February 11, 2011
Walker the bully!
Wisconsin led the way toward peaceful collective bargaining in the public sector. AFSCME got started in Wisconsin. We were the model state and soon others followed. The underpinning of our protections for public employees was the understanding that public employees should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as private sector employees covered, since 1936, under the National Labor Relations Act.
Today, Governor Walker announced that he will, in essence, cut the heart out of the public employees by eliminating their unions. (He would, at the same time, castrate the unions in the political process.)
In perhaps the most cynical move in Wisconsin's history of fair play, Walker will exempt fire fighters and police because their unions endorsed his gubernatorial bid! Whoa Nelly! Walker hopes to divide and conquer and it could happen unless public and private sector workers take on this battle for survival. If the favored few--police and firefighters--think they are buying loyalty then they should recall the cry in WW II that "first they came....When they came for me..."
Bare bones. So-called unions under Walker's plan could only negotiate salaries, but wait--wage increases would be limited to Cost of Living increases. And, every free-loader would get any and all benefits the dues-paying members get! Walker might as well replace Christmas with Free Loader day!
And what did the state's largest union do? WEAC jumped out of the ring in anticipation of the bell! (That would be Mary Bell.) WEAC dumped Milwaukee teachers and all friends of public education out of the bus! Seriously! And "when they came for me...there was no one left..."
Glenn Grothman, a guy who would be put in the nut drawer by Republicans like Dreyfus and Knowles, said the union-killers didn't go far enough! (Public hangings, Glenn?)
A once proud state, that blazed a trail for justice in the the public sector, now joins the Glenn Beck and Sarah Palins and Michelle Baachmans. It is time to organize. You never thought it would come to this--now we must pay the price for falling asleep on the job of protecting democracy. The bullies--the anti-Democrats--cannot be allowed to succeed.
post a letter about this blog »
Let's call for a general strike of all workers in Wisconsin. It'll never happen, but it might draw attention to our plight. Unions are not what they used to be. They no longer have the clout. Many unions do no more than draw a line between workers and management thus creating workplace unease and distrust. I am aware of at least one Dane county employer where the union does no more than extract $25 per month from low pay workers.
By the way, how much do Walker and other elected officials contribute to their state health insurance and pensions?
-Maria Caliente | Middleton | February 11, 2011
I have several friends who are State Employees as well as Republican voters.
Before the election, I provided them with information that gave them an idea of things to come under Walker.
They voted for Walker and were proud of it. What were they thinking?
They are now crying in their pasta. However they are not crying to me.
-Rocky | Little Chicago, WI | February 11, 2011
What is most curious is the GOP's rush to undo Wisconsin. Are we to be impressed by a governor and his political hacks who are rushing things through the legislature? Where is the discourse, the exchange of ideas, the bipartisanship? Where are the responsible members of both chambers? Surely not every single Republican't sides with Walker and what he is proposing to do to Wisconsin. There's more to Wisconsin than the arrogant few who think they own it.
Is the real reason Walker denied federal funding for high speed rail and regional transit his way of keeping Wisconsinites from fleeing in droves?
-Franz Fripplfrappl | One foot in Madison and the other out | February 11, 2011
Ya sure Ole, let us all know how that organizing works out for you.
Government workers and teachers dropped the ball long ago when the QEO went in with narry a whimper and it just keeps getting worse. Now we have private and public sector workers, essentially those in the same economic boat, pitted against each other. A perfect divide and conquer strategy.
Like I say, let us know when anyone organizes anything against this GOP wrecking crew. In the meantime...., well, let's just say nobody is holding their breath here.
Next on the slate - retirement funds!! Count on it.
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Happily No Longer From Walkerville, WI. | February 11, 2011
And where are the christians? Jesus said "What ever you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me" When there is no one to go after are the christians next?
My many years of organizing and negotiaing contracts for my brothers were successful unless some people sold out to management.You as christians know what I'm talking about, its the 30 pieces of silver.
Its time for all christians, whether you go to church or not,to quit following false prophets.One thing I know for sure, some one once said" One is not a prophet in ones home town".So the people looking for a way out of our current mess listen to false prophets from out of town,you know the Glen Becks etc etc etc.
Its all about money.Money buys our elections and greed is all about money.
Christians look out we are next.
-Joe Gruber | Campbellsport,WI | February 11, 2011
Walker is not ony playing the divide and conquer game, he is playing the pandering to fears game and the phony patriotism game. Those on the right use and abuse the flag and weave sports into their theme to gain favor.
It is also easy to say you are for policemen, fireman and the Packers thereby gaining immediate credibility with a huge majority of people. We have to more effectively call out frauds like Walker and the Fitzgeralds for their cynical manipulation of everyone for their own selfish gain.
-Bob Menamin | Verona, WI | February 11, 2011
I'm a liberal, a union supporter, was a proud Teamster in my younger days.
I think it is terrible what Walker is doing. But I just can't generate an ounce of empathy for the unions.
Several decades ago, I begged the teachers union (of which I was never a member) to launch a public relations campaign to counter the anti-government-worker propaganda of Reagan. Did they? Not until 30 years later and it was too late.
Every union in this country lost the propaganda war without ever firing a shot in return. Their members voted Republican because they worried about guns and hated gays more than they cared about the union ideal. They even got to where they hated other unions who were getting more than they were. Government unions hated autoworkers, IBEW hated teachers unions. Solidarity? Not in America. Not anywhere in America, the land of every person for themselves.
You just can't fix stupid. Or short sighted. Or selfish. If union members want to know who let this happen, they should go look in the mirror. And it won't be but a few years and the cops and firemen can do the same because, as I said, you can't fix stupid.
-Tim | Barron, WI | February 11, 2011
Can Walker and the legislature really pick and choose which unions they like and those they don't? Seems that if they target all unions except public safety, they are now discriminating in the workplace. It's also favoring those who supported Walker the most. This is politicizing state workers. Maybe all state workers should be appointed positions. Then Walker can finally say that he has added 250,000 jobs.
-Pietr Haikuu | Hurley | February 11, 2011
Load of rubbish, what is wrong with more closely aligning public workers with other workers in the state that also happen to pay into the pot that pays these people? I do not think we are talking about setting back human rights here as most state employees would still receive a very nice package for their employement.
-Tom | Waukesha, WI | February 11, 2011
Thank God!!! This is overdue!
-Caring Citizen | Madison, WI | February 11, 2011
I just read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel update on Walker's announcement about how he intends to deal with state employee unions. My word! He's got the national guard on standby should prison guards strike. Increased security for his press conference. Walker is gestapo all the way. If he's going to do away with unions, let's propose that we do away with republicans. This is a very fair trade, eh? Those Egyptians had the right idea in getting their voices heard. They have demonstrations and all we get are bad campaigns and votes that don't mean much anymore.
-Maria Caliente | Middleton | February 11, 2011
Once again Scooter shows his lack of education, while telling State of Wisconsin employees he has nothing to offer he's offering business millions of dollars in tax breaks. Or perhaps he dosen't like being boss to people more educated then himself. Why can't republicans understand that the only way to fix a structural budget deficit is to raise taxes, I guess they're just too uneducated.
He complains about previous Wisconsin administrations taking the easy road to budget fixes with settelment buyouts,and short term fixes,yet plans to sell off state owned power plants for a short term fix and an eventual increase in state expense.
No wonder he's keeping the guns on his side!
-Dole O'Mite | Oconomowoc | February 11, 2011
I think the demise of unions is long overdue. I believe the saying is "when in a hurry to get somewhere by car, make sure you're not behind a car driven by a government employee because they aren't in a hurry to get anywhere". I know the wide swipe of my brush may not be fair,but it is time that public employees tow the same line as us in the private industry who take furlows, are asked to take wage cuts, pay more for our insurance and work more hours (salary) to keep cost down. Government should hold the line like private firms and families have to do. Public employee's have it too easy. Public employees' Jobs = Cradle to grave jobs. The Bullies in the Unions and their associated thugs should get a real job in the private sector. I suppose Jimmy Hoffa (rest his soul) is rolling over right now. I wish no harm to anyones life style. Public employees please consider living like the private employees are today. And, why are public employees'so worried about not being in a union? Or is it the Union leaders who are worried they aren't needed anymore? Unions are the dinosaurs of the decade.
-CJ Townsend | Little Suamico, WI | February 11, 2011
As a teacher with more than 30 years experience, I'm appalled (but not surprised) by Walker's budget repair bill, but why is it that the budget needs to be repaired by only certain types of employees? To add insult to injury, the Fitzgeralds' father is the new head of the State Patrol, conveniently one of those public employee groups exempted from the draconian measures of this proposed law!
-Bob Franze | Waukesha, Wi.(Beloiter, by birth!) | February 11, 2011
Hey ed: You are absolutely right, this will eliminate public sector unions in Wisconsin. Your call is right on: "It is time to organize--you never thought it would come to this--now we must pay the price for falling asleep on the job of protecting democracy."
Resources for rallies and direct action can be found on AFSCME's website at www.wiafscme.org Mobilization plans are being updated in real time there, so please ask your readers to join the fight!
-Doug Burnett | Madison, WI | February 12, 2011
Workers are assets. They are not liabilities or expendable. I believe Walker is showing exactly how he views the common worker: an expendable liability. Well, politicians are liabilities more than they are assets. Walker is proof positive that politics and reality do not mix.
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Madison | February 12, 2011
Public employees never cared about the private sector and our economic devastation. So why should we care about them? I don't. Let them join the private sector and work for $7.50/hour with no benefits like many of us.
-John | Madison, WI | February 12, 2011
What is more discouraging than the Walker approach to managing state workers is the fact that he does not mention a thing about restoring benefits when the budget is balanced or the economy improves. He's take, take, take. This is NOT my idea of good government.
What is the difference between taking from workers by reducing benefits and raising taxes? The end results are the same. The bottom line is the worker has less money to support a family and to enjoy life.
Let's advocate raising taxes on those who can afford it most: the wealthy. What is a good definition of "wealth"? Well, anyone who makes less than $50,000 is NOT wealthy.
-Maria Caliente | Middleton | February 12, 2011
Walker could help the budget deficit by laying off workers from his staff and/or demanding they take pay cuts. He's doling out some pretty nice jobs/salaries for his cronies, toadies and sycophants, henchmen while the real state worker is about to be taken down a few notches.
-Pietr Haikuu | Hurley | February 12, 2011
I can't resist a second comment. As I kept an eye on the press releases yesterday it became ever more clear that the various public and private unions, in their statements, actually granted Walker part of his premise. Pathetic!
How do you win an argument by granting your opponent his point? Where do you go from there? I also noticed that WEAC was one of the last to post anything. The notice my wife, a retired teacher, got from WEAC was pure pabulum!
I also cannot help but notice that many of your letters are from folks who figure it is just fine to "stick it to them". All this does is reinforce the whole GOP anti worker agenda of the race to the bottom on ALL wages.
I will grant that it is easy for private sector workers paying taxes to have a resentment towards public sector employees who seem to make more. But, where does it get anyone for one another worker to be worse off than you are and then take action to make that happen?
As long as this is what we see from the unions in opposition to these stupid attitudes, and as long as this is the public attitude, then this is just how we can expect the GOP to behave.
Walker must be happy. His nitwit actions have put him in the New York Times. Wow, little Scotty has hit it out of the (taxpayer subsidized) ball park.
With the unions and the public giving him a sucker pitch what else could you expect? Get a brain folks. If this stands you ARE next, in one way or another.
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Happily No Longer Living In Walkerville, WI. | February 12, 2011
To everyone who thinks unions have never done anything for them should learn some history. That great minimum wage job would be for pennies, not dollars. Health insurance was offered as an appeal to atract workers, before it was considered part of the benefit package. The 40 hour work week was fought for, not given.
Definitely, Walker and the legislature, should do the same as "other" public employees. But, like every other indentified conservatives, it's always someone else's job to sacrafice, they are entitled to better.
-Seb | Primrose, wi | February 12, 2011
'John' said: "Public employees never cared about the private sector and our economic devastation. So why should we care about them? I don't. Let them join the private sector and work for $7.50/hour with no benefits like many of us."
Private sector employees never cared about the public sector when times were good. They were enjoying the high pay and raises while we were getting the pittance dictated by the legislature. Now the tables have turned. Let them join the public sector if it's so great. I'd like to know more about this great power hold the unions have.
-BobS | Madison, WI | February 12, 2011