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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Obama: Wisconsin budget fight seems like 'an assault on unions'

By Matt DeLong

During an interview with TMJ4 of Milwaukee that aired Thursday, President Obama weighed in on the rapidly escalating brouhaha over Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wis.) proposal to strip public-sector employees of collective-bargaining rights.

Obama said that while some measures, such as pay freezes for those employees, are "the right thing to do" to combat budget shortfalls, "some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like an assault on unions." He added that "it's important not to vilify" public workers.

Tens of thousands of state workers and their supporters have turned out at the Wisconsin State Capitol since Tuesday to protest the governor's proposal. Walker wants to help shore up the state's projected two-year, $3.6 billion budget shortfall by increasing public employees' costs for pensions and health-care coverage. Firefighters and police are exempt from the measure.

On Thursday, state Democratic senators left the Capitol to deny Republicans -- who control the state legislature -- a quorum to vote on the governor's bill. The bill is expected to pass.

By Matt DeLong  | February 17, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency, Barack Obama, Economy  
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Comments

@pgr.

The unexposed scandal of public education: overadministration. The ration of non-classsroom personal to classroom personal is about 1/10 NATIONALLY. The irony is that teachers are striking to bring more funding to a school system that funnels an every large proportion into the hands of school administration. They return the favor by cutting teaching "slots: before clerical slots. Only asst. principals, guys who are also in the trenches seem to get cut along with the teachers.

Posted by: RobbyS | February 24, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse

The NEA and the AFt leadership--unlike the leaders of the firemen and police unions--are the left wing of the Democratic Party. Under the last legislature, where the Democrats held both houses and the Governorship, they continued to grab power as they have for decades. Never mind that Wisconsin civil service people have greater protection than federal workers. They use collective bargaining so they can be sure that they can bargain with friends on both sides of the table. The labour lords need to be cut down to size.

Posted by: RobbyS | February 24, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

The NEA and the AFt leadership--unlike the leaders of the firemen and police unions--are the left wing of the Democratic Party. Under the last legislature, where the Democrats held both houses and the Governorship, they continued to grab power as they have for decades. Never mind that Wisconsin civil service people have greater protection than federal workers. They use collective bargaining so they can be sure that they can bargain with friends on both sides of the table. The labour lords need to be cut down to size.

Posted by: RobbyS | February 24, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Tea Party and Republican assault on those who server the people (aka public servants).
This is only the beginning of the fight!! Public servants need to organize, form blogging committees (too send a clear message do not tread on our livelihood and the benefits of the American people), organize and those that will post facts instead Tea Party lies, we need to take control of our nation from right wing extremist trying to destroy our way of life!!
The sleeping giant is awakening..

Posted by: KBrustmeyer2003 | February 18, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Much harder never bent rather broken, Under political antagonism Republicans spending cut policy is based. Cut in federal budget and in States signaling Jungle-Raj (regime) which gives birth to discontentment and frustration blocked development.

In State Wisconsin thousands workers are on strike and if this infection travels in other States than anarchy will dominate in country like Egypt. Development runs miles away.

Worldwide people discontentment is sparking against autocrat regime for civil-rights. Days are gone when full perfumed water tube needed for bath. Now time is scarcity so all senators, congressman including president freeze 50% annual emoluments and give in exchequer under Patriotic Act similarly States follow than understand pain of shortage and people resentment doing strikes
.

Posted by: kaushalramesh | February 18, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Much harder never bent rather broken, Under political antagonism Republicans spending cut policy is based. Cut in federal budget and in States signaling Jungle-Raj (regime) which gives birth to discontentment and frustration blocked development.

In State Wisconsin thousands workers are on strike and if this infection travels in other States than anarchy will dominate in country like Egypt. Development runs miles away.

Worldwide people discontentment is sparking against autocrat regime for civil-rights. Days are gone when full perfumed water tube needed for bath. Now time is scarcity so all senators, congressman including president freeze 50% annual emoluments and give in exchequer under Patriotic Act similarly States follow than understand pain of shortage and people resentment doing strikes
.

Posted by: kaushalramesh | February 18, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Much harder never bent rather broken, Under political antagonism Republicans spending cut policy is based. Cut in federal budget and in States signaling Jungle-Raj (regime) which gives birth to discontentment and frustration blocked development.

In State Wisconsin thousands workers are on strike and if this infection travels in other States than anarchy will dominate in country like Egypt. Development runs miles away.

Worldwide people discontentment is sparking against autocrat regime for civil-rights. Days are gone when full perfumed water tube needed for bath. Now time is scarcity so all senators, congressman including president freeze 50% annual emoluments and give in exchequer under Patriotic Act similarly States follow than understand pain of shortage and people resentment doing strikes
.

Posted by: kaushalramesh | February 18, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Obama really has no clue about what is getting ready to wham him in 2012. It's too bad that we have to wait to 2012.

Posted by: Prof-Dr-G | February 18, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Three Pinnochios for the writer on the 3.6 billion shortfall, the Milwaukee Sentinel truth checker says 2.2 billion and current account short fall of 120-140 million. Your hear the idiots on communism, the slow witted saying only "modest" cuts where 75% of that amount would be palpable to union membership. Losing their freedom is not and there is where Walker's union busting tactics emulated by the GOP across the country is a political position (the only effective worker bulwark against corporatism campaigns is the county) not a budgetary one. What goes around comes around from Pelosi shutting out the GOP to the GOP abusing Senate rules to stop the Dems. Don't expect these Dems back before August when a new session begins. The Senate will bring a continuing resolution to the floor (constitution says they must wait for the House for a new budget) which will leave default in Boehner's hands. The gov't defaults all the 2010 gains will make 2012 a 2008 deja vu for the GOP.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 18, 2011 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Unions are a clear and present communistic danger to our way of life. If Omammy wont stop the unions then our governers should call in the nation guard and open fire on these sorry protesters.

Posted by: ToddPollard | February 18, 2011 4:36 AM | Report abuse

This might be the final nail that will kill off the Dems and their Unions.

Longer they go, louder they are, the more people who will vote for Republicans.

Unions just killed themselves off.

Fine by me.

Hopefully the Union members will wake up someday and realize that they are working to pay for the union leaders.

Union leaders don't care about the members. They care about the money they get from Union membership.

We will see the members turn on the Union once they wake up.

The Wisconsin videos should be used by every Republican running for President next year.

Astroturf bought and paid for by the Unions, Obama's Organizing for America, and the DNC.

Same group that got Obama elected with their fake crowds at his rally's when he pretended to be someone he is not.

Posted by: letscheck | February 18, 2011 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are attacking unions because unions share the same values of fairness and justice for the working man and woman with the Democratic Party. The unions as a result vote and support the Democratic Party so they are enemies of the Republicans.

The republicans have no problem spending hundreds of billions of our money in the form of tax break spending on the largest and wealthiest companies in the world both foreign and domestic. I'd rather see our own workers paid a living wage and with benefits to raise a healthy American family. That is the patriotic thing to do.

Posted by: FoundingMother | February 18, 2011 2:25 AM | Report abuse

In the private sector unions negotiate wages and benefits based on the companies' profits and the value the union employees add to the company--except for the auto industry which is a welfare state that incidentally makes cars. Teachers are paid highly compared to their peer Bachelors level classmates for working nine rather than twelve months. Because of Byzantine certification processes they have little competition. Public employees have steady employment. The union/management model does not apply. The only way to get an increase is to tax more--it is not a matter of productivity.

Posted by: JarlWolf | February 17, 2011 11:19 PM | Report abuse

So guvbubba Walker gave the tax cut to his
masters which broke Wisconsin, so now there's not enough money...just like the repubs have worked to spend the US into bankruptcy since St.Reagan.

Now they'll use Milton Friedman's fake crisis
technique, the same one they've used to enslave third world countries to take away the free rights of the people to assemble...and set their own salaries.

Makes me want to puke, but I metaphorically need to get ready for an Egyptian moment. Or maybe a French Revolution...? my,my. How I hope to see
justice, not just a**...

Posted by: tigre1 | February 17, 2011 10:40 PM | Report abuse

am not a union thug, I am a classroom teacher. I work incredibly hard every day to challenge kids to think, articulate ideas, and learn about their world. My day does not end at 2:05. I am up late every night grading and preparing a lesson for the next day. My union is important to me because without it my school committee would pack my classroom as full as they possibly could to save money. They would deny me health insurance, any pay increase--ever. Bottom line, they don't like having to pay us, they don't like paying to educate their children. Is this acceptable to those who claim that unions must be dismantled? I do worry for the next generation who will have to function in the mess all of this anti-union rhetoric is creating.

Posted by: jmeagher1

Oh stop the hyperbole. If you feel that strongly about the administrators of your district, then perhaps you should move to a more progressive area. I am also a classroom teacher and I get "it" about the after school hours and difficulties, love my job and students. My state is trying to cut into our benefits and pass waivers for charter schools. My attitude is we had a good run, with GREAT inexpensive insurance, summers and snow days off. BUT.... my district has also wasted millions of dollars on feel good, diversity promoting programs, wasteful textbook adoptions and expensive magnet schools to promote liberal ideology. The result? Our buildings are in terrible shape, the students are out of control and THERE IS NO MORE MONEY! If all of the teachers at my school were to even put HALF of our union dues back into the school system instead of the union blowing it on Democratic causes and candidates, we might be able to buy some supplies for the students and perhaps get some windows that open and close.

Posted by: Michelle111 | February 17, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Give it up folks, this is just the last whimper from the dying cast of reprobate Republicans in faraway Wisconsin.

We all know all the good jobs with the best benefits (outside of Wall Street and other outright crime, and with life time tenure Wall Streeters would envy), are in Government, Health Care and Education. The occupations in these fields all have several things in common 1) they are principally supported by the taxpayer who can be fleeced and thrown into slavery if need be, 2) there is no fair and objective standard to measure their progress or success and so we must all accept it when they tell us how important and deserving they are, 3) we are now paying more than twice what we use to pay just a few years ago for outcomes that are no better and sometimes worse than we use to get, and 4) we will all be paying much more in the future for the same poor and inadequate services because these people have you right where they want you, they have your kids, they determine whether you will get medical treatment, and they even decide whether your trash will get picked up. They own you, and you will pay them, or else…...

No doubt there are many good teachers, and health care workers, and government employees who are dedicated and hard working, and, although their achievements are greatly lacking, they have convinced themselves that the rest of us can’t live without them and we are foolish for thinking the contrary. Well, in your heart you know that these good jobs with Cadillac pensions and healthcare benefits are just what we need, and they can’t be outsources easily to China or India, so they are clearly going to be the future for all of us. As it is, everyone already has a brother, sister, father or mother, or other close relative who is employed in one of these publicly funded jobs. In our democracy, they and their friends can to vote themselves pay raises whenever they please and for as much as they want. Forget the union, they don’t need a union, they own the government.

If you have any sense, you won’t stand in the way of this irresistible force. My advice to you is to do the reasonable, sensible and prudent thing—go get yourself a government, health care or education job and join the ranks of the insolent and self-indulgent and be set for life or get ready to spend the rest of your life in serfdom.

Posted by: droberts57 | February 17, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

The mistakes of the union bashers of old was that they were organized by the companies themselves. Today the corporations organize fake grass roots movements to do their dirty work. This union bashing is coming from our fellow americans, the kool-aid drinkers of fox news. This is third world stuff. This IS becoming a banana republic.

FACT: Wisconsin's deficit is the same as it was 10 years ago. Why the sudden urgency? Could it be Mr Walker wants to make a name for himself among the teaparty people? He'll be running for prez next.

Posted by: tafffy | February 17, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it's okay though that the unions take gross advantage of the taxpayers.

Posted by: chase30418 | February 17, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe protesters are doing this so as to not share in the costs of their benefits as much as to protest the taking away of BARGAINING RIGHTS!
These rights were hard won. If lost we all will pay with lower wages and less rights. Such as reporting for work to find another hired to take your place at much lower wage and far less job security.
GOP and big business does not like people being able to join together and bargain for a fair wage and decent working conditions. They do not want normal people having any power at all.
Before the unions working conditions were horrible for majority of workers. They would work in sweat shop conditions for 12/14 hours a day 6 days a week to be able to have a bit to support their families.
As unions of ordinary people became more powerful working conditions and pay improved for both members and non-members.
Before Reagan broke the Aircraft Controller Union and then so many others you did not have the number of ILLEGAL aliens doing the jobs of American citizens in majority of jobs as the union protected one from having to teach an illegal how to do your job or being fired to make room for a low wage worker.
MANY PEOPLE WORKED hard to have the right to collective bargain which is a good thing in most cases.
Most union leaders were not crooked though some were as some in our congress are also.
Please do not be against the collective bargaining of average people without researching and knowing what they are and are not. Many believed so strongly in bargaining they gave their lives for the privilege. Because of such people working conditions improved for all workers
not just members!

Posted by: SpotlessCrab | February 17, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe protesters are doing this so as to not share in the costs of their benefits as much as to protest the taking away of BARGAINING RIGHTS!
These rights were hard won. If lost we all will pay with lower wages and less rights. Such as reporting for work to find another hired to take your place at much lower wage and far less job security.
GOP and big business does not like people being able to join together and bargain for a fair wage and decent working conditions. They do not want normal people having any power at all.
Before the unions working conditions were horrible for majority of workers. They would work in sweat shop conditions for 12/14 hours a day 6 days a week to be able to have a bit to support their families.
As unions of ordinary people became more powerful working conditions and pay improved for both members and non-members.
Before Reagan broke the Aircraft Controller Union and then so many others you did not have the number of ILLEGAL aliens doing the jobs of American citizens in majority of jobs as the union protected one from having to teach an illegal how to do your job or being fired to make room for a low wage worker.
MANY PEOPLE WORKED hard to have the right to collective bargain which is a good thing in most cases.
Most union leaders were not crooked though some were as some in our congress are also.
Please do not be against the collective bargaining of average people without researching and knowing what they are and are not. Many believed so strongly in bargaining they gave their lives for the privilege. Because of such people working conditions improved for all workers
not just members!

Posted by: SpotlessCrab | February 17, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe protesters are doing this so as to not share in the costs of their benefits as much as to protest the taking away of BARGAINING RIGHTS! These rights were hard won. If lost we all will pay with lower wages and less rights. Such as reporting for work to find another hired to take your place at much lower wage and far less job security.
GOP and big business does not like people being able to join together and bargain for a fair
wage and decent working conditions. They do not want normal people having any power at
all.
Before the unions working conditions were horrible for majority of workers. They would work
in sweat shop conditions for 12/14 hours a day 6 days a week to be able to have a bit to
support their families.
As unions of ordinary people became more powerful working conditions and pay improved for
both members and non-members.
Before Reagan broke the Aircraft Controller Union and then so many others you did not have
the number of ILLEGAL aliens doing the jobs of American citizens in majority of jobs as the
union protected one from having to teach an illegal how to do your job or being fired to make
room for a low wage worker.
MANY PEOPLE WORKED hard to have the right to collective bargain which is a good thing in
most cases. Most union leaders were not crooked though some were as some in our congress
are also.
Please do not be against the collective bargaining of average people without researching and
knowing what they are and are not. Many believed so strongly in bargaining they gave their
lives for the privilege. Because of such people working conditions improved for all workers
not just members!

Posted by: SpotlessCrab | February 17, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe protesters are doing this so as to not share in the costs of their benefits as much as to protest the taking away of BARGAINING RIGHTS! These rights were hard won. If lost we all will pay with lower wages and less rights. Such as reporting for work to find another hired to take your place at much lower wage and far less job security.
GOP and big business does not like people being able to join together and bargain for a fair
wage and decent working conditions. They do not want normal people having any power at
all.
Before the unions working conditions were horrible for majority of workers. They would work
in sweat shop conditions for 12/14 hours a day 6 days a week to be able to have a bit to
support their families.
As unions of ordinary people became more powerful working conditions and pay improved for
both members and non-members.
Before Reagan broke the Aircraft Controller Union and then so many others you did not have
the number of ILLEGAL aliens doing the jobs of American citizens in majority of jobs as the
union protected one from having to teach an illegal how to do your job or being fired to make
room for a low wage worker.
MANY PEOPLE WORKED hard to have the right to collective bargain which is a good thing in
most cases. Most union leaders were not crooked though some were as some in our congress
are also.
Please do not be against the collective bargaining of average people without researching and
knowing what they are and are not. Many believed so strongly in bargaining they gave their
lives for the privilege. Because of such people working conditions improved for all workers
not just members!

Posted by: SpotlessCrab | February 17, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe protesters are doing this so as to not share in the costs of their benefits as much as to protest the taking away of BARGAINING RIGHTS! These rights were hard won. If lost we all will pay with lower wages and less rights. Such as reporting for work to find another hired to take your place at much lower wage and far less job security.
GOP and big business does not like people being able to join together and bargain for a fair
wage and decent working conditions. They do not want normal people having any power at
all.
Before the unions working conditions were horrible for majority of workers. They would work
in sweat shop conditions for 12/14 hours a day 6 days a week to be able to have a bit to
support their families.
As unions of ordinary people became more powerful working conditions and pay improved for
both members and non-members.
Before Reagan broke the Aircraft Controller Union and then so many others you did not have
the number of ILLEGAL aliens doing the jobs of American citizens in majority of jobs as the
union protected one from having to teach an illegal how to do your job or being fired to make
room for a low wage worker.
MANY PEOPLE WORKED hard to have the right to collective bargain which is a good thing in
most cases. Most union leaders were not crooked though some were as some in our congress
are also.
Please do not be against the collective bargaining of average people without researching and
knowing what they are and are not. Many believed so strongly in bargaining they gave their
lives for the privilege. Because of such people working conditions improved for all workers
not just members!

Posted by: SpotlessCrab | February 17, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

So it's ok for the private sector to have to pay for their health care insurance and their own pensions, but not government workers?

I thought Obama said we were all going to have to make sacrifices?

Posted by: mjalton | February 17, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Why do the Democratic legistators think they are right in staying away from doing their duty? They were elected, as were the other representatives, to handle the peoples business. The people elected those individuals that have brought these cuts to the legislature for enactment. If the laws are desired by the voters - they elected more conservatives than liberals - then why do the liberals get to hide?

If it is a democracy, then live with the democratic actions. This is not Egypt (yet).

And why anyone would listen to Mr. Obama when the issue is economics? He is the last one to have a good idea on this subject. He wants high speed rail! How's that going to help cut the spending?

Posted by: papamckie | February 17, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Ever take a vacation, receive healthcare with coverage for your entire family, work a normal workweek, have safe working conditions, have a due process hearing, receive decent wages????? Even if you are not in a union, you can thank a union member for fighting for those rights. Everyone can share in a budget problem, but not having a "say" is shameful.

Posted by: pgmichigan
==========================================
Did unions invent the internet too?

Posted by: peterg73 | February 17, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

The protesters were chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Unions".

Are they serious. Their view of:

Freedom is ensuring that if one is hired they must join the union, pay a tribute to the union masters to in turn give to the Democratic Party;

Democracy is ensuring one has to give up the secret ballot and vote in full view of union leaders;

Unions are about enslaving their members and extorting the public.

An then there is civility. The great cause of Obama and the Democrats. That is why the protesters have signs called for the murder of the Governor and goons going to his house exhorting the fact they know where his family lives. If these "protesters" were not Democratic party/union members the press corp would be all over it stating how uncivil hey were.

Time the public employee unions are banned. First in Wisconsin, then in every other state, and then at he Federal level. They never should have been allowed to form to extort the citizens anyway.

Posted by: georgiarat | February 17, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Government(s) have increased thier size over the last two decades at a rate of three times inflation and population growth. The fact is it is unsustainable and everyone knows it. But these selfish, self centered Union Blackmailers don't care if the people they work for are hurting. They don't care that there is nothing left in the bank. No all they care about is making sure they get theirs first at the cost of everyone else. Wisconsin is just the start. As the people see the true ugliness and selfishness of these government workers the tide will turn against them. The left has exposed itself for what it is and the people don't like it.

Posted by: Pilot1 | February 17, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

President Obama needs to keep his nose out of State problems and pay more attention to running the Federal Goverment. Instead of worrying about States Union problems he should try to address Federal Union problems and where each office has far more employees than they need. When the union can go to a postal supervisor and complain that an employee is working too fast then you know you have a problem. The employee was told not to sort mail as fast because the union objected. Entitlements need to cut, but I bet you could cut billions just eliminating unnecessary jobs on the Federal payroll.

Posted by: tmatin3333 | February 17, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

It is an honor to be a public servant. In fact, because of this public servants, in Wisconsin should accept the fact that their pay is more than 8% less than pay for comparable jobs in the private sector. In fact, it is such an honor that people should pay to have these jobs. That would solve the problem, wouldn't it?

http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/6759/

Posted by: twm1 | February 17, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Did Obama really say that? Are you sure? It is so unlike him to go against the agenda of his corporate masters and, hypocritically as it may be, side with the little people. I still can't believe it.

Oh, well. It doesn't mean doodly ding dong anyway.

Posted by: trailingbegonia | February 17, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. President Community Organizer. Butt the fork out of local politics. Try to free our diplomat/guard in Pakistan. You are an utter a#%.

Posted by: wjc1va | February 17, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. President Community Organizer. Butt the fork out of local politics. Try to free our diplomat/guard in Pakistan. You are an utter a#%.

Posted by: wjc1va | February 17, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Guess what folks. Think President Reagan and the air-traffic controllers. Those overpaid mafia gunmen think they are holding the electorate in their hands and by the b**ls. Guess what.....guess what.

Posted by: wjc1va | February 17, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Ever take a vacation, receive healthcare with coverage for your entire family, work a normal workweek, have safe working conditions, have a due process hearing, receive decent wages????? Even if you are not in a union, you can thank a union member for fighting for those rights. Everyone can share in a budget problem, but not having a "say" is shameful.

Posted by: pgmichigan | February 17, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

What the unions are doing is an assault on "We the People"!

Posted by: rteske | February 17, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

It is about time someone has the guts to stand up to a union.The unions are most to blame for the budget short falls in a lot of states as well as 99% to blame for the problems in the auto industry.
I worked for over 40 years and never once under union control.I did my own bargaining and am proud to say I never was associated with any ,mostly corrupt,union!
Obama needs to stay out of this.He has enough problems as idiot in charge.

Posted by: rfholmes6 | February 17, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The Walker proposal effectively makes unions for public sector workers illegal. It has been make clear that an attack on private sector unions will follow from the Walker administration. Destruction of independent organizations for working people (which is what unions are) is in the tradition of the Bolshevik regime in China and has been characteristic of Bolshevik regimes since Lenin. The American right wing has shown now that they are now great admirers of Bolshevism.

Posted by: twm1 | February 17, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

It is about time someone has the guts to stand up to a union.The unions are most to blame for the budget short falls in a lot of states as well as 99% to blame for the problems in the auto industry.
I worked for over 40 years and never once under union control.I did my own bargaining and am proud to say I never was associated with any ,mostly corrupt,union!
Obama needs to stay out of this.He has enough problems as idiot in cheif.

Posted by: rfholmes6 | February 17, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at these THUGS! The Democrats are HIDING??? Wow, you libs are a joke! I'm an independent voter and all I can say is no votes for Democrats for awhile. You have to wait until I see some reasonable actions, like negotiating with the Governor or be willing to take the cuts so NO ONE GETS LAID OFF. Out in the private sector we've been doing that for 2 years. Welcome to the real world. No one acted like 2 year olds having a temper tantrum. We just said OK and got on with it, grateful for our jobs and feeling good because we were able to protect other workers allowing them to take care of their families. You all seem to be very selfish individuals who could care less how your actions effect others. If I was Governor I would have to dock your paychecks for illegal actions and whatever the cost of cleaning up the trash you leave everywhere you go. No sympathy for any of you!

Posted by: etshoney | February 17, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Is Walker having his Mubarak moment? I hope the unions win. If it weren't for unions, all you poor slobs out there who support the Republicans Party would still be working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, for next to nothing. You keep forgeting that the Republicans support "management" not "workers".

Posted by: lyndee1 | February 17, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

It is time to fight the republican nutbags! Anybody who is middle class that support republicans need to be better informed or have their head examined! About time we fight back!!! What is fair about CEO's making millions while the middle class gets services and pensions cut? The USA has become unjust! These people work just as harder or even harder that the banksters and hedge fund creeps whose only job is to figure out how to steal our money throw scams.

STAND UP AMERICA! FIGHT!

Posted by: sandnsmith | February 17, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

am not a union thug, I am a classroom teacher. I work incredibly hard every day to challenge kids to think, articulate ideas, and learn about their world. My day does not end at 2:05. I am up late every night grading and preparing a lesson for the next day. My union is important to me because without it my school committee would pack my classroom as full as they possibly could to save money. They would deny me health insurance, any pay increase--ever. Bottom line, they don't like having to pay us, they don't like paying to educate their children. Is this acceptable to those who claim that unions must be dismantled? I do worry for the next generation who will have to function in the mess all of this anti-union rhetoric is creating.

Posted by: jmeagher1
===========================================
For decades the public has gotten poor results out of the public school system and the unions have worked to block any kind of reform. You reap what you sow. By the way. No ones day ends at 2:05 and none of us are gauranteed health insurance or pay increases or anything else.

Posted by: peterg73 | February 17, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

What Walker is attempting to do in Wisconsin is typical of todays extremist Teabagger Republican governors.

They blame a sector of the middle class (union workers) for all the countries (states) economic problems and get the middle class an...d poor fighting among themselves for leftover crumbs.

Once they've got that misdirection in place they proceed to handing out unpaid for, deficit ballooning, Tax Cuts to the Millionaire and Mega Corporation class of the state.

And because of this the states economic health never improves thus giving the extremist Republican governor another excuse to cut more middle class services (Police, Fire, Garbage-service, Teachers etc) again.


.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 17, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Another reason Crazy Walker in Wisconsin and the other whack-a-doodle Teabagger governors are doing this is because unions and especially public employee unions, fund Democratic and progressive candidates and provide boots on the ground for... them.

If the plutocrats (the richest 2% in America) and their low IQ Teabagger goons can break the unions, they break the Dem party--and drive it further into the hands of the rich. They have to break the unions to solidify the plutocracy. They already have control of the south; now they just need to pick off the rest of the country state by state. The mere fight, bloody and protracted, whatever the outcome in a state, will drain the coffers of many unions. Republican governors are playing politics, nothing more, nothing less. What they're doing (cutting jobs) does NOTHING to solve their economic problems, in fact what they're doing makes them worse.

Walker is a corporate sellout. He gave multi national corporations a two year tax relief while trying to cut the deficit by sticking it to the middle class. A governor who seeks to eliminate labor rights is not acting as a fiscal conservative, but more like a dictator.

.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 17, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I got curious, so I went looking for the average Wisconsin teacher's salary (inc. beneies) and divided into hourly using figures from this link: http://www.wpri.org/WIInterest/Vol10No3/Hruz10.3.pdf

The average Wi. teacher (at least during the 2000-2001 school year) made $35.90 and $59,000 for working a ten month year.

I guess "greed" is in how one looks at it, greedy teachers demanding ever more or greedy taxpayers not wanting to pay teachers what they are worth.

Posted by: deadmanwalking | February 17, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Complete failure of leadership from Gov. Walker, who provoked this through his unilateral and overreaching hubris. Want to fix the budget? Fine, but don't pretend that stripping workers of hard-won collective bargaining rights has anything to do with that. Threatening to bring out the national guard is just thuggish.

Posted by: SageThrasher | February 17, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

A lot of the "supporters" were high school students brought to the WI state capitol by their teachers (no word on whether the school districts had authorized the "field trip," or whether signed permission slips from parents were required from participating students). Students interviewed by a TV camera crew (per a YouTube video) were uniformly ignorant of just what it was they were supposed to be protesting. (Being kids, they were just happy not to have regular classes for a day.) Once again, minors are being used to push the political agenda of adults set in authority over them -- and that's just plain wrong!

Posted by: CatherineMcClarey | February 17, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Attention Leftists. Here is a challenge for you.

Go 1 day without using a nonsense reference to "Nazis" or "Hitler" in your blogs.

Bet you can't do it!

Posted by: pgr88 | February 17, 2011 4:24 PM

====================

Actually, we have been taking lessons and reviewing our notes from the Tea Party during the healthcare debate! We even borrowed the slogans for your signs now the shoe on the other foot hypocrite!

Posted by: Citi____Street | February 17, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

WI teachers have had their wages artificially lowered by state revenue caps since 1993. Since then we have given up wages and trimmed benefits to fit under this cap. While most citizens were making money in the 90's we were suffering to lower WI taxes. Now we are being asked to give even more and to give up our right to collectively bargain our benefits and working conditions. Gov. Walker will also give the schools $500 less per child. Please keep informed on the facts!

Posted by: govtteacher | February 17, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The average salary of a Goldman Sac employee with an MBA is $521,000 per annum while the average salary of a school district administrator with a PhD is approx $200,000 and one with a Masters Degree is approx $160,000.

However, based on Tea Party logic, our teachers are being overpaid.

Posted by: Citi____Street | February 17, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The president could also have pointed out that half the budget shortfall came from tax cuts and other deals the governor made right after coming into office. There's no budget emergency except for the one he made himself.

Posted by: csdiego | February 17, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Want to get rid of Unions? Treat your employees fairly. There are tons of HR classes out there that teach management how to keep Unions out of the work place. Unions tend to flourish in environments where employees have very little say. Think about it.

Posted by: ModerateVoter | February 17, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

In the last election the public had a choice between higher taxes and spending cuts. The Republican's successfully painted Democrats as the "tax and spend party". What was lost in the furor was that a lot of public employee jobs were at risk – both at the state and the Federal level.
The cuts have just started; the pain will only be felt by those earning less than 250,000 only. Perhaps those who voted for the Republicans will reconsider in the next election.

Posted by: sabahdabby | February 17, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Attention Leftists. Here is a challenge for you.

Go 1 day without using a nonsense reference to "Nazis" or "Hitler" in your blogs.

Bet you can't do it!

Posted by: pgr88 | February 17, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The president and perhaps Senator Herb Kohl should be a far more supportive of workers in this battle. Workers did not cause the budget deficit in Wisconsin or for that matter any other state in this this great nation most all of which Republicans are waging a similar war on workers. Where is Obama's memory about who caused the economic crises raging around the nation? How about recalling who started two wars, who enacted a costly prescription drug program both of which no money budgeted by congress and done all by a Republican controled congress. As a added measure they threw in huge, in your face, tax cuts for their super rich friends. Its a ploy to break unions and destory the middle class, nothing less and our president should speak out firmly for workers and their families. I am glad to see the Democratic Party (DNC) is doing its part. With the Citizens United decission by our political controled U.S. Supreme Court, I suspect there will be many more paid attacks on workers by their bought-and-paid-for elected representatives. Wisconsin is just a staging ground for big money influnce seeking complete control of local, state and national government. Mr. bought-and- paid-for Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is right in refering to these demonstrations as being like those in Cairo Egypt and like Cairo Egypt for a good cause. But unlike Congressman's Ryans discription, these demonstrations are for the very survival of the middle class.He and his fellow phonies are the selfish ones.

Posted by: wmsassoc | February 17, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse


mr. obama,

thank you for your views on how wisconsin should run its state budget.

now please get back to work and stop shilling for organized labor. we have real problems at the national level and all you want to do is continue to grandstand like it's 2008.

Posted by: potomacfever00 | February 17, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Tea Party Neo-Fascism on display!

Wisconsin is a state of working class people and there will be hell to pay in 2012 as the wave that washed in Republicans into the State Senate quickly recedes taking out the Tea Party garbage with it.

Posted by: Citi____Street | February 17, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, people had the right to freely assemble and belong to any group that they choose. I mean, what are you going to do if the teachers don't back down? You're going to fire them all and hire a bunch of new teachers? Who says that they can't organize? It's a free damn country!!!

Posted by: nsu1203 | February 17, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Tea Party Neo-Fascism on display!

Wisconsin is a state of working class people and there will be hell to pay in 2012 as the wave that washed in Republicans into the State Senate quickly recedes taking out the Tea Party garbage with it.

Posted by: Citi____Street | February 17, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I am a union teacher. I work hard teaching kids about how they are victims of race, sex, economics - you name it. I teach them class-envy and how to question and doubt everything about America, especially the Constitution. Moreover, I must do this work 7 hours a day (except for lunch hour), 186 days a year.

Some of our Leftist ideas are so wacky, so out of the 19th Century, even these gullible kids don't believe them. Turning bright kids into dull, Democrat adult voters is indeed a hard job, and for the pay and pension we receive, I sometimes doubt that it is worth it.

Posted by: pgr88 | February 17, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

What Walker is attempting to do in Wisconsin is typical of todays extremist Teabagger Republican governors.

They blame a sector of the middle class (union workers) for all the countries (states) economic problems and get the middle class an...d poor fighting among themselves for leftover crumbs.

Once they've got that misdirection in place they proceed to handing out unpaid for, deficit ballooning, Tax Cuts to the Millionaire and Mega Corporation class of the state.

And because of this the states economic health never improves thus giving the extremist Republican governor another excuse to cut more middle class services (Police, Fire, Garbage-service, Teachers etc) again.


.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 17, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, this is another step toward a post-union world. Unions did a lot of good for America; but today much of our economic problem falls squarely on their shoulders. They have overstepped with outlandish pensions, health benefits, and wages (however, the same can be said for corporate boardrooms and golden parachutes.) Maybe America should begin a dialogue about what will replace unions once their backs are finally broken.

Posted by: DugMO | February 17, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Are these not people of this country? You do realize those teachers, the police, fire department, public works; all these people pay the same taxes as you do.
Posted by: catmomtx

I hate to bust your liberal naive bubble, except for the police and fire, the rest of the unions are a financial liability to any company. Unions do not belong in the classroom..........PERIOD! We need our children to realize a HOPE AND CHANGE scam when they see one, and to not vote as if you're voting for the next American Idol.

Posted by: LibFreeWorld | February 17, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

lol Typical Americans. They want something for nothing. They want good schools and teachers that work hard, but of course, they don't want to pay the teachers for their skills or the service they provide. They want the teachers to babysit and educate their children, for free or very little, as if someone owes them something. Folks, people in the private sector are not the only ones who pay taxes.

Posted by: nsu1203 | February 17, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama was , and still is, a better community organizer than a president. The unions are "getting in our faces" as our President instructed them to do. Now I ask you, if Mr. Obama is willing to tell them to "bring a gun to this knife fight" in defense of Wisconsin teachers in direct opposition to the democratic process and will of the people of Wisconsin, how much consideration do you think he will give to all of you who voted last November to restore fiscal responsibility at the national level! It is time to stand up. It is time to let your voices be heard! It is our country and we will have noone to blame but ourselves if it is taken away from us!

Posted by: rcb2 | February 17, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Presdient Obama's comments are not surprising, since the President does not even pretend to represent the people of the country; rather, he kowtows to public employee unions, who bankroll the Democratic Party.

Posted by: bobdame | February 17, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Are these not people of this country? You do realize those teachers, the police, fire department, public works; all these people pay the same taxes as you do. Do you even know what they have given up already in their attempts to keep their jobs? How would you like it if you were told you had to take 6-10 unpaid days off? If you are not willing to give up your pension and raises, why would you expect them to? Why would you want to treat the people who teach your children, keep you safe, and keep your city running in such a negative way?

You people really need to understand what is happening here. As soon as Republicans are able to break the union’s representing city, state and federal employees they will go after everyone else. As soon as they succeed in reducing these government employees’ salaries and pensions, they will be coming after yours. Pretty soon the American workers including you, your friends and family won't have benefits at all, no sick days, forget vacations and your salary will decrease year after year. But, go ahead and be blinded by the right. You get what you deserve.

Once again Republicans are using you people to demonize your neighbors, friends and family. Get you all preoccupied so you don't see them diverting your tax dollars to the corporations that ship your jobs overseas while they use their savings from Bush's tax cuts to buy Republicans. You people would rather demonize teachers and police and fire and others who work hard to make life in your city, state and country run smoothly than to have your representative’s deal with the real culprit. CORPORATE WELFARE. You don’t see Republicans talking about taking back their tax cuts and tax breaks and business incentives. No, they have convinced you that if they don’t keep giving rich people what they want, they’ll take their money elsewhere. Heck, that’s exactly what they have been doing for the past 12 years.

Posted by: catmomtx | February 17, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Tsk, tsk, OweBama. How uncivil. Shame, shame, shame.

PRIVATIZE!

VOUCHERS!

Posted by: RETIRE_BHO_2012 | February 17, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Okay Mr. President, you said it seems that the Unions are being vilified you said Mr. President “it's important not to vilify public workers”. Let’s take a look at who you Mr. President have vilified over the past two years, Oil companies, Pharmaceutical companies, Wall Street, even though you paid them off, the Police department involved with your buddy up in Mass, “the police acted STUPIDLY”, businesses in general, well most all of them except maybe GE, GM, you know you union buddies and big donors, and lastly every Republican you find or talk to.
Have a nice day Mr. President, you days as being President are numbered.

Posted by: vatownsend | February 17, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't attack the public workers who belong to unions. This whole Union stuff is new to me after I was recently hired by a State College and had to join a union (if I didn't the "dues" are still taken out of my paycheck anyway as an administrative fee).

If it was up to me I'd gladly take a pay cut and contribute more to state employees retirement and health insurance. Now does that sound like someone who wants to "fatten their wallets?" (as a previous poster said) Hey - it's out of my control.

Posted by: TheNervousCat | February 17, 2011 3:43 PM
=============
Being that you sound like a respectable person I bet you wouldn't be out on strike at the capitol.

If measures like this pass you won't be forced to pay union dues.

Posted by: Cryos | February 17, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Mr Obama should know that almost all the states have huge budget shortfalls. The bottomline is they can no longer afford to subsidize the public employees wages and benefits. The money is not there and unlike the Feds the states cannot print more money to artificially keep them afloat. When other countries stop using the dollar to purchase things on the world market our econnomy will crash. Mr Obama needs to learn something about basic economics. This country financially is in real trouble. You cannot keep racking up huge debts.

Posted by: natureman55 | February 17, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Under the bill, public employees in the Wisconsin Retirement System would pay about 5.8% of their salaries toward pensions, up significantly from 0.2%, Werwie said. And state workers would pay for 12.6% of their monthly health care premiums, up from between 4% and 6% percent.

Pay raises would be limited to inflation, unless a referendum approves of a larger increase.

"This is not something unusual," Walker said of the employee contributions. "That is what middle-class workers in this state have experienced."

At the architectural firm where I did cad work, I paid one fourth of my medical insurance and the company matched my 401k contributions (50-50) up to twelve percent of my income.

Walker is actually not asking much and I say this living in Wisconsin.

We have great public workers here, but with social security recipients not getting a cola for the past two years and the private sector in trouble, this is not going to go away.

Every time the teachers union in WI doesn't get what it wants, it uses the kids as a weapon.

Posted by: deadmanwalking | February 17, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I offered a comment a couple of days ago. None before that for at least a few months. I got a message for my offering today that said I had posted too many in short period of time. Shame on me.

Posted by: MIMPOSSIBL | February 17, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

pgr88 did us a service posting the salaries of many of the school administrators. However; these positions are probably non-union, thus not representative.

Effective July 1, 2010 for administrative and
professional, non-bargaining unit employees.

Harvard University Grade Ranges
Grade Min Mid-Point Max
056 $ 49,800 $ 65,900 $ 82,000
057 $ 56,400 $ 75,600 $ 94,800
058 $ 64,500 $ 87,700 $ 110,900
059 $ 75,200 $ 103,400 $ 131,600
060 $ 89,600 $ 124,000 $ 158,400
061 $ 111,500 $ 156,100 $ 200,700
062 $ 135,300 $ 190,700 $ 246,100
063 $ 165,200 $ 234,600 $ 304,000
064 $ 211,900 $ 301,900 $ 391,900

At grade 059 we find a non-union job like:
Clinical Instructor Criminal Justice Institute.
Job Description
Auto req ID 23053BR
Business Title Clinical Instructor, Criminal Justice Institute
School/Unit Harvard Law School
Location USA - MA - Cambridge
Job Function Faculty & Student Services
Time Status Full-time
Department Criminal Justice Institute
Salary Grade 059
Union 00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary
Duties & Responsibilities

Teaching criminal justice should be less difficult than teaching high school classes; wouldn't you think?

"Wisconsin, teaching salaries averaged $52,644 in 2009-10, according to the National Education Association, with most school districts offering benefits that range from health insurance to retirement plans. (1)

The average Wisconsin teacher salary does vary, however. One major source of salary variation is what grade level you teach. In May 2009, preschool teachers in Wisconsin earned an average salary of $23,460, elementary school teachers earned $51,240, and secondary school teachers earned $49,400. (2) Education and experience level also make a difference in teacher salaries: secondary school teachers in the 90th wage percentile earned $69,550, while the entry-level teacher salary is generally in the $30,000s. (3)

Geographic location is another significant reason for variation in Wisconsin teaching salaries. Areas that have a higher cost of living often pay correspondingly higher salaries. Below are average annual earnings for secondary school teachers in five of the largest metropolitan areas in the state: (4)

•Green Bay: $55,110
•Kenosha: $68,400
•Madison: $50,770
•Milwaukee: $54,620
•Racine: $49,710"

It is likely that the administration positions listed were not union. The teaching positions are. They are not getting rich on your taxes, nor mind. In fact check positions in the private sector for BA and MA degrees.
We could probably do with fewer administrators, keeping the teachers on the line. It is not right to deprive them of their bargaining rights, one item that makes them feel better about working for much less.


Posted by: MIMPOSSIBL | February 17, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

pgr88 did us a service posting the salaries of many of the school administrators. However; these positions are probably non-union, thus not representative.

Effective July 1, 2010 for administrative and
professional, non-bargaining unit employees.

Harvard University Grade Ranges
Grade Min Mid-Point Max
056 $ 49,800 $ 65,900 $ 82,000
057 $ 56,400 $ 75,600 $ 94,800
058 $ 64,500 $ 87,700 $ 110,900
059 $ 75,200 $ 103,400 $ 131,600
060 $ 89,600 $ 124,000 $ 158,400
061 $ 111,500 $ 156,100 $ 200,700
062 $ 135,300 $ 190,700 $ 246,100
063 $ 165,200 $ 234,600 $ 304,000
064 $ 211,900 $ 301,900 $ 391,900

At grade 059 we find a non-union job like:
Clinical Instructor Criminal Justice Institute.
Job Description
Auto req ID 23053BR
Business Title Clinical Instructor, Criminal Justice Institute
School/Unit Harvard Law School
Location USA - MA - Cambridge
Job Function Faculty & Student Services
Time Status Full-time
Department Criminal Justice Institute
Salary Grade 059
Union 00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary
Duties & Responsibilities

Teaching criminal justice should be less difficult than teaching high school classes; wouldn't you think?

"Wisconsin, teaching salaries averaged $52,644 in 2009-10, according to the National Education Association, with most school districts offering benefits that range from health insurance to retirement plans. (1)

The average Wisconsin teacher salary does vary, however. One major source of salary variation is what grade level you teach. In May 2009, preschool teachers in Wisconsin earned an average salary of $23,460, elementary school teachers earned $51,240, and secondary school teachers earned $49,400. (2) Education and experience level also make a difference in teacher salaries: secondary school teachers in the 90th wage percentile earned $69,550, while the entry-level teacher salary is generally in the $30,000s. (3)

Geographic location is another significant reason for variation in Wisconsin teaching salaries. Areas that have a higher cost of living often pay correspondingly higher salaries. Below are average annual earnings for secondary school teachers in five of the largest metropolitan areas in the state: (4)

•Green Bay: $55,110
•Kenosha: $68,400
•Madison: $50,770
•Milwaukee: $54,620
•Racine: $49,710"

It is likely that the administration positions listed were not union. The teaching positions are. They are not getting rich on your taxes, nor mind. In fact check positions in the private sector for BA and MA degrees.
We could probably do with fewer administrators, keeping the teachers on the line. It is not right to deprive them of their bargaining rights, one item that makes them feel better about working for much less.


Posted by: MIMPOSSIBL | February 17, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin used to be one of the better states. Good schools, clean towns and streets, decent people. They were even one of the few rust-belt states that seemed to be moving beyond their industrial past into a more modern future, unlike Michigan and Ohio.
They voted for this... I hope they enjoy it; I've got cheese in California.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | February 17, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Better get used to it Obama.... Your Owners are about to get a real sense of Reality!
And BTW why are you once more Hiding on the news on GM Union Bonuses with Tax payers Owed Money????

Posted by: redhawk2 | February 17, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Better get used to it Obama.... Your Owners are about to get a real sense of Reality!
And BTW why are you once more Hiding on the news on GM Union Bonuses with Tax payers Owed Money????

Posted by: redhawk2 | February 17, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Don't attack the public workers who belong to unions. This whole Union stuff is new to me after I was recently hired by a State College and had to join a union (if I didn't the "dues" are still taken out of my paycheck anyway as an administrative fee).

If it was up to me I'd gladly take a pay cut and contribute more to state employees retirement and health insurance. Now does that sound like someone who wants to "fatten their wallets?" (as a previous poster said) Hey - it's out of my control.

Posted by: TheNervousCat | February 17, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Another indication that Obama just doesn't get it--it's the economy, Stupid!!! Wisconsin is not just broke--it owes money it doesn't have. First grade math teaches that you can't take away (pay) more than you have. Later students get into negative numbers which show just how negative the money is. Obama, Wisconsin, like the country, is in deep trouble, but, you want to cause a union/non-union war--pit people against people. Just where is all this intelligence he is supposed to have?

Posted by: coffic | February 17, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The only reason that there is a projected shortfall is because the first official act of the Gov. Walker was to reward all of his big business contributors (thanks to the supreme court)with a tax cut which created the projected deficit. He's paying for his buddies tax break off the backs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, social workers, etc. I truly don't understand why good, sensible, and enlightened Americans don't see that giving tax breaks to people that don't need them and paying for them by robbing the working class cicizens is abominable. How republican lawmakers sleep at night is beyond me. Maybe instead of thumping there bibles, they may want to open them up and read them.

Posted by: yerbyv | February 17, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

No sympathy at all for unions. The last election taught me that these corrupt organizations need to be ended. Rarely today (outside of mining unions) is there a need for a union to protect workers against big, bad management.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | February 17, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the public sector is waging WAR on the tax payers. When will the public sector workers understand that when their boss (the tax payer) takes a pay or beneift cut they will too!! Obama and Wisconsin Unions should be ashamed of how they've raped and pillaged the tax payer.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 17, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

When unions began, they were good for the workers helath and safety. Unfortunately, they have morphed into just more political groups who support socialist policies.

Posted by: gfafblifr | February 17, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I am not a union thug, I am a classroom teacher. I work incredibly hard every day to challenge kids to think, articulate ideas, and learn about their world. My day does not end at 2:05. I am up late every night grading and preparing a lesson for the next day. My union is important to me because without it my school committee would pack my classroom as full as they possibly could to save money. They would deny me health insurance, any pay increase--ever. Bottom line, they don't like having to pay us, they don't like paying to educate their children. Is this acceptable to those who claim that unions must be dismantled? I do worry for the next generation who will have to function in the mess all of this anti-union rhetoric is creating.

Posted by: jmeagher1 | February 17, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I am not a union thug, I am a classroom teacher. I work incredibly hard every day to challenge kids to think, articulate ideas, and learn about their world. My day does not end at 2:05. I am up late every night grading and preparing a lesson for the next day. My union is important to me because without it my school committee would pack my classroom as full as they possibly could to save money. They would deny me health insurance, any pay increase--ever. Bottom line, they don't like having to pay us, they don't like paying to educate their children. Is this acceptable to those who claim that unions must be dismantled? I do worry for the next generation who will have to function in the mess all of this anti-union rhetoric is creating.

Posted by: jmeagher1 | February 17, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Presdient Obama's comments are not surprising, since the President does not even pretend to represent the people of the country; rather, he kowtows to public employee unions, who bankroll the Democratic Party.

Posted by: bobdame | February 17, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This is long over due... I pay state taxes; my taxes go to the salaries of state workers. I should have a say in whether they can bargain with the state collectively or not. My vote to place a governor in office who will try to keep my state from going bankrupt is making a statement to the unions "enough is enough" we're broke, time to go.

Posted by: wagb83 | February 17, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse


Year Prorated Salary Full Name Position Title District (Hire Agency)
2010 $198,500 Daniel Nerad District Administrator Madison Metropolitan Sch Dist
2010 $184,000 Gregory Maass District Administrator Green Bay Area Sch Dist
2010 $180,000 James Shaw District Administrator Racine Sch Dist
2010 $175,062 William Andrekopoulos District Administrator Milwaukee Sch Dist
2010 $170,850 James Rickabaugh District Administrator Whitefish Bay Sch Dist
2010 $166,089 Paul Kreutzer District Administrator New Berlin Sch Dist
2010 $165,626 Thomas Westerhaus District Administrator River Falls Sch Dist
2010 $164,779 Karen Petric District Administrator Whitnall Sch Dist
2010 $163,256 William Hughes District Administrator Greendale Sch Dist
2010 $162,000 Ronald Heilmann District Administrator Eau Claire Area Sch Dist
2010 $159,299 Eric Hartwig Director of Special Education Marathon Co CDEB
2010 $159,299 Eric Hartwig Director of Special Education Marathon Co CDEB
2010 $157,926 Steve Patz District Administrator Franklin Public Sch Dist
2010 $156,783 Norman Fjelstad District Administrator Edgerton Sch Dist
2010 $154,993 Daryl Herrick District Administrator Cedarburg Sch Dist
2010 $154,895 Kathleen Cooke District Administrator Hamilton Sch Dist
2010 $154,652 Craig Gerlach District Administrator Monona Grove Sch Dist
2010 $154,463 Stephen Murley District Administrator Wausau Sch Dist
2010 $153,681 Timothy Gavigan District Administrator Cooperative Ed Serv Agcy 01
2010 $153,466 Matthew Gibson District Administrator Elmbrook Sch Dist
2010 $152,256 Robert Crist District Administrator Wisconsin Rapids Sch Dist
2010 $152,250 Blane Mccann District Administrator Shorewood Sch Dist
2010 $152,000 James Sebert District Administrator Fond du Lac Sch Dist
2010 $150,800 Paul Strobel District Administrator Mukwonago Sch Dist
2010 $150,000 Karen Schulte District Administrator Janesville Sch Dist
2010 $150,000 Joseph Mangi District Administrator Kenosha Sch Dist
2010 $149,991 Michael Weber District Administrator Port Washington-Saukville Sch
2010 $149,900 Steven Johnson District Administrator Stevens Point Area Sch Dist
2010 $149,000 Lee Allinger District Administrator Appleton Area Sch Dist
2010 $148,997 Pamela Nash Assistant District Administrator Madison Metropolitan Sch Dist
2010 $148,920 Jeffrey Pechura District Administrator Grafton Sch Dist
2010 $148,884 Richard Monroe District Administrator Nicolet UHS Sch Dist
2010 $148,795 Phillip Ertl District Administrator Wauwatosa Sch Dist
2010 $148,504 Brian Busler District Administrator Oregon Sch Dist
2010 $148,500 Todd Gray District Administrator Waukesha Sch Dist
2010 $148,450 Sara Burmeister District Administrator Oak Creek-Franklin Sch Dist
2010 $148,125 Joann Sternke District Administrator Pewaukee Sch Dist
2010 $148,020 Kurt Wachholz District Administrator West Allis Sch Dist
2010 $147,680 Patricia E Neudecker District Administrator Oconomowoc Area Sch Dist
2010 $147,659 Craig Jefson District Administrator Arrowhead UHS Sch Dist

Posted by: pgr88 | February 17, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Zexufang, did it ever occur to you to wonder why the governor exempted public unions representing law enforcement and firefighting personnel from his edict?

Here's a hint: It's NOT because their contracts cost the state less money, or because members of those unions contribute more of their own pay to pensions, health care, etc. It's because they got into bed with the GOP early on to hold on to their pay and perks, everyone else be damned.

If Walker ever made the mistake of heeding your call to ban ALL public unions, the recall effort currently under way would switch into high gear and he'd gone from office before you can say "Hypocrite!"

Posted by: DCSteve1 | February 17, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Screw the public unions.
They all should be banned.

I say this because it (now) seems that for public union employees - their loyalty is not to serve the public but to fatten their wallets.

And is the government so inept - that it cannot protect its own workers?

And is this not the same government that will administer ObamaCare?

The Democrat Party will always protect, defend, and promote union thugs at the expense of the American taxpayer.

Indeed – where is my bonus for bailing out GM?

Posted by: Zexufang1 | February 17, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Mr Delong. Your reporting is not factual. The unions in question are not private sector. They are jobs in state and local governments. The pay for all of the union jobs effected are from taxes.

Posted by: kev4 | February 17, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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