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Posted at 12:12 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Why won't Governor Walker accept unions' offer and declare victory?

By Greg Sargent

It's worth stating as clearly as possible that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is refusing to take a route out of the standoff that, while not giving him everything he wants, would allow him to declare victory over the public employee unions and even to assert that he had ground them down into submission.

As you know, the Wisconsin public employee unions have agreed to accept the wage and benefit reductions that Walker has asked for, in exchange for dropping his proposal to roll back their bargaining rights. Walker has refused.

Why? It isn't clear that there's any public support for this position in Wisconsin. One key finding from today's poll by the Dem firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is this one showing overwhelming support for this compromise:

walkerpoll.JPG

Nearly three fourths think the workers should keep their collective bargaining rights if they agree to concessions on health care and retirement. Even 47 percent of Republicans believe this. Yes, this is a Dem firm and the poll was bankrolled by unions, but if this is anything close to an accurate representation of public opinion, it's quite remarkable.

The real tell here, the one that clearly reveals the real game plan, is that Walker won't accept this compromise despite apparently overwhelming support for it in his own state. After all, so doing would allow him to declare victory. He could very plausibly argue that his hard line forced public employees to cough up the concessions he demanded. You'd think this alone would win him plaudits from more reasonable conservative observers.

There are only three imaginable reasons why Walker isn't doing this. The first is that he really believes that rolling back employee bargaining rights -- in addition to winning the fiscal concessions he himself asked for -- is the only way to put the state on sounder fiscal footing. But if this were the case, he would have agreed to GOP State Senator Dale Schultz's proposal to roll back those rights temporarily, until 2013. Walker didn't do this either.

The second reason for rejecting the union compromise is that his goal is nothing less than to completely break the unions, pure and simple, as part of a broader drive to destroy one of the last institutions in American life battling the creep of inequality and defending the economic interests of the working- and middle-class. The third reason is that Walker's intended audience is no longer his own constituents; it's national conservatives who share the above goals and see any compromise as needlessly delaying the long-coveted "Waterloo" moment for organized labor that they suddenly sense is within reach.

For all of Walker's pieties about how he really, honestly, truly isn't out to bust unions, his own conduct makes it entirely clear what this is really all about.

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 12:12 PM ET
Categories:  Labor  
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Next: Indiana Dem chair confirms: Dems have fled statehouse to stall anti-union push

Comments

Compromise = victory for Unions. Keep up the fight, Walker - and stop union greed (involuntarily) funded by the taxpayer once and for all..

Posted by: homersimpson10 | February 22, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Ezra has a good take on this:

"Are Republicans overreaching? Or just negotiating effectively?

Republicans and Democrats, it seems, govern rather differently. Republicans are proving themselves willing to do what liberals long wanted the Obama administration to do: Play hardball. Refuse compromise. Risk severe consequences that they'll attempt to blame on their opponent. The Obama administration's answer to this was always that it was important to be seen as the reasonable actor in the drama, to occupy some space known as the middle, and to avoid, so much as possible, the appearance of dramatic overreach. This is as close as we're likely to come to a test of that theory. In two cases, Republicans have chosen a hardline and are refusing significant compromise, even at the risk of terrible consequences. Will the public turn on them for overreach? Applaud their strength and conviction? Or not really care one way or the other, at least by the time the next election rolls around?"

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/02/wonkbook_are_republicans_overr.html

Posted by: jnc4p | February 22, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely Greg, you nailed it.

Ego. That's it. He wants to be president. Same with Dick Snot in Florida.

And btw, speaking of Dick Snot. Anyone see that he has refused to shut down the pill mills that supply oxycontin junkies around the country. Apparently almost 9 Floridians die every DAY from oxycontin and states all over the union are demanding that the gov shut down the pill mills. It's a crazy situation. These GOP govs are freaking nuts.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The fourth reason is that if collective bargaining remains intact for benefits and pensions you aren't really addressing the long term problem and this will simply happen again.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 22, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

The real reason is that Walker is A Right Wing Autocrat; much like George W. Bush was.

For example:

From Think Progress:

"The Last Time Scott Walker Went Union Busting, He Was Overruled And Wasted Taxpayer Dollars"

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/22/scott-walker-union-wackenhut/

"The last time Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) went after public sector unions it had “disastrous results” for him and for taxpayers. As Milwaukee County Executive in 2009, Walker tried to get rid of the unionized security guards at the county courthouse and replace them with contractors, which he promised would save the county money. The County Board rejected the idea, but in March of 2010 Walker “unilaterally ordered it,” claiming there was a budget emergency. Walker hired the British security contractor Wackenhut — of Kabul Embassy sex scandal fame — to replace the guards. Unfortunately for Walker and Milwaukee taxpayers, an arbiter later ruled that Walker had overstepped his authority, and ordered the county to reinstate the unionized workers, pay backwages, and pay tens-of-thousands of dollars in arbiter fees."

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

SBJ has become Hosni Walker's Parrot.

The Teachers Unions negotiate with the individual School Districts across the entire State, and not with The State Government, so it has nothing to do with balancing The State Budget, in the sweet by and by.

Hosni Walker's pet parrot, SBJ, says Ditto Ditto Hosni!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

WOW, can't believe the WaPo allowed this article to be published - a poll by the AFLCIO?

Shameful. Making state-run media in Arab countries look tame.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 22, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

What "terrible consequences" Ezra? What can one expect from a man who thinks that our constitution was written some time before 1911?

Meanwhile Mr Sargent provides us with a bunch of self referential twaddle. The "analysis" of Govenor Walker's mindset is not only baseless in fact, it leads inevitably to the only conclusion its author can countenance: Walker Bad, union thugs good.

If Mr Sargent had bothered to listen to Mr Walker, he'd know that the temporary rollback was unacceptable because that is just an Obama-esque kick-the-can move. Two years from now the thugs are back in the streets and we go at this again. Mr Sargent wants a hudna and can't imagine why he can't have one.

Does Mr Walker want to break the union? I certainly hope so. But is that really the underlying agenda here? On what basis does Mr Sargent make that assertion?

Is Mr Sargent concerned that asking the employees to pay dues voluntarily, instead of having the government act as the Chilli Palmer collector on the union's vig will result in people rethinking the value of unions? Really? Where is Elmore Leonard when we need him?

Or is Mr Sargent concerned that if the union must be re certified by the employees every year, the union will somehow fail to prove its continuing worth to the membership?

How are either of those "union busting"?

And the third reason offered by Mr Sargent is just another restatement of liberal rule number one: Do as the liberals say, not as they do. Imagine Mr Walker's behavior becoming a national issue! Why that's enough to bring Jesse Jackson out from whatever adulterous bed coddled him over the weekend, right guys?

It is completely appropriate, according to Mr Sargent, for the unions to bus in "support" and enlist ignorant school children as extras on their little set. But heaven forbid that Mr Walker use the behavior of the unions as a symbol of what we face as a nation. Oh no, liberals hate competition. Why else would they be so in love with the fairness doctrine?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 22, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party Mantra;

Our Billionaires Are Hurting, While Our Teachers Are Spoiled.

More Kool-Aid, Mr. Koch Sucker?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"and this will simply happen again."

You mean an economic collapse that destroyed everyone's budget?

Why the attack on teachers? Why the lopsidedness in dealing with the budget? Why wouldn't an increase on taxes on the upper class be a consideration?

I still think another HUGE story going under the radar was Walker's attempt to slip through the budget a give away to Koch for funding his campaign and helping to flip the state legislatures.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/02/how-does-this-help-balance-wisconsins-budget.html

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

And skip, why do you keep calling teachers thugs?

I'm guessing you got sent to the Principles office one to many times and are now on a vendetta?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The real question is why are the unions agreeing so quickly to such a compromise that would, I agree, offer Walker a victory here. The union leadership, along with the lousy Democratic Party, are selling out the rank and file. This is labor's moment and if they give in now, to ANY compromise, they are compromising the futures of their workers and their workers' children, and that is unacceptable.

I would offer a better solution to this crisis: 1. KILL the BILL. 2. impeach Walker. 3.Insist on the repeal of Walker's tax cuts and urge increased taxes on all of those earning more than $250,000 a year in every state.

Workers all across the country are rising up now in ways they haven't in decades. Thank you Governor Walker for reminding us about the value and radical power of solidarity.

Posted by: Jamesdh | February 22, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@Mike: "You mean an economic collapse that destroyed everyone's budget?"

No, I mean that elected officials will continue to buy labor peace via benefits, where it's harder for voters to see the costs adding up.

"If the Legislature takes the 5% and 12% and doesn't reform collective bargaining, the 5% and 12% soon will be won back by unions... Without bargaining reform, government costs will have taken only a pause in their ascent."

http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/116355379.html

I live in California where the cost of public union health care benefits and pensions are a huge budget problem.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 22, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans control both houses of the state legislature, so impeachment, and killing the bill is out of the Democrats hands.

Staying away from the sessions is the only option they have. A recall campaign agains Walker can be started after he has served one year in office, so we will have to get him that way, next year.

Walker has said no to any compromise offers, so it is he that is pulling the State House down around his own head. Unions and Democrats are being reasonable, and Walker is incapable of acting in that manner, so he is actually making the Union's case for them. Now all they have to do, is wait him out.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"The decision, which Mr. Thune said he reached with his family after significant prayer, marks one of the first of what are likely to be a series of announcements from Republicans as the early 2012 field of presidential hopefuls sorts itself out."

Sorts itself out? A series of announcements? More like, a headlong rush for the Exits.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 22, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The question was rhetorical. The bargaining rights didn't result in the budget deficit. The economic collapse did.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"And skip, why do you keep calling teachers thugs?"

I don't think teachers are thugs. Of course, teachers in VA are not forced to join a union. They can't collectively bargain. But they do join various associations that serve as watchdogs and advocate on their behalf, including with legal and/or employment matters. seems to work. those who are interested can join, those who aren't don't.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 22, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Simple question for the "conservatives:

Do you think school teachers are overpaid?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 22, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

For those state officials who can actually read a balance sheet and won't bend over to any special interest group sucking a state tit - hold tough - we're about to turn the corner.

Posted by: BluePelican | February 22, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I hate to go Godwin, you know I do, but watching The Guide's rant today with the sound off, I see the gesticulations, the pacing and other delivery vehicles, like standing on tiptoes for emphasis at the end of a sentence...that looks like you know who.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 22, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

This is getting very interesting:

According to pro-labor protesters in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) may be taking a page from former Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak and cutting off internet access to key protest organizers within the state Capitol building.

If you are in the Capitol attempting to access the internet from a free wifi connection labeled “guest,” you cannot access the site defendwisconsin.org. The site has been used to provide updates on what is happening, where you can volunteer, and where supplies and goods are needed to support protesters. Administrators of the website were notified on Monday that the page is being blocked. Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate says that the site was put on a blacklist typically used to filter out pornography sites so that protestors inside the Capitol could not access this key site.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/22/wisconsin-protest-internet/

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 22, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

China is evacuating its citizens from Libya.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 22, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Union Busters are thugs, and Tea Party Members are just a bunch of Kool-Aid Swillers.

More Koch Kool-Aid Suckers?

The Tea Party Mantra:

Our Billionaires Are All Hurting BecauseTeachers Are Spoiled.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The most amazing part of this is people piling onto the union workers because they have basic benefits like healthcare, leave and pensions. In all other western democracies these basic benefits are guaranteed to 100% of the populaulation, both public and private sector. How far have we sunk in the USA when we look at simple things like heathcare as some 'special privilege'. The question I have is not why these workers are unionized, but rather why the rest of us are not? (For what it is worth I am private sector and non union - and have NONE of these benefits.)

Posted by: MarcMyWords | February 22, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Answer for Mr. Sargent,

Because in two, three, four years the unions will be back and negotiate for themselves a pay raise and improved benefits package that will - somehow, amazingly - match whatever monies they think they've been denied over that period of "sacrifice". That is to say, there is no point to any of this if employees on the tax dole can basically demand what they want, when they want. I'll support collective bargaining if the wants of the unions are put up to a public vote. That would seem reasonable. If you work for government and want certain things from that government the people who fund the government should be able to give a yea or nay.

Posted by: cartmaneric | February 22, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Greg

It would seem you are saying it is acceptable when Unions "negotiate" with friendly politicians to pass a contract extension in a lame duck legislative session.

It seems you are saying is not acceptable is when a governor and legislative majority work to fulfill their campaign promise to curtail collective bargaining.

These two situations demonstrate exactly why FDR did not support collective bargaining in the public sector.

Ultimately Greg, you must decide which side of history you will stand on. Will you stand with politicians and public sector workers who violate the law, their work contracts, and the public trust by not showing up for work? Or do you support an elective democracy where we elect legislators to represent us and where we expect government to show up for work and serve the people?

In the end it appears the legislature does not need a quorum to vote to curtail collective bargaining so they will take that vote now. Then the legislature can get back to work and we can find out if Democrats are really willing to make the cuts. Who was that great leader who said it first "elections have consequences!"

Posted by: ELF2 | February 22, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

China is evacuating its citizens from Libya.

Sorry I forgot to mention the reason that matters is because there are over 15,000 of them and China has been a long term, major prop for the Gaddafi regime, during the period of UN sanctions etc.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 22, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

As a working and middle class person, I am in full support of Scott Walker.
I belonged to the teachers' union for 36 years. There are no choices -- belong or be snubbed, be diminished in the teaching community, with the only alternative being to pay your dues. Those dues are completely politically dominated. Teachers have no choice in how the dues are used.
I worked 180 days a year, and I worked hard, loved it, loved the students, but detested the overpaid, inefficient system. Administrators made three times as much as the new, enthusiastic hardworking teachers.
The teachers unions never addressed this unfair imbalance.
The only thing they did was spend my dues on electing the people who have run CA into the ground and bankruptcy.
Unions are not run by good people who are looking out for their "constituents."

Posted by: pjcafe | February 22, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The Daily Caller started reporting the salaries and benefits of teachers who went public with their complaints on Monday, and this story will contain more of them.

Politico reported that Michael Mulvey, a high school algebra teacher in Wauwatosa, Walker’s hometown, held a sign that read: “Scott, I taught your son algebra. My son just turned 5. Does he deserve a good education?”

Mulvey makes $46,687 in base salary and $25,481 in “fringe benefits,” which include health insurance, life insurance and retirement pay.

Politico also reported that a high school math teacher from Green Bay, Karen Hill, traveled to Madison on a bus full of fellow teachers to protests, and held a sign that read, “negotiate not dictate.”

Hill makes $59,695 in base salary with an additional $28,398 in benefits.

Martha Vasquez, an art teacher in Madison, told Politico that she was irked more at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin chiming into the debate than she was at Walker.

“I was really surprised when Sarah Palin weighted in,” Vasquez said. “This bill is ripping apart the of what it means to be a Wisconsinite. We value education.”

Vasquez makes $50,018 in base salary and $11,188 in benefits.

Kevin Yeske, the assistant principal of Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, allowed students 20 minutes of one of their school days to protest Walker’s budget, and provided two school staffers to supervise the protest.

“I was really impressed with our students,” Yeske told the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune. “They wanted to make a statement, but we want to make sure we don’t do any damage or consequences (to the school day); it was very well done.”

Yeske makes $94,262 in base salary with an additional $35,076 in benefits...

http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/22/send-us-the-names-of-wisconsin-teachers-complaining-about-walker-to-the-press-and-well-tell-you-their-salaries/

*The average Wisconsin worker in 2009 made $37,398, per the Department of Commerce.*

*Teachers are out of the classroom for 13 or 14 weeks of the year*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 22, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Indiana statehouse has erupted with protesters!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiMm4EVGOtI

And the Indiana State senators have fled the state in response to the attack on unions!

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0211/Now_Indiana_Democrats_flee.html?showall

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin's Democratic legislators and the unions!!!: Call the governor's bluff and refuse to give up your rights to collective bargaining!!!!! Don't give in no matter what happens. We will fight this to the death. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY boboberg@nyc.rr.com

Posted by: boboberg | February 22, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Who was that great leader who said it first "elections have consequences!"

Posted by: ELF2 | February 22, 2011 1:21 PM

Adolph Hitler? He was elected in Germany. Sounds like you do not mind what the consequences turn out to be.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Pragmaticagain asked:

Simple question for the "conservatives":
Do you think school teachers are overpaid?


Yes, yes I do. For a 180 day work year:

http://www.postcrescent.com/article/99999999/APC0110/80221166/DataMine-Search-Wisconsin-teacher-salaries

Compare the following to the average salary of a worker in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, who makes $53,724 and works three months a year longer. And, who, also, will NOT be on a public funded pension plan for another 30 years when S/HE retires.

According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction:

Columbus School District $72,460
De Forest School District $69,201
Eau Claire School District $80,078
Edgarton School District $75,594
La Crosse School District $83,364
Madison Metropolitan School District $75,558
Mosinee School District $80,746
Oregon School District $66,942
Racine School District $88,453
Stoughton School District $72,830
Verona School District $77,214
Watertown School District $82,244
Wausau School District $85,658
Average Salary and Benefits for School Districts Closed On Thursday $77,718.62

Compare that to the average salary of a worker in Milwaukee the largest city in Wisconsin: $53,724

Posted by: cartmaneric | February 22, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Just too funny. The attempts to change the subject here are just amusing.

Sorry Mike, but I see no reason to offer you another opportunity to hurl spittle-flecked insults in my general direction. Further, your questions are just a restatement of the lies that the left are trying to tell themselves.

Are the teachers thugs? I dunno if all of them are, but the lack of civility shown by the protestors in Madison is certainly thuggish. And these thugs are demonstrating on behalf of Walker and the legislative Republicans.

so when a protestor attempted to destroy the sound set up at a tea party rally, he did so on behalf of the teachers. People will judge you based on the company you keep.

And Marcmywords has lost his grip on the obvious. Time to renew that subscription to the captain obvious comic books my man.

And the "point" is downright silly as well. In Europe the citizens are crushed by a huge, ineffective government. That's something we Americans simply don't want. As for healthcare, it isn't a question of who gets it, it is a question of who pays for it. There is no reason why I should be taxed as highly as I am so that civil service workers can have something for nothing that I must pay for with after tax dollars.

When the teachers pay as much for retirement,health insurance as I do, when they work as hard as I do for the money I earn, when they face the same threats to their jobs that I do, and they stay on their toes because of those threats, like every other working person I know, the argument ends.

The liberals here either don't get that, or they recognize that the legislation in WI is the start of an avalanche that will destroy the financial base of the Democrat party.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 22, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Walker is in this for the Koch brothers. They are pulling the strings. They donated $43 million to his election campaign and this is payback for them. One part of the bill gives Walker exclusive right to sell/lease Wisconsin energy without competitive bidding. That is payback to the Koch brothers who want more of the energy industry in Wisconsin and elsewhere. In addition they are adamantly anti-union and public education. See any patterns here.

Posted by: emchenry1 | February 22, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Walker is only a small part of a national GOP plan to drive the US into third world status.The Tea Party takes a dump in their own hats being "useful idiots" for the top 2%. If guys like Walker get their way more and more states will look like the Deep South, with rotten schools, bad infrastructure and low paying jobs.
It's all part of a race to the bottom before things get so bad that we'll have no option but to become the North American version of a European social democracy.

Posted by: filmnoia | February 22, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Thank you KaddafiDelendaEst. I did not point out how well paid I was in my post earlier.
My benefits made up for any "low" pay over the years.
I am embarrassed that teachers are protesting and asking for more from those of us who are paying them so well -- we are the middle class being asked to make teachers far more "comfortable" than the rest of us who pay their bills.
Thanks again for pointing out the good status of teachers.
From one who knows.

Posted by: pjcafe | February 22, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The average worker in Wisconsin does not have a college degree, so that is another Right Wing bogus talking point.

A teacher is not the equivalent of a store clerk, although in the Tea Party's Walmart America, they soon will be.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

WI ranks 49th out of 50 states in starting salaries. Meaning, only one other state has a lower starting salary.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

sbj, Wisconsin's pension plan is fully funded, unlike California's. See the difference? The money is already there for those pensions in the $25 range. Plus the new hires come in at the low place on the salary scale, replacing the higher salaries of retirees. It's fiscally quite sound.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 22, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still,

Damn! So you mean the teacher's are getting these sweet deals off the backs of the taxes paid by stupid working stiffs? Sounds like maybe some of their greater wealth should be redistributed to the working man, then. You know, for the common good.

Posted by: cartmaneric | February 22, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I know anytime someone mentions Hitler or the Nazis it seems to be considered "poisoning the well." However, it was Hitler that abolished the unions in Germany, since they were the only group that had the strength to oppose him. Karl Rove's MO has always had the tint of Germany in the 30s. I see his dirty little hands all over the this.

Posted by: filmnoia | February 22, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. $25K range.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 22, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

RE: Indiana,

Interestingly, Gov Daniels opposed the state legislation's push to kill the unions there. Said it would "distract" from his agenda.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"Compare that to the average salary of a worker in Milwaukee the largest city in Wisconsin: $53,724"
-----------------------------------------

That's hardly a fair comparison unless that $53,724 only includes college educated individuals and unless that includes the benefits for private sector employees too.

But how much do you, kadaffi, skip et al think teachers should make?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 22, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

My benefits made up for any "low" pay over the years.
I am embarrassed that teachers are protesting and asking for more from those of us who are paying them so well -- we are the middle class being asked to make teachers far more "comfortable" than the rest of us who pay their bills.
Thanks again for pointing out the good status of teachers.
From one who knows.

Posted by: pjcafe | February 22, 2011 1:28 PM |
..........................

Thank you for making the Wisconsin teachers' Unions case for them. You admit that your benefits were to make up for your low pay.

Walker wants to take away those benefits, and force the teachers to accept the "low pay". Your own words; you selfish prick. You got those benefits, and are living off them in retirement, but now want those who are still teaching the kids, to go without, and still work for "low pay". Again; your own description of what you were being paid.

You now are living off the benefits that you want to take away from others.

You are even more loathsome than Hosni Walker.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I am a teacher for Kenosha Unified Schools in Wisonsin. The following is a letter from our superintendent to Scott Walker concerning his bill. We have outstanding new leadership in our district and face ever changing socioeconomic barriers. This bill will only further marginalize the children of the low income families in our district and complicate our budgetary matters.

Thank you Dr. Hancock for caring about our teachers and our families. KUSD never closed down!

Every Child Matters

Dr. Michele Hancock
Superintendent of Schools
Educational Support Center . 3600 52nd Street . Kenosha, WI 53144 . 262.359.6300 . www.kusd.edu . twitter.com/kusd . KUSD 20
February 16, 2011
Governor Scott Walker
State of Wisconsin
115 East Capitol
Madison, WI 53702

Dear Governor Walker:

We are writing on behalf of the more than 23,000 students and 2,700 staff members of Kenosha Unified School District.While we have serious concerns over some of the components of your budget repair bill, of equal importance is the process being used to discuss this landmark legislation.
First, we appreciate the financial difficulties our State is faced with; we too, along with school districts throughout the State of Wisconsin are experiencing the same challenges. It is our belief that moving this Budget Repair Bill through the Legislature in one week is causing a great deal of confusion and rumors. We see an advantage in taking some time to step back and create a climate of inclusiveness in the debate process. Second, on the financial side of the equation, Kenosha Unified School District is already moving in a positive direction to become a model for other school districts throughout the state. We are utilizing zero-based budgeting in developing the budget for the 2011/2012 school year. Already we have identified areas in which we can be more effective in our approach to serving our children while also respecting the needs and limitations of the taxpayers. To make the drastic changes being proposed at this time would have a serious impact on our efforts to effect the changes we know need to be made in our budget for the next school year.
We have had a positive working relationship with the Kenosha Education Association (KEA). We believe they understand our concerns that changes may be necessary in how public education is funded.We also understand the concerns of our employees. As the third largest school district in Wisconsin, Kenosha Unified School District has a 49% poverty rate. Yet, through the hard work of our staff and students, our School District achieved Annual Yearly Progress last school year - the only school district to do so of the five largest in Wisconsin! We are moving in the right direction. We acknowledge we have very difficult budget challenges. These challenges can possibly be solved by everyone working together through a very deliberative process between your office, legislature and representatives

Posted by: nevets2sherwoo | February 22, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Liam, I don't think this pjcafe person has ever set foot in a classroom as a teacher, and hardly as a student. Just another phony poster.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 22, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"My benefits made up for any "low" pay over the years.
I am embarrassed that teachers are protesting and asking for more from those of us who are paying them so well -- we are the middle class being asked to make teachers far more "comfortable" than the rest of us who pay their bills."

Except of course that the teachers aren't looking for more, they have agreed to pay more for health care and their pension, but that's not enough.

How much does Gov. Walker contribute for his health insurance and pension, assuming he gets both?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 22, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Another thing.....
Many of my friends used the extended vacations to work at Disneyland.
Great jobs -- Disneyland was always anxious to hire for the busy vacation weeks / months.
Teachers who took advantage were paid well, given extra perks and added to their teacher pay / benefits. Not bad.
There were others who taught summer school for extra pay -- and for working only 3 - 4 hours per day!!
Unions are tainting teachers' images by misguiding and distorting their status in society.

True professionals would have been in the classroom, doing what they were hired to do.
How about beginning the layoff process. There are a lot of talented people who are experts in their fields who would love to take those teaching positions.
If my district ever decides to leave the classrooms to protest, I'll be volunteering my time to fill-in wherever I'm needed. Students' education should be the guiding principle.

Posted by: pjcafe | February 22, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

[ashotinthedark whined: "how much do you, kadaffi, skip et al think teachers should make?"]

What their customers are willing to pay, subject to free market employment competition-- not union thug intimidation campaigns.

Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose.

Do you hear me, Lebowski? The bums will always lose!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 22, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Best to ignore Comrade skip, who would be quite willing to provide everyone in WI and IN with cameras so they can spy on the protesters.

No, Comrade, I aint letting this go. Have a nice day.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 22, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

My benefits made up for any "low" pay over the years.
I am embarrassed that teachers are protesting and asking for more from those of us who are paying them so well -- we are the middle class being asked to make teachers far more "comfortable" than the rest of us who pay their bills.
Thanks again for pointing out the good status of teachers.
From one who knows.

Posted by: pjcafe | February 22, 2011 1:28 PM |
..........................

Thank you for making the Wisconsin teachers' Unions case for them. You admit that your benefits were to make up for your low pay.

Walker wants to take away those benefits, and force the teachers to accept the "low pay". Your own words; you selfish prick. You got those benefits, and are living off them in retirement, but now want those who are still teaching the kids, to go without, and still work for "low pay". Again; your own description of what you were being paid.

You now are living off the benefits that you want to take away from others.

You are even more loathsome than Hosni Walker.


But of course we know that you were never a teacher. You are just faking it online. I have seen your past posting history, and it contradicts what you now claim you were. Tell Mr. Breibart that your cover has been blown.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Chuck,

Skippy would be first in line to volunteer for a Concentration Camp Guard position.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

All, this is pretty big:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/indiana_dem_chair_confirms_dem.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 22, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Could we get over this 184 days a year of work thing? A teacher's day is rarely finished when the bell rings. And even if it were, they go home to prep, paper grading, and trying to figure out how to deal with the real world challenges their students bring to school, including things like getting a winter coat for the child who doesn't have one. To me, a grade school teacher's job is like creating and raising a family in a year. Then they get a couple of months off to de-compress, take the courses they need to maintain their certification, make plans for the new year and get classrooms ready. There aren't many jobs out there as difficult and few as important.

But sure, let's tell them they're all selfish slugs. Way to show our support.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 22, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Do you hear me, Lebowski? The bums will always lose!"
-------------------------------------------

My teachers all worked pretty hard, and so do my brother and sister-in-law, both of whom are teachers with masters' degrees and both of whom make considerably less than I do. So I think calling them bums is insulting and inaccurate.


Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 22, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Liam, I don't think this pjcafe person has ever set foot in a classroom as a teacher, and hardly as a student. Just another phony poster."

I did my student teaching at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles.
And first year of teaching at Montebello HIgh School.
The next 35 years I taught in Orange County, CA, in the same high school.
I was selfish enough to ask my union to try to get some of the old-timers, like me who were caring for elderly parents, to get a "golden handshake" from the district so that we could retire from the classroom in exchange for working in other capacities for the district.
Our point was that they could hire two first year teachers for the price of one senior teacher.
The union didn't have time to represent us -- instead, they were wining and dining with school board members who had no interest in smaller class sizes by way of hiring new, enthusiastic, energetic teachers who had student taught with us, their master teachers.
So much for efficiency and saving money for the school district.
It was a win win for all concerned. Logic does not rule in school districts because unions are self serving bodies.
I

Posted by: pjcafe | February 22, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I love this. As part of a letter attributed to a school superintendent there is this line:
"Every Child Matters"

Really? Well that's not what Albert Shanker says:
"When school children start paying union dues, that 's when I'll
start representing the interests of school children."

the letter is just the newest version of the liberals attempt to wrap themselves in the flag while they seek to destroy the institutions that made the country possible.

To ashot: it is no longer a question of the teachers not asking for as much this year as they were given in the past. It is a question of breaking up the thieves alliance between unions and the Democrat politicians they bought.

In my mind the WI situation is the pebble that will cause an avalanche. As the ability of the unions to extort money from taxpayers with which they fund political campaigns is eliminated, the Democrats ability to raise millions is threatened.

Does money impact political campaigns? The more rabid of your peers here seem to think so. Why else would they complain about right wing groups having the nerve to act like left wing groups?


Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 22, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@AllBut-

Word. Their arguments are insulting. I suspect none of the "brain trust" over in the Right wing has ever worked as a grade school (or heaven forbid "middle school") teacher. Oy.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 22, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

then there is this source of boo-frickin-hoo:
==============
Could we get over this 184 days a year of work thing? A teacher's day is rarely finished when the bell rings. And even if it were, they go home to prep, paper grading, and trying to figure out how to deal with the real world challenges their students bring to school, including things like getting a winter coat for the child who doesn't have one. To me, a grade school teacher's job is like creating and raising a family in a year. Then they get a couple of months off to de-compress, take the courses they need to maintain their certification, make plans for the new year and get classrooms ready. There aren't many jobs out there as difficult and few as important.

But sure, let's tell them they're all selfish slugs. Way to show our support.

=============================
No, actually we can't get over the 184 day thing. It is a fact, kinda like gravity. When you get over that, give the nice folks at oil of olay a call. They will want to sell what you develop to ladies reading people magazine.

As for working from home, many, many people do this as a matter of course. Those people are also funding their own retirement, as opposed to the teachers bleeding the tax payers dry.

and what value does all this alleged extra work add? How well are the public schools performing?

The big problem for the unions is that they and the Democrats over reached. The effort to kill competition made the weaknesses in their performance glaring. The amount of money paid by AFSCME to Democrat election campaigns made the unholy alliance all too clear to the tax payers.

We've had enough. We work hard for our money and resent the way it is being wasted. The government, in general, is on the block now. If the government cannot be brought to heel, things will get far worse in America and quickly too.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 22, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Chuck, yeah. I didn't even include the idea of going into those classrooms filled with uncertain adolescents beset with hormones when most people find just dealing with a teenager or two one of the hardest transits in life.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 22, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Most experienced teachers began teaching at a time when pay was inferior to the private sector.
Those of us with a BA and a Master's Degree could have made more money then in the private sector.
Most became teachers because they loved it -- not for the pay.
Of course, those of us with families also realized we would have vacation days with our kids.
The trade-off in "those days' were pretty even -- work at a job you love, spend vacations with family, have access to health care paid by district, retirement benefits, life insurance, etc.
The rewards are immense. Students genuinely appreciate good teachers who care.
The drawbacks are large class sizes, too many teachers who lost patience with the challenges of teaching, and less than effective administration.
Despite this, there is nothing more rewarding than educating students who appreciate a teacher's dedication and commitment.
My point is, unions are not even part of the equation.
For my faculty, they were ineffective in getting things done for classroom teachers. For us, it was not about the money but rather good teaching conditions.

Posted by: pjcafe | February 22, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The governor realizes that if the collective bargaining power is not curbed for these public employees, they will all too soon be back at the teat, using political clout, money, and votes to affect the employement status of the elected representatives who put them in this position in the first place. Besides, it is unclear why anyone would counsel the governor to compromise; Gov. Walker is holding all the cards. Dems must either come back to the legislature - and do their sworn jobs - or watch as nothing gets done, thousands get laid off, and Republicans line up and pass bill after bill of things Dems hate, like voter ID.

Had the public backed the unions, it would be different. But it seems even Blue State taxpayer get tired of being fleeced sometimes.

Posted by: INTJ | February 22, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Skipsailing- What institutions made the country possible? Oh that's right, slavery. Just like is going to result from Walker's tyranny. Let's go back those good old days and work for the masters of the multinational corporations and banks that created this mess. I feel like I'm living on the Animal Farm. It was the chickens who caused the distrubance of the state. Kill the chickens! No, it was the sheep! No, it was the dogs. Oink. Oink.

Get educated on history or learn your place in it.

P.S. Never quote people with a last name like Shanker, Boehner, or Koch. It sounds perverted.

Posted by: nevets2sherwoo | February 22, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The entire school system in pretty much every corner of this country is a complete disaster. The results we get for our tax money are totally unacceptable and the whole thing needs to overhauled completely. The unions are part of the problem and need to go. All Greg or any of the other so called liberals on this site care about is that the union basically extorts money out of every teacher regardless of political affiliation and hands it over to the democrat party. You all are so fake it's pathetic. If they handed it over to the republicans your opinion of the situation would be reversed 180 degrees.

Posted by: peterg73 | February 22, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

And now for The Great News:

"Poll: 61% oppose limiting union bargaining power"

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-02-22-poll-public-unions-wisconsin_N.htm

"The public strongly opposes laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.


The poll found that 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to one being considered in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law. "

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

So this is the part I don't get. Each one of these cities, counties, states, federal gov't sat at the table and negotiated with the unions until a contract was agreed to. Everyone negotiated "in good faith" and pensions and their funding were included in the contracts. Nothing was hidden. The cities, counties, states, etc. failed to include their portion of pension funding in their budgets to the tune of billions of dollars in short falls. Now, after years of these government agencies dithering, the bill is due. AND EXACTLY HOW IS THIS THE WORKERS' FAULT? Should these governments (local, city, state, etc.) manage to default on contracts that were negotiated "in good faith" with their workers, what do you think is next?

Posted by: mjohnson1116 | February 22, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"So this is the part I don't get. Each one of these cities, counties, states, federal gov't sat at the table and negotiated with the unions until a contract was agreed to. Everyone negotiated "in good faith" and pensions and their funding were included in the contracts. Nothing was hidden. The cities, counties, states, etc. failed to include their portion of pension funding in their budgets to the tune of billions of dollars in short falls. Now, after years of these government agencies dithering, the bill is due. AND EXACTLY HOW IS THIS THE WORKERS' FAULT?"

this is a big part of what Chuck Lane, Chuckeles Krauthammer, and George Will neglect to mention, along with the Koch Bros., the Walker-induced "crisis", etc. And you have to wonder why so much has been neglected in the "straight" WaPo coverage as well as in the usual right wing savants.

Posted by: thebuckguy | February 22, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Here is the point most are missing.

Walker's budget for next year will contain MUCH less state aid to localities, DRAMATICALLY less. It's the only way, in his opinion, that he can overcome the state government deficit. He wants those local governments to be able to decide how to spend the remaining state money for optimum impact on the local priorities and in the interest of the general public.

If public sector unions are able to stonewall their benefits via local negotiations, there is no way Walker can get the deficit under control AND enable local government units to act on behalf of all citizens.

So, this IS a budget issue, and that's why it is in the budget repair bill --- ahead of the NEXT overall budget drafting.

Posted by: TerryOtt | February 22, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Walker holds all the cards legislatively, financially, politically. Why in hell would he want to bargian with anybody ??? You Dems are on the wrong side of history with this one. The ultimate poll took place in November ... and these are the consequences.

Posted by: cunn9305 | February 22, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse


Companies will be barred from instituting caps on coverage when your costs for treatments goes up due to sickness, you can now get insurance with out caps on coverage at "Wise Health Insurance" search them online.

Posted by: gonzamunz | February 23, 2011 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Greg asked: "Why won't Governor Walker accept unions' offer and declare victory?"
--------------------------------------------

Because; Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government. The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.

Posted by: illogicbuster | February 23, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Greg has done his usual hatchet job on this piece. He has not presented the governors argument to his question fairly. If he were truly a reporter he would try to get a statement from the governors office and print his explanation.

Instead he boldy asserts he, Greg Sargent, knows the "true reason". It must be that he is intent is to "completely break the unions, pure and simple," as he contends.

Sure would be nice to see reporters actually report a story rather than write something his "followers" can fawn over him about in the comment section.

With "jouralists" like Sargent, Ezra Kline, and David Corn you have to guess that jounalism school was taught by the same union teachers that have our kids lagging behind the rest of the world in math and science.

Posted by: manapp99 | February 23, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The numbers on these polls just show the amount of people who are absolutely uninformed.

Do you think most people even understand what "bargaining rights" actually are? They just know that a bunch of people are going nuts over it and if you don't side with them, you are personally insulted.

Posted by: VAGuy01 | February 24, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

nevets2sherwoo, your school superintendent is LOUSY! Who writes on behalf of a group of people they are not authorized to do so (the students)?

The KUSD school board is lousy at best. They blew millions of dollars in a gambling attempt and tried to blame others. They're pathetic.

They are not supposed to be in bed with the teachers but most either were teachers themselves or are related to them.

There will be higher taxes in Kenosha next year because of their boneheaded move and I'll try to get every last one of them canned.

Posted by: VAGuy01 | March 1, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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