Saturday, March 5, 2011
Filmmaker Michael Moore and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin were among those who pumped up a pro-union crowd of more than 12,000 at the Capitol on Saturday to protest Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.
The crowd was substantially smaller than those on the past two Saturdays. Capitol police estimated 12,000 people gathered for the outdoor rally and that 7,385 people entered the Capitol building itself throughout the day.
Moore praised the 14 Democratic senators who left the state to block a vote on the bill, saying they'll go down in the history of labor in America.
Countering Walker's message about the state's fiscal problems, Moore declared that America was awash in wealth, but that the rich “don't want to pay their fair share” of taxes.
“America is not broke,” Moore said. “Wisconsin is not broke.”
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin praised the protesters for continuing to keep up the pressure. She said the Wisconsin efforts have already led other states to drop attempts at measures similar to Walker's bill.
A pro-Walker Americans for Prosperity rally was planned for Sunday in Madison.
And later tonight, come back to the WisPolitics.com Budget Blog for results of a new WPRI poll.
WisPolitics.com Budget Blog: http://budget.wispolitics.com/
Here are the numbers of protesters at each of the stops today:
Green Bay = 200+
Rhinelander = 200
Stevens Point = 1,000+
La Crosse = 800
Supporters of Scott Walker were reported in the 20-100 range.
We also received a report that there was 400 demonstrators at the Columbus, WI "Lincoln Day" dinner that did feature Gov. Walker and Senate Majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald.
1. ELIMINATING MEDICAID: The Budget Repair Bill includes a little-known provision that would put complete control of the state’s Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, in the hands of the state’s ultra-conservative Health and Human Services Secretary Dennis Smith. Smith would have the authority to “to override state Medicaid laws as [he] sees fit and institute sweeping changes” including reducing benefits and limiting eligibility. Ironically, during the 1990s it was Republicans, especially former Gov. and Bush HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who helped develop BadgerCare into one of the country’s most innovative and generous Medicaid programs. A decade later, a new generation of radical Republicans is hoping to destroy one of Wisconsin ’s “success stories.”
2. POWER PLANT PRIVATIZATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEGLECT: The same budget bill calls for a rapid no-bid “firesale” of all state-owned power plants. One progressive blogger called the proposal “a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism” and suggested that the provision will open the way for large, politically connected corporations to buy up the state’s power plants on the cheap. While it’s unclear whether corporations would be interested in buying the plants, a similar proposal was vetoed six years ago by Gov. Jim Doyle (D), who called the plan fiscally and environmentally irresponsible.
3. DANGEROUS DRINKING WATER: Republican lawmakers have introduced bills in both the Senate and the House which would repeal a rule requiring municipal governments to disinfect their water. Conservatives have said that the clean water rule — which went into effect in December — is simply too expensive. Yet the rule only affects 12 percent of municipalities and the price may be worth it. In 1993, 104 people died and 400,000 fell sick when the Milwaukee water supply became infected. Even two decades later, the Environmental Protection Agency Advisory Board notes that 13 percent of acute gastro-intestinal illnesses in municipalities that don’t disinfect their water supplies are the result of dirty water. Municipalities can keep their water clean for as low as $10,000 per well — but apparently for the Wisconsin GOP that is too high a price to pay to keep citizens safe from deadly microorganisms.
4. DESTROYING WETLANDS: In January, Walker ’s proposed regulatory reform bill exempted a parcel of wetland owned by a Republican donorfrom water quality standards. But the exemption was more than just an embarrassing giveaway to a GOP ally: environmental groups believe the bill’s special provision would actually affect the entire county, eliminating public hearings on proposed wetland development, short-circuiting approval of development projects, and disrupting the region’s water system.
5. FISCAL IRRESPONSIBILITY: Walker signed a bill this week requiring a 2/3 supermajority in the legislature to pass any tax increase. Republican lawmakers are now reportedly considering a constitutional amendment that would make the rule permanent. A similar constitutional amendment in California has been called the “source of misery” of that state’s crippling budget crisis and has forced lawmakers to “gut public education, slash social services and health care programs, close prisons, and lay off record numbers of public employees.” While claiming to “make a commitment to the future instead of [choosing] dire consequences for our children” Walker and GOP lawmakers are instead putting generations of Wisconsinites in a “fiscal strait-jacket.”
6. DISENFRANCHISING VOTERS: This week, Republican lawmakers moved forward on a bill that would require voters to present a photo ID from the DMV at the polls, making it significantly more difficult for theelderly, the disabled, college students, and rural residents to participate in elections. While Republican lawmakers insist the bill is necessary to prevent voter fraud, there have been almost no documented cases offraudulent voting in the state. Instead, the Wisconsin State Journal writes, the GOP bill is going “overboard in limiting ballot access in a state proud of its long history of high participation in elections.”
7. CUTTING JOBS, LOSING THE FUTURE: Last fall, Walker killed an $810 billion federally funded high-speed rail project, forcing the Transportation Department to pull its funding. Walker ’s decision killed 130,000 expected jobs and forced the Spanish company Talgo to close its Milwaukee factory and layoff its 40 person staff. A spokeswoman for the company told The Daily Reporter that “the state’s decision to back away from the high-speed rail project sends a terrible message to businesses considering locating in the state.”
8. STIFLING INNOVATION: In late January, Walker introduced a bill that would ban wind-powered energy from Wisconsin and exacerbate the state’s dependence on out-of-state coal. If passed, it’s estimated that the law would immediately eliminate $1.8 billion in new wind power investments and jeopardize eleven currently proposed wind projects. After a public outcry earlier this month, Walker ’s bill is (for now) dead.
9. “NAKED POWER GRAB”: Earlier this month in a party-line vote, the legislature ceded “extraordinary control” of the state’s rule-making oversight process to the governor. Walker now has complete power to draft agency rules which the legislature must then either approve or reject. The law gives Walker the power to write rules for formerly independent state agencies like the state Departments of Justice and Education — and most ominously the Government Accountability Board, the state’s ethics watchdog.
10. POLITICIZING STATE AGENCIES: A provision in Walker ’s budget repair bill would convert thirty-seven state employees from civil servants to political appointees — consolidating his power over state government and expanding his power to “hire, fire and move key employees to carry out his agenda.”
(From periodical, "The Nation": Upwards of 125,000 March in Madison, as Activists Rally Nationwide to Back Wisconsin Workers, by John Nichols)
One of the strongest statements has come from Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, who explained “what all working families should know:”
1. Who caused the economic crisis? Banks, Wall Street speculators, mortgage lenders, global corporations shifting jobs from the U.S. overseas.
2. Who is profiting in the recession? Corporate profits, 3rd quarter of 2010, were $1.6 trillion, 28 percent higher than the year before, the biggest one-year jump in history. Meanwhile, average wages and total wages have fallen for all incomes, except the wealthiest Americans whose income grew five-fold.
3. Who is not paying their fair share? In U.S. states facing a budget shortfall, revenues from corporate taxes have declined $2.5 billion in the last year. In Wisconsin, two-thirds of corporations pay no taxes, and the share of state revenue from corporate taxes has fallen by half since 1981. Nationally, according to a General Accountability Study out today, 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.
4. Are public employees overpaid? State workers typically earn 11 percent less, local public workers 12 percent less than private employees with comparable education and experience. Nationally, cutting the federal payroll in half would reduce spending by less than 3 percent.
5. Would pay and benefit concessions by public employees stop the demands? The right has made it clear it wants A- cuts in public pay, pensions, and health benefits, followed by B- restricting collective bargaining for public sector workers, followed by C- prohibiting public sector unions.
6. Will the right be troubled if cuts in working standards make it harder to recruit teachers and other public servants? No. Take public teachers, many of whom have accepted wage freezes and other cuts in recent years. Many in the right have a fairly open goal of privatizing education, and destabilizing public schools serves this purpose. The right also salutes the shredding of government workforce, part of its overall goal to gut all government service and make it harder to crack down on corporate abuses or implement other public protections and services.
7. Will the right stop at curbing public workers rights? Employers across the U.S. are demanding major concessions from private sector workers, and breaking unions. Rightwing governors and state legislators are seeking new laws to restrict union rights for all private and public employees.
8. Does everyone have a stake in this fight? Yes. It’s an old axiom that the rise in living standards for the middle class in the 1950s was the direct result of a record rate of unionization in America. It is of course unions that won the eight-hour day, weekends off, and many other standards all Americans take for granted that are now often threatened with the three-decade-long attack on unions spurred by that rightwing icon Ronald Reagan. The corollary is that increased wages and guaranteed pensions put money into the economy, with a ripple effect that creates jobs and spurs the economy for all.
Gov. Walker Tells Local Officials, Offset My Cuts to Your State Aid by Taking Much More from Your Workers
Now, you are telling local units of government, that they should "take more" in health insurance premium costs and other benefits to makeup for your huge "budget cuts" to their local units of government? This is absurd.
You have also forgotten that these same local units of government collect a large amount of your revenue in the form of taxes and send it to you and expect to have the state send back a "fairshare" to local units of government in the form of "shared revenue". You are having them "rob Peter" so you can "pay Paul (Large Corporations in the form of tax breaks and tax cuts for the wealthiest 1-2% of income earners in our state)".
Many media outlets and fact-checking organizations have already proven you to be a "LIAR", now I see you as a "THIEF" as well. Not only do you lie and steal, but you shirk responsibility for our state's economy by shifting all the heavy lifting to the local units of government. They are the ones that you are forcing to make huge cuts in services and education while you seem to step away. Shame on you Scott Walker!
Here is a good news article related to what you are doing;
Walker: Unions can give even more to help budget
By Kathleen Foody • For the Marshfield News-Herald • March 3, 2011
WAUSAU -- Gov. Scott Walker had a suggestion for local officials who argue the governor's proposed changes to collective bargaining won't offset state budget cuts: Require even larger employee contributions toward health insurance than he initially proposed.
Walker stopped at Wausau Flying Service on Wednesday while on a statewide tour to promote his budget proposal and again pressure the state's 14 Senate Democrats to return to Madison.
In his budget address Tuesday, Walker said requiring increased contributions toward health care and pensions from public-employee unions would balance his cuts to school districts and local governments.
But several local officials said they feared any savings they realized from Walker's proposal would be insufficient in offsetting the deep cuts he has proposed to local governments -- $96 million to counties and municipalities and $900 million to schools.
Walker said Wednesday local leaders were free to seek more concessions from unions than what he had proposed.
"If a city, a town, a village, a school district had a great need in terms of some other variances (in state aid) ... they have the flexibility to ask for slightly more than that, if it's appropriate," Walker said.
The budget also includes removal of state mandates on recycling and other environmental testing, which Walker said would create more flexibility for local officials.
"We take not all, but the vast majority of (mandates) off the table," Walker said. "Now they can choose to continue to do those, and if they do so they're going to have to continue to figure out how to fund those."
But the potential savings Walker touted this week hinge on passage of his budget repair bill, which removes most collective bargaining rights for public employees and the Senate Democrats' return to Madison.
Attention remained on the Democrats Wednesday as reports that several senators were negotiating a return to Madison with Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald circulated.
Walker said he "empowered" Fitzgerald to communicate with the Democrats, even as he reiterated that he won't negotiate on eliminating collective bargaining.
"We're willing to figure out other things that might provide some comfort for those state senators to come back," Walker said. "We're just not going to sell out local governments along the way."
Walker also said the Democrats should consider how their communities will be represented as lawmakers begin discussing the governor's budget proposal and forming their own.
Six protesters gathered next to Wausau Flying Service, chanting "What's disgusting? Union busting!" as Walker boarded a plane after speaking with reporters.
Angela Wenninger, a 29-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student with the group, said she's frustrated with Walker's approach in the past few weeks.
"Yes, the budget is a real problem, but to just target the middle class is unfair," she said.
Posted by Steven Williams
Political Education Legislative Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
Fire fighters and law enforcement have been for weeks walking amongst the protester's in uniform maintaining safety and then on their own time denouncing Governor Walker's attacks on Wisconsin families.
Organized labor is one very big family in Wisconsin and it shows.
Here is a personal email sent from one Madison Police Officer to Executive Director Maty Beil thanking him for his articulate and passionate fight for the Wisconsin Workers.
From: Jake [mailto:...@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2011 4:14 PM
To: Kristi Whiteside
Subject: please forward to Mr. Beil
What you do is the most honorable job I can think of. I am terrified of what our country, and world, will become if Walker's dictatorial edict is written as law.
I've been listening to you on Sly's show for a long time; never before have I had reason to appreciate what you do so much as I do now.
I will, from this day forward, be a resolute, active, and outspoken union supporter.
Don't give in!!!!!
Madison Police Department
From Director Beil: Thank you Officer Jake for the kind message and your commitment to stand up for your fellow workers, now and in the future. In Solidarity Brother, Marty Beil.
WisPolitics.com: Gov. Walker: Issues union notification letters
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
The entire video is four and one-half minutes long. It is worth watching.
Comedian Jimmy Fallon
Friday, March 4, 2011
----- Original Message -----
From: Brian G. Sengstock, CPA
To: John Dye
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 9:35 AM
Subject: Layoff Notice
Please consider this my layoff notice to the Green Bay Press Gazette, similar to those being needlessly received today by thousands of state workers.
Our state is being torn apart by an egomaniac Governor who has no concerns for the citizens of this state. And as this happens, your newspaper sits by, sometimes in cowardly silence and sometimes in biased support of Walker. Shame on you. Today there is video online of a state legislator being tackled by police while trying to get to his office in the Capitol. It should never have come to this. Walker should have compromised to begin with and he can end this madness today by doing so now. Might I suggest that you find the courage to stand up for our state and do the right thing. The right thing is obvious in the minds of most Wisconsinites - Walker must compromise. Feel free to use that for your next "Our View" heading if you wish.
The Press Gazette has ten days to see the error of it's ways and stand up and do what's right for Wisconsin as opposed to what's right for the majority of your advertising business owners. If you fail to do so I will personally cancel my subscription. I will further take steps to encourage others similar to me to do the same. We know all too clearly right now that elections have consequences. What you may soon come to know is that irresponsible and biased journalism has consequences also.
U.S. Representative George Miller (D-California) Blasts Republicans for the Assault on the Middle Class of America
The Republican Party will most likely succeed in one fact, win or lose, they will have divided the American Citizens into, "Us" or "Them". Here in Wisconsin, we predict you will not see "bipartisanship" in our legislature for years to come. Thanks to the actions and words of Governor Scott Walker and the Legislative Majority, trust of the Republicans has been lost.
Just listen to how U.S. Representative George Miller sounds the warning bells;
Since when does the Governor of Wisconsin have the authority to deny entry to the "People's House" of an elected representative of the "People"? People of Wisconsin need to condemn this action by Governor Scott Walker!
Footage of this action was captured by WISN TV-Madison.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
There are new developments in Ohio and Wisconsin that we want to share with you. As you know, what happens in the coming weeks and months in Columbus and Madison will be critical to the future of our union, our jobs, and the services that we provide everywhere.
In Ohio yesterday, after more than 20,000 Ohioans rallied on Tuesday to save the middle class, the State Senate passed SB 5 — a bill that will strip workers of their rights. It was politics at its worst: Republican leaders rammed this bill through by kicking opposing members of their own party off of key committees.
And in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker's devastating new budget proposal has revealed just how out of touch he is with Wisconsin values. He and Republican state senators still refuse to listen to the outpouring of support for workers' right to bargain.
Just yesterday, citizens from around Wisconsin filed recall papers against key Republican senators who have stood with Walker in refusing workers' concessions and are trying to push through his partisan power grab: this is not what the candidates ran on, and not what Wisconsinites voted for. If you support the grassroots recall drive, you can show your support here.
It's clear that we've got a long fight ahead of us to protect Wisconsin's working families. But we're ready for it: even when collective bargaining was taken away in Missouri and Kentucky, we fought and got our rights back.
Anti-worker legislation has also moved forward in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Florida, Georgia and other states; in each case, your fellow members are mobilizing a stiff resistance campaign. If you haven't already, please add your name to our solidarity petition.
Public opinion is firmly on the side of the workers. According to four national polls, a majority of Americans oppose Governor Walker's efforts to strip workers of their collective bargaining rights.
In the past two weeks we have been on the ground in Wisconsin, Ohio, New York and elsewhere. The energy of the crowds and the determination of the people are profoundly moving and give us great hope. Please join us in the effort at: www.standforpublicservice.org.
GERALD W. McENTEE
LEE A. SAUNDERS
As you all know, the standoff at the Capitol continues as of the time of this writing. Just when you thought you’d seen it all in the Budget Repair bill, the governor has now introduced his 2-year budget bill where things went from bad to worse. A more detailed evaluation is outlined in the enclosed Legislative Report.
Rumors are abundant, as they have been for the past two weeks. What we do know at this moment is that the 14 heroes from the state senate remain out of state, blocking action on these draconian initiatives. Meanwhile, protests continue at the capitol, at least to best of our ability. Each day seems to bring about a new and pettier rule to restrict access in the Capitol and access to food for the remaining protesters inside the dome. You may have seen footage of Director Beil testifying in court about this illegal action to lock us out of our own building. The fight continues.
This week brought a change in the focus areas of the protests, when the citizens moved away from the Capitol city and brought the message to their home communities. We have reports of thousands of people showing up for protests, pickets, town hall meetings, etc. from all corners of this state and in between. Thank you to those who are working hard on these local demonstrations. It’s very important that these legislators get the message from their very own constituents. They can hear us now, or hear us later in the voting booth. Check the SEPAC website or contact your field rep to find out what's happening in your area and when, and for the most up to date information on the overall situation.
In addition, this week the process to recall state senators began in eight districts. The SEPAC website has information on these recalls, or you may have received e-action alerts about this. If you live in one of these districts, we need you. It’s critically important that we focus effort and energy to make these recalls successful. It’s a very effective tool, but only if the execution and follow through are in place. Please lend a hand - it’s an investment, which if successful, can help us level the playing field.
As to your contracts, confusion still remains. We have been officially notified that the extension of the master contracts will be cancelled as of 3/13/11. However, word is circulating by the agencies that local agreements may be kept in place. What??? We have been trying to get this resolved and clarified, but as you know, communication from the governor’s office seems to only take place through the media and so far, there has been no specific answer. We’ll keep working on it and will use our various lines of communication to you just as soon as we know anything.
All committee meetings, steward trainings and other types of business you may have had at the Council are postponed for the foreseeable future, including the Stewards in Action for 3/10 and 3/11 in Milwaukee. Until we can get some resolve, all of our energy must be focused on the task at hand.
All of your staff at Council 24 remains engaged in this fight back campaign to the fullest extent possible. We remain so proud and so energized by the commitment and support of not only our staff, but also by our members. You have been out there on the frontlines – calling, writing, e-mailing, picketing, protesting, and rallying. That’s what this fight is all about – individuals standing up for their rights. And our members, along with union brothers and sisters far and wide, are writing the book on how it’s done.
We are receiving support literally from all over the world. We have had contact of all kinds from Europe, the Middle East and Canada, as well as from nearly all fifty states. Our own AFSCME brothers and sisters have stepped up in a big way not only from the International, but across the nation with rallies of support, letters, calls and contributions. We are making history and in the meantime we are solidly bonding the house of labor together. We need to keep this going and extend it out to the recall efforts, mid term elections, and beyond. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Read the AFSCME Wisconsin legislative Report >>>
DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch is throwing out some very hefty costs regarding the weeks of protests, implying that the protesters are responsible. I urge all readers to consider this fact; Governor Scott Walker introduced the Budget Repair Bill and now followed by the Budget Bill that strips Wisconsin-Workers of their collective bargaining rights, guts education, removes thousands of vulnerable and needy citizens from BadgerCare and Medicaid and now he tells the people of Wisconsin, you may not enter the "People's House" unless you are "my friend". This is obsurd that Governor Walker, DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch and the Wisconsin Republican Majority think that people should just quietly call their legislator's and/or write to them via email about their frustration with the Governor, the Wisconsin Republican Majority and the push to allow the citizens of our great state to have no voice.
The claim is being made that it will cost $7.5 million to clean the marble in the Capitol because of the adhesive tape used to hang signs. Protesters have been using "painters" tape to hang the signs that is designed to leave little to NO adhesive residue. One has to wonder if we are seeing the first affect of a "No-bid contract"...
firstname.lastname@example.org wants to share this video with you:
The "Bully" tactics of the Wisconsin Republican Majority continues. WE all need to pay attention to what the Wisconsin Republican Majority are doing to "other elected" representatives.
Capitol Chaos: Warrants Could Be Issued
Mick Trevey reports.
PolitiFact, through the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel researched Governor Walker's claim and its findings are that the claim is; FALSE.
Read the entire findings >>>
This story will tear at your heart as you learn who this member is and who his family is and yet he has now accepted that the Republicans of Wisconsin believe he and his family are cockroaches, slobs, union thugs, leeches and the list will go on. The Wisconsin Republicans continue to send Assistant Majority Leader, Glenn Grothman in front of the national media and allow him to call public employees and supporters of public employees as everything previously described in this posting.
It so sad that Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Majority have no regard for the lives of everday hard-working Wisconsinites and that their answers to a better Wisconsin are to deny Wisconsin-Workers rights in the workplace, and to divide the citizens of Wisconsin into the "Rich" and the "Poor", no longer providing for a means of the "Middle Class". And, as today continues on, the citizens of Wisconsin are being denied access to the "People's House".
Cockroach, slob, union thug, leech.
Let's ramp up and protect our "Hero" Bob Wirch.
See time, dates and locations below.
From: [info redacted to protect from spam]
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2011 10:25 AM
To: Jim Parrett; Small, Kory A - DHS
Subject: Fw: recall wirch rallies...
From: Lisa B
To: Megan O'Sullivan
To: Brent Grochowski
To: Pamela Bertelson
To: [info redacted to protect from spam]
Subject: recall wirch rallies...
Sent: Mar 3, 2011 9:10 AM
I might just lose it!! I'm glad they have the money to rent out Veterans Terrace for this!!
There are 2 recall rallies planned by the GOP 1) Veteran's Terrace,
589 Milwaukee Ave in Burlington on Saturday Mar 5th at 9:30 am and another at the Brat Stop in Kenosha at I-94 and Hwy 50 at 2 pm. It might be a good time to show support for Bob.
Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry(r) smartphone
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Tuesday, March 2, 2011 — Citing an interview the House Speaker John Boehner gave with the Christian Broadcasting Network, AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee called on the Speaker to stop using violent metaphors and demonizing public employees.
“John Boehner goes on Christian TV and claims that collective bargaining is ‘a machine gun’ that public employees have put ‘right at the heads’ of public officials,” said McEntee. “Collective bargaining isn’t a weapon, it’s a process that gives workers a voice in finding solutions to problems that exist. We need to pull together as a country, but this kind of language will only tear us farther apart,” McEntee said.
“When either side uses violent imagery and metaphors, we ignore the fact that we’re all in this together,” McEntee said. “Coming only months after a member of the U.S. House was shot in Arizona, I hope the Speaker’s reckless comment was a slip of the tongue and not a talking point. How much better off would we all be if he stayed focused on the urgent task of jobs creation?”
McEntee also urged Boehner to stop distorting the salaries and retiree benefits of public service workers in his public statements.
“The Speaker says that public employee pay and benefits are out of line with other workers. That’s not right and he shouldn’t be spreading falsehoods. The average AFSCME retiree’s pension is $19,000,” McEntee said. “Spreading false information about pay and benefits is just another way of demonizing the men and women who staff 911 centers, teach our children, care for the infirm and plow our streets.”
The Economic Policy Institute found in a recent study that Wisconsin public service workers with a bachelor’s degree or more – which is required for up to 60 percent of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin – are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor’s degree) to more than $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine). “Speaker Boehner should stop vilifying public employees,” McEntee said.
Boehner’s interview can be seen at this link: http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2011/03/01/speaker-boehner-to-brody-file-preparing-for-one-giant-fight.aspx
AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations – from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers – AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.
Americans for Prosperity Launches Bus Tour Across Wisconsin: “Stand Against Spending. Stand With Walker” -- NOT!
Wherever Governor Walker goes, we need to be there, to greet him and make sure our voices aren't silenced by the billionaire Koch brothers. Medicaid, Senior Care, Long Term Care and more are all slated for huge cuts right along with collective bargaining.
Starting today you can greet Governor Walker and/or his Representatives at any of these locations:
SCOTT WALKER'S (Bought & Paid for by the Koch Brothers) BUS TOUR SCHEDULE:
Thursday, March 3, 2011
9:00 - Event #1 - Kenosha, WI - Brat Shop 12304 75th Street Hwy 50 & I 94 Kenosha, WI 53142
12:00pm - Event #2 - Milwaukee, WI - American Serb Hall 5101 W. Oklahoma Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53219
4:30pm - Event #3 - Sheboygan, WI - Nino’s Steak House 2724 Kohler Memorial Drive Sheboygan, WI 53081
Friday, March 4, 2011
7:30am - Event #1 - Green Bay, WI - Perkins Restaurant & Bakery 2800 S. Oneida St. Green Bay, WI 54303
12:30pm - Event #2 - Wausau, WI - The Plaza Hotel & Suites, 201 N. 17th Ave. Wausau, WI 54401
4:00pm - Event #3 - Rhinelander WI - Wolff’s Log Cabin Restaurant 721 W. Kemp Street Rhinelander, WI 54501
Saturday, March 5, 2011
10:30am - Event #1 - Eau Claire, WI - Holiday Inn 2703 Craig Rd Eau Claire, WI 54701
1:30pm - Event #2 - Hudson, WI - Best Western Hudson House 1616 Crest View Drive Hudson, WI
6:30pm - Event #3 - La Crosse, WI - Radisson Hotel 200 Front St La Crosse, WI 54601
Sunday, March 6, 2011
12:00pm - Madison, WI - Location TBA
Authority: Marty Beil, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
Steven Williams, PEL Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
(608) 836-0024 Central Office (608) 487-2424 Cellular
Let him know what you think. Feel free to use the SEPAC Action Center to do just that.
Guest Article by Dave Obey – Hanging Together or Separately?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Gov.’s Two-Year Budget Plan Will Hurt Workers, Schools, our Communities and the Future of our State
It is our tradition to do an in-depth summary of the budget every two years when the state’s biennial budget is introduced. This year is no different. What is different is the magnitude of the potential damage in this budget proposal. Your lobbying team is in the process of reviewing the bill, and we have provided, in the following, a brief report on the budget. We will send more comprehensive report within a few days. So here are some tips, for starters, and we thank you for your patience.
The two year budget bill was introduced March 1 as two separate, identical, companion bills. They are 2011 Assembly Bill 40 and 2011 Senate Bill 27. The 1,345 page budget bill(s) have been referred to the Joint Committee on Finance. To see Senate version of the bill, go to the Legislature’s website at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/SB27.pdf.
Ironically, reading the budget bill is not always the best way to get an idea of what is being proposed. The reason is that the budget (just like any piece of legislation) amends current law, that is, current statutes. A policy change may involve amending several areas of the statutes, and to see the whole policy, one might have to look in several places in the budget to get the full picture. It’s sort of like trying to make a puzzle without having all of the pieces on hand. It can be confusing to piece this together, even for the most experienced policy analyst or lawyer (or legislator!).
The budget bill is drafted by a small army of lawyers employed by the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) whose job is to take the policy instructions of the Governor’s office, and write the policy as statute, in the form of a bill. The drafting attorneys also wrote the “LRB Analysis” of budget bill, which starts on page 1 of the document. That is another way to get a sense of what is contained in the budget.
To help legislators, the public and the press understand what is in the budget, the state Department of Administration (DOA) issues a “Budget in Brief” and an “Executive Summary” of the budget proposals. Those documents can be found on the DOA website at http://www.doa.state.wi.us/ or on www.thewheelerreport.com. Unfortunately, there is a lot of extraneous information in these documents, which can make it challenging to understand what is in the budget.
The very best sources of information about the budget - at this early stage - are press releases and news stories. The Wheeler Report and the WisPolitics budget blog post tons of information and analyses of the budget. State agencies, such as the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), have helpful information on its site (http://etf.wi.gov/). Organizations such as the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (www.wccf.org) and others are likely to issue preliminary responses to the budget. Soon, the WCCF and other highly regarded advocacy groups will likely issue in-depth analyses of parts of the budget.
The very best source of information on what is in the budget will come in two to three weeks from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB). A team of highly experienced budget analysts will pour over the details of the budget bill and will issue a budget summary. The Joint Finance Committee will commence its budget deliberations after the Legislative Fiscal Bureau summary is published. The LFB website can be found at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/.
INITIAL REPORT ON THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL:
• Ethan Allen School for Boys would close on July 1 if this provision passes as proposed, and all male offenders will be housed at Lincoln Hills in Alma (near Merrill). Southern Oaks Girls School will eventually be closed and any teen girl offenders will be sent to what will be a new female unit at Lincoln Hills.
• School aid cuts with local revenue caps will cost schools over $750 per student. In a class of 30 kids, that classroom would lose $22,000 of funding.
• Tax cuts for the rich, tax hikes for the poor. When combined with his budget repair bill the Governor has cut taxes by over $200 million for corporations and the wealthiest people in Wisconsin. Meanwhile he raises taxes on the poorest in the state, reducing the Earned Income Tax Credit and Homestead Tax Credit by a combined $51 million.
• Transportation funding gets increased, and will total $5.7 billion. There is $410 million for highway funding over the base amount in the 2009-11 budget. This is the only portion of the budget that receives an increase. Meanwhile, general transportation aids are cut by 10%, or $81.6 million. General transportation aids provide local governments with a partial reimbursement of funds to offset the cost of county and municipal road construction, maintenance, traffic, and police costs.
• UW Madison will be privatized under this bill. Tuition will increase at least 20% as aid to UW System will be cut $250 million, with a $125 million cut at Madison.
• Technical Colleges will see a cut in state aid of $35 million, or 30%. In addition, Tech Colleges will be subject to a property tax levy limit of 0% (with an allowable increase for the value of new construction). This comes at a time when unemployment is up, and when workers as well businesses might benefit from retraining programs offered at the Tech Colleges.
For more information, see also the AFSCME Wisconsin website: www.wiafscme.org.
02 March 2011
URGENT HELP NEEDED for Thursday, 03/03/2011 in Milwaukee
Americans for Prosperity, supporters of Governor Walker's budget repair bill are doing a bus tour around the state. We think it would be appropriate that we show them a warm welcome wherever they are going. They will be in Milwaukee on Thursday;
What: Americans for Prosperity Bus Tour and Stop
When: Thursday, March 3rd
Where: Serb Hall, 5101 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI
Please share this e-Alert far and wide. Call your co-workers, family, friends and neighbors and ask them to stand in protest against the budget repair bill and its supporters.
For more information: Jenissee Volpintesta 262/364.6751 or email@example.com
Authority: Marty Beil, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
Steven Williams, PEL Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
(608) 836-0024 Central Office (608) 487-2424 Cellular
Since the closing, some protesters have stayed inside, but in doing so they have had basic liberties taken from them. Oh sure, they are free to leave at anytime, but in doing so they will join the rest of Wisconsinites in being prohibited from entry.
One individual with great resolve, is somehow being able to keep outsiders (that's you and me) informed as to what is happening inside. I would assume via a smart phone considering that it has been reported that WI FI has been shutdown in the capitol.
You can view his postings by following this link; http://wisconsininsider.typepad.com/news-from-inside-the-wisc/
Posted by Steven Williams
Political Legislative Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
PROPOSED BY GOVERNOR WALKER
March 2, 2011
Special Session Senate Bill 11 / Assembly Bill 11
Major attacks on collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin workers and their unions are included in the Budget Repair Bill offered by Governor Walker. Special Session AB 11 passed the State Assembly on a party-line vote and is awaiting action in the State Senate. [Note: The Governor has also introduced his proposed 2011-2013 Biennial State Budget as identical bills in each house: Assembly Bill 40 and Senate Bill 27.]
Attack on Collective Bargaining Rights
· Effectively, all collective bargaining rights are eliminated for approximately 200,000 public employees who work for the State of Wisconsin, cities, counties and school districts. Their unions will be permitted to bargain for wages only. However, a pay increase (if any) would be capped at the consumer price index. All other items are prohibited subjects of bargaining, such as: sick days, seniority rights, transfer and promotion rights, health care, pension benefits, vacations, health and safety, layoff and recall rights, medical leave and work rules. In the private sector, all of these items are subjects of bargaining between the union and the employer, but public sector workers are covered by state collective bargaining laws.
· Unions representing public employees are required to hold a decertification election every year to continue to show majority support for the union. There are close to 2,000 bargaining units in state and local government where the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission would be required to conduct elections each year, some units are small as 3 to 4 employees. The union will be decertified if it does not receive a supermajority of at least 51% of all employees in the bargaining unit, regardless of how many actually vote.
· Collective bargaining agreements are limited to one year in duration, and may not be extended.
· No public employee can be required to contribute any amount to the costs of union representation. It is illegal for any public employer to enter into a Fair Share agreement with a union, which would require a financial contribution to the union related to the costs of administering the union contract, even if the person chooses not to be a member. This is anti-union “Right-to-Work” for the public sector.
· Public sector employers are prohibited from providing payroll deduction of union dues.
The only public employees that are exempt from Governor Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights are unions representing state troopers, police and firefighters.
These collective bargaining rights were won by public employees in Wisconsin through the democratic process, beginning in 1959.
· Nurses and other health care workers employed by the UW Hospitals & Clinics Authority will lose their bargaining rights entirely, despite the fact that the UW Hospitals & Clinics Authority does not receive state funds. Because of their union protection, nurses have been able to fight for better patient care without fear of retaliation. They will lose this independent voice.
· There are some 15,000 faculty and academic staff employees in the University of Wisconsin System who will lose their bargaining rights entirely. These rights were just won during the 2009-2010 Legislative Session after decades of struggle.
· Bargaining rights for state-certified home health care providers (who take care of the elderly and disabled in their homes) and child care providers are eliminated entirely.
· The bill actually includes discipline procedures for state employees. If Governor Walker declares a state of emergency, any public employees who participate in a work stoppage or slowdown or any other collective activity that affects the performance of state government will be fired.
None of these Budget Repair Bill provisions that gut collective bargaining have anything to do with addressing the state deficit. They are meant to break the unions that public employees have chosen for their representation.
Public sector unions have agreed to pay nearly 6 percent of their wages for pension costs and also double their payments for health insurance to help the state address the deficit. Governor Walker insists that is not enough. He has absolutely refused to sit down at a bargaining table and negotiate with the unions, despite repeated requests. The Governor still insists on gutting collective bargaining rights, so the Budget Repair Bill is not about addressing the state deficit. It is union-busting.
The gains that public and private sector union members have won over decades of struggle built Wisconsin’s middle class. Without strong unions, there will be no wage and benefit standards that benefit all working families. There will be no balance in the relationship between employers and employees. There will be no check on unlimited corporate power. Today, the attack is on the collective bargaining rights of workers in public service. Tomorrow it will be the rest of the middle class.
And it doesn’t stop there. The Budget Repair Bill:
· Gives Governor Walker the power to sell the power plants that heat and cool many state institutions at whatever price he decides—with absolutely no competitive bidding. These plants are valuable public assets which were created and supported by taxpayers for decades.
· Gives Governor Walker and his chosen head of the Department of Health Services the power to make sweeping changes to Medicaid and BadgerCarePlus health programs without legislative approval and public input. BadgerCare is health coverage for working families and the Medicaid program provides substantial benefits for seniors and others.
· Threatens $47 million in federal aid for Wisconsin’s mass transit systems because federal law stipulates that collective bargaining rights must be preserved to qualify for the aid.
Legislative Research & Policy Director
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO
Americans for Prosperity Launches Bus Tour Across Wisconsin: “Stand Against Spending - Stand With Walker”
If we DO NOT counter these appearances, Americans for Prosperity will continue to spread the lies of Governor Scott Walker.
Americans for Prosperity today announced the launch of its “Stand Against Spending - Stand With Walker” bus tour across Wisconsin, March 3-6, to stand against out-of-control state spending by showing continued support for Governor Walker’s commonsense reform to tackle the state’s nearly $4 billion deficit.
“While union protestors continue to rally on the taxpayer’s dime and opposing groups attempt to stifle public debate, Americans for Prosperity will not be intimidated,” said Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips. “We will continue to take a firm stand against wasteful government spending and support responsible economic policies like Governor Walker’s.”
The tour will start in Kenosha on Thursday, March 3 and end in Madison on Sunday, March 6, traveling to 10 Wisconsin cities. A complete schedule of events is below.
Photo opportunity: Activists will take pictures in front of the “Stand Against Spending - Stand With Walker” bus and send photo postcards to their runaway legislators, urging them to put an end to Wisconsin’s out-of-control state spending and to stand with Walker on commonsense spending reforms.
Click here to sign up to attend the “Stand Against Spending. Stand With Walker” bus tour.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
9:00 a.m. Event #1 Kenosha, WI
12304 75th Street
Hwy 50 & I 94
Kenosha, WI 53142
12:00 p.m. noon Event #2 – Milwaukee, WI
American Serb Hall
5101 W. Oklahoma Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53219
4:30 p.m. Event #3 – Sheboygan, WI
Nino’s Steak House
2724 Kohler Memorial Drive
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Friday, March 4, 2011
7:30 a.m. - Event #1 – Green Bay, WI
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
2800 S. Oneida St.
Green Bay, WI 54303
*Radio host Jerry Bader to broadcast live from the event
12:30 p.m. Event #2 – Wausau, WI
The Plaza Hotel & Suites
201 N. 17th Ave.
Wausau, WI 54401
4:00 p.m. – Event #2 – Rhinelander WI
Wolff’s Log Cabin Restaurant
721 W. Kemp Street
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Saturday, March 5, 2011
10:30 a.m. Event #1 Eau Claire, WI
2703 Craig Rd
Eau Claire, WI 54701
1:30 p.m. – Event #2 – Hudson, WI
Best Western Hudson House
1616 Crest View Drive
6:30 p.m. – Event #3 – La Crosse, WI
200 Front St
La Crosse, WI 54601
Sunday, March 6, 2011
12:00 p.m. noon– Madison, WI
Click here to register for one of these free events.
AFP launched an online petition, StandWithWalker.com, and has acquired over 100,000 signatures. Additionally, Americans for Prosperity helped coordinate the Stand With Walker rally in Madison where nearly 10,000 activists gathered in support of Gov. Scott Walker. For photos and video of the Stand With Walker rally, visit www.americansforprosperity.org/wisconsin
AFP is also running TV and radio ads across the state urging citizens to “Stand with Walker.”
Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/030111-americans-prosperity-launches-bus-tour-across-wisconsin-%E2%80%9Cstand-against-spending-stand-walker-0#ixzz1FTmzOT3X
More details will be posted as it becomes available.
This is how the events playing out in the Wisconsin State Capitol on Monday looked according to one staffer in the building. The person submitted this to me, and I will honor the request to not release the person’s name…for obvious reasons.
I come into work this morning, using my employee ID to get in (been that way for a while.)
What I learn once arriving is that the elevators have ALL been shut down and no one is allowed to go up above the ground floor (I guess for people who… have stayed the night -who are ALL being compliant, in my opinion) unless you have an employer ID or are escorted by a legislative staff member to the upper floors.
Police of all types stationed at every stairwell.
And then I realize that the building is in lockout mode.
The King St. entrance looks like it is prepared to receive the “raucous” visitors: long tables set out with plastic tubs – just like at the airport, but smaller – serving the same purpose: to hold coins, keys, metals of any type – metal detection wands at the ready.
But nothing is happening.
No one is entering the building.
It went on like this for hours. I asked the random police to ask what was happening, but no one seemed to know, or say. I truly believe that they did not know what was happening. It is a state of confusion now.
All of a sudden, at about 1:45pm, (keeping in mind that normal business hours on a weekday are 8am – 6pm), one center-revolving door lets in the light, and they are very slowly and cautiously allowing people to enter. Apparently, the Dem. Assembly members have called a public hearing on this “repair” bill. The law dictates that this bldg. is open for public hearings.
The thing is, a citizen of this state couldn’t just come in and get to the hearing as on any other day. One had to acquire a “legislative pass” in order to enter this meeting. Having learned this piece of news, and never had heard of such a thing, I called a couple of other representative’s offices to ask what this is, where to get one. They had never heard of such a thing, either.
As things were changing from moment to moment and no one still had answers, a State Trooper told me that these passes were being given out at the entrance (inside). So I go to this entrance, and there is a Trooper giving out sticky tags, upon which were obviously computer generated, quick-to-the-get tags that read something like, “Legislative Hearing” with today’s date. But he had a total of four sheets with ten tags each.
40 legislative passes.
There must have been hundreds of people outside waiting to get in.
After people spoke their minds at the hearing, they were escorted out of the building by police.
Within the past couple of days, and I’m not sure when this was exactly instated, food was prohibited from being brought into the capitol- all those pizzas from Uganda to waste. (Except for last night, when my new hero, Charles Tubbs) the Chief of Cap Police allowed the protesters to stay the night.
In fact, everyday, there have been more and more restrictions as to what a person can bring in or where they can go – or pee.
As a last resort – and I am privy to the fact – that people on the outside have delivered food and meds to people on the inside through windows on the ground floor offices or restrooms.
Well now, the restroom windows, as of today, have all (including the first floor, which is one level up) have been secured shut with screws on either side of the windows, rendering them impossible to open, the screw heads lopped off. I witnessed the maintenance dudes who were told to do this.
It sickens me to see this happen at our capitol. I love this building and all that it stands for.
People from around this earth visit here, and have always been especially impressed, not only for its beauty, friendliness, and the especially important fact that it is (has been) so accessible to the public.
9/11/01 was a workday at the Capitol for me. The following weeks of that horrible event lead to a less scrutinizing of public access to this building than what is happening now.
When I saw the thousands of fourth graders on their annual springtime tours, I would stop when I could and make it a point to say that, “This is YOUR house”. That IS (or was) what this building was built for.
And now I feel I can’t honestly say that anymore.
To: Dan Meyer (SEPAC Bio)
From: Leonard Cody
Subject: Worker Rights
Jackie Cody wrote “it’s not about money, it’s about every worker’s rights to collectively bargain”. Worker rights in Wisconsin have been around much longer than you, Scott Walker and your corporate supporters the Koch brothers. The Budget crisis perpetrated by Scott Walker and his Republican supporters like you is a disgrace to Wisconsin.
Currently there are support rallies around the World to show support for Wisconsin public workers. There are statements of support for public workers from all over the World. One of the most interesting comes from (op-ed in the NYT) New York City Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg who defends unions’ right to collective bargaining: He states unions play a vital role in protecting against abuses in the work place and they are integral to training, deploying and managing a professional work force. He goes on to say we should no more try to take away the right of individuals to collectively bargain than we should try to take away the right to a secret ballot. Take a moment to reflect on Mayor Bloomberg and that he is a Republican with the right message. It is obvious he has respect for workers and families, which in my opinion is opposite of most Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature including you.
The Wisconsin Retirement System and the Wisconsin Health Insurance program is employee and union driven. One of the biggest cost saving mechanisms in the history of the Health Insurance program resulted through collective bargaining by the Wisconsin State Employees Union. My bet is you know nothing of that. The Wisconsin Retirement program as we know it today is a product of Roy Kubista an AFSCME activist and lobbyist, John Lawton a long time AFSCME supporter and lobbyist. With AFSCME leading the way and supported by other unions we have a premier retirement program. It makes me sick to think that Wisconsin politicians who are trying to break unions are eligible for these benefits.
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2011 15:12:36 -0600
To: private seac list
Subject: [Seac] No Concessions March THURSDAY 5PM
-- Please forward to labor activists --
NO CONCESSIONS! - FUNERAL MARCH - THURS., 5:00PM
Under the banner of "No Concessions" and "Kill the Whole Bill," there will be a New Orleans-style funeral march on Thursday. It will start from the UW Library Mall at 5:00 pm, and march up to the Capitol. Expect a fantastic band such as Mama Digdowns. We need mourners dressed flamboyantly in funeral gear including veils, hats, umbrellas, etc. Come dressed for a funeral, and ready to dance!
HOW CAN YOU HELP:
1. If you know an individual or organization that wishes to endorse this event, please contact organizer Jan Rodolfo, at JRodolfo@NationalNursesUnited.org.
2. Put the event announcement out on your lists.
3. Identify friends who will agree to be mourners, and get dressed up for the occasion.
4. Help plan the march. Conference call Tuesday night at 7:00 pm. OK to invite others to this call.
Endorsed by: Wisconsin AFL-CIO, National Nurses United, Kill the Whole Bill Coalition
AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka eludes to the same in his below news article:
AFL-CIO leader: Wisconsin fight energizing unions
WASHINGTON (AP) — In trying to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state workers, Wisconsin's governor may have unintentionally given the American labor movement the lift it needed after years of decline.
That was the sentiment this week at the annual meeting of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation.
"We've never seen the incredible solidarity that we're seeing right now," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters Tuesday at the federation's headquarters.
Trumka said the clash between pro-union protesters and Republican leaders in Wisconsin has brought a level of excitement to unions that he hasn't seen in years — one that could spark a resurgence in the American labor movement.
He also wants to use the moment to help define unions in a way that could bring renewed support. He pointed to a New York Times-CBS poll indicating that Americans oppose efforts to weaken the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions by nearly a 2-1 margin.
"People are giving us another look now," he said. "It'll be up to us to keep it going and continue defining ourselves in ways the American public will support."
Whether he intended to or not, Trumka said, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker started a national debate when he proposed stripping most public employees of their collective-bargaining rights.
"We're winning that debate," Trumka said.
It's the kind of attention unions have been craving for years as leaders have tried without success to rekindle the vigor that organized labor enjoyed at its peak in the 1950s and 1960s.
"We've been looking for a spark and the spark found us," said Thea Lee, deputy chief of staff and trade expert for the AFL-CIO. "This isn't a fight we looked for, but it is one we can turn to our advantage."
Union members last year represented just 11.9 percent of the American work force, way down from about 25 percent in the 1980s and 35 percent in the middle of the past century.
Energized by the outpouring of tens of thousands of pro-union demonstrators in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, Trumka and other union leaders said they hope to sustain the enthusiasm until next year's elections. Unions already have pledged at least $30 million to fight anti-union legislation in dozens of states. The AFL-CIO has provided support for mobilizing protesters and is looking for other ways to keep the demonstrations going.
"If we maintain the momentum into next year, I think (Walker's) going to have a significant problem," Trumka said.
Walker says his goal is to force government employees to pay more for their pension and health care benefits to help stem a massive budget shortfall. But the idea remains in limbo after Senate Democrats fled the state to prevent a vote.
Conservatives say collective bargaining in public-sector unions contributes to runaway government spending. Critics also claim that public employee unions use their dues to help re-elect lawmakers who, in turn, spend taxpayer money to boost wages and benefits of state workers regardless of fiscal constraints.
Union officials believe public sentiment is on their side.
"People are looking at this and saying, 'This is a struggle I want to be a part of,'" United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said. "This is our moment."
AFL-CIO officials claim Walker made a critical mistake in exempting police and firefighters from his plan to curb collective bargaining rights. Trumka noted that police and firefighters have joined Wisconsin protesters in droves to stand with their fellow union workers.
Union leaders spoke at the meetings about "not letting them split us up sector by sector," Trumka said.
Trumka said he was hopeful the support for public-sector union workers could also translate to union workers in the private sector. He sees it as a teachable moment to show Americans how difficult it has become for unions to organize workers at companies where managers often rely on aggressive union-busting tactics.
"It is the law of the land not just to protect, but to encourage the process of collective bargaining in this country," he said.
Credit to the Associated Press
Over the past few years I have spoken with the author of this article regarding health care reform measures and I find him to be very creditable. His article on public pensions is a good read and something for all WRS participants to know when debating Gov. Walker's claim about your pension plan.
What you need to know about state pension systems
Posted by Steven Williams
Political Education Legislative Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
UW-Milwaukee for National Day of Action to Defend Public Education and to Fight Walker's Budget Repair Bill
Students and workers in universities across the nation have declared a walk-out for the third National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. UWM will also be protesting tomorrow in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill. This will be a continuation of the walk-out which happened on February 17th, when over 3,000 people gathered in Spaight’s Plaza.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) and Students For a Democratic Society (SDS) have organized to protect public institutions from budget cuts, tuition hikes and privatization. The Budget Repair Bill (SB 11) would eliminate collective bargaining for nearly 175,000 public-sector union members to fill a $136.7 million budget deficit. In addition the bill requires that all public employees pay half the cost of their pensions, about 5.8% of their pay, and 12.6% of their health insurance premiums. In order to stay afloat, unions must spend all their time and energy trying to meet a 51% majority re-certification vote every year. In further detriment of public employees, UW Faculty and Staff are prohibited from organizing a union to bargain collectively.
This bill would affect students as well as professors, TAs, and other university employees. Members of Students for a Democratic Society have gathered in solidarity with tens of thousands of people from across the nation in opposition of the bill and with the hundreds of thousands of people who continue to occupy the capitol in Madison. "The budget repair bill is another attack on our public education," said SDS member and senior undergraduate student Rachel Matteson, "If the TAs, professors, and workers do not have quality jobs, we will not have quality education."
Students for a Democratic Society
From: "Carol Dann"
To: "Gary Hebl"
Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2011 10:31:39 AM
Subject: Thank you
Dear Representative Hebl (Gary) and Senator Miller (Mark),
You are My Heroes! Thank you again for standing tall with working families.
70,000 - 100,000(?) rally goers in Madison Sat and the thousands more across America believe in our fight for dignity in the workplace and the rights of all working men and women to bargain collectively: the only protection workers have against vindictive, tyrannical employers.
WI set the benchmark decades ago by passage of public employee collective bargaining laws, establishing a secure pension program which, over the years has helped raise the standard of living in Wi for all citizens, provided Wisconsin state government with a stable, knowledgeable and dedicated workforce - partners, not adversaries. Who have agreed to disagree at the bargaining table for the common good, who are also taxpayers. Who are willing to make sacrifices again - at the bargaining table. But who find themselves being made 'sacrificial lambs' and 'scapegoats' by a vindictive governor and his 'Republican' lemmings. Kudos to the four Republican State Representatives who voted against SB11: Dean Kaufert, Lee Nerison, Richard Spanbauer, and Travis Tranel.
A Grateful Citizen
I am so damn proud to tell people that my State Senator is Kathleen Vinehout. I absolutely hate what Republicans call democracy!
I am very worried for public employees, but now with the tremendous cut to education I am outraged as to the possibilities that my school district will face. This will lead to public schools closing and the rich and powerful creating "their" own Charter Schools to serve them and the hell with the rest of us.
Kathleen, I know being away from your family is very hard, I often cry daily now because of my anger toward this Governor and the uncertainty that my family faces, but you and the other 13 senate democrats are the only reason we have not yet died.
Walker and the Republican Majority have isolated themselves from the 100,000+ Wisconsinites who showed up in Madison last weekend and who are telling them to STOP. They cannot act without the senate democrats, you are serving the people.
I love you for what you are doing to protect the people of the 31st senate district. Thank you from my very hurting heart. I have had two open heart surgery's in the past year and I never felt the pain in my heart then as I do now. God bless each of you and I pray for your health and your resolve. Steve
Do you have a personal message that you want shared with your legislator and the world? Send it to me in an email and we will post it on the SEPAC Blog.
Posted by Steven Williams
Political Education Legislative Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2011 15:11:35 -0600
To: AFSCME Leadership
Subject: Resolution of Support for Battleground States
The showdown over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s effort to destroy our union continues. The strength and unity of the tens of thousands of public and private sector union members and allies there have shown the nation how to stand up for what’s right. And now the fight is escalating in Ohio, Florida and across the country. In each of these states they are fighting for us all, and they need our help.
Attached is a resolution of support for the workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, and the many other states around the country where governors are following the same script and attacking our basic freedoms. We urge you to distribute this widely, to put it on the agenda of upcoming meetings, and to stand in solidarity with your sisters and brothers.
WHEREAS: Governor Scott Walker has proposed to virtually eliminate collective bargaining for most public sector workers in Wisconsin. In addition to demanding economic concessions from state employees, he proposed to get rid of dues deduction and to require that unions be recertified annually at their own expense, to limit public employee bargaining to wages only, to prohibit wage increases above inflation unless approved by voters and to limit contracts to one year, among other measures; and
WHEREAS: He claims he is taking this action to address a budget crisis, but state employees have agreed to the economic concessions he proposed. He flatly refused their offer, making it completely clear that this is not about the budget; it is about taking away the rights of working men and women to organize and collectively bargain; and
WHEREAS: By threatening these basic freedoms, Governor Walker has united Badgers like never before. He would have succeeded in his effort were it not for the strength and unity of working people standing up for their rights; and
WHEREAS: In Ohio, a similar bill would end collective bargaining for state and state higher education workers and severely limit bargaining for local government employees, authorize the hiring of permanent replacements in the event of a strike, prohibit fair share arrangements and in other ways eviscerate our rights; and
WHEREAS: Wisconsin and Ohio are only two of many states where new Republican lawmakers are seeking to strip public and private sector employees of their voice in the workplace. Lawmakers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Nebraska, New Jersey, Iowa, Missouri, Maine, New Hampshire and elsewhere are pushing various measures that would severely weaken labor unions in their states; and
WHEREAS: In these states too, workers from all walks of life are uniting to tell these lawmakers that in America we treasure our freedoms and we intend to keep them; and
WHEREAS: These lawmakers understand the power of unions. They know full well that unions are the only collective voice for workers. They know that union members are among the most active participants in our democracy. They know that only unions can effectively challenge Wall Street and multinational corporations; and
WHEREAS: These lawmakers also know that they answer to the Koch brothers and other powerful moneyed interests who got them elected. They know – and we know – that if they win in Wisconsin, and in other states, those interests will be even more powerful and their power will be virtually unchecked.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That we stand with the workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere who are defending our rights and the rights of our children and grandchildren. Their fight is our fight; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That we will provide them with the support they need – be it financial, physical or moral – so that they win this fight, for all of us.
Graduate Student Instructor in History at UC Santa Cruz, UAW 2865 Member
At the UAW 2865 monthly membership meeting at UC Santa Cruz on Monday, February 28th, 2011 we passed the following resolution unanimously.
Resolution in Solidarity with the Public Workers of Wisconsin:
WHEREAS, Working people in the state of Wisconsin are standing up to Governor Scott Walker’s recent attempts to strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights; and
WHEREAS, Governor Walker has moved to cut taxes for the richest citizens and largest corporations of Wisconsin while cutting funding for the services all Wisconsites depend on – including but not limited to services such as public education and public safety – a plan estimated to remove hundreds of millions dollars from the state’s budget, further deepening Wisconsin’s fiscal crisis without providing a fair solution for all citizens of the state; and
WHEREAS, Governor Walker has admitted that the proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers is not a budget issue at all, but is instead simply the initial step in a much broader attack on unions and workers’ rights that threatens to spread; and
WHEREAS, The dire situation faced by working people of the state of Wisconsin –unionized or not – is part of a general assault in the United States and throughout the world against public education, against the public sector more generally, and particularly against working people; and
WHEREAS, if the bill in Wisconsin attacking the right of public workers to collectively bargain passes, this portends a much broader attack on the union rights of public workers in other states. In Ohio, a bill has already been introduced to limit the rights of public workers to collectively bargain and in California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would do away with collective bargaining of the state’s pension benefits; and
WHEREAS, public sector employees are disproportionately women and people of color; and
WHEREAS, Governor Walker’s attacks on organized labor will disproportionately negatively impact poor and working people; and
WHEREAS, We are proud to be Union Workers, and Proud of our Sisters and Brothers standing up to this attack in Wisconsin; and
WHEREAS, We are strongest when we stand and fight together,
WHEREAS, the people of Wisconsin have a long history of bravely standing up for their rights as workers, a courage exemplified today by the Wisconsin Federation of Teachers, the Teaching Assistant Association, the Service Workers’ International Union, and AFCSME, to name but a few; and
WHEREAS, Wisconsin has always been a paragon of working-class, labor, and union values;
Be it RESOLVED: The United Auto Workers Union Local 2865, Santa Cruz, representing Academic Student Employees of the University of California, Santa Cruz do hereby support and call on its members, and workers throughout the United States, to heed the call for a GENERAL STRIKE called for by our Sisters and Brothers in Wisconsin’s South Central Federation of Labor if Governor Walker of Wisconsin succeeds in his efforts to roll back over 50 years of progress fought for and won by organized labor in the United States of America.
Be it further RESOLVED that we encourage other units in our local to pass similar resolutions.
You continue to step up! You continue to call your legislators and if you've called them 15 times, call them some more! You continue to educate friends, family and neighbors! You continue to attend rallies, town hall meetings and other events in your areas! You are being heard from Madison to Dodgeville, Platteville to Prairie du Chien and all around Wisconsin and the Nation! WE are holding onto the right to have collective bargaining and our Unions!
We will continue to make phone calls, attend rallies and town hall meetings, make our presence known in the Capital. But now we ask that we take our show on the road to Viroqua, WI this Thursday 3/3/11. There is a brochure attached that we recieved from a coalition partner notifying us of a "Food, Fuel and Future Summit" at the Fireside Resturant. Scheduled to attend are Rep. Lee Nerison, Sen. Dan Kapanke and Governor Scott Walker. (hopefully they show up, but if not - we will still have our presence known.)
Let's gather as many folks as we can to make our presence known. I would hope to have a good crowd by 11:00 am. Dress appropriate, bring signs and your passion to keep collective bargaining!
(*Note* Local 903 Members, we have a Membership meeting scheduled from 12-2 and 2-4 and those meetings will take place without interuption. Hopefully though, if you are off or can spare some time before second shift, you can attend this. Thanks!)
Please don't hesitate to contact me for or with further information! Hope to see many of you there. If you know of people in this area, be sure to urge them to come out in large numbers Thursday! One day longer and still getting stronger!
Adam Sutter, President
AFSCME Local 903 AFL-CIO
Click here to view the polling findings and methadology used >>>
The governor and state legislators in Wisconsin cannot be recalled until they have served at least one year. After an elected official has served for one year, a recall may be initiated by a petition containing the signatures of qualified electors equal to at least 25% of the vote cast for Governor in the same district.
For complete details see:
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Procedures for visitor access to the Capitol will be the same Wednesday, March 2, as they were on Tuesday. Visitors who have appointments with legislators or legislative staff will be permitted access to the Capitol building at the King Street entrance using a queuing system. Appointments will be confirmed by law enforcement officers at the entrance; then visitors will be “badged” with one of eight constituent visitor badges allocated to your Representative or Senators office. Up to eight visitors to a Representative or Senator’s office will be permitted at one time, and to facilitate movement through the building all visitors will be escorted by a law enforcement officer.
This is absolutely unreal. I have served as a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Troopers' Association in the past and currently serve as a lobbyist for the Wisconsin State Employees Union and I have never had my movement restricted at the State Capitol.
Also, as many citizens of this state have done, have visited my elected representatives on numerous times, formally and informally and have always had the freedom to move about the "People's House".
We the people must fight these restrictions through our court system. Several major labor organizations have already begun that process. I certainly hope that at some point these restrictions will be ordered to be removed so that we the people can have free movement within "our house".
I received information today from a Chief of Staff of a State Senator who stated they had not ever seen the amount of police presence strolling the halls of the State Capitol in their years of employment in the capitol, as they saw today. This Chief of Staff went on to say that the State Capitol did not have any restrictions closely resembling what is occurring now after the United States was attacked on 09/11/2001.
The State Capitol needs to be FREELY OPENED once again to the people of Wisconsin.
Posted by Steven Williams
Political Legislative Coordinator
AFSCME Council 24 AFL-CIO