Friday, May 20, 2011

AFSCME Council 48 Pushing for Contract Agreement

Milwaukee County's largest union still pushing for new contract

Milwaukee County's largest union wants a last-ditch shot at negotiating a contract through 2012 or '13, with the aim of beating implementation of Gov. Scott Walker's measure to repeal most collective bargaining for public workers.

District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees wants the County Board to delay approval of a measure to impose higher employee pension contributions and other concessions sought by Walker to complete a long-stalled contract with the county.

The union represents about 3,500 of the county's 5,400 employees, including parks, highway and social workers. They have been working under terms of a contract that expired in 2009.

Read the entire news story >>>

Recall election latest - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Recall election latest - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Voter ID Bill Impacts at the Polls - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

It has been a proven fact in past elections, Republicans benefit from lower voter turnout. This legislation has nothing to do with curbing "possible" voter fraud and everything to do with designing a mechanism by which Republicans will benefit.

Voter ID Bill Impacts at the Polls - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Wisconsin Senate passes voter ID bill - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Another nasty stain on Wisconsin's politics.

Wisconsin Senate passes voter ID bill - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

AFL-CIO may reduce support to Democrats - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

AFL-CIO may reduce support to Democrats - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Thursday, May 19, 2011


By Sarah Millard
May 18, 2011

Waukesha County Recount About 72% Completed

Waukesha County has reported 89,892 ballots in the state Supreme recount to the Government Accountability Board as of Monday night, which is about 71.9 percent of the ballots cast in the April 5 election between incumbent David Prosser and Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

While ballots for city of Waukesha, Menomonee Falls and city and village of Pewaukee have been recounted, the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers still needs to finalize the communities before the vote tally is sent to GAB.

The recount of the Muskego ballots will begin today. Ellen Nowak, chief of staff to Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, said Muskego is the final municipality that needs to be recounted.

The GAB gave Waukesha County an extension until May 26 as the county needed additional time to complete the recount. Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus recused herself from the recount after a mistake she made on election night - Nickolaus did not include the city of Brookfield votes in her unofficial media report - caused Kloppenburg to declare victory. When the mistake was discovered, Prosser won the election by about 7,000 votes, pending the conclusion of the recount. GOP Chair Courtney: Dems won't overturn election results

The Wisconsin Republican Party Chair is absolutely correct that Democrats are trying to overturn the 2010 elections, but he fails to recognize that the voters also want to change the faces of those elected because those faces elected in 2010 did not tell the voters just how radical they would be. Those faces elected in 2010 did not campaign on the message of stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights, they did not campaign on the message that they would reward their donors with huge tax breaks, they did not campaign on the message that they would break apart the University of Wisconsin, they did not campaign on the message that they wanted to make it more difficult for voters to be able to vote, even though they have been voting for years with little to no trouble, they did not campaign on the message that they were going to desimate public schools and shift those funds to creating private charter schools for the wealthy and more fortunate and they also did not campaign on the message that they were going to push for the elderly to receive vouchers for medical assistance and not ensure that our elderly receive the appropriate and required medical care they deserve.

The Wisconsin Republicans are lock-step with their leader; Scott Walker, who they have chosen as their brightest even though he can make no claim to education beyond high school. The Wisconsin Republicans have no interest in listening to the majority of reasonable and educated voters. GOP Chair Courtney: Dems won't overturn election results

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Its e-Lobby Day TODAY!

Its e-Lobby Day TODAY! Send your electronic message now.

Echoes of a protest: Singers at Capitol keep spirit alive

Please take the time to read this news story and to click on the video link to watch what supporters of democracy are doing every weekday from Noon-1:00pm in the State Capitol Rotunda. If you work in the Madison area maybe you may wish to join them. Everyone is welcome.

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

Scott Walker Quietly Consolidating Power In Wisconsin

WASHINGTON -- Republican Gov. Scott Walker is steadily remaking the Wisconsin government, implementing conservative ideals and quietly consolidating power under the office of the governor. His actions range from the much-publicized move to strip collective bargaining rights from powerful public unions to the less-noticed efforts to add more political appointees at state agencies and take away responsibilities from Wisconsin's democratically elected secretary of state.

Supporters have praised what Walker and his allies are doing as a long-overdue steps to cut spending and unnecessary bureaucracy. But critics fear a loss of public input and transparency in the way the state government operates.

"It's a power grab," said Doug La Follette, Wisconsin's Democratic Secretary of State. "[Walker] wants to control everything."

"It's turning Wisconsin's state government from a body that is charged with serving the needs of the people of Wisconsin, into making its first priority serving corporations -- both inside and outside of Wisconsin," added Scot Ross, executive director of the progressive group One Wisconsin Now. "This is the most massive turn toward privatization of public services in not only the history of the state of Wisconsin, but possibly across the country."

Walker's office did not respond to a request for comment for this report.

Read the entire news story >>>

“It is Time to Create Jobs Instead of Destroying Them”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Contact: Gregory King, 202-429-1145

AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee issued the following statement on recent reports of increased state tax revenues:

“States are finally beginning to turn the corner on the economic disaster created by the misguided right-wing ideologues who allowed greedy bankers and corporate CEOs to turn Wall Street into a casino. In recent days, we have learned that California, Michigan and New Jersey will all collect more in tax revenues than they expected earlier this year. Other states, from Rhode Island to Wisconsin, Delaware to Oregon, have announced similar good news on the revenue front.

“This is more evidence that the best way to get America’s economy moving forward is to put more Americans back to work. We have had more than a year and a half of job growth, but it is time to pick up the sluggish pace. It is essential that we pursue policies to continue creating jobs, in both the private sector and in the public sector. Corporate CEOs are still hoarding more than a trillion dollars in cash instead of expanding their business and hiring more workers. At the same time, in too many states, politicians continue to lay off hard-working Americans who teach our children, plow our streets, protect our communities and care for seniors and the sick.

“That is not the way to strengthen the middle class and create an economy that works for everyone. It is time to pull together to create jobs instead of destroying them. As revenues increase at the state level, we must invest those funds in creating and preserving public service jobs, rather than funding unwise tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s time to stop the dangerous cuts to essential public programs, which middle class Americans need to prosper, and focus our efforts on creating more jobs.”

# # #

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, childcare providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

IRS warns big donors to advocacy groups

This is great news for us smaller people that the likes of David Koch, an imaginary friend of Governor Scott Walker, may now owe the IRS taxes on their contributions.

IRS warns big donors to advocacy groups...

Puerto Rico Just Did It and Wisconsin Will Do The Same, With Your Commitment and Help!

Puerto Rico lost collective bargaining in March 2009 through a declared fiscal emergency. Scott Walker has attempted to decalre the same in Wisconsin, but had to admit before Congress that his anti-collective bargaining bill had nothing to do with the budget.

Wisconsin can do the same as Puerto Rico, should the Wisconsin courts rule in favor of the Walker Administration and the Wisconsin Legislative Majority. DO NOT allow Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislative Majority to continue to breakdown your workplace rights and your families financial standing. Help continue the fight by JOINING THE FIGHT at;

News Article on Puerto Rico below;

Puerto Rico’s Public Service Workers Win Back Rights

Members of Puerto Rico’s Servidores Públicos Unidos (SPU)/AFSCME Council 95, had cause to celebrate on Tuesday. A new bill reinstating collective bargaining was finally signed into law by Gov. Luis Fortuño. The bill was unanimously passed by both the House and the Senate, signaling the degree of consensus on workers’ rights among the ruling New Progressive Party and the opposition Popular Democratic Party.

"This law is very important for workers since in essence it includes two clauses that allow us to attain two fundamental goals: Restore the acquired rights through the restitution of collective bargaining contracts," said SPU President Annette González, and "negotiate the economic aspects that will do justice to workers and their families."

Drawing a contrast with the attack on collective bargaining rights by other governors across the states, Fortuño said the law marked "a new era of collaboration and open dialogue" with unions. "This administration remains committed to our workforce and we remain open to transparently negotiating their requests," he added.

The law ends a policy imposed in March 2009 when the administration enacted a fiscal emergency law that mandated a two-year freeze on the economic clauses of all collective bargaining agreements. The new law extends the non-economic clauses of the contracts until 2013 and allows workers to negotiate for salaries, benefits, bonuses and other economic aspects.

This is a victory that Puerto Rico’s labor movement – spearheaded by SPU – fought hard to win. They were out front in the battle to restore their rights, taking to the streets and conducting an intense grassroots lobbying campaign with their legislators. Their voices were heard, loud and clear. We hope other governors take note that budget problems are best solved when workers can exercise their basic American right to negotiate over wages, benefits and working conditions.
Source: AFSCME Battleground Bulletin

Vanguard Tops List of Excessive CEO Pay Enablers

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Contact: Cheryl Kelly, 202-429-1145

New Report Examines Mutual Fund Proxy Voting Patterns on Executive Compensation

Washington, DC ― A new report reveals that the largest mutual funds – including Vanguard, BlackRock, ING and Lord Abbett – are the least likely to use proxy votes to align executive pay with performance. On the other hand, the report finds that many smaller funds tend to vote “against’’ management-initiated compensation proposals, and ‘for’ shareholder Say on Pay proposals. Unfortunately, the pay-enabling influence of the larger mutual fund families greatly outweighs the impact of smaller funds. The report specifically finds that the largest mutual fund family, Vanguard, did the least to constrain executive pay in 2010.

“Tipping the Balance? Large Mutual Funds’ Influence upon Executive Compensation,” released today by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) analyzed 26 of the largest mutual fund families’ voting patterns on compensation proposals in 2010.

“As two of the largest mutual funds, Vanguard and BlackRock have the opportunity to make a real difference in reforming CEO pay, but have chosen to continue the status quo,” said AFSCME International President Gerald W. McEntee. “They owe their clients an explanation for why their assets are being used for CEO pay that does not always match the companies’ performance levels.”

For the first time, the report looks at voting weighted by the assets under management of each fund family, to illustrate their overall ability to influence compensation practices at U.S. corporations. Also, this year the report looked at ten selected votes where there was a consensus of investor concern over pay.

The mutual fund industry’s four greatest “Pay Enablers,” reported as most consistently enabling runaway CEO pay, were Vanguard, BlackRock, ING and Lord Abbett. On average, these four fund groups supported over 90 percent of management proposals, 7 percent of shareholder proposals and 80 percent of directors from whom a large percent of shareholders withheld support due to compensation practices.

Dimensional, Dreyfus, Oppenheimer and Wells Fargo were the fund families most likely to vote to rein in pay. These “Pay Constrainers” voted for shareholder proposals designed to tie executive compensation to long-term performance at an average rate of 88 percent and also voted against all directors sitting on compensation committees at companies with pay problems.

Analyzing fund influence based upon assets under management, the report found that the three largest fund families -- Vanguard, Fidelity and American -- control 59 percent of the assets reviewed for a total over $1.2 trillion. The other 23 fund families controlled 41 percent, or approximately $800 billion.

“Year after year, mutual funds on the whole remained supportive of management positions,” noted Beth Young, one of the report’s authors. “The wide disparity among funds in voting on compensation proposals indicates that some fund families employ a hands-on approach, while others take a decidedly more passive role in voting on executive compensation issues.”

“The additional analysis of fund influence weighted by assets under management invested in securities shows that the potential for the mutual fund sector to reform executive compensation practices remains limited as long as the largest fund families passively vote with management,” stated Jackie Cook, founder of Fund Votes, the provider of data for the report. “Drilling down to individual votes on controversial pay items allows us to identify the worst of the mutual fund pay-enablers.”

“Tipping the Balance? Large Mutual Funds’ Influence upon Executive Compensation” examined the voting records of 26 of the largest mainstream mutual fund families on executive compensation-related proposals at corporate annual meetings from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010. The report ranked the fund families according to how they voted in director elections, on management compensation proposals, and on shareholder compensation-related proposals in several different categories including shareholder advisory votes on CEO pay, equity-holding requirements and limiting severance payments.

This is the fifth report produced by AFSCME examining mutual fund proxy voting patterns and CEO pay. AFSCME is the largest union for workers in public service with 1.6 million members nationwide. AFSCME members’ retirement assets are invested by public pension systems, with combined assets totaling more than $1 trillion. The data for this report was provided by Fund Votes, a project that tracks mutual fund proxy voting in the U.S. and Canada. A copy of the report is also available on

# # #

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, childcare providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

AFSCME Legislative and Battleground Campaign Report on Wisconsin

Since last year, AFSCME has been building a State Battleground campaign program that has grown to include 11 states, each with a campaign manager, organizational structure and resources. The statewide campaigns are individually designed to confront the specific challenges AFSCME members face, in each of those states, this year. AFSCME has also taken a lead role in the unified labor effort in the states where that has come together.


Gov. Scott Walker (R); Senate (19R-14D); House (60R-38D-1Ind.)

Governor Walker and legislative leaders Jeff and Scott Fitzgerald have thus far held their caucuses in nearly complete lockstep despite the looming threat of voter repudiation. The battle that began in the cold and snow of February will continue into summer. Nine state Senate recall elections are likely to be held on July 12. If either party fields multiple candidates in the first round in a particular district, a primary will be held on July 12 followed by a general election on Aug. 9. Meanwhile our coalition continues to engage in an aggressive grassroots lobbying campaign against Governor Walker’s proposed budget, and our challenges to the collective bargaining bill continue to work their way toward a ruling in the State Supreme Court. The state budget is due to pass by June 30, and Governor Walker and the Legislature are currently budgeting savings from the union-busting bill passed in March. The State Supreme Court has announced that it will not hear jurisdictional arguments on the open meetings lawsuit that has stopped implementation of the bargaining bill until June 6. Governor Walker, the Co-chairs of Joint Finance and Scott Fitzgerald have all responded to the news by saying that if the lawsuits are unresolved before they pass the budget, they intend to include the union-busting provisions again in the state budget itself.

Read the complete report >>>

e-Lobby Day | We Need Your Fingers on the Keyboards"

All-Day on Thursday, May 19th, an "Electronic Lobby Day" will be held where people all across Wisconsin can send a message, via email to their Wisconsin Legislators and Wisconsin Governor opposing the current state budget. Pre-written messages will be available for use and you will be able to edit them as you see fit or simply write your own email in your own words. Do not worry about knowing who your Wisconsin Legislator is, the SEPAC Action Center will identify them for you after you provide your zip code and/or street address. Watch your email or check back at the SEPAC website [] for a link to the messages on Thursday, May 19th.

Authority: Marty Beil, Executive Director
Steven Williams, PEL Coordinator
(608) 836-0024 Central Office (608) 487-2424 Cellular

Legislature passes transportation amendment (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A constitutional amendment designed to prevent lawmakers from raiding money from the state transportation fund to pay for other items has passed the Legislature.

Read the entire news story >>>

Senate Dems block Voter ID

A late night debate on a bill that requires voters to show photo identification ends with Senate Democrats delaying its passage. During debate, Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) was among Democrats who expressed concerns about rural citizens not having access to a DMV to get a state issued ID. She says in some areas, the service centers are only open once a month.

Read the entire news story >>>

Assembly votes to give Walker veto over administrative rules

Madison - Lawmakers voted Thursday to give Gov. Scott Walker veto power over new state rules that have the force of law.

Read the entire news story >>>

Gingrich apologizes to Ryan for Medicare criticism - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Is this not sweet? Gingrich, a lousy choice for President and Ryan, a congressman who defends and protects the rich working through a disagreement with how to best destroy the elderly.

Gingrich apologizes to Ryan for Medicare criticism - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Thompson wants in, Ryan not interested in open Senate seat - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI

Thompson wants in, Ryan not interested in open Senate seat - WKBT News 8 - La Crosse, WI