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Public employee unions plan actions

Posted: 2/11/2011 11:23:32 PM

Phone numbers,
email addresses
of state senators
Here is an update on activities to fight Governor Walker's attacks on educators, public employees and families:

A radical proposal to strip state and local public employees of their rights to organize and collectively bargain is scheduled to be voted on by Thursday, Feb. 17. Come to the Capitol Tuesday and Wednesday to help stop this radical attack on Wisconsin Workers.

Tuesday Feb. 15 and Wednesday Feb. 16

  • 10 a.m. Legislative Briefings at Masonic Temple, 301 Wisconsin Ave, Madison
  • 11 a.m. Lobby Visits, State Capitol
  • Noon Rally on Capitol Square
    • Tuesday – State Street Capitol Steps
    • Wednesday – King St. Capitol Entrance
  • 1 p.m. Resume Lobby Visits, State Capitol
In addition, for those who cannot get out of school, there will be vigils at the Capitol Square both evenings from about 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with speakers at 6:30 p.m.

Free bus rides are being organized from several locations throughout the state:

Below is a statement from the Wisconsin State Employees Union website:

The world of state employees and their rights as workers comes to an end under Scott Walker’s budget repair bill. His proposal, for the most part, creates no savings, but is full of political paybacks, anti-worker provisions, and a general disdain for public workers’ rights. If this bill passed as proposed, it will turn all of our worlds upside down. Something as simple as the grievance procedure will be replaced with the civil service procedure, which establishes the agency head as the final decision maker on your grievances. Everything will be in the hands of and controlled by the employer, without employee recourse.

There are other rights and protections aside from the grievance procedure that are nullified in Walker’s proposal.

To make things even worse we were officially notified that effective 3/13/2011 the contract extension will be cancelled. This means that all of us will have no contract protections. All local agreements and memoranda of understanding are unilaterally cancelled. Everything affecting your daily work life is in jeopardy.

We, along with WEAC, AFT, AFL-CIO and other unions are doing everything possible to avert this disaster. We are meeting with legislators and we would strongly encourage all of you and your members to reach out to their State Senators. The message is clear: “Why are you taking away my rights?”

We will be up on T.V., both commercial and cable, starting Monday, as well as radio.

On Tuesday, 2/15 and Wednesday, 2/16 we will be having lobby days at the Capitol. Watch this website for specific pick up locations. Buses will run from every corner of the state on both days, arriving in Madison for a briefing at approximately 10:00 a.m., followed by a rally at the Capitol at noon. The afternoon will be spent visiting legislators. This rally should be the biggest we have ever held. We have multiple unions, community groups and citizens joining us. We would encourage you and your members to extend invitations to our allies and ride the busses with us. There is no charge.

We know that Walker is trying to bait us by mobilizing the National Guard, hiring an Ohio security firm to staff any facility and instructing the capitol police to meet with legislators and “advise” them not to meet with constituents in their districts.

This budget repair bill is an all out assault on you, your families, your careers, your rights and your union. Walker keeps talking about the “good and decent people who work for the State of Wisconsin”, but his actions speak a different message of divisiveness, cronyism and servitude.

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Comments 98

  1. allyr 2/23/2011

    @JAMES IN PEWAUKEE What do I think? I think that I had ONE CHILD since it's what I could afford. You had 5 without thinking twice and now you expect ME to pay your way. That's what I think.
  2. P Perry 2/18/2011

    I live in Salem, Oregon and I just wanted to tell you all how proud I am of the way you are standing tall against this blatant attempt to break your union.  I wish there was something that I could do to help.  Good luck to you all. Stay in there and fight!
  3. Kristin 2/18/2011

    As a semi-retired college professor, my heart goes out to all who are standing up to fight the union busting tactics of Governor Walker.  We must stand up to the right to negotiate working conditions and wages.  It really looks like Republicans want to strip away all of our rights as citizens and leave CORPORATIONS in charge of the country.  That's called fascism.
  4. Christine 2/17/2011

    By now it's clear this bill is not about "the budget", but is about politics. This is an attack. It's time Wisconsites unite on their traditional platform of basic American rights and values. GET OUT THERE BADGERS! We're being called - it's our time.
  5. Shirley Burns 2/16/2011

    I'm a retired teacher from California now living in the "right to work" for nothing state of Arizona where teachers have no collective bargaining and almost no rights, a terrible salary which has already been cut three years in a row,  health benefits they mostly pay for themselves, and an almost non-existent state teachers' association.  The teachers had tenure taken away last year so they could get rid of their most experienced teachers.  Of course, we're also at the bottom of the list when it comes to quality of education.  I support you Wisconsin teachers 100%.  I'd be out there on the picket line with you if I lived a little closer.  If your governor has his way you'll soon become like Arizona so hang in there!  I wouldn't wish that on any teacher!
  6. Mary 2/16/2011

    What about the low paid single support staff making $33K/year with a mortgage, taxes and bills to pay? I've worked hard for my home, and would like to be able to keep it.
  7. Amber 2/16/2011

     To all of the people throwing around numbers:  This fight is not about the numbers.  If Walker had believed that wages or benefits needed to be cut, he could have done it in a way that would not have caused as much anger among his constituents.  He could have proposed gradual cuts only to wages and benefits.  Teachers are reasonable people; they can understand that when the state has 'nothing to negotiate with' that they will not be getting raises.  However, what Walked proposes is not just to take away our money.  He proposes to take away the civil rights that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades.  Contract negotiations are about a lot more than insurance.  We negotiate the school calendar.  We negotiate the grievance procedure.  We negotiate number of days that teachers attend conventions.  We negotiate who counts as 'family' so that we can attend their funerals without paying $90 to take a personal day to attend the funeral of someone not on the list.  We negotiate the pay for coaching, although we do a bad job of that one and are paid only a few dollars per hour when we coach.  If base pay were the only thing we were allowed to negotiate, who would decide all of those other things?  How would it save the state money if unions could not bargain for a 7:45 to 3:45 day versus an 8:00 to 4:00 day?  How would the state save money if we couldn't bargain for one convention day and one workday versus two convention days?  This is not about saving the state money.  It is about taking away the right to organize, a right that our predecessors fought long and hard to earn, and a right that anyone in the private sector can claim any time they want to.  Scott Walker needs to find a way to fix the budget without taking away the rights of Wisconsin citizens.  Here's a final thought:  maybe the problem is that insurance premiums are too high.  Maybe we should reform the insurance industry instead of attacking the unions.
  8. KAREN 2/16/2011

    Take as much time as you need!
    Kids will learn either way and this is a VERY important lesson that must need to be taught. Thank You All for everything you do which most of us do not even know!
  9. Roger 2/16/2011

    It is time to take a stand on the Governors plan to destroy our unions! The protests are great, and I hope that they continue to go on daily till we get the results we are looking for. It is time for a state wide walk off, let them (Legislatures) see what the State will be like without the key persons showing up for work on a daily basis. Let's do this now, I for one am walking out and will not go back till this bill is stopped.

    ********** WISCONSIN STATEWIDE WALK-OFF STARTS TODAY 2/16/2011 **********

    Everyone that CAN make it needs to get to Madison, Today and everyday till the PEOPLE of this State get their rights upheld!!!!!!

  10. JAMES IN PEWAUKEE 2/15/2011

    Wait a second, can someone out there tell me who we are unionized against?  Am I wrong to try and rally the parents and students to our cause?  Now that I think about it, if we are rallying to protect our worker rights, doesn't that have a direct effect on the middle class worker rights of our parents and students?  I mean, really, if we dont concede paying the percentage increase, wont the government just jack the property taxes on our student's parents? 

    How do we reconcile this?  

    My grandma was a teacher.  She taught home economics, old school style.  She made the most amazing apple pie from the tree out back behind her one room school house.  It wasn't part of her curriculum it was a fringe benefit. One year after she retired, the students all picketed the school because they no longer had the benefit of the pie of legend.    The school gently shuffled all the students into the school, and told them some things in life are bonus, but that doesn't make them entitlements.  Grandma Smith, God rest her soul, was so legendary, they named an apple after her.  

    But that's not the point of the story.  The point is that somehow all of us have found it justifiable to rally and picket an apple pie, and our students and their parents are baking it as a bonus.

    Dont you think it is a bit ironic that we are fighting to retain two times the level of benefit our students have  access to from their own parents?  I say, take one last bite of pie.  Savor it, and move on to cookies.  

    Tomorrow I will tell you all the story of my old neighbor Mr. Goodbar.  Just a warning, he is a bit nutty. 
  11. JAMES IN PEWAUKEE 2/15/2011

    I am having a very difficult time with the prospect of having to pay more on my health insurance.  The way I see it, my wife and I might lose our home or even worse because of these changes.  When my wife had our fifth child, Hosefa, she had to give up working because the kid's feeding schedule was too difficult to maintain while working full time as a political analyst for Wisconsin Public Radio.

    Here is what is the most troubling,   I am a recent graduate from the UW system and I had to pay for my whole education with student loans.  We have a lot of debt for a young family just starting out.  We can only get about $400 a month for groceries from the state program, and my new salary as an elementary teacher is only slightly above the poverty level at $35k.

    All the teachers with more education and years of experience make way more than I do.  They are all pushing me to picket and join them in the fight against Scott Walker.  I think we should rally the communities to support our plight.  Cant we figure out a way to come together and leverage our significant negotiation power to rise up against the community of conservatives and set the record straight once and for all?

    The parents and students should be recruited to march with us to save our benefits.  What better lesson for our young students to march with their classroom leaders against their own government.  Better than any history class I would say!  

    I know my students and their parents would support me against this unfair increase in health insurance premiums and pension contribution. Surely they can sympathize.  They would certainly rise up against their employers if they could!

    What do you all think?

  12. Peggy 2/15/2011

    To Steve of the "Lies, lies, lies."
    If you feel that only our wages are at stake, you must be a white male who has little to worry about if we go back in time.  I am an elementary school teacher who puts in more than 50 hours a week.
    After that, I am still cutting corners to squeeze in what is expected of me in a Madison public school.  I cannot say I "love" my job.
    The stress is outstanding and the two months of actual non-teaching time in the summer is a rebuilding time.  This is the time we take the classes we are required to take, repair ourselves physically, and work on the curriculum for the next year.  The hours I put in amount to a full time job, year round.  But I knew that, going into teaching 25 years ago.  I do get daily satisfaction on the job, as my students have their "ah, ha" moments.  I get enormous energy from deep connections made by students who love to learn.  I feel deeply when a troubled child tells me I am a good teacher.  And I jump for joy when my students do well on a test.   But, at least a few times a year, a disgruntled parent suggests that his/her child's
    lack of progress is my fault.  Some of these parents actually verbally attack.  A few years ago, a minority parent called our superintendent and suggested I was racist.  I offered to send some books home with the child who was below grade level in reading, and the parent suggested I thought she was a poor  minority mother.  (I send books home with most of my kids.) This situation caused me to have to attend many meetings with administrators and the parent.  In those meetings the parent angrily described me as disrespectful.  In my opinion the administrators took the parent's side.  I was directed to give the parent reports several times a week on the details of what the child did each day in school.  This was supposed to happen, on top of planning and teaching my 24 students.  This type of thing happens in every school, in every town.  I could have been fired if I was not a member of a union.
    Any parent, at any time, could make claims about a teacher and
    the teacher would be left to build their own legal defense, while attempting to teach a large group of children every day.  Our public
    schools are charged with serving all children, not just the ones who pass a certain test or have a certain income level.  Among those millions of kids, are thousands of mentally ill parents.  An unstable parent can take a teacher down over perceived "problems."
    We are with a large group of kids for more than 7 hours a day.
    To document every moment for every child is impossible.  When 
    Steve says we don't work any harder than anyone in the private sector, I am not arguing.  But, few people in the private sector have the legal responsibilities we have on the job.  I understand that doctors and nurses have similar job stresses.  

    I am concerned about all unions in the State of Wisconsin.  
    I will go to the Capital today and stand up for the continued right to bargain, and to bargain for more than just wages.  Steve, I hope my grandkids don't have you for a teacher.  You seem burned out.

  13. Josh 2/15/2011

    To jon,

    Teachers' salaries are paid for by tax dollars... There for when a teacher is paying their taxes (that go to pay their wages) and pay for their health care they are essentially paying for it twice
  14. Carl 2/14/2011

    My wife is a teacher. We have a child on the way in a couple months.  If this goes through we will still be able to make our bills - I'm not afraid of that.  However, it will come directly off our discretionary spending and that will hurt the local places we visit most.  This is about the most counterproductive budget cut I can imagine.

    But, as we all know, this isn't about the money - it's about the political games, and that's a shame.
  15. Rachel 2/14/2011

    To the opposition:  I am a teacher, do my job for one month and tell me I don't deserve every cent and every benefit I currently have.  I DARE YOU.  You will soon realize why teachers are compensated they way they are. 
  16. Theresa 2/14/2011

    We pay taxes like every other working person in Wisconsin, taxes that pay his salary and his benefits.  Then in order for me to be on his health insurance, we have to pay for family coverage.  That Jon, is how we pay twice for our coverage, not that we're paying for two family plans.  Hope that clears it up.

    And speaking of family health insurance coverage.  It would sure be nice if there was a three tier plan just like there is for our prescriptions.  It should employee, employee + spouse, and then family.  We have no kids, nor plan to have any. 
  17. Deputy Dog 2/14/2011

    When in doubt, show your ignorance by throwing out a catch phrase.

    "Socialism" seems to be the word of the times. 

    If you are against something but cannot articulate it, just throw out the "S" word. 

    My wonder is....  did those spouting about 'Socialism' have their kids in public schools?  do they have their streets plowed?  do they get mail?  These are just a few of the 'socialist' things in our country.

    You would be a hypocrite to take any of those. 

    If you don't know what a hypocrite is, don't bother looking it up John. 
  18. Michelle 2/14/2011

    For every public employee who earns $40,000 per year, these changes will reduce their income by about $7,200.  This will also reduce what they pay in state income taxes by about $2,000. 

    It will also mean less in sales tax revenue, but a smaller amount.

    However, how will this reduced spending impact other Wisconsin businesses?  How will this reduces income tax impact other Wisconsin programs?

    California effectively reduced their public employee wages by 13% a few years ago, and it doesn't seem to have helped out their economy.  Maybe we should learn from their mistakes.

    I am not a public employee, but support them!  I have written to my Senator and Representative.  Together we can beat this.

    VOTE tomorrow - the Supreme Court might be your last chance.
  19. jon 2/14/2011

    My goodness Theresa. Claiming you pay for health insurance because "we pay taxes" is silly. People who have to pay for their own health insurance do so AND have to pay taxes. And then you say that you have to pay "twice" because you're on a family plan. Please tell me you and the hubby are not math or econ teachers!!!!!
  20. Theresa 2/14/2011

    Looking at John's spelling and grammar, it's a good thing he's not a teacher.
  21. JOHN 2/14/2011

    Old adage:" For those that can do,for those that can,t teach" one of my business professors at UW, told our class this so that if we didn"t make it in the real world, we could always teach!  Gov. Walker was elected to do the tough job of cleaning up the sociailist mistakes by jim doyle and his socialist legislature. All yor WEAC bribes to the socialist democrat party comrades have cause this mess. Hope for you resign from your positions, come to Madison protress but make sure you get your one way ticket to North Korea, first they looking forward to having you all join their sociaistic utopia.   
  22. Theresa 2/14/2011

    We don't pay for health insurance?  Last time I looked, teachers paid taxes.  And then when you have family coverage like we do, we pay a hefty premium for it.  So we pay TWICE for our coverage.

    My husband is in his classroom every weekend.  He gets to school at 6:00 am, when his contract requires only 7:30, and is often there until 4:30-4:45 when his contract requires 4:00.  There are so many hours he is NOT paid for.  Plus, the State of Wisconsin gets my hours of FREE volunteer work as I'm often there on the weekends helping him out.  We also pay for many things in his classroom out of our own meager pockets.

    I am licensed as a sub.  In support of my husband and his fellow teachers, I will not work if any sort of "sick out" is scheduled.  Everyone out there seems to think it's "easy" to be a teacher.  I would just love to see how National Guard members would handle a classroom of kindergartners, hormonal middle school students, or an inner city high school classroom.  They'll finally see how the pay is less than the effort put forth.
  23. Sean 2/14/2011

    I keep reading that this will mean a loss of wages.  I'm confused!  I've read every piece of paper in the proposal.  The only place this shows up is in WEAC information.  The bill says the union 'RETAINS' the right to bargain wages.  In fact it is the ONLY thing they retain.  If benefits are cut, WEAC and MTI negotiate for higher wages!  It's pretty simple.  It costs the district roughly $50,000 to higher an employee who takes home $25,000 before taxes.  Does that really seem to make sense?  $50,000 of tax dollars to pay a person $21,250/yr after taxes?  We need some actual talking and less fear mongering...

    I've worked in 4 states, in both union and non-union jobs.  Public and private sector.  The best pay and benefits I had was in a private institution that was too small for a union to even be interested in us.  My worst pay and benefits was in a union public institution in which my rights were never defended, and I was shown the door.  Here in Madison I have good wages (no better or worse than anywhere else) and unparalleled benefits.  I am the primary wage earner (my wife works in summer when I can be a care giver) for a family of 5 and live comfortably enough to have paid for my second master's out of pocket in one year.  I paid no federal taxes last year, because I'm apparently poor.  Who knew?  

    I have yet to hear about the benefits going away accept from the people who represent teachers.  Most likely it will mean paying a portion of the health benefits, which at the 12.3% number is under $2000 a year for family health coverage.  5% for retirement at say $50,000/yr (which is pretty good pay! and above the average here in Madison) is $2,500 a year.  So that's well under $5000/yr.  Can someone link this $10,000 number?  3 instances and no references... aren't educators supposed to cite sources or show their work? (sorry couldn't resist...)

    Let's stop the mudslinging, name-calling, and fear mongering.  I'd like to see WEAC and MTI get progressive and float an immediate proposal laying out a tit-for-tat breakdown for a 1 year increase of pay to rebalance for a potential loss of benefits.  Frankly that's what I pay them for.  Not political lobbying.
  24. T 2/14/2011

    Teacher needed: Current teacher moving to Minnesota for better opportunities.  Worked for 25 years in private sector, busted my butt for commissions but made 3 times as much in the private sector.  Wanted to give back to my community as a teacher, even though pay was meager, so went back to school for certification, spent thousands of dollars getting certified, even though I have a MBA. Guess I will be going back to private sector where I can make a living wage.
  25. Tim 2/14/2011

    It is really troubling to see what many of you are writing.

    I am a private sector employee, lucky to have my job and to be able to feed, clothe and house my wife and four kids - all of which attend a public school.  I have a modest income of $50,000 per year gross.  Out of this income, I pay 100% of my insurance premiums for my $10,500 family deductible health insurance plan.  I have no 401k and pensions haven't existed in my private sector industry for 25+ years.  Like many of my coworkers, I have not seen a raise in the past several annual reviews.  My company's revenues are down, and we middle class workers share in the down cycle.

    My wife and I love the commitment of our kid's school teachers.  We help and support them any way we can.  But it is so difficult to hear the arguments and disdain against our family by all of you teachers.  


    Do you think you are organized against Scott Walker?  Really? 

    Wise up and understand that you are no different than any other middle class worker.  We are all suffering.  

    Don't ask us to join you in rallying up against our elected officials.  Instead, spend a bit of energy getting your facts straight.  Ask your student's parents how much they earn per year, what they do to support their families and what type of insurance benefits and pension they enjoy. Did you know you can look up the salary and fringe benefit of any state employee using Data on Demand?

    Find out how much you have been given in fringe pay (insurance, pension, vacation/sick days) each year.  I think you will be startled when you realize your fringe pay is between 25 and 75% of your annual compensation.  

    Would it surprise you to hear that most private sector middle class employees earn "fringe pay" of less than 10% of their annual salary?

    Would it surprise you to hear the average middle class health benefit today has a $3000 family deductible and no prescription benefit until that deductible is satisfied?  

    Would it surprise you to hear the true middle class of Wisconsin earns an average of  $57k/yr including fringe benefits, while 70% of Wisconsin teachers earn compensation greater than $90k?

    Stat:  First year music teacher, Pulaski School District, full time salary is $35,600  Fringe Benefit $21,872 = total salary $57,472.  Only teachers in their first 5 years of their career are truly middle class.

    Did you ever consider that the reason you all feel so salary poor is because you are unusually benefit rich? 

    Did you ever consider that the money to pay for your "middle class" salary is coming from the middle class private sector?

    Did you know that private sector employees are not able to bargain their salaries, hours, working conditions or benefits?  


    Please, times are tough for all of us in the middle class.  If you are not happy with the hand that has been dealt to you, please step aside and let one of the several thousand eager and willing recent graduates take your jobs.  They don't share your overwhelming sense of entitlement.  They are not malcontent, and they will not take it out on the parents and kids by threatening to strike if they don't get their fair share of the tax base.  

    Many of us parents love our children's teachers dearly.  But please don't lose sight of the fact you chose your vocation of service.  You are not slaves to the system.


  26. Ann 2/14/2011

    My sister works as a secretary in a high school in northeast Wisconsin.  Her husband suffered a stroke at a young age due to a congenital defect and has been disabled since. They rely on having health care insurance and would no longer be able to live day to day if this bill is passed, especially with the annual salary of less than $25,000 she earns. 

    These are people who worked hard all their lives, living very modestly in a small community, raising a family and being responsible citizens. They did not ask for health related issues, as does no one.  This could be any one of you, your siblings and friends. 

    They did not personally get Wisconsin into this financial crisis so why should they be asked to carry yet another burden worrying about having to take a pay cut. 

    It is unfair to ask one segment of society to pay for the carelessness of all. 

    This is a sad, sad day when Governor Walker can make these demands of one group of people without using a fair process.  Once this doesn't solve the problem, what's next? 

  27. GreatScott 2/14/2011

    I would like to know how many state employee's pay the private sector share of retiremnt and health care benefits that the tax payers pay for your profession?  You people are disguisting.  I have worked my entire life and never been out of work.  I have been unempployed for 1 1/2 years.  Are you going to help me pay my mortgage?

    Luckily, when my wife and I bought our house, we saved very hard and made a large downpayment so if either one of us lost our job, we would be ok.  We saved hard for as long as we could until I lost my job in July of 2009.  The state is broke and now it is time to pay your fair share.  As a taxpayer, I am tired of public employee union's getting everything they want at the expense of the tax payer.  Your boy Governor Doyle and Tom Nelson spent the state into oblivion, now you are whining about it.  Grow up and take responsibility for your actions.
  28. Mike 2/13/2011

    Take a breath!  Up to this point we the union have recieved everything we wanted.  Based on poor advice by WEAC we have been bankrupting our own communities.  We are supposed to be educators, yet most of us are very uneducated about how the rest of the world operates when it comes to benefits.  Is this extreme- absolutely, and I have complete faith that all of it won't go through.  Yet none of you offer up any real solutions - and so far I have seen no real solutions from our own union either.  Obviously no one likes the plan - so what is the alternative plan that our union can offer to ease the state budget?  My first negotiation our union was up in arms over our prescription drug costs going from $0 and $2 to $2 and $8- All while costs increased 23% from the year before.  Maybe the education program in our universities should include balancing a check book! 
    1.  We should concede health care and move away from WEA Trust, and fight to keep the pension as the status quo - unless someone has a money tree they'd like us to start planting.
    2.  Consolodate to county wide school systems and hire superintendents that can actually financially run education in our communities- To hire top talent we need to pay top dollar.  If we paid $500k/year the state would save millions over each district hiring their own for the most part unqualified administrators.
  29. marcie k 2/13/2011

    Seniority would be eliminated?? Why wouldn't an administrator start chopping at the the veteran teachers? higher salary? health issues?
  30. peggy 2/13/2011

    So, if they take $5000 from your salary, how do you pay the property taxes? Then how does that improve the overall economic picture in this state? Or, you could not pay the mortgage and then you wouldn't have to worry about the property taxes! But, then again rent isn't any cheaper than the mortgage payment.  Maybe Walker thinks all public employees should be homeless. 
  31. Cari Hauge 2/13/2011

    As a student teacher in my fifth year at the UW and a state-level leader in WEAC's student program –Student Wisconsin Education Association—I am appalled by Governor Scott Walker's budget reform proposals. This bill is going to hurt some really good people and some really great educators.


    Walker proposes silencing teachers’ voices. His bill removes all bargaining rights except for salary. It takes away our ability to bargain on issues such as class size, curriculum, health care, and other school quality issues. Who better to inform decisions that affect the education of Wisconsin’s students than the teachers and education support professionals that are on the front lines every day?

    I fear for our public schools in Wisconsin and the students enrolled in them. Walker's proposals will discourage top candidates— such as the ones in our nationally recognized program at UW-Madison – from teaching in Wisconsin. These individuals will begin to seek teaching opportunities in other states that continue to give their teachers a voice in the process and the competitive benefits that draw in intelligent and well-trained professionals.

    As I see my colleagues in other degree areas graduate and enter into jobs that pay more as a starting wage than I may ever make as an educator, I've always been encouraged and reassured by the benefits that our unions have fought for. Teachers do not enter into the profession for the money, but we deserve to be treated as professionals and we need to be able to support our families. If Governor Walker wants our benefits to be in line with those in the private sector, he must also make our salaries in line with the private sector in order to continue attracting qualified candidates to the profession.

    The quality of the education of the young people in Wisconsin is in imminent and serious danger.

  32. Dan 2/13/2011

    Folks, I am a retired teacher(34 years).  When I began teaching the union was very strong.  When a meeting was called, everyone was there.  During the meeting there was strong language and a lot of ranting and raving.  When a strike was called, we walked the picket line.  Any teacher would have stood up and supported the others.  Now it seems that you have to give out door prizes to get people to attend.  You kids need to stand up for yourselves and get angry!  Scott Walker has taken aim at you because you are weak.  You need to be at those rallys this week.  Don't sit home and watch American Idol!  When tens of thousands show up our legislators will take notice and the support for Walker will fall apart.  You know how hard it was getting those degrees.  And, although the public thinks you have it so easy, you know that every day is tough.  Don't let a bully like Scott Walker tell you that teaching is not worth the little bit you are paid.  Let him know that he can't dictate your future and the future of education in Wisconsin!  
  33. Rita Tichy 2/13/2011

    Scott Walker is out to destroy our Schools.  Who voted for him?  He has to go.  We have two teachers in our family and they are very worried about there jobs and there children.This is not going to save us money , it will destroy our Schools.                                                RitaW                                                 
  34. Robert Tichy 2/13/2011

    Wehave a daughter and son-in-law who are both teachers. They both  worked very hard to become one of the best in their profession. At this time they have two sons who are depending on the lively hood of their parents to give them a good rearing. Please don't take away the bargaining power of our teachers in this great state.

  35. Becky 2/13/2011


    Both my husband and I are good, hard working teachers in districts where we have been under threat of losing our jobs for the past few years.  We went into education because we believe strongly in its importance.  If these cuts go through, unfortunately, with a family to provide for, we will both probably be looking for jobs in the private sector because we won't be able to afford to be teachers! So much for keeping goood teachers in the profession.  Also, please keep in mind that teachers wages in Wisconsin were kept artificially low throughout the 1990's due to the QEO, while the private sector wages dramatically increased.    

  36. Barb 2/13/2011

    Hey Mark -

    Maybe you should join me.....I too have a 4 year degree....I too am currently in grad school on my own dime.....I too have certifications that I have had to get on my own to maintain my licensure.....AND I too work with kids......

    "Toughest working conditions in this country""....??? WOW!!!  That does say something about your mindset.....while some of my days are challenging and my work conditions are less than stellar - I would never be arrogant enough to assume that I have one of the toughest jobs in this country.....
  37. Mark 2/13/2011

    Dear Barb,

    We as teachers have such bargaining rights not just for our benefits and calendar.  We bargain for our working conditions.  Since we work with thousands of kids we have some of the toughest working conditions in this country.  Having the benefits we do is not "entitlement"  it is what we deserve.  We went to 4 year colleges, some of us grad school.  We are required to take courses without reimbursement, get certifications without reimbursement and you think we act entitled.  Do yourself a favor and take a long walk off a short pier.  
  38. Barb 2/13/2011

    To Rebecca -

    Maybe you should switch into the private sector and you will find out very quickly that the answer to your question ..."bargain for things such as calendar and proper work conditions, makes me question if I shouldn't enter the private sector. In the private sector doesn't each employee get to bargain these very same things?".....
    is a "DEFINITIVE NO!!!".  Where do you get your information from??  If we find that our current job is unacceptable - we try to find gainful employment elsewhere - that is our "collective bargaining"!!!  While I do feel that public employees should not be "forced" to contribute a set amount to a should not be given to them is now the 21st century and the time for the "union" model is becoming antiquated.  Just like our educational model is gravitating more toward 21st century skills - shouldn't our work model move away from an "entitlement" mindset. Isn't that we are trying to teach our students????
  39. Sheri 2/13/2011

    I am suprised by Steve's naivety about Unions since he states he is a teacher.  You say that teachers make a good salary and have good benefits.  You state it is time to "trim the fat."  Do you realize that what walker is doing is taking our bargaining rights way?  Do you not realize that the salary and benefits that you like so much will be completely gone if Walker gets his way?  Your way of thinking boggles my mind. 
  40. C 2/13/2011

    Are there any rallies in Milwaukee Area after school hours? Is there any possibility to strike? I think I heard you could be fired then, but what would make a really big impact? How about if we all leave on Tuesday and Wednesday and Walker and his buddies could come into our classrooms and teach our students? I give them one day, one hour even in our classrooms, to figure out their attack on teachers is wrong. Where is our protection to voice our opinion? I see other districts doing things, and mine is not doing anything major, so far. I am afraid this is going to slip through our fingers, like the QEO did, and we will have 17 years of anguish all over again...
  41. Richard D 2/13/2011

    To Phillip above, thank you for your information.  I am a retired MPD officer, and past MPPOA President.  I have been trying all weekend to get some information on the ground as to what is going on with this issue within your active P.O. ranks.  I hope you are correct in your assessment of the prevailing understanding that this is a divide and conquer sinister strategy by Walker and his union busting WMC masters.

    You will be able to figure out who I am, and if you inquire, you can get my phone in G.B.  I would love to have you call me and discuss the issue.  I hope that the long term strategy of encouraging higher education pre-requisites to service pay off in keen understandings that what is going on is nothing short of a fascist play book movement.  

    In retirement, I obtained the sub teacher cert. and did that for about 3 years.  I feel I have a good understanding of the work place and condition of real teachers and all the demands on their time and souls.  Besides my wife had been a certified k-5 teacher for a little over a decade, and still subs.  I know many cops whose spouse or other family members are teachers.  

    We must have solidarity across all public employee professions and job descriptions.  
  42. Rebecca Frankenfeld 2/13/2011

    I am a teacher at Evergreen Elementary in Waterford, Wisconsin.
    I understand that our state is in dire financial straits. I agree that things need to be done. 
    However teachers should not be asked again to suffer the burdon of the state's deficit. For years we restricted because of the QEO and now to take away our rights to bargain for things such as calendar and proper work conditions, makes me question if I shouldn't enter the private sector. In the private sector doesn't each employee get to bargain these very same things?
    I pray that a compromise can be reached that will be good for everyone.
  43. Rick 2/13/2011

    My first job was in southern Indiana over 30 years ago.  No union.  I was a special education teacher, itinerant, in the early years.  At one school it came to my attention that one of the students was dealing drugs and they asked me to talk to her ( I had a beard...).  Turns out she was looking to get caught after being repeatedly molested at night when her mother was on the night shift.  I reported it, and then was told to "leave it alone" because folks didn't want school people messing around in private matters.  I was told i had a future down there, but I needed to leave some things be.

    So, I came to Wisconsin where my first employer proceeded to anatomically describe every female teacher in the building to me shortly after I signed my contract.  A year or so later, after I related that story one night over a couple of beers, the Union president and uniserv director came to me and said that particular administrator was stalking his female employees at night as they drove to and from night classes.  The board thought they were being over dramatic and some of the rest were too shy and embarrassed to report it further.  He only targeted the non-assertive types.  I was asked to tell the superintendent of my hiring tale which i eventually did.  The fact I was a male ( and coach) lent credibility.  They forced the guy to resign, but i carried a stigma for years as the guy who "broke the code of silence" and word was out I could not go into administration.  So be it.  However, I have been able to work and put food on the table for 30 years while standing up for the rights of kids and teachers that may not be able to do so themselves.  Why?  JUST CAUSE.  

    Its not the slash at benefits and wages that is the tragedy here, it is the return of  jobs based on the best looking or being shown the door if you stand for somebody 's civil rights and it is inconvenient to the powers that be.    We can get the money back.  What they are taking here is our right for a chance to stand for dignity.  Schools are safe places for kids because we can take the chance to look out for them even if the abuser is a prominent citizen or even a board member or the kid is an unpopular color or economic class or sexually oriented different from the average.  You won't be able to do that , now.
  44. Richard D 2/13/2011

    To Phillip above, thank you for your information.  I am a retired MPD officer, and past MPPOA President.  I have been trying all weekend to get some information on the ground as to what is going on with this issue within your active P.O. ranks.  I hope you are correct in your assessment of the prevailing understanding that this is a divide and conquer sinister strategy by Walker and his union busting WMC masters.

    You will be able to figure out who I am, and if you inquire, you can get my phone in G.B.  I would love to have you call me and discuss the issue.  I hope that the long term strategy of encouraging higher education pre-requisites to service pay off in keen understandings that what is going on is nothing short of a fascist play book movement.  

    In retirement, I obtained the sub teacher cert. and did that for about 3 years.  I feel I have a good understanding of the work place and condition of real teachers and all the demands on their time and souls.  Besides my wife had been a certified k-5 teacher for a little over a decade, and still subs.  I know many cops whose spouse or other family members are teachers.  

    We must have solidarity across all public employee professions and job descriptions.  
  45. Chet 2/13/2011

    Just read Steve's (2/13/2011) comments and find them to be delusional at best.

    From your comments, I gather that you are the ":fat" that ought to be trimmed as you acknowledge that "Many excellent, highly-qualified teachers would gladly take my job, and do it just as well for a lot less." Furthermore, you state "We (this must be you as you do not speak for me) don't work any harder than anyone in the private sector making the same amount of money (in general)." It is apparent then, if others can do "just as well" as you do, you should take your own advice and "find another job" since you admit that you are not an exceptional teacher. One who does not pride themselves pedagogically, does not belong in my profession. Perhaps you could join the ranks of the 7.5% unemployed (not 10%) in Wisconsin.

    If WEAC lies and dictates, Scott Walker is "saint and savior" of Wisconsin's proud Educators! You have a choice too, Steve.
  46. Barb 2/13/2011

    While I can sympathize (somewhat) for what most of you are think the private sector is some idyllic nirvana that pays increased wages and benefits...WRONG!!  The private sector has been hit and hit hard by this current economy.  I do not and have never been able to "negotiate" for my benefits or my salary for the 25+ years I have been working. At then end of the year or at my "performance" (yes - my salary is based on the skills of doing my job - not how much education I have) review.  My taxes pay your wages as well as your benefits and your retirement while I have to make ends meet on my salary that includes ME paying for a large part of my own benefits.  I have to budget year to year to see how much I can put in my retirement (and I can guarantee you it is not the amount that some of you get automatically) is not matched nor just given to me -  and it is much lower at times than I would like.  Mmm - no raise for me this year or last year.....I am just glad I have a job. 
  47. Deb S. 2/13/2011

    I agree with all of the comments made so far.  It's frightening to think that one person can come into office and so quickly begin to undermine the public school system.  As with the high speed rail issue, he fails to look past the immediate "bottom line" and extrapolate the kind of damage he is doing both in the public and private domain.  For whatever reason, educators are the only group of state employees with the kinds of requirements that we are held to a higher, more restrictive expectations and consequences than many other state agencies or the private sector.  Gov. Walker and his cohorts obviously have no concept, or choose not to have any concept, of the various factors that comprise a student's success. We all have success stories, however are not always measurable in ways that mean anything to them!  I may not be as upset about this if ALL state employees were included in his proposition; however we know that they are not.  How is this fair?  If it’s good for one group of state employees, why not for all (could this be favoritism?).  Those in education, the fire department and the police dept. all help society in differing ways.  I don't believe that an educator's contribution is any less important.  It's time that government sees us as in integral part of society's success rather than the bane if its existence.

  48. Ramona 2/13/2011

    We can not relate to Scott Walker as Governor! - Should we address him as Dictator - or just Dick?!?! - His level, and understanding, of education must have ended in early childhood!

    ALL WI teachers, professors, and public employees MUST unite immediately - to rally and let our voices be heard - as they were in Egypt!  He (Walker) is currently running TV ads asking the public to support his proposal that's asking these "evil" people that need to pay up! - His mentality: Get rid of the intellectuals, as they are a threat to his control! - Has he read any history lately?! - Why doesn't he get out of the Governor's mansion and pay for his own housing? - He's there at WI taxpayer's expense! - He could offer to sell that mansion (at approx. $5 million), and make his contribution to the state debt! - And, he's riding all over the state, again at taxpayer's expense, to sell his DICTATORSHIP! - Let's send the message: We are UNITED, and this will not stand!!
  49. Joyce 2/13/2011

    Diane mentioned the bitter teacher strikes of the early 70s as a teacher and I remember them as a high school student. The teachers and their families paid a high price and many of the students and their families were adversely affected as well. We cannot let their sacrifices be negated by the governor's bill or let this happen again. George Santayana said,  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Governor Walker would benefit from a history lesson on why collective bargaining was instituted as a result of those strikes so that he can see that his bill will take us right back to the working conditions that led to strikes. In addition, he should read about the financial costs to Hortonville of the strike versus what it would have cost to settle the strike and ask himself if the state can afford this cost. Here is a link to the Hortonville teacher's strike,, that says exactly why all the state's unions need to stand together now to prevent the loss of our rights to collective bargaining. I will be sending e-mails to my senator and representative and asking all my friends and relatives to do the same.
  50. Steve 2/13/2011

    Lies, lies, lies, perpetuated by the union.

    I am a union member, (although I don't like it), dues-paying Wisconsin public school teacher, and I don't let WEAC dictate to me what I should believe.

    Scott Walker is doing something governors and our legislator should have been doing for the past 25 years - trimming the fat.

    The fact is, as teachers...

       We are not underpaid.
       We have great benefits at a miniscule cost.
       We don't work any harder than anyone in the private sector making
        the same amount of money (in general.)

    Every time there is an opening at our school, there are at least 150 applicants for the position. Many excellent, highly-qualified teachers would gladly take my job, and do it just as well for a lot less.

    I am thankful that while our state has close to 10% unemployment, my job is about 98% secure.

    Public sector workers, including teachers - it's time to acknowledge that we've had it pretty good (economically speaking, too goo) for too long.

    Back to reality. Supply and demand. Working within a budget. Paying for our health care just like almost everyone else.

    And if you don't like it? Well, find another job. You have that choice.

  51. Patricia VanDerLinden 2/13/2011

    My concerns are many. I hope you are reading these messages and that you take heed of the cry of the state employees who depend greatly upon the benefits they receive.

    As an educator I find it vital to speak out against Walker's proposed reform. I am a teacher who works within the Department Of Corrections. I am a licensed teacher, certified in 4 areas, a member of WEAC and I take my position very seriously as do my colleagues. Each day that I walk into the compound, I am thankful for the opportunity to teach my students. The men that I work with are real people with hopes and dreams of a better life. They will return to our city streets one day in hopes of making their dreams of a better life a reality.

    Our education and vocational programs are invaluable in preparing our students for life outside of prison. Unlike my fellow teachers who work in the public school systems, I deal with a different kind of contract. One where I am expected to fulfill my teaching duties within the razor ribbon and fencing that contain my students. We work not only 9 months per year, but 12 months per year, 5 days per week 8, hours per day.

    I did not take this job for the money, but as a way to serve and help men that will live in society to gain much needed education in order to improve their chances of becoming productive citizens upon their release. I feel that teaching is an amazing way to reach a life for change and since the students that I teach may one day live in your neighborhood or among your children or other family members, I feel it is an invaluable service to you personally.

    Statistics have shown education to be key in the reduction of recidivism and that it is the link between a life that was headed in a direction that creates victims to one that is given opportunity for change and growth. The rewards in this position are measurable and worthwhile.

    The things in our positions that offset the summer relief given to public school teachers are our health and pension benefits along with vacation days. Many teachers would never even consider taking a position such as this. The stress level can be very high at times. There is no air conditioning. Students need to be in school year round to keep things running smoothly in the institution.  There is also the added responsibility of being non‑uniform security staff in addition to our educational duties.

    I don't really mind so much paying my part for health care if necessary, but what upsets me most is what is being said about state workers in commercials supporting Walker's reform. The public is being given a false picture of what state service really is. I have always felt good about my job and my ability to serve the public, but now I feel that as a state employee I have been put in a bad light. The commercials and campaign for reform make it sound as if we who work in state service are the ones who created the deficit. This gives the public the wrong picture of who we really are and what we really do.

    I am not a bad person, yet feel as though that is how I am being portrayed through these commercials and Walkers heavy handed approach to reform for the budget deficit. Not only do I feel the commercials are distasteful and offensive to me personally, but I feel they are set to pit the public against public service. How American is that?

    When I took my position as an educator in corrections, I knew it would be different from the public schools, but It needs to be said that I did not demand the benefit package that I received. I simply felt that my benefits were a part of the package that goes along with working in a high risk environment.

    We teachers in corrections have given up much in our contracts over the past several years. We’ve seen raises replaced by furlough days, opportunities for educational growth turned down, staying current with trends and technology in our field a thing of the past and the reduction of our value as educators. But we hold our heads up and show up for work on a daily basis. We put our best foot forward and stay positive in the midst of discontent. On top of all that we are being viewed by our communities as if we created the economic problem and the kicker is; Scott Walker is pushing these ideas on the public. That is taking things a bit too far.

    The State deficit is not due to those in public service, at least not those who would be considered middle class. The problem is big government spending and spending that has little to do with the average middle class state employee. I don't understand why those in teaching positions and state positions in general will now need to dig deep into their pockets to make up for the mess that has been made over the last several decades through poor decisions made by government. 

    Scott Walker states he will take a cut also. How admirable of him. He is not exactly middle class and will likely feel little in the way of loss. We are not BIG government. We are educators and many of us underpaid for what is expected of us. Responsibilities increase while value and compensation decrease. That seems to be the way of the world.

    The government in Wisconsin speaks progressive education standards out of one side of their mouth, while slashing and bashing the people who work with the students out of the other when teachers are the greatest asset toward that goal.

    Since this generation of public service workers will undoubtedly pay for those who came before it, what precedence are we setting for future generations in Wisconsin? This is anything, but progression in education. This is regression at a high cost, to our state and to society as a whole.   

    Governor Walker will be canceling state employee contracts as of March 13, 2011.  Instead of engaging in these antics, the governor should bargain with state employees in good faith.  State employees have demonstrated their willingness to do their part to address the budget deficit by offering $100 million in concessions.  Governor Walker could achieve cost savings through bargaining rather than extreme measures.

  52. Margaret 2/13/2011

    I f0und the inf0 I needed ab0ut t0day's rallies and m0re, 0n this site under the "M0re Activities" tab.  I'll be there, and my husband, and my sister, and any0ne else I can find 0n sh0rt n0tice. Y0u all try t0 be there t00. S0lidarity. Maybe we sh0uld take a less0n fr0m Egypt.
  53. Bill 2/13/2011

    Margaet: This is what we know right now:Picket The Governor's Mansion at 11am, then off to rally at The Capitol Building from 1--9 pm in Madison.
  54. Margaret 2/13/2011

    Nick, any m0re inf0rmati0n 0n the rally at the Capit0l t0day, Sunday?  S0rry ab0ut my letter "0" n0t w0rking. I'm a teacher and can't aff0rd a new c0mputer 0r keyb0ard at this time. I want t0 c0me t0 every rally and vigil I can in supp0rt th0ugh.
  55. Mary 2/13/2011

    My mother is a teacher and she stands to take a $7,000 loss. She will be making less than what she earned 6 years ago. 6 years of experience and further education thrown away.

    And why?

    She is a single mom, pays more to include me on her health insurance, is still paying down a home loan, and will have to help support me in a few months when I graduate from college and begin looking for jobs. I am currently student teaching and horrified of what the future holds for both my mother and myself. Her district has already made concessions--through their ability to bargain--to pay more for their health insurance premium in the last few years.

    Scott Walker has made absolutely no attempt to negotiate and how dare he state otherwise. Unions have done nothing wrong here; our politicians who decide what to do with our budget have. It's incredibly scary to think what he'll do next. For all the years I told my classmates and colleagues I would be happy working as teacher in Wisconsin for the rest of my life.... How quickly one person can change my outlook. I have to be able to support myself, and I can't imagine what I'll do if I have to be laid off and can't afford to pay my college loans. Then again, I can't imagine how I'll be able to support myself as a first year teacher or as a sub.

    Scott Walker is more than a bully. It's unfortunate we can't call up our school board and expel him for the very dangerous threats he's making against our state.

    For those asking about parking in Madison...

    Parking locations in Madison:

    I recommend the State Street Lot on Lake Street (come down University Ave and turn right on Lake Street) or the Capitol Square North Garage off Mifflin and Webster Street.

  56. Diane 2/13/2011

    I am a retired teacher, administrator, and, at one time, a private sector worker.  I made the most money in the private sector plus received many perks, such as bonuses, gifts, etc.  But my heart took me back to teaching.  I remember what it was like prior to collective bargaining.  Cities were torn apart for years because of strikes.  Collective bargaining ended those hate-filled times.  It ia appalling to me that our governor has decided to arbitrarily abolish collective bargaining without taking the time to speak with those most affected by his decision.  He is the role model of what bullying is all about, exhibiting very poor leadership skills.  I have watched many of our freedoms disappear over my 64 yrs. and it deeply concerns me.  I will be at the capitol in support of all of our public workers and I encourage every retired public worker to be there as well.  The time for solidarity is now.  And for those union members in the private sector, beware.  This is the first step towards the abolishment of all unions.  So please support those who are being attacked now.
  57. Nick 2/13/2011

    Keep writing, keep sending letters, keep making calls.  But do more!  Get to the official rallies whenever you can.  There is at least one grassroots rally that I know about for today (Sunday) at 1 pm at the State Capital.  It is starting at the State St. side.  If you can make it, get there.  I am sure it will last for a while.  Voice your opinion where everyone can hear you!
  58. Laura 2/13/2011

    What personal financial concessions are Gov. Walker and our legislators doing to help with the state's budget deficit?  I was told by my Assemblyman's staffer that Gov. Walker is scheduled to receive almost a 4% increase in his salary and benefits this year!  Aren't these individuals technically state employees as well?  Or do they have protections in place that they vote in for themselves that protect them from being targeted as the state employees are currently!  I have no problem doing my FAIR share to help the state's budget crisis, which by the way I had no hand in creating!  But what this proposal does is target state workers to carry the burden to fix this mess!  This is unfair and inequitable!  I am a teacher and the proposal as is will create financial hardship in my family.  Under this proposal I will lose close to $10,000/yr. in take home wages!  Tell me please how anyone can overcome this much difference in their wages with so short of notice!  We all have bills that are expected to be paid on time and when a certain level of income is anticipated and then taken away how do we meet these financial obligations?  We certainly have not had time to plan for this even though Gov. Walker says it should not be a shock to anyone!  It is a shock to those it is affecting so drastically!  As a teacher I feel that our legislators have unfairly targeted us since the early 90's with the QEO and revenue caps.  They should be putting their energies toward school finance reform so there is a more equitable way of funding our schools!  And by the way what kind of work environment do our legislators think will be created with the dissolution of unions and collective bargaining?  This is a power grab all about ego and control! 
  59. Madison Lib 2/13/2011

    I think a 24 hour "vigil" at the entrance to Walker's spider, I mean the Governor's Mansion, might be effective, too. At least his security detail would be earning their money instead of eating Doritos and watching re-runs of the Super Bowl on Walkers big screen TV.
  60. tiredofnonsense 2/13/2011

    Any governor who tells you he has "nothing to offer" the hard working people of Wisconsin, is obviously not fit to be governor. He has plenty to offer corporations, but nothing to offer real people. He must be recalled as soon as possible. "Open for business" doesn't mean much when the citizens wallets are closed.
  61. Laurie 2/13/2011

    I would just like to know how the National Guard is going to care for my students. Will they be able to change a child who is so crippled up she hurts to be touched?  Are they going to be able to recognize a petite mal seizure from a cough? Are they going to be able to keep a consistent schedule,  so my students do not become upset and start crying because of change? Will they love my student and accept them for who they are, or will they cringe at the sight of their appearance? Will they be able to just look at them and know something is just not quite right? My heart is breaking!! Tell me who will love my students the way I love and nurture them???
  62. Margaret 2/13/2011

    I don't remember Obama doing anything this radical, yet he is constantly called Hilter.  Ironic?   The hypocates need to wake up.  I shudder to think that all a repubican has to do to get elected is to say that he "won't raise taxes."  Well, he's not!  Voters -WAKE UP!  The sun doesn't rise and set with a few percentage points of taxes.  There ARE other issues.    
  63. Matt 2/13/2011

    Walker's plan equates to a 8.9% decrease in my family income (my wife is also a teacher).  That is more than $1000 per month.  Senator Alberta
    Darling wrote a piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today stating that the 5.8% WRS contribution and 12.8% insurance premium contribution are "minor contributions" and that we are being "asked" to make them.  I cannot afford these cuts, even with the two part-time jobs I am currently working.  As a profession, we have sacrificed enough on many fronts.  Enough is enough.
  64. Melissa Schall 2/13/2011

    I knew it was going to be bad, but not this bad.  Both my husband and I are public employees and we are looking at $10000/year cut in our salary thanks to this bill. 
    I am going to see what I can do to get down to Madison.  Can someone post parking options?
    Also, the "share" links (Facebook, etc.) are not working.
  65. Lana Caywood, NBCT 2/13/2011

    Scott Walker and the Republicans are determined to break the teachers' union.  I moved to Wisconsin twenty years ago from a right-to-work state.  Walker wants to move our state in that direction.  It will be a huge mistake and those who ultimately suffer are students who will be packed into classrooms in such large numbers they won't get the individual instruction and help they need.

    Since Governor Walker and all Republicans feel every aspect of American life should be market driven I suggest we remind them teachers are consumers too.  I suggest we go to area businesses and ask for their support and remind them if our pay goes down so will our buying power.  When I attend a ralley in Madison this week I will be packing a brown bag dinner and I will not be doing any shopping this week.  I ask all teachers to join me in a buying boycott this week to remind Governor Walker and the Republican driven State House that educators are also consumers. 

    Since Governor Walker is in a hurry to push the legislation through that will take away our bargaining rights we don't have time for discussion.  I do not suggest boycotting area businesses to hurt them but to remind Walker that his decision will impact business as well as teachers.
  66. jules 2/12/2011

    As a single MPS teacher, there is NO WAY I can afford to pay for my car and school loans and my mortgage.  We will very much be taking a step backwards.  Our salaries have historically been low I'm told because we sacrificed for our benefits.  Instead of Escape to Wisconsin...the teachers of Wisconsin can have a new manta of Escape from Wisconsin.

    It's illegal to strike, but hmmmm...colds and stomach flu is going around.  What would happen if all teachers developed an illness and called in on the same day?  Maybe Walker would understand the importance of teachers.

    It was bad enough to have him running Milwaukee County into ruins, but now the whole state has to contend with him!
  67. Cynthia Byrne 2/12/2011

    Please, please post more information about afternoon and evening bus rides for those of us that cannot go during the day on Tuesday or Wednesday!
  68. Sue 2/12/2011

    Scotty boy is afraid and wants to keep the police and firefighters on his side till this blows over then he'll go after them.
  69. Glenn 2/12/2011

    Mr. Walker is being very short-sighted, but face it, he did say he was going to do this.  The actions thus far are but a preview and the only logical way is to vote the man out of office.  Any action plan MUST include this objective. 
    Decertification of prior labor agreements, again, is just the start.
  70. Angie 2/12/2011

    Another Rally-Sunday, Feb 13th, 1pm State Street steps to capitol.  Join us!  Grassroots movement, spread the word!
  71. Margret 2/12/2011

    My husband and I are BOTH teachers in MPS and this bill would mean a $10,000 pay cut for our home.  See you in Madison.
  72. Nikki 2/12/2011

    Jacob - Thanks for pointing out that those without "families" are affected also.  I'm single and the $4000 to $5000 cut I can expect may mean I may not be able to pay the mortgage on my home.  At this rate I can be a "boomerang" and move back in with my parents - and I really wish I were joking when I say that, but I'm not.

    Ian - Amen.

    Phillip - The irony is wonderful.  If you would really like to enjoy some irony read the comments on

    Concerned American - You mention I work 180 days a year; that is not accurate.  I work 180 days with students.  I work many additional days without students and without pay.  I work approximately 10 additional days per my contract preparing report cards, my room etc.- this puts me at 190 days. I put in 8-10 hours every weekend working - this now puts at 230 days (I only counted weekends during the school year - so roughly 40 weekends to make it 40 extra days).  I put in a few hours at home most nights working - 2 hours a night x 180 school days divided by 8 (as that is a "standard" work day) gives me another 45 days.  That puts me at an equivalent of 275 days, for which I am only paid for 180 days; I "volunteer" 95 days a year.  To make ends meet, I work a second job 8-10 hours a week.  I work 20-30 hours a week all summer.  As Ian mentioned I am not compensated in any way for this time.  I have no say over when I get time off.  I have missed many family gatherings because my "time off" did not correspond with the time they took a vacation.  I get to use my time off and attempt to travel during peak season - meaning it costs me more and is usually less enjoyable because it is crowded.  I easily sink at least a grand into my classroom each year buying supplies and curricular materials.  I spend a few grand every few years to keep my licenses current and learn the newest best practices.  If I want to go to a conference, I pay it out of pocked, usually to the tune of  $500 plus.    I teach special ed and teach a population most people would not want to work with.   I've been sworn at, hit, kicked, bit, scratched, punched, had hair literally pulled out my head, have had chairs thrown at me, have been thrown up on, spit on, nearly urinated on and have had feces thrown at me (and it hit me).  Not exactly the most pleasant work conditions. While this is not an everyday occurrence (thankfully), it is still something I'm betting you do not encounter.  Still, I do my job because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.  I know I'm making a difference every day.  Heaven (and any teacher) knows I'm not doing it for the great money.  I wouldn't trade my job for any in the world; but I would like to at least be shown a little respect.  I'm helping to make sure that ALL students become productive members of society.  What have you done lately to make the world a better place?
  73. Phillip 2/12/2011

    Am I the only one who finds it wonderfully ironic that the "Concerned American" who authored the screed about teachers belonging to a "socialist Utopia" is someone with deplorable spelling and grammar?
  74. Richard 2/12/2011

    This is an attack on all public employees and their unions, an attack by people who have no sense of history .  They have no idea that the current bargaining law was molded over the past five decades in response to various crises . . . the state employee strike, the Hortonville teacher strike, and others. 

    Now is the time for all active and retired public employees to realize that the future is in their hands.  This bill will not be defeated by people sitting at their keyboards or grumbling over their coffee.  Go to the capitol this week . . . see your legislator . . . even if he or she is the most unreconstructed member of the bunch.

    There's no place for people who won't stand up for themselves.
  75. Ian 2/12/2011

    Hey, CONCERNED AMERICAN...just an FYI about teachers working 180 days a year.  Teachers are contracted for those 180 days.  We are NOT contracted for 365 days and get half of the year off in paid vacation.  Teacher's are paid a salary for 180 days, however almost all of the teachers I know work extra jobs to make ends meet.  My department chair paints as a side job to have enough money for his kids to go to college someday.  I've taught summer school for three years and my wife also had to work at Bed, Bath, & Beyond to make ends meet.  I know teachers who coach three sports a year and immediately sign those checks back to the government for property taxes.  On top of that, I have to take work home nearly every night.  And I bet you get to pick when you take your three weeks or more paid vacation every year.  When do I get my time off?  In the summer?  Could I ever opt to take a vacation during November?  Nope.  How about September?  No again.  My time off is mandated every year of my life in this line of work.  I get no choice as to when I plug in my time off like most people do.  And by the way, do you complain this much when your insurance premiums go up every year, but your coverage stays the same?  Do you complain when the paying for the hospital, dentist, cable TV, groceries, gas, etc. all goes up, but the quality of service and and quality of product stays the same?  Ah yes, deflect anger at the easiest, closest target...teachers...Again, I'm not whining; I'm just trying to educate you.  That's what teachers do best! :)
  76. Wendy 2/12/2011

    To the comment above: I would be happy to work 180 days a year teaching children. In this state it is not a choice. But most teachers do work in some other capacity those summer months. We prepare all of the lessons we are going to teach during the year, we take classes, do district summer curriculum work and attend conferences, learn new curriculum and methods to reach children....all to better the education of your children and to better educate the future workers of this state. All of this without being paid summer salaries. We work for free duing that time. Teachers that teach summer school do get paid, but not the same amount as their salary. It is an hourly wage. Year after year we have given up salary increases to pay for our insurance increases under QEO. I use to have 20 children in a class and now have 31. There is no pay increase for that extra time needed to teach to the increase. Teachers come in on weekends and stay past 5 o'clock to plan, prepare, grade, input data, and so on because there is not enough time in the paid part of the day to get it all done. We do this because we are passionate about the job, we care about the children we teach. There is no over time for that extra time we put in. The worst part of this all is that tax payers hate us. They don't even know me and they hate me. Now we are to be the backs on which the budget problems will be solved. Why punish us? We serve your children. You don't think this will affect them?
  77. donald 2/12/2011

    To the concerned american               
    I never thought I'd be driving a 2003 minivan through Utopia!
  78. Phillip 2/12/2011

    There have been suggestions Walker exempted law enforcement and firefighters (for now) as some sort of quid pro quo for their support in the 2010 election.  As a career Madison police officer, I wish it noted that WPPA endorsed Tom Barrett early on, never mind that Milwaukee's police and fire unions--who pay into their own retirement system--backed Walker.  The consensus at roll call is that Walker is employing a "divide and conquer" strategy, pitting one set of public employee unions against another.  If anyone in my department voted for Walker, they are keeping very quiet about it.  Cops and firefighters are keenly aware that if Walker succeeds in dismantling WSEU, et al., it is only a matter of time before he comes after us.
  79. Ray 2/12/2011

    Scott Walker's Budget is short sighted and hurtful not only to public employees, but also to Wisconsin citizens.  Walker's solution in many respects is no different than Tommy Thompson's plan in the 90's with revenue limits and the QEO for teachers.  In fact it's worse!!! I think the solution is not in tax/spending cuts, but instead in revenue increases.  Interesting the only concrete answer to increasing revenue is "open for business."  I would think the IAFF and the police unions could anticipate their benefit reductions shortly after the other public employee unions.  NOW is the time for union SOLIDARITY!!! All for one and one for all!!!
  80. CONCERNED AMERICAN 2/12/2011

    you work 180 day's a year yet youm want to be paid like the real workers who work average of 260 or more days a year. WE ALSO HAVE PAY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE AND RETIREMENT COSTS ON OUR OWN! TIME TO JOIN THE REAL WORLD NOT YOUR SOCIALIST UTOPIA!
  81. Tim 2/12/2011

    Not only will this be financially devastating for public service workers and teachers, but it will cause a brain drain in the public sector.  My wife and I, currently on the West Coast, though previously teachers in WI, will probably look for teaching jobs in MN if this bill passes.  Lots of good, intelligent public servants will look elsewhere for better opportunities.
  82. donald 2/12/2011

    Is there no longer a National Labor Relations Act?   What is he thinking?
  83. scottyc 2/12/2011

    Notice how the prisons were included but the police weren't.

    Walker wants full privatization of:
    -schools AND university system
    -road construction
    -state services

    Killing public unions is step 1.

    Privatizing is step 2.

    Squeezing every last penny out of the poor is step 3.

    Let's stop him at step 1.

    Democratic politicians as well as union members need to have a full policy response. An alternative.

    If businesses are so concerned about job creation that they need corporate tax cuts, tort "reform, union busting, and every other Chamber of Commerce wishlist item, then they can use their astronomical corporate savings to invest in Wisconsin.

    Democratic representatives need to announce a plan for a new $750 million bond, financed by corporate savings and individual invest in Wisconsin. It would put people to work right away while not having to have corporate tax cuts paid for on the backs of the middle class.

    They can only ride you if your back is bent. Stand up.
  84. Celeste 2/12/2011

    I am a Milwaukee Public Schools educator. While I can't make any event, you have my support 100%. Is there anything locally that I can do?
  85. Jim 2/12/2011

    The Milwaukee Firefighters supported Walker, most other career departments did NOT. As a Union Firefighter I will be be in Madison supporting my union brothers and sisters.
  86. Jessica 2/12/2011

    He's calling up the National Guard, but still entrusts students with us, right?
  87. Mark 2/12/2011

    I find it very uncanny that Walker is not including the state law enforcement agencies and fire fighter unions in this bill.  Oh yeah, they voted for him.  There are two types of "bad people" in this world, people who know they are doing bad deeds to be malicious and people who do bad deeds without knowing until hindsight that what they did was bad.  Walker is clearly the former.  He is the worst kind of human being.  
  88. Deb 2/12/2011

    How do we go about getting a recall election?  He has to go!
  89. Joanne 2/12/2011

    Walker needs to be removed from office!! The damage he is going to do will reach far further than Wisconsin govermental employees. He is attacking our rights as citizens. No one man has the right to arbitrarily take negotiating rights from any organized group!! These proposed steps will put workers back to slavery age!!! He needs to be stopped!!
  90. Deb 2/12/2011

    Walker is whacked!  Who died and made him the dictator?
    I can't believe what he is proposing could even be legal.

  91. Bill 2/12/2011

    As Mary Bell pointed out yesterday, this isn'st just an attack on public employees and teachers but on schools and children. Students and their families will be severely affected.
  92. Jacob Cremer 2/12/2011

    Why do you say "Stop the attack on Wisconsin Families"? What about teachers who live alone?
  93. Jeff Leys 2/12/2011

    Arise. Arise. The Spirit of Hortonville 1974 (and of Watertown, Fennimore, Rice Lake, Wausau, Palmyra and so many other educators who put it all on the line forty or so years ago for today's educators).
  94. Bill 2/12/2011

    Hard to say which would have more people, but I would go Tuesday. The earlier we can make an impression the better chance we have of changing votes.
  95. Jan 2/12/2011

    Bill, I live in Milwaukee but want to drive in for one of the vigils.  Is there a better night to come or are they both going to be about the same?
  96. Bill 2/12/2011

    Yes, for those who cannot get there earlier, there will be vigils at the Capitol Square both evenings from about 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with speakers at 6:30 p.m.
  97. Annette 2/12/2011

    I find it very interesting that Scott Walker is not including the unions that endorsed him during the election. 

    Will there be any rallies "after school hours" as many of us cannot leave our jobs during the day? 

  98. kurt ritchie 2/12/2011

    My wife and I are teachers in the Edgerton School District and I fully agree that this is an attempt at destroying our union. If this is passed it will be a personal disaster for our family (loss of almost $10,000 a year), we estimate that to be about $800 a month. While Governor Walker claims that this is a modest cut, this could cost us our family home and much, much more!

    In addition, his attacks on our right to collectively bargain our working conditions are nothing short of union busting tactics. If these measures go thru, we as employees will have few if any protections. While both my wife and I were born and raised in Wisconsin and have taught in the state for 15 years plus, depending on how bad this gets, we may be seriously forced to look at other employment options. While we both truly enjoy teaching and can’t imagine doing anything else, this could force us to look out of state for a better situation or possibly cause one or both of us to consider leaving the occupation altogether.

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