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WEAC president talks about next steps

Posted: 2/20/2011 5:42:32 PM

The following statement was released this afternoon by Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. It can be attributed to Ms. Bell:

“It’s clear from the turnout at events here in Madison and in city after city across Wisconsin that there’s a movement afoot to fight for worker rights. Thus far, we have easily heard from more than 200,000 Wisconsinites who stand in support of teachers, nurses, EMTs, firefighters, correctional officers and public employees across our state.

“We have been clear – and I will restate this again today – money issues are off the table. Public employees have agreed to Governor Walker’s pension and health care concessions, which he says will solve the budget challenge.

“But Governor Walker’s bill goes too far and he has chosen polarizing rhetoric. He refuses to come to the table to discuss the issue our members care most deeply about: protecting their rights, as they are a voice for Wisconsin’s students and their schools.

“Citizens have come out in force to support public workers in the battle to preserve their rights. Six days of events in Madison – where crowds have snowballed. The events have spread from the capitol to communities across the state where rallies, demonstrations and public forums are in full swing to enable citizens to voice their support.

“A fire has started – and we need to remain active in these efforts to have the voices of the people heard throughout Wisconsin. We will not be silenced and though we move to the corners of our state, our intensity grows.

“In my message today, I want to reinforce a fundamental fact: that the men and women of our union – the Wisconsin Education Association Council – are committed to serving their communities, schools and students. Our members are a voice for Wisconsin students and schools.

“Tomorrow they begin again in their schools and classrooms. Their voices will remain strong – and they will continue to be heard wherever and whenever they can. To educators whose contracts do not recognize Presidents’ Day, we call on them to return to duty by day – and find ways to be vocal and visible after their workday is done. To those whose contracts recognize Presidents’ Day as a holiday, we call on them to return to Madison. We send this message to Wisconsin’s educators and parents as a show of good faith.

“We appreciate the solid show of support from Wisconsinites over the last week. It’s has been heartening and inspiring – and I want to be very clear in that this fight isn’t over. We will continue to be active and visible at the Capitol and in towns across this state because we are passionate about preserving the rights of workers. We’re continuing our call to all Wisconsinites – not just the workers directly affected – but our friends, neighbors and families – to look into their hearts and act to be sure that we have the Wisconsin we want to call our home – not just today, but tomorrow and well into the future. It is time for legislative leadership and an open dialogue in search of solutions, not division of our state. It is time for Wisconsin to move forward.”

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Comments 28

  1. lucy putnam 2/28/2011

    Now that access to the capitol building in Madison is restricted, grandparents would do well to demonstrate locally for their working children in support of district teachers.  Clintonville, Waupaca Co. 
  2. Steve 2/26/2011

    The ONLY Solution to this is a recall.
    When are you going to get going and do it?
  3. tom hagen 2/25/2011

    Teachers should not be in the classrooms.  Weac did little to overturn the qeo and republicans rightly surmised they could get further concessions.
    The time has come for teachers to show some spine and if that necessitates a statewide strike, so be it.  After this repair bill eventually passes, there is nothing to lose.
    Locals throughout the state should pay heed to John Mathews and MTI because they are applying pressure and have the courage of their convictions.4
  4. Spat 2/24/2011

    I am really shocked at the violent feelings Wisconsin Public Employees have had to endure.  Would some people feel better if they lived on food stamps, had no or little education, little or no experience to help you? 

    Think about: the time you were late to pick up your child and a teacher(a person parent herself) was there waiting with her.  Or the park ranger who led a search party for your lost boys.  Or the policeman who arrested a man who just beat you up(walking into a group of three angry men to do it). I think anyone would get the pictureState Employees have families and homes, they are your neighbors, they help you every day, they are nice people.

    So many State Employee are "homers."  They stayed home in Wisconsin to work because they saw something special here.  Truth, justice, opportunity, etc.

    If Wisconsin Public Employees are forced to give up their union and bargaining rights they have less to stay for.  State employees generally work so hard that they don't get to know all of their contract, who will stand up for these strong, hard working, wonderous people?  We need them. 

    For the record: They paid for a lot of their benefits by not taking the money but by taking a better benefit.  

  5. Jeanne Marie Dauray 2/23/2011

    My husband is a teacher here in Illinois (just on the other side of the WI border), and my mother, who lives with us, works as a special education nurse for another school district. And I just wanted to let the teachers of WI know that our household and many others like ours are behind you 100%. I, personally, have been working this week to get as many friends, family, and fellow union members as possible up to Madison this Saturday, Feb 26, in support of you and your rights. Your Illinois counterparts will be there for you this weekend, and the Wisconsin 14 are welcome here for as long as is needed. If there is anything else we can do to show support, let us know.
  6. David 2/23/2011

    Boycott and email companies that endorsed Walker:

    Here are a few Walker contributors that average citizens can easily affect with a boycott. All of them can easily be contacted through the internet. Explain that Walker's bill will undermine the middle class and harm their customers' ability to purchase their products, and ask them to publicly oppose the bill:

    MillerCoors (the beer com...pany)

    Sargento Cheese (they make those packets of shredded cheese)

    SC Johnson (makers of Pledge, Ziploc, Raid, Windex, and more)

    Kwik Trip (the gas station)

    Sendiks (Milwaukee grocery store)

    Wal-Mart (naturally)
  7. barbara stenger 2/22/2011

    As a retired teacher who gave up many raises in order to get benefits covered, I am sickened at this power grab.  I would love to resort to name calling, but that won't work.  What will work is the power of the purse.  Close it.  Stop buying. Cancel your paper that endorsed Walker, stay away from places that displayed his sign, avoid buying new carpeting, furniture, appliances, hold off on getting a new car,  don't go out to eat.

     I have suggested that instead of going out to lunch with friends who support workers take a brown bag lunch and go to the nearest mall and sit and chat. It will do two things: save money and call attention.  Take turns having small groups at home serving "community soup". 

    We must show some kind of power and the only power we have right now is the power of the purse.  Everyone can do it.  It would help to have a list of  Walker's big contributors so we can avoid patronizing them.  In the case of the Koch brothers, though, it will be very difficult as they own almost everything,
  8. Dennis and Barbara Colrman 2/22/2011

    Although we are both retired, we were active in the south during the civil rights years.  We know first hand that repression can be overcome.  To dictate is a failure at representation.  Stay strong we are with you.

    Dennis and Barbara Coleman
  9. Alana 2/22/2011

    Remember to pray!   Get your prayer groups together and pray.  It is obvious our governor is a selfish, greedy, evil person.  He doesn't care about us, 'the people'--that is obvious.  He cares about the rich minority and that's it.  In between protests or even during protests, just remember to pray too!  Prayer is the key to God's power!   God Bless Wisconsin!  "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world" 1 John 4:4
    New Living Translation (©2007)
    But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

    Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
  10. pete 2/22/2011

    United Steel Workers stand firmly with WEAC
  11. Scott 2/21/2011

    The only way we are going to make these deep pocket supporters of Walker stand up and listen is to hit them in those deep pockets.  WEAC needs to publish a list of his corporate sponsors and declair a boycott of those supporters. All union brothers and sisters then need to follow the boycott and those deep pockets will shrink and they will reign in their puppet Governor.
  12. Craig 2/21/2011

    I'm so proud of our teachers, out there, fighting for all of us. 
  13. David Koeller 2/21/2011

    Scott Semingson has the right idea; money seems to be the only thing Walker is concerned about, so give him as little to work with as possible. I myself will not only refrain from purchasing big items, but as many items of any size as I possibly can. I will buy only food, gasoline, and pay for my utilities if I possibly can manage it. If I have to buy anything else, I will go out of state through the Internet to get it. The only thing I would question with what Mr. Semingson is doing is purchasing from Menards. I love Menards; its my favorite store. However, Jon Menard is on the Board of Directors of WMC, the big backer of Walker. I will not patronize Menards again at least until Walker has been removed from office. Speaking of that, if we all restrict our spending so that Walker has a bigger deficit next January, that should make it even more obvious that he should be recalled at the earliest possible date allowed.
  14. Barb Jones 2/21/2011

    I have been a teacher in WI since 1983.  This is an unprecendented attack on most public workers.  We have compromised on money-which is what Waler said this repair bill is about.  This is not a modest change as he keeps saying. He said that he would be open and talk to everyone while in office.  He has already lied about that.  He lied about what would be in the bill.  Two huge lies and not even in office for three months yet.  I knew we were in trouble when he was telling the past Governor Doyle to stop working and pushing budget items in at the end of his term.  This is now a hissy fit and retribution for Doyle doing what he thought was best before he left office.  His arrogance is appalling at press conferences.  
    So why is there no amendment about the collective bargaining aspect of the bill?   Because it really isn't about just money to Gov. Walker.  This is a power play that will effect a quarter of a million workers take home pay and overall work conditions.  We are tax payers too and we will have much less discretionary income to spend in the state.  We know who voted yes to this-I know that I will not be spending any money in any district that voted yes. We know who you are.  Your repair bill is short sighted and mean spirited.  We will not stop until people really understand what he and his friends in office are trying to do.  This is not a democracy.  I am ashamed of my state right now.
  15. Scott Semingson 2/21/2011

    As a teacher of 22 yrs. I am writing with a heavy heart.  I am feeling our hands are tied now that Gov. Walker believes he has won the fight and has pledged to stick to his budget until the end.  If we can recall the Rep. Senate what are we waiting for.  I also agree 100% that all public employees must start doing their shopping and vacationing outside of the state.   If you are buying a car, boat, or any other big item drive across state lines and buy it.  My plan is to build a new house this summer (something I do with my summer breaks every few years) and I am planning on buying the materials in Minnesota.  I can purchase in the cities (1 1/2 hours from my house) at Menards and have the material delivered from E.C.   I am ready to go out of my way to let Scotty know I have had it with his bully tactics.....hit him where it hurts, his wallet!  I also had an encounter with a local small business owner who totally thought I didn't deserve any of my benefits....I felt very unappreciated for all the hard work I do.   Remember the theme in the movie School House Rock?  LET'S STICK IT TO THE MAN!
  16. Sandy 2/21/2011

    I am a WTCS ESP staff, and am so proud to be affiliated with the educators of Wisconsin.  Teachers are showing exactly what makes them so good at what they do - they are passionate about what they believe in - be it teaching a science class or standing up against injustice.  We all know this is not a move to balance budgets - or else Walker would take the promise of state employee reps to make the concessions in retirement and health insurance premiums.  This is a move by a power monger, plain and simple.  And he will not be happy until the will of the people is trampled under his feet.  Let's keep fighting the good fight - and showing students what justice is all about!
  17. rp in minnesota 2/21/2011

    I have been following your plight with great interest. As a construction union member ( unemployed) I see this push by your Gov. Walker setting the stage for attacks on prevailing wage regulations for state work in our states. Hold fast and I hope we see some actions in our state in support of what you are doing.
  18. Bill Eckerstorfer 2/21/2011

    Email and write state senators and assembly representatives throughout Wisconsin and inform them you will not be spending any income in their districts because now you cannot afford to. This will impact small businesses throughout Wisconsin. Boycott the corporations that have contributed to Walker's campaign.
  19. Bill Eckerstorfer 2/21/2011

    This is bigger than just us. It is an attack on all unions and all classes. I think we are making a mistake if we don't focus more on this. There is a perception about teachers to begin with. If we focus only on how this affects us and the middle class then we have missed the bigger picture. Write the assembly and senators in Northern Wisconsin and tell them because of this legislation you will not be vacationing in their districts this coming summer. This is a direct attack on all classes of Americans (except for the wealthy) even the misinformed Tea Party.
    Thank you Madison teachers. I am sure it was difficult being out all week stay strong and continue to lead.
  20. MN Police 2/21/2011

    Even though you folks are likely Packer fans, this MN Viking/Cop looks beyond that and sees brothers and sisters fighting for all of us who has a paycheck signed by an elected official. What happens there clearly will be what immediately happens nationwide....keep fighting!
  21. Julie 2/21/2011

    I am so proud to be a part of the education system in our state and all of the other US ( and beyond) citizens and union workers who stand in solidarity for the rights Scott Walker is trying to take away from us!  Thank you for standing with us!
  22. Julie 2/21/2011

    I am proud of the education community and supporters all over the U.S.and beyond standing in solidarity for the rights Scott Walker wants to deny us!  Thank you.
  23. Shandra 2/21/2011

    I have been at the capitol every day and night since last Tuesday and I will be there again today for one more huge show of support for workers' rights. The protests are working to get national recognition of what is happening here and how the same thing could spiral into other states depending on how things turn out.  We need people to understand the significance of what this kind of bill can do to workers' rights and the fundamental programs that middle class and working families depend on and the groundswell of protests that have grown at the capitol for the last 7 days is helping to make this known.  Please join us in this fight and keep it going when teachers return to the classrooms, email your legislators, email your friends and family, tweet and network on facebook to keep attention on this very important issue.  Don't let our collective rights to be smashed into the ground; perhaps never to fully recover in the name of saving a few bucks!
  24. R. Reed 2/20/2011

    Wisconsin should recall it's eight Republican State House Senators...maybe your Governor can't be removed until next year but from what I read on "Raw Story" your Senators can be recalled now...What are you waiting for?...
  25. Robbin Spraitz 2/20/2011

    I grew up in Wisconsin and started my teaching career in Waupun in 1975.  I was a proud WEAC member then and am proud of WEAC now.  I've lived in Oregon since 1979 where I finished my teaching career.  I am so sad to see what you and other public employees in my home state are facing, but I'm so proud of your willingness to fight this wrong.  Those of us in Oregon are with you in spirit.  At our rally for education in Salem tomorrow, many will be wearing red to show our support for all of you.  We know that what happens in Wisconsin will have ripple effects throughout the nation.  Thank you for putting yourselves on the line to fight for American workers.  You are my heroes! 
  26. Gordon 2/20/2011

    Bravo, WEAC!  Is there a petition circulating?  How about a letter writing campaign?

    Link to find contact information of your state representatives

    Using this contact information, I sent an email to my state representatives and staff to let them know my thoughts. I requested a no vote on the union busting bill.  I sent a email to each of the democratic senators expressing my support.
  27. Gina Minor 2/20/2011

    Please continue the fight for workers rights. Continue to go to the Capitol and show Walker we will not give up!  
  28. Alison 2/20/2011

    We're all watching and supporting you from IL!!!  I was born, raised and educated in WI.  Keep fighting!!!!!!

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