Friday, April 29, 2011

Major Event at UW-Superior on May 1st

From: Erv and Emily Levings []Sent: Thu 4/28/2011 8:58 PM
To: Email Website
Subject: Request for posting event for Sunday, May 1

I received information for a "May Day Festival" rally and march, noon to 3pm on Sunday, May 1, at the Yellowjacket Union at UW-Superior, in Superior, WI. 

 Charlotte Emily Levings
WSEU member – UW-Superior
Sent from Steven Williams BlackBerry smartphone

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recall Elections

Recall petitions have been filed against six Republican state senators, and we now have to take that energy from the recalls and convert it into election campaigns in those six districts.  We need all the volunteers we can get to help in these areas.  We also need to protect the three Democratic senators under recall – Dave Hansen (Green Bay); Bob Wirch (Kenosha); and Jim Holperin (Rhinelander/Merrill area).  This is a huge undertaking and extremely critical to our continuing fight for middle class families. 

Volunteers can contact Steve Williams via the SEPAC website ( or Doug Burnett ( 

Sent from Steven Williams BlackBerry smartphone

Special Elections

On Tuesday, 5/3 there are two special elections of note.  In the 94th Assembly District, both your union and the AFL-CIO have endorsed Steve Doyle for the open seat vacated by Mike Huebsch, north of La Crosse.  We strongly urge members to consider Steve Doyle for that seat.  His opponent has already received in excess of $170,000 from out of state interest groups such as Americans for Prosperity, Crossroads and other right-wing funders.  This will be a rough race, but winning it would send a significant message to the Walker Administration about labor's serious commitment to take back the state.‬‪       

The other race to be aware of on Tuesday is in the 83rd Assembly District (western and southern Racine County).  An AFSCME member from Local 3777, Andy Berg, is running a write in campaign for this Assembly seat vacated with Gunderson was appointed to the DNR.  This campaign is a tough, uphill battle, but nonetheless we encourage public workers to support Andy.‬
Sent from Steven Williams BlackBerry smartphone

State Budget

The Joint Finance Committee has begun deliberations on the budget bill, as indicated in the following report by Susan McMurray, which details the actions of the committee this week.  The JFC is now in recess until Tuesday, 5/3.  As Susan indicates, we urge any members having an interest in any of the issues before Joint Finance to contact their state legislators and express their opinion.

Wisconsin AFSCME Legislative Report‬‪

Wednesday, April 27, 2011‬‪‬‪

Joint Finance Committee begins painstaking process of voting on the Walker budget‬‪

On Tuesday, April 26, the Joint Finance Committee held its first executive session on the budget.  This week was the first of 4-5 weeks of intensive debating and voting on the Walker budget plan.‬‪‬‪

Earlier this week, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, told WisPolitics that legislative Republicans will make several changes to the Walker budget.  Those areas include modifying the Governor's recommendations to cut SeniorCare, state recycling grants, local road aids, income maintenance and school funding.‬‪

Darling also told WisPolitics that if the collective bargaining changes sought by Walker are not in place by June 30, lawmakers may amend the budget to include the collective bargaining changes "to make the ledgers balance." ‬‪‬‪

Sen. Darling and committee co-chair Rep. Robin Vos (R-Caledonia) have issued a memo outlining procedures for the committee's budget process. That document lists several non-fiscal policy proposals that the co-chairs have decided will be cut from the budget. Those proposals include the proposed repeal of the cost-benefit analysis law, the proposed repeal of the insurance contraceptive equity law, the repeal of residency requirements for MPS teachers, and the proposed repeal of the 180 school instruction requirement and other changes. See the memo at: ‬‪

The co-chairs' memo did not propose the removal of all of the non-fiscal policy items identified by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) that are in the Walker budget, prompting a heated debate Tuesday among committee members on Tuesday.  Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) offered a motion to remove the remainder of the non-fiscal policy proposals (such as making the UW-Madison a public authority) but that motion failed 6-10 (with Senators Harsdorf and Olsen supporting).‬‪ Here is a summary of Joint Finance Committee action taken April 26. The committee voted to:‬‪

1.      Approve the Walker recommendation on child support enforcement funding, which means counties will receive $12.5 million less than they had anticipated   The committee also approved a motion to prohibit the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) from distributing the money until after August 1, 2011, when DCF must submit a plan to the Joint Finance Committee to create process for allocating child support funding, including the level of efficiency and each county's performance on child support enforcement. See LFB paper #226 for details:‬‪

2.      Shift and split funding of the state's two mental health institutes, Mendota Mental Health and Winnebago Mental Health Institutes (see LFB paper 375).

3.      Transfer sexually violent patients and funding from the Wisconsin Resource Center to Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center (LFB paper 376).‬‪

4.      Modify the Governor's proposal to authorize the DOA Secretary to unilaterally abolish FTE positions and, instead, authorize the DOA Secretary to recommend abolishing positions and require Joint Finance review of the recommendation.‬‪

5.      Reject a motion by Democrats on the committee to address a shortfall in funding for private bar attorneys who provide legal services to indigent defendants.‬‪

6.      Approve a motion by the co-chairs that establishes a public defender indigency standard permanently linked to 2011 federal poverty levels.‬‪

7.      Reject a motion by Democrats to restore collective bargaining rights for the Wisconsin State Public Defender Association, the Association of State Prosecutors and the Wisconsin State Attorneys Association (the motion would have rescinded the provisions of 2011 Act 10).‬‪

8.      Eliminate the Judicial Council as an independent agency.  The Judicial Council is statutorily charged with identifying, studying and recommending methods to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Wisconsin court system.‬‪

9.      Reduce funding for the car-killed deer program administered by the DNR as part of 10% budget reductions in most budget appropriations. ‬‪

10.     Extend funding through November, 2013, for three DNR transportation liaisons who do environmental reviews on state roadway projects.

The Joint Finance Committee is expected to finish its deliberations on the budget by the end of May. The committee will meet on Tuesday, May 3, and Thursday, May 5.  Papers for those meetings will be posted on the website of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. To view the papers:  To observe the committee's proceedings, go to Wisconsin Eye:, or read written accounts on the WisPolitics budget blog,‬‪

AFSCME members are encouraged to voice their opinions about the budget at
Or attend one of the town hall meetings on the Walker budget – see for details on those meetings.‬‪

Other Legislative Committee Work Underway‬‪‬‪

In other legislative action this week, several legislative committees held hearings on bills of interest to AFSCME Members 7 – the voter ID requirement bill – was the subject of a lengthy hearing by the Assembly Election and Campaign Reform on Wednesday, April 26.  AFSCME opposes the legislation.  For more information on why voter ID is bad for Wisconsin, go to To voice your opposition to the voter ID bill, send an email to the committee chair,‬‪‬‪

AJR 31 – is a proposal to amend the Wisconsin Constitution to require that revenue collected from taxes or fees for licensing motor vehicle operators, vehicle titles and registration, aviation, railroad and other taxes, such gas tax revenues, be deposited in the state's Transportation Fund, and that funds in the Transportation Fund may be used only for vaguely-defined transportation-related purposes. See the proposal online at ‬‪

AFSCME historically has been reluctant to support restrictions on the use of transportation revenues and considers this resolution a distraction rather than a solution. Instead, AFSCME has lobbied for diversifying streams of revenue, such as reinstating gas tax indexing and imposing a tax on oil company profits, and using the revenue to support road maintenance and repair, none of which are mentioned in the proposed constitutional amendment. 

‬‪For more information, contact AFSCME's Susan McMurray at, or call the AFSCME office at 608-836-6666.‬‪
Sent from Steven Williams BlackBerry smartphone

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

House votes to restrict unions

The below news story is absolutely unremarkable. What is going on in America when politicians and government leaders call for the abolishment of employee rights in the workplace. Now DEMOCRATS, yes, we said DEMOCRATS in the state of Massachusettes passed a legislative bill late last night stripping collective bargaining for health care from public employees. Massachusettes Governor Deval Patrick appears to support the measure.

This begs the ultimate question; "Who can we trust?"

House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns. Read more...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 : Breaking up is hard to do: The Great Uncoupling of the UW System | submitted by Tom Still

Do you support or oppose the pulling of UW-Madison from the UW Sustem? You can submit a 400 word blog entry to "In Business" with your thoughts at : Breaking up is hard to do: The Great Uncoupling of the UW System submitted by Tom Still : Property tax relief only comes by making tough choices | submitted by Gov. Scott Walker

By taking away your right to collectively bargaining, in other words have an adult discussion and negotiate as an adult with your employer, Scott Walker feels that he has saved "each" of you $750.00 of "real money" for your pocket over the next two years.

Feel free to read his entire article and then share your thoughts, good or bad with him. : Property tax relief only comes by making tough choices submitted by Gov. Scott Walker

Kloppenburg campaign to request statewide recount

Kloppenburg campaign to request statewide recount.

Volunteers for monitoring are needed. Can you help?

Learn more >>> Darling says collective bargaining changes may have to be included in budget Darling says collective bargaining changes may have to be included in budget

Supreme Court recount to start Wednesday

The Justice David prosser Campaign is crying "foul" and Wisconsin Republicans are blasting Joanne Kloppenburg for "wasting" taxpayer dollars for exercising her "right" under "Wisconsin Law" that provides a candidate in this race to request a recount of the difference in total votes of both candidates is less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the otal votes cast.

It seems that those who are bemoaning Joanne Kloppenburg's request are forgetting that she was originally declared the winner of the election until a county clerk who has in the past been investigated for poor record keeping in past elections, worked for the now declared winner, Justice David Prosser for eights years, had two-days after the election announced that she forgot to county more than 14,000 votes, which ultimately shot Justice David Prosser into the lead by more than 7,000 votes, and now want to say everything is fine with this election? Joanne Kloppenburg is doing exactly what should be done, request a recount so that this election can once and for all end with a "clean" result, whether the winner remains Justice David Prosser or changes back to Joanne Kloppenburg.

Click on "share" to read the entire news story.

Save the Date: FightingBobFestNorth

Save the Date: FightingBobFestNorth

The first ever "Fighting BobFest" in northern Wisconsin, if you would be interested.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Statement of AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee on the Pew Report on Pensions

Monday, April 25, 2011
Contact: Gregory King, 202-429-1145

‘Ancient History and of Limited Use’

“The latest Pew Report on Pensions, ‘The Widening Gap,’ reflects ancient history, distorts the true state of public pension funds and is of limited use for anyone hoping to make informed public policy. In many cases, the report provides a snapshot of the state of investments on June 20, 2009, which was near the depth of the market. Pension payments have been, and will continue to be, a small part of state and local government expenditures. The 2008/2009 stock and real estate market crash took its toll on all investors. The real story is not the Pew Center's latest snapshot, taken at the bottom of the market, but how well almost all of the retirement systems have recovered. While individual investors are still struggling to grow their retirement portfolios to sufficient levels, pension funds have shown remarkable resilience. These funds are not only persevering, but are well on their way to full recovery.

“The relevance of the report’s findings are undermined by a Standard and Poor’s report last month that found ‘pension liabilities and current contributions are not presently jeopardizing any state's capacity to meet its debt service obligations.’ Since 2003, the average aggregate pension fund earnings have exceeded the typically assumed benchmark of 8 percent every year except 2008, when the market crashed, with devastating results.

“Although the aggregation of pension liabilities makes for some interesting headlines, such information is of limited use to policy makers. Large pension plans in all 50 states are funded by a variety of state, local and school district governments. Some are poorly funded, while the vast majority has been responsibly managed. Only a plan-by-plan analysis could determine the adequacy of plan funding and benefits. The report often mixes apples and oranges and comes up with lemons.

“It is also worth noting that benefits for AFSCME-represented public employees in the major pension funds average approximately $19,000 per year. Member contributions and investments typically comprise approximately 70 to 80 percent of the total cost. The men and women who provide the vital services our communities need are not getting lavish pensions. They earn modest benefits after a career of service.”

# # #

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.

The Walker Effect - Madison Magazine - May 2011

The Walker Effect - Madison Magazine - May 2011