Saturday, December 25, 2010

AFSCME Council 24 & SEPAC Supports The Badgers

This is an outstanding "You Tube" video and it got us at Council 24 and SEPAC all hyped up for the January 1st, 2011 Rose Bowl game featuring our very own WISCONSIN BADGERS and TCU.


"CLICK HERE" to view the "You Tube" video.

This is a great video -- check it out!

A Shared Message for ALL Public Workers

"More than ever, public employees need to speak out to set the record straight. We need to remind our fellow citizens of the fact that we are part of the quickly-shrinking middle class, not Wall Street elite. We need to give a face to the vital services we provide - services that are especially important during difficult economic times. We need to stand up for public service.

---AFT Wisconsin

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Accountability Time!

We want good jobs now!

Scott Walker ran for Governor on a promise to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin. So far, he's chased off more than 12,000 jobs. When not sending jobs to other states, he's busy talking about making good jobs less good by cutting pay for thousands of Wisconsin workers.

The campaign is over. Now it is time to hold him accountable.

Join a silent protest outside the Capitol on Inauguration Day.

11:15am - 12:15pm -- Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Signs reading "WE WANT GOOD JOBS NOW" will be available at 10:30am in the basement of The Argus Bar and Grill, 123 East Main St.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Poem Written by a State Employee

T’was the week before Christmas and all through the State
All employees were leery - what would be our fate?

Labor contracts were hung, defeated again.
There was no more hope for a last minute bargain.

Months of negotiations have been thrown out the window.
All those promises and concessions are now just hot air flow.

Union bosses and Dems wring their hands in defeat.
as the new "conservative" group prepares to take their seat.

The State Employees Union and AFSCME and WPEC,
All hopes have been dashed by the governor-elect.

"More furloughs, no raises, higher premiums for health care,
you state employees must pay your fair share."

When will the people realize, we're not the ones to blame.
It's the folks down in Madison, regardless the letter by their name.

Republicrats and Demicans, wings of the same bird.
Neither can balance a budget no matter what you've heard.

We work for less pay in exchange for the promise
of being well cared for, that's part of the process.

Yes, our benefits are nice but our pay not so much.
We're not complaining, this isn't some crutch.

Like other employees we just make a living.
Why do the rest of you seem so unforgiving?

Sell the mansion, trim your staff,
combine with the Lieutenant - maybe each just needs half?

The budget problems are real but let’s douse this small blaze:
we've already gone two years with no raise.

The economy is down, everyone has suffered,
except elected officials who are quite buffered.

They have no idea - it's really a crime.
Let them cut their pay and give back some this time.

What will they do if we all up and quit?
No, that won't happen - are you full of spit?

But tread very careful our governor to be,
or pitch forks and torches may cause you to flee.

No threats, no coercions, no we won't be mean.
'Cause you're up for re-election in two-thousand fourteen.

Now to end this little rhyme without any fight,
Happy Festivus to all and to all a Good Night.

(All rights reserved – reprint permitted with proper credit given.)

Daniel M. Hoyt
Academic Computing
Microsoft Server Administrator
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Member of Wisconsin Professional Employees Council (WPEC)
(920) 424-3020

Sen. Fred Risser: State employees deserve respect

I am deeply disappointed that the 2009 to 2010 state employee contracts were not approved by the state Senate.

Contrary to Gov.-elect Scott Walker’s propaganda, state employees are not the cause of the state’s current fiscal crisis. They are the backbone of Wisconsin government and should be treated fairly and with respect for the valuable service that they provide the state.

Our state employees are entitled to a fair agreement with the state on wages and benefits. The negotiated contracts which had been ratified by the unions and approved by the state’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations represented a compromise by both parties in these difficult economic times.

State employees made considerable concessions, in excess of $100 million, in agreeing to no general wage increases and increased contributions for health insurance and retirement benefits. Furloughs that amount to a 3.25 percent pay cut would also continue under the agreements.

State employees should be commended for their efforts rather than be criticized.

Sen. Fred Risser, Madison

Holding the bag

I find it the height of hypocrisy that the person who was responsible for bringing truth in sentencing to Wisconsin, the biggest budget-busting initiative in state history, is railing against state spending.

Governor-elect Scott Walker, like his idol from Indiana (Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels), clearly believes in rhetorical responses and misdirection for his approach to fixing Wisconsin's budget (such as his attack on state workers) rather than longstanding approaches.

In this, he obviously will have Wisconsin's Legislature as an accomplice. Demagogues, such as the Fitzgerald brothers, will grab the headlines, and Wisconsin citizens will be left holding the bag.

John Kies


John Kies is a member of AFSCME Council 24 Local 18 and is presently serving on the State Employees Political Action Committee.

This opinion appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 12/21/2010.

Who is going to do dangerous jobs?

I would like to compare apples to apples when it comes to the debate over wages and benefits of state employees vs. private-sector employees. I have been a correctional officer at the Waupun Correctional Institution for almost 30 years, so let's use this state job as an example.

The state correctional officer classification is a public-sector job so obviously it is subject to misconduct in public office laws. No one in the private sector is governed by this standard in his or her career choices.

Correctional officers are also responsible for the security and safety of inmates, staff and the general public. This is a responsibility that entails many violent physical confrontations in all correctional institutions that include breaking up fights, serious inmate-on-inmate assaults and inmate-on-staff assaults, all regardless of their own personal safety Don't forget that these prisons are dangerously overcrowded. There are many other expectations and duties that are placed on the state correctional officers. Who in the private sector are correctional officers being compared to in relation to wages and benefits for the work they do?

Correctional officers' starting pay is $14.89 an hour. Scott Walker is demanding immediate benefit concessions of $300 to $500 a month from these correctional officers. Who is going to do this dangerous state job for the resulting povertylike take-home pay? What would it take for you to do this job?

Sgt. Daniel Meehan


Sergeant Daniel Meehan is President of AFSCME Council 24 Local 18 and an elected representative for SPS on the AFSCME Council 24 Executive Board.

This opinion appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 12/15/2010.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

From progressive to regressive: Wis. GOP Declares War on Workers

by Mike Konopacki and Kathy Wilkes

Wisconsin governor-elect Scott Walker and the new Republican legislature have declared war on working people. They want to abolish public employee unions and turn Wisconsin into a so-called “right-to-work” state, meaning no more “union shops” and no more dues from anyone who objects. This also means no more pressure from anywhere to keep wages at a livable level for anyone, union or not.

It’s all under the guise of cutting the State’s $3 billion budget deficit and creating 250,000 jobs. Sound familiar? Since the Reagan era, Republicans and corporate Democrats have pushed the big lie that tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, and busting unions would bring jobs and prosperity. Instead we got the Great Recession. And now the people of Wisconsin have voted to cure the disease with more disease and turn our state into an economic dictatorship.

Harsh words? You bet. Reality is worse. One of the first things dictators do is go after organized labor:

- When Hitler outlawed “trade unions, collective bargaining and the right to strike, the German worker in the Third Reich became an industrial serf, bound to his master, the employer, much as medieval peasants had been bound to the lord of the manor,” writes William Shirer in his classic, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. This was done “democratically” when Germany’s parliament passed the 1934 Charter of Labor that “put the worker in his place and raised the employer to his old position of absolute master.”

- Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini abolished free trade unions.

- Communist China—America’s banker and manufacturer—only allows government-controlled unions.

Walker won’t round up labor leaders and have them jailed as Hitler did; he just wants them neutered. And there’s no comparison with Mussolini, who reportedly made the trains run on time. Walker hates trains; he lost us $810 million dollars and 5,500 jobs opposing high-speed rail. And where China requires even antiunion Wal-Mart to be unionized, Walker would never permit such an outrage.

A better comparison is Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, and L. Paul Bremer. In 1987 the Iraqi dictator declared that workers in his huge state enterprises were civil servants and therefore prohibited from forming unions and bargaining collectively. After Bush invaded Iraq, Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority abolished all of Saddam’s laws but one: the ban on labor unions.

For 80 years, Republican plutocrats have chipped away at “New Deal” laws that raised millions of families out of poverty and into the middle class. They’ve busted union membership down from 35% of the private sector in the 1950s to less than 8% today. Wages stagnated while income inequality soared. From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in incomes went to the richest 1% percent, which now owns more wealth than the bottom 90%.

Republicans don’t care about creating jobs or cutting deficits. GOP wunderkind Paul Ryan, for example, sat idly by as the remains of his district’s auto industry were dismantled, leaving Racine, Kenosha, and Janesville the most economically depressed cities in the state. Instead he plotted to privatize Social Security, despite the Wall Street debacle, and promoted tax cuts for the rich, despite the ballooning deficit.

If Republicans win their war against workers, we face dire consequences. As Shirer observed, “Between the Right and Left, Germany lacked a politically powerful middle class, which in other countries – in France, in England, in the United States – had proved to be the backbone of democracy.”

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Mike Konopacki is a labor cartoonist in Madison. Kathy Wilkes is a Madison writer and editor.

Source: Mike Konopacki & Kathy Wilkes

Source Link:

Wisconsin Appeals Court Orders Arbitrator Decision Affirmed in Milwaukee County Case

(Milwaukee District Council 48, AFSCME v. Milwaukee County and Scott Walker)

The District I Court of Appeals has ordered confirmed an arbitrator’s award rejecting County Executive Scott Walker’s reduction in county employee hours. Milwaukee County circuit courts vacated and refused to confirm the order and Council 48 appealed. The appellate court said the important issue was whether Walker’s directive to reduce employee work hours to 35 from 40 was temporary or permanent and the arbitrator determined a permanent reduction was not permitted. Further, the arbitrator found state law required a county board resolution to have the hours reduced. A resolution had been brought forth to the county board, but the county board did not act upon the resolution. As such, there was no such county board authorization in the form of a resolution.

Walker signed an order in May, 2009 declaring a “fiscal crisis due to a projected $14.9 million deficit in the 2009 (county) budget.” And it was “imperative that urgent emergency action be taken to reduce expenditures for 2009 within the remainder of the budget year.” The order was to remain in place until further order of the county executive. The order, according to the arbitrator, would have affected about 1800 bargaining unit employees and would have saved an estimated $4.5 million if the reduced-hours order was in effect “from June 28 to the beginning of 2010.”

As it has been demonstrated in the past action of Scott Walker, he attempted to create greater authority then he legally had vested in his position as county executive.

To date, based on many comments that Scott Walker has publicly stated since election day we expect him to become very creative in his role as Governor and we expect to face many legal challenges within our state's court system to push back on Walker's anticipated rule of totalitarianism.

Read the entire ruling >>>

Doyle also expressed concern over talk about decertifying unions or turning Wisconsin into a right-to-work state

The following summary is written by;

“I do think giving people an opportunity to have some say in their own economic well-being is really important for a state and country,” Doyle said. He held his efforts to ensure 98 percent of Wisconsinites has health insurance among his top accomplishments. But he wished he would have been able to set up exchanges for small businesses, something he said will now be able to happen under federal health care reform.Doyle also touted his record on taxes, saying that Wisconsin went from the fourth to the 15th-highest taxed states since he took office. When fees and taxes are considered, Wisconsin drops to 21st, he said.“The fact is, although Republicans will just never own up to this, is that for 16 years of their rule, we were fourth in the country—and this is the same measurement, we're comparing apples and apples—as I leave offer we're 15th. That's the fact.”While Doyle said he would do whatever he can to help President Obama get re-elected, he and his wife Jessica want to live in Wisconsin.“I have never lifted a finger or taken a single step in any way to try to have a job in Washington in the administration,” Doyle said.

Watch the program:

Tentative Timeline for Legislative Activity in Wisconsin in 2011

We’ve developed this timeline based on legislative tradition over the last two decades, although it may be somewhat different this year. Nevertheless, the timeline may be helpful to understand what’s next at the Capitol and with the upcoming state budget cycle. Please note that the date for the annual AFSCME “Lobby Day” has not yet been determined, but is likely to be sometime this winter/spring.

Jan. 3, 2011: Inauguration Day at the Capitol for both Gov.-elect Walker and the incoming Legislature.

Early January, 2011: Governor Walker is expected to call Legislature into Special Session on regulatory reform, eliminating the state tax on health savings accounts (HSAs), reforming the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, cutting taxes on small business (per Gov.-elect Walker press releases).

Third week of January, 2011: Governor will deliver his “State of the State” speech to a joint session of the Legislature.

Mid-February, 2011: Governor Walker will unveil his 2011-2013 two year state budget proposal.

Early March, 2011: the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau will publish a document summarizing Gov. Walker’s budget proposal.

Late March, 2011: The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will likely hold hearings on the budget. In the past, there have been five or six hearings – one in the state Capitol, and four or five in select cities around the state.

April – May and possibly into June: the 16-member Joint Committee on Finance will vote on the budget, usually agency by agency. The committee will vote on the budget via specific budget papers prepared by staff at the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, as well as budget amendments (drafted as motions) offered by committee members.

The Legislative Budget Review Process, in Brief:

After the Joint Finance Committee finishes its deliberations on the budget, the committee’s revised budget product will be sent first to the state Senate, which will take the opportunity to review the budget as modified by Joint Finance, and tweak it as the Senate sees fit. The Senate will send the budget as amended to the full state Assembly, which will review work done by the Joint Finance Committee and the Senate, and add its own Assembly flavor to the mix.

After review by both houses of the Legislature, any differences will have to be reconciled by a Conference Committee made up of legislators from both houses and both parties. The final agreed-upon budget product will be sent back to both houses for a final up or down vote, and then will be sent to the Governor, who will sign the budget into law. It is likely that the Governor will exercise his veto authority in some way, as has been the practice for decades.
The budget is “due” on June 30, 2011, which is the end of the 2011 fiscal year and the 2009-2011 budget cycle. A new fiscal year begins July 1, 2011. Gubernatorial veto decisions are issued in August or sooner.

Author: Susan McMurray
AFSCME Lobbyist

NJ’s Christie Used ‘60 Minutes’ Platform to Attack Public Workers | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

NJ’s Christie Used ‘60 Minutes’ Platform to Attack Public Workers AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

After reading the BLOG posting you can visit the SEPAC website and view the video in its entirety. The run time for the segment on 60 Minutes is 13:50.

View the video:

Authority: Marty Beil
Executive Director
AFSCME Council 24

Monday, December 20, 2010

Poverty rates up in most Wisconsin counties - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI -

Without having actually confirmed what I will write, but based on communications from a few of our union members, some of these families in poverty are public sector workers and Walker's answer to improving our state's economy is to do everything in his power to ADD more worker's to the poverty level.

Unions always have and always will advocate for the improvement of economic status for everyone, unionized workers or non-unionized workers.

I wish Walker would read what others are writing and not be so focused on his own writings or the writings of radical right-wing think tanks.

Poverty rates up in most Wisconsin counties - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI -

Posted by Steven Williams
PEL Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24

Wisconsin’s Governor-Elect Launches Sharp Attack on Public Workers - Working In These Times

The below article link presents nothing new that most of us reading this blog do not already know. However, please spread the word to your co-workers to visit this BLOG at least once a day to read the news or tidbits of information about what Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Majority will attempt in their quest to "beat down" working families in Wisconsin.

A "Union" is not some ugly assembled and destructive machine, a "Union" is the collective voice of many. So stay united in what appears to be struggles in the immediate future of working families, but "United" will prevent Scott Walker from dividing us and then winning on his anti-worker agenda. You have all heard or read the saying, "United We Stand - Divided We Fall", this statement has absolute meaning and will require absolute unity from ALL Wisconsin workers.

Wisconsin’s Governor-Elect Launches Sharp Attack on Public Workers - Working In These Times