current system was designed to prevent work interruptions by both employers and employee groups in the public sector.  Wisconsin was the first State in the Union to recognize the importance of maintaining the stability of public sector employment. I feel strongly that current Governor Walker's proposal to strip public employee unions of their rights under labor law in Wisconsin.  

    I hope you agree with me and countless other professional public employees that Governor Walker's budget bill fix is near sighted and off target. His decisive tactics to split working families is reprehensible  We cannot allow one person or one party to undermine the sacred and well established Collective Bargaining law.

    Our State cannot afford to permit one group of working families to bail-out others who do not contribute to the overall "move Forward" ideology of the State of Wisconsin.

    Ann Marie Kraemer
  18. Joe L 2/14/2011

    How that man could be elected to be Governor is beyond me. This is just insanity, everyone needs to pull an Egypt and rally against this in some way. Pickett local representatives or go straight for Walker just do something...
  19. Mike 2/13/2011

    Great to see we have a leader looking to make his employees and his government fiscally responsible.  Those of us in the private sector have paid into our 401K and our health insurance out of pocket has increased each year for the last 20 years.  Unions have a place for people that cannot stand up for themselves, for the rest of us we pay into our 401K and health insurance.  If we fail to complete our job to satisfaction we are fired, union members claim some form of mistreatment and get shuffled around from job to job hurting the entire team, in this case the children.  For every one of you not willing to live with the changes there will be ten new teachers willing to take your place on the government payroll.  These young educators will focus on teaching children and offsetting their income during their three month vacation.  Get over yourself and join reality!
  20. Kathy janssen 2/12/2011

    Wisconsin educators deserve your attention and support.  I am a reading specialist teaching our most disadvantaged poverty children.  Please support those teachers who do their job responsibly and with the utmost integrity.  Don't punish the few for the vast majority of us who give our wisconsin students our best.
  21. Kathy Stoffregen 2/12/2011

    I am devastated by Gov. Walker’s plan of attacking education and unions in the guise to balance the state’s budget.  I am a third generation union member, but first to hold a WEA union card. Being a teacher has been a calling for me that have cost my family many financial hardships from the cost of tuition for my initial degree, to the cost of continuing my degree to maintain my licensure, as well as obtaining a masters degree. Then of course, there is the out of pocket money that is spent for my students every year on incentives, books, and basic office supplies necessary to effectively run a classroom. This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what the financial costs are for being in the public education field. Not being paid equable comparably to other professions that require the same amount of education, state licensure, and responsibilities. This is a travesty!

     

    Now Walker wants to slap my face by saying that my profession should be under attack and that I am not valuable to our society. He is demonstrating this by taking away my basic rights to negotiate my value with my school district. He forgets that my husband and I, too, pay taxes in this great state. That we are paying towards my livelihood. How dare he try to turn our democratic state into a communist state.!What an embarrassment. Shame on those of you who voted for him.


  22. Breanna J. 2/11/2011

    What can you expect from a college drop out-respect for education?  Let's think about saving $30 million in the billion dollar deficit; it's spit in the wind.  Of course, this is on the back of workers.  The workers who have had to bargain for all of their benefits for years.
     Maybe the SUVs from the out of state GM plant should be the first cut.  Cut the unions power, oh yeah, the lobbying groups to vote these jokers out of office.  Start rallying now!
  23. Jerry 2/11/2011

    Hey Mike, better yet why don't we take the "Forward statue" down from the Cap. Dome, and put a larger one up of our short flunky (Marquette 2.59) state leader.  Don't be surprised if we're saluting this guy in the near furtue.

    J.King 
  24. Mike 2/11/2011

    Maybe rather than paying your union dues you can pay for benefits.  A great idea!!!!  How about pay for performance, an even better idea!
  25. Racquel Drunasky 2/11/2011

    Wisconsin open for business?  Who is going to be working in all of these newly created jobs when you have a shortage of qualified teachers teaching due to Walker's plans to destroy our right to collectively bargain our health insurance and retirement.  I didn't go into to education to be rich, but I certainly didn't go into it to be poor either.  We can't afford this type of attack.  We weren't getting the raises that other people were back in the '70's and 80's.  We fought for the right to bargain our insurance and our retirement.  We fought hard for that and got it.  Now Walker wants to take that away?  I say NO and I will oppose anyone who is in favor of this.
    Write your letters and emails, make your calls to your legislators and stand up for EDUCATION and all state workers and our rights to bargain!  End this foolishness and force Walker to reconfigure how he's is going to deal with a debt that we didn't make!
  26. ED 2/11/2011

    Don't have to pay almost $1000 in dues now either.
  27. h. adam steinberg 2/11/2011

    Last night I watched the local news and saw a story about Governor Walkers Budget proposal. He said the only way he can balance the state's budget is to remove all collective bargaining rights, except for salary, for most state unions, including city, county and school district workers, teachers, professors, and prison guards. He says those employees will have to start paying 5% of their own retirement package, 12% of their health care costs, and will have caps on all pay increases. He's going to propose all of this in his new budget today, he is then going to call a special session for the legislature next week, and because he has a republican controlled legislature, he expects it to be passed in a week.

    Do we really want to tell all of these employees that they are going to lose their current rights, take a 17% pay cut this year, and lose even more rights in the future? These are the people who run our state, counties, cities, and teach our children. Looking at just one sector, our teachers are already underpaid for the services they provide to our community. Now we are going to pay them less? Now we are going to start taking away their rights?

    When students get close to graduating from high school, and start thinking about what they want to do with their lives, they look at the pay they can receive for the education they pursue. Becoming a teacher is a minimum 6 yr path of higher education. No student is going to choose the profession of teaching if we continue to lower they pay they receive. Our brightest students are already choosing other professions, if Governor Walker's budget proposal passes, the upper half of all students graduating will no longer choose teaching as a profession. Ask yourself, who does that leave to teach the children who are our future? Who is going to be teaching our future leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, bankers, scientists, nurses, daycare workers, lawyers, doctors, police force, military, and all the others people who inherit our current society?  Don't we want the best and brightest teaching our future citizens?

    If Governor Walker's proposal passes, we will enter a downward spiral where the best and the brightest of the current teachers will leave their jobs and find new ones in the private sector. These teachers will be replaced by less qualified individuals who will be willing to accept much less pay. This downward spiral will continue until all of our children will be taught by less and less qualified students. Take a minute and think about what that will do to our society in general. Is that what you want? Less and less qualified people running our society?

    Please take five minutes and call your local state representative, tell them in no way should they support Governor Walkers new state budget proposal.
  28. Bill DAgnon 2/11/2011

    Here is the e-mail I just sent to Governor Walker, you are welcome to use any phrases you may wish.

    Is a rally being planned in the Capitol?

    GovernorWalker,

     

    I just readthe Baraboo News Republic's article about your plan to disenfranchise Wisconsinworkers. I will oppose this legislation and anyone who supports it with allresources I have. I have lived in Wisconsin all  my life and have neverseen such an attack on Wisconsin workers. 

     

    Once wewere proud that United States was superior because we had the freedom to joinan independent union while the workers in communist countries were under thegovernment’s thumb. Communism’s end was advanced by the Polish trade unionsuniting with the church to insist on the citizens’ right to choose their owngovernment. Chinese workers are now struggling to found unions independent ofthe Communist government while you threaten to take away Wisconsin workers’rights. 

     

    If workers’right to bargain is eliminated the legislation should include a ban oncorporations’ right to form in Wisconsin, that would be an equivalent action.

     

    I do notknow what religion you profess but I base my view of the dignity and rights ofworkers on my study of Catholic social doctrine:

     

    Theeconomy should serve the people, not the other way around. All workers have theright to organize and join unions. They also have the right to fair wages, safeworking environments, and access to productive work. And while people have abasic right to economic initiative and private property, this right has itslimits. No person should amass excessive wealth when others lack the basicnecessities of life.

    “There are needs and commongoods that cannot be satisfied by the market system. It is the task of thestate and of all society to defend them. An idolatry of the market alone cannotdo all that should be done.”

    - Centesimus Annus (Donders),The Hundredth Year

    John Paul II, 1991

     

    Bill Dagnon

    wfdagnon@centurytel.net

  29. Glenn Schmidt 2/11/2011

    Balancing the state budget on the backs of teachers and other public employees is one thing. Destroying their contracts, their unions, and their ability to affect their workplace, is quite another. The governor appears to prefer the Chinese or Iranian style of worker interaction with government to the one we've had in Wisconsin for many years.
  30. Janice Uhrig 2/11/2011

    I understand that our state is in a crisis financially but you are about to put education in a worse financial crisis than it already is. Teachers do not make much money and we all went into the profession knowing that we might not get much up front but we would have good health care and retirement which would make it all worth while. Now you are threatening to take that away also. If educators no longer have any bargaining power and you are going to require us to pay more for health insurance then you are going to have to offer more pay up front for younger people to be attracted to this career. All the people in office seem to think teaching is such an easy job! I would love to invite you into my classroom at Arboretum Elem. right outside of Madison - in Waunakee and see what we do on a daily basis. You will not attract the brightest and most educated people to this career. There will become a huge falling of state scores in the future becuase we will not have great educators in the WI system. If school board members do not need to negotiate with teachers then it will become a dictatorship! They will want to save money and will start to require more students per classroom, less money to spend on supplies (which means parents will have to spend more), less staff to work with needy students and more will be put back int he regular classrooms that will be burdened by the higher population. I really think you need to find some other solutions to teacher bargaining... I have taught 30 years; elementary and HS levels, both have very different demands and most people thing that because they went to school they can do the job of a teacher. It is so much more than opening a book and reading from it! I feel you are not adding any respect to our profession by passing this bill ....I feel you are bullying your way into tearing apart the GREAT SCHOOLS we have in WI. Tommy Tompson made his mark with No Child Left Behind and now you are making your mark that will last for many years and not encourage families to move to WI - jobs or no jobs by your state sign.
    I would love to have you spend a day in my classroom to see what it is really like in the classroom for 2011....it is not the same system as when you were in school!
    Janice Uhrig
  31. Vince Kanthak 2/11/2011

    This plan is incredible!!!! Years of political mismanagementis going to be “fixed” by attacking Education and ALL public employees. If thisis happening at the State level I can’t imagine what will happen at theNational level if this same group gets into power in Washington.

  32. Ron Sem 2/10/2011

    We knew that the Gov. would go after education but this is really sad.  I have one question and that is how can the Gov. set up a so called private agency but make the employees part of the Stateretire system as well as be part of State health Care Plan?

    I will be contacting everyone I can to oppose this legislation

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