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Thousands protest anti union bill

Discussion in 'Politics, Elections & Legislation' started by trinketshooter, Feb 16, 2011.

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  1. trinketshooter

    trinketshooter TS Member

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    By Scott Bauer, Associated press

    In state with long labor history, sweeping anti-union bill draws thousands to Wis. Capitol
    02-16-2011 06:00 PM CST |By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press
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    Protestors to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers demonstrate in at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
    MADISON, Wis. (Associated Press) --
    Thousands of teachers, students and prison guards descended on the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday to fight a move to strip government workers of union rights in the first state to grant them more than a half-century ago.

    The Statehouse filled with as many as 10,000 demonstrators who chanted, sang the national anthem and beat drums for hours. The noise in the rotunda rose to the level of a chainsaw, and many Madison teachers joined the protest by calling in sick in such numbers that the district _ the state's second-largest _ had to cancel classes.

    The new Republican governor, Scott Walker, is seeking passage of the nation's most aggressive anti-union proposal, which was moving swiftly through the GOP-led Legislature.

    If adopted, it would mark a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.

    As protesters chanted "Recall Walker now!" outside the governor's office, Walker insisted he has the votes to pass the measure, which he says is needed to help balance a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall and avoid widespread layoffs.

    Walker said he appreciated the concerns of protesters, but taxpayers "need to be heard as well." He said he would not do anything to "fundamentally undermine the principles" of the bill.

    "We're at a point of crisis," the governor said.

    A budget committee was expected to consider the proposal later Wednesday. At one point during the protests, Republicans said they intended to offer substantive changes, but they soon revealed that all the core elements would remain.

    Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the bill would be modified to include an extension of grievance procedures for employees who lose bargaining rights. Other changes were to be revealed before the committee vote.

    The full Legislature could begin voting on it as early as Thursday.

    In an interview with Milwaukee television station WTMJ, President Barack Obama said he was monitoring the situation in Madison and acknowledged the need for budget cuts. But, he said, pushing public employees away from the bargaining table "seems like more of an assault on unions."

    As the bill appeared ready to advance, tensions rose in the Capitol. Police roamed the halls, restricted access to some rooms and stood watch outside the governor's office.

    In addition to eliminating collective bargaining rights, the legislation would also make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage _ increases that Walker calls "modest" compared with those in the private sector.

    More than 13,000 protesters gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday for a 17-hour public hearing on the measure. Thousands more came Wednesday.

    "I'm fighting for my home and my career," said Virginia Welle, a 30-year-old teacher at Chippewa Falls High School. She said she and her husband, who is also a teacher, each stand to lose $5,000 a year in higher pension and health care contributions.

    Welle said she could never get that money back since the unions would be unable to bargain over benefits under Walker's plan.

    The protests have been larger and more sustained than any in Madison in decades. Dozens of protesters spent the night in sleeping bags on the floor of the Rotunda. A noise monitor in the Rotunda registered 105 decibels at midday Wednesday _ about as loud as a power mower or chainsaw.

    Beyond the Statehouse, more than 40 percent of the 2,600 union-covered teachers and school staff in Madison called in sick. No widespread sickouts were reported at any other school.

    Prisons, which are staffed by unionized guards who would lose their bargaining rights under the plan, were operating without any unusual absences, according to a Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

    Walker has said he would call out the National Guard to staff the prisons if necessary. A union leader for prison workers did not immediately return messages.

    Scott Spector, a lobbyist for AFT-Wisconsin, which represents about 17,000 public employees, said the demonstrations were having an effect on lawmakers.

    Union representatives were attempting to sway key moderates for a compromise, but Democrats said the bill would be tough to stop. Democrats lost the governor's office and control of the Legislature in the November midterm elections.

    "The Legislature has pushed these employees off the cliff, but the Republicans have decided to jump with them," said Sen. Bob Jauch, one of 14 Democrats in the 33-member chamber.

    While other states have proposed bills curtailing labor rights, Wisconsin's measure is the most aggressive anti-union move yet to solve state budget problems. It would end collective bargaining for state, county and local workers, except for police, firefighters and the state patrol.

    Protesters targeted the budget committee's public hearing Tuesday to launch what the committee co-chairman called a "citizen filibuster," which kept the meeting going until 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    Two floors below the hearing, dozens of University of Wisconsin-Madison teaching assistants and students poured into the Capitol rotunda late Tuesday evening, putting down sleeping bags and blankets. Many were asleep on the floor when the hearing ended.

    Wisconsin has long been a bastion for workers' rights. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was founded in 1936 in Madison.

    But when voters elected Walker, an outspoken conservative, along with GOP majorities in both legislative chambers, it set the stage for a dramatic reversal of Wisconsin's labor history.

    Under Walker's plan, state employees' share of pension and health care costs would go up by an average of 8 percent. The changes would save the state $30 million by June 30 and $300 million over the next two years to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

    Unions could still represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

    In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.

    Wisconsin is one of about 30 states with collective bargaining laws covering state and local workers.

    Walker has argued that the concessions are modest compared with those suffered by many other Americans. Democratic opponents and union leaders say his real motive is to strike back at political opponents who have supported Democrats over the years.
     
  2. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Oh, yes,sd this is to get even. Never mind the 3 Billion dollar HOLE the previous administration created by letting the inmates run the Asylum.

    I know, let's tax the out of work people.

    HM
     
  3. slipping into darkness

    slipping into darkness TS Member

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    So let me get this straight, the teachers can call in sick and go protest and get payed?????????????? "what a deal" I'd just call in sick till I retrier.
     
  4. porky

    porky TS Member

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    It's is time that the unions became realistic. The only way to do it is legislate it, so be it.
     
  5. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Here in Iowa- a pro union administration under Gov's Vilsak and Culver- were unable to, although they came close, pass legislation that would essentially not require secret ballots to allow a union to unionize a company.

    Based on that failure, even though they controlled the legislature, Gov Culver, whose political party still owed the union for elections of himself and Vilsak, as a parting gift, gave the state union workers a $235 Million annual pay raise.

    That means Gov Brandstead- the new Gov comes in and is $235 million short. We cant print money so people will have to be let go. A lot of people. A tremendous number of junior union members and non union state employees will lose their job so senior union members get pay raises.

    Nuts- it is nuts.

    Regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  6. over/under

    over/under Member

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    Don't allow any teacher back to work w/o a doctors excuse. Make each and every teacher take a drug test b4 they come back to work. Help me understand why the bus drivers take a drug test, but the teachers don't have to. When will people ever realize $$ doesn't grow on trees?
     
  7. over/under

    over/under Member

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    PS what would Reagan do????
     
  8. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    The teachers are not on an even keel with private workers. They are being asked to kick in toward their retirement instead of getting a free pension.

    They are being asked to provide part of their health care cost, only half as much as the private sector.

    This bothers them terribly, and would reduce them to the lowly status of normal people.

    Of course, they're bitching.

    That doesn't fix the problem. (at least, their phony sickout won't kill anyone, unlike the NY snow plow slowdown.)

    HM
     
  9. slipping into darkness

    slipping into darkness TS Member

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    Did you notice on the news all the 5-6-7-8 year olds there protesting, they don't know what for???????-but there "there"??-- Union able to bus is lots of protester, they have way to Much Money. I agreed with over/under "Doc excuse and Drug test", watch how many would lose there jobs!!!!
     
  10. shooter99

    shooter99 Well-Known Member

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    halfmile, You my friend are RIGHT ON.Most if not all of the school boards in Wisconsin are controlled by the Superintendent. The Board is only there because the law said it has to be.The Superintendents were once teachers themselves, so they are in bed with the teachers. They will support them at this time. This type of partership will not work in the favor of the tax payer. The teachers union gets what they want. So it is time for change. Bring them and the state workers union in to line and they too can help pull the state out of the HOLE.

    Ken Cerney

    Wisconsin
     
  11. ks5shooter

    ks5shooter Member

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    Here we go again.The government runs their funds to deficit levels,and the working people and taxpayers will take the brunt of their mismanagement.

    In my town and state the last 2 winters were horrible with snow.They are both crying about money in the budget to remove said snow. The previous 6 years before the bad winters their was almost no snow.At town meeting I asked where did that money go that was budgeted for snow removal that wasnt needed.No one knows.

    Im tired of companies and government making the working man pay for their bad decisions and mismanagement.
     
  12. BAD 303

    BAD 303 Active Member

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    Wisconsin is just the starting point. Other states to follow. This will be fun to watch as it is just one small step in taking back the government by it's citizens.
     
  13. b12

    b12 Well-Known Member

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    If we had a good education system I could partically understand their complaints. However the US educational system ( High School and College ) has went to hell in the past 30 yrs to the point that we are at the bottom of the scale on the world monitor of education.
    Whith that said, shit can them. Bill
     
  14. daddiooo

    daddiooo TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    When YOUR childrens teachers "brain wash" your child to have them picket for teachers rights....FIRE THE TEACHER, period. No appeal hearing, no whinning.

    Teachers calling in sick to protest and having children there to help......

    Great example to set for kids.

    This is wrong on so many levels it's unbelieveable.
     
  15. Unsingle

    Unsingle Member

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    A word of caution to the unionized teachers that feel so safe - Remember the Air Traffic Controllers!
     
  16. Carl Spackler

    Carl Spackler TS Member

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    Good for Scott Walker!!! Now the Dems are failing to show for the vote and police are out rounding these folks up. What a great way to waste tax payers dollars and the police force. When will these people wake up... time to get off the gravy train people!
     
  17. southjblue

    southjblue Active Member

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    What do you do when there's no $$s left---Print more---Then more inflation---
    When I went to school we had one teacher in one room that taught 4 grades---
    Each row had a grade---We learned well---Some Drs---some lawyers---some millionaires---Today if they have more than 30 kids in a room they feel overworked---Time for teachers to wake up---If they don't like their jobs,leave and find happiness---

    When you receive what you have from other people you are a freeloader---JMO---
     
  18. timberfaller

    timberfaller Well-Known Member

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    Call in sick, go to a party!

    Isn't that grounds for getting "Fired" in the private sector!

    Fire everyone who showed up at the Capital to party!
     
  19. shelly

    shelly TS Member

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    Twinky why did you plagerize what you posted, can't you think for yourself?
     
  20. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

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    The whole problem here is that politicians made deals with unions that now they can't keep. Reality is a bitch!

    That ain't right.

    Why they would attach union benefits to a state government is rediculous.

    Union people pay dues and their hourly package includes money to be put away for pensions.

    Problem is when you hook the union up to the government teat, it frees up all those union dues to go to political action, IE getting their guy elected.

    That ain't right.

    I was a member of 3 different unions and all of them took care of their own pensions. I don't understand for the life of me why this is not the case with state employees unions.

    That ain't right.

    This is the exact reason why Gray Davis was recalled in CA. He made deals with unions the state couldn't pay for. At the time the schools were getting 54 of the 108 billion $ state budget. Rediculous! Only thing was he got recalled but the laws that granted the State unions rediculous benefits never got overturned.

    My State of CA is having to borrow $40 million a day just to fund existing pensions. And this is why CA is broke!

    That ain't right,

    Sooner or late reality catches up and overrides fantasy. That time is here right now and I assure the union people will get the short end (relatively speaking) of this deal. There is no other option. They were lied to by their leaders plain and simple.

    The idea that a CA fireman can retire at age 50 on $125-150K a year is exactly the reason why this house of cards will fold.

    That ain't right.

    CA used to have the best schools in the country now we are nearly last, the CA teachers union is totally responsible for this as they have ran the show for the last 30 years. The point is, no union is looking to improve the product they produce, they are only looking to improve the position of their members at the cost of everyone else.

    That ain't right.

    Example: The teachers union doesn't really care about students, it only cares about teachers! If it was different they would not harbor the bad ones with tenure. Their whole system revolves on having as many members as possible. They will use the students as an excuse but they really only care about teachers. Students don't pay union dues.

    That ain't right.

    CA has about 1-2 million Public Workers, and yet the other 39 million are being fleeced to pay the few.

    That ain't right.

    Paying their salaries is fine, paying their same salaries in retirement is ludricrous. Their union should be covering that. Then they might be in touch with reality a little nore. Nowhere in the private sector do people get their highest salary as a basis for retirement. Except maybe Wall Street, OH, we pay for that too.

    Once again the unions priced themselves out of a job, and this is the main reason why so many outfits outsource to other countries or move to "right to work" states.

    Obama promissed change well here it is, How ya like him now?

    Randy
     
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