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Walker's Budget Repair Includes Weakening Unions

By   /   February 11, 2011  /   90 Comments

By Kevin Lee     Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON  –  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has introduced a budget repair proposal that would strip away nearly all collective bargaining rights for most of the state's public employee unions.

Under the proposal, unions would only be allowed to collectively bargain over wage increases, which would be capped at the rate of inflation unless voters decided otherwise.

Public employee union members would not have to pay union dues and employers would be barred from collecting dues, which could affect membership going forward.

“For those who might ask, ‘Why not bargain for this?’ Again, we’re not negotiating over a budget. If you’re going to negotiate, you’re going to do it in good faith, you have to have something to offer. The state’s broke, local governments (are) broke. They don’t have anything to offer,” he said.

Local police and firefighter groups, along with State Troopers and Inspectors, will be exempt from these changes.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Walker Administration will cancel contracts with five collective bargaining groups on Mar. 13.

AFSCME Executive Director Marty Beil did not immediately return phone calls.

Walker's move to weaken collective bargaining is likely to go through; Republican lawmakers have substantial majorities in both the Assembly and Senate.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said Republicans had the votes to approve of the “unprecedented” move.

“We’re supposed to be passing bills that fit Wisconsin values and that there’s public support for them. But I suspect the reason (Republicans) are ramming this through so quickly is they really don’t want public input because I think they are afraid of what they might hear,” he said.

Public employee unions have been working without a contract for most of the last two years. Last November, former Gov. Jim Doyle negotiated contracts that would have lasted until this June with most of the collective bargaining groups, but the state Senate rejected them.

Unions had then agreed to concessions totaling $100 million. Through his budget repair package, Walker is requiring public employees to pay 5.8 percent towards their retirement funds and 12 percent towards their healthcare plans.

“It’s fair to ask public employees to make a pension payment of just over 5%, which is about the national average, and a premium payment of 12%, which is about half of the national average,” Walker said in a statement.

Walker has informed the National Guard to take precautions in light of the announcement.

“This is normal business for the guard, we don’t anticipate anything but are ready for everything.  We are not specifically on-call," said Lt. Col. Jackie Guthrie with the Wisconsin National Guard.

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  • Marcia Graveen

    don’t forget to make the congressmen and senators pay their 5.8% and 12% too

    and also our governor

  • Larry Lemmert

    I agree with all of Scott’s proposals to cut the budget. I would also like to see him lay out his plans for the rest of the budget quickly. The state employees are whining about being singled out but their sacrifice is a small part of the total that must be saved in the next bienniem.

  • George Farr

    Keep up the Good work Scott

  • Dennis Smith

    In the past public employees had better benefits because their jobs paid less. Now when the public is working harder and paying more of our own benefits for less pay it is only fair to ask the public employees to tighten their belts like the rest of us. I fully support the governor.

  • Joseph Stakun

    Dear Gov. Walker:

    What a breath of fresh air compared to our previous governor. Thanks for having the guts to make the cuts to the bloated Wisconsin spending. Having moved here from “out East”, we were astounded to find that taxes are higher here. Our property taxes are outrageous in La Crosse. Its about time that government spending is brought under control.

    God bless you,

    Joseph Stakun

  • Dale Myers

    Unions suck.

  • Gale Gabriel

    I am in complete agreement. As a retired state employee I was totally opposed to having no choice

    in joining a union and paying their dues. I was happy before the unions took over employees

  • http://MoneyedPoliticians.net Jack E Lohman

    Indeed, if Walker and the Republican legislature are going to make room for the spending on special interest giveaways for the Fat Cats that fund the elections, he must cut wages and teachers and whatever. It is too bad the necessary has to be trimmed to make room for the UNnecessary.

    Jack Lohman

    http://MoneyedPoliticians.net

  • Donald F. Gadzinski

    I think the proposed adjustments are way over due. The private sector has been “kicking in” for a long time. I would think the unions would be interested in keeping all members employed by making some concessions. We have good union employees but the taxpayers can only support them to a certain financial level. Perhaps things can improve for all who are employed once our budget is balanced and we eliminate deficit spending. Balancing the budget is priority one!

    I was glad to see that the WEA union is making some positive moves to improve our educational system.

  • Norm Nelson

    Ask two questions: A. Are Unions and so called bargaining useful and necessary or abusive and only power hungry control by a few benefitting within the union hierarchy. Are abuses now on the union side as compared to employers it was designed to protect against?

    B. Do you see any parity created by unions/bargaining. If the farmer got auto workers benefits and pay per hour, and the baker, what would milk and bread or other food cost? Ask local schools and public officials to publish their salaries, benefits, and retirements and compare them. Great in the fat years but we are now in the lean years for EVERYONE to sacrifice. One boat, all sink or all live. Gov. Walker may not be as far off base as the opposition wants you to believe.

  • Rose Marie Reynols

    Hooray for Gov. Walker. I know it will be difficult for Union members to have to contribute more to their pensions and health care, but that is what everyone else has to do. One union member said that it was not fair that they were losing some of their planned retirement income. Well, welcome to the real world. We are retired, and in the last Wall St. crash, we lost an amount of money that we had counted on for 4 years of our retirement. We did not go crying to the unions to bail us out. We tightened our belts, and forged on.

    I hope the Governor is successful.

  • Ben

    It’s about time we put govt employees on same level as private sector. OSHA exists to address safe working conditions. Other labor laws exist to protect wages. There is no need for these unions anyway. A normal business does not pay above average wages and salaries if they do not have the revenue to cover them. The STATE is broke and we are all paying these excesses. They need to fairly contribute to pensions and medical like the rest of us who pay in taxes!

  • Callahan

    Rep. Barca,

    I hate to tell you this, but the public HAS given their input and we want Scott Walker to strip away the power of the unions in Wisconsin. Maybe it’s time you realize that we can no longer afford powerful unions destroying the Wisconsin economy. We DEMAND you pay YOUR fair share. We’re sick and tired of supporting your cushy lifestyle with our tax dollars. I would like to see all the unions in Wisconsin decertified. And this may come as a surprise to you……..I’m a union member. Wisconsin comes first – NOT the unions. They are no longer useful. I totally support Scott Walker and the legislature.

  • Karen Johnson

    It is very refreshing to see a Governor respond to financial problems using common sense solutions instead of trying to appease the greed of unions. I am proud to say I voted for him and continue to support Governor Walker.

  • Ellen Follansbee

    As a taxpayer, I totally agree with the procedures outlined by the governor.

    We have been paying for our own civilian pension plans and retirements with our personal funds…AND with our TAXES, paying for the state and federal employees’ retirements and benefits. It is about time that these people shoulder some of the responsibility…….. they always have the right to quit and join the civilian arena…. where all these pay-as-you-go ideas have been the norm for years. Welcome to the club!!!

    You go governor!

  • Glenn Schiefelbein

    1. Get right to work laws in Wisconsin

    2. Get school voucher and choice’

    3. mandatory random drug test a requirement for welfare payments

  • Lenore Stege

    I am very thankful that Governor Walker is willing to address matters with the goal of managing a budget responsibily. This is a massive task! I pray for his wisdom and courage and I pray that the people support the effort and cooperate.

  • Dick Farrell

    The tax payers of this state are tapped out. We absolutely have to cut our expenditures to get out of dept and rein in future costs. This goes for the federal budget also. I am all for Gov. Walkers proposals.

  • joseph S.Olzinski

    I am retired and so far I’ve given up involuntarily two social security raises and two retired pay increases. When do I get to protest and riot. Shut up and take your medicine beause the next step should be just like happened to the air contollers years ago. Fire all the shirkers!!!!!

  • Paul Simmons

    Finally a true leader.

    Making the hard choices, but the correct ones.

    Without, our state would be heading further down the same path as California.

  • J Farnsworth

    Yee-ha. It’s about time. What I’d like to know is where do they get these averages from? Obviously not from the private sector. I have to assume they are averages from other state’s employees benefits.

  • tom

    Go Scott. I pay 37% of health and only get a 50% match of my 401k upto 3%. We can not retire in our 50′s

  • Dan Tutas

    I am a retired instructor having worked in the VTEA system (FVTC) for the State of Wisconsin. I was a member of WEAC for most of my 22 years. I am also retired military having served 11 years active duty and 15 as a Reserve. I am a combat veteran. This has been a long time coming and I fully, got i, fully support Gov. Walker and the Republicans. We are never going to get out of this mess caused by too much spending and having no one in Gov. with enough guts to do what the Govenor is doing. Every one of us has had to give something now it is the Government employees turn, buck up people. By the way, we have not had raises in Social Security for three years, my military retirement has been cut, I am paying more taxes then when I was working, my retiredment nest egg has dropped and oh by the way my State retirement has dropped each year since 2007. And you know what the past two years our school tax has increased something like 16+ percent here in Oconto Falls school district where I live. Ask the Kohler and Harley employees if they enjoyed taking the cuts to keep their jobs. Also, ask all the people who are unemployed right now how they feel our you whiners who take from the public feed sack.

    Daniel J. Tutas

    US Army MSG, Retired

  • Stephen Norling

    I think that Governor Walker is doing exactly what is needed. We are broke and we all need to take a little of the responsibility for our own lives. The state workers pay and benefits will still be at or above the private employees.

  • Marilyn J.

    Go Scott Walker. Finally legislators who are not afraid to do the right think. And, Wisconsinits would agree with Walker. After all, that’s why he was elected our governor.

  • Daryll Adamczak

    I support Gov Walker 100%. It’s time that government workers and unions deal with the same realities that all the rest of us have too. They are not a special class of people and should stop whining. I refuse to pay more taxes so these privileged workers can get free insurance and unsustainable pensions that they do not deserve. Smaller government, lower taxes equal more jobs. Regarding the republicans “jamming” this through and being afraid of public reaction I think that you will find that the public will support this action also. Go Walker, let’s get rid of these overpaid union presidents and self appointed bureaucrats.

  • Imaginethat

    It’s about time. We actually have a leader as governor. Could it be that we may actually put some sanity back into government? The gravey train is hopefully coming to an end in this socialist state.

  • Fran

    While I do believe that state employees should contribute to their retirement funds and health insurance premiums, the dictatorial way Walker rules is frightening.

    Keep in mind – “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Walker seems a lot like another high profile dictator being ousted right now. It time for a reality check.

  • Carie Kendrick

    Governor Walker is doing the right thing for WI. I am forced into paying union dues because I work at the University. I would prefer not to pay dues. A person’s work ethic is what keeps them employed-not union membership. Our state is facing a huge deficit, and we are paid by taxpayers. We should be grateful for all we have, but most are not-and always ask for more, regardless of the fact that there is no more money. Thank you Governor! I support his plan.

  • Patrick Moran

    a very bold move. Should not be a surprise to anyone.

  • David Mauer

    Its about time we have a real leader for Wisconsin. ALL forms of government from city council, county supervisors, all the way up through every State agency have been losing more and more control over there budgets, there ability to forecast and project, there abilities to cut from there own budgets and even attempt to control more tax levies because of public unions. To say that having State employees pay 5.8% towards retirement and 12% towards their health care is “unfair” is just ludicrous. If this would have been taken care of and under control years ago Wisconsin would be in a much better budget situation and all state employees wouldnt have a problem with it as they soon wont now. I applaud the governor and hope it resonates throughout the country. Anyone who disagrees I ask of you to even attempt to compare to the private sector which by the way pays for it anyway.

  • Joan Gerhan

    Thank you Governor Walker for taking charge and doing something with the unions.

    Glad to see that changes are being made and I’m looking forward to more changes and less spending of money.

  • Jim

    Thank you, Governor Walker! A great step forward.

    I hope we can also eliminate the jobs of the few union protected slackers who make the many hard working union government employees look bad.

  • http://BadgerBlogger.com Patrick Dorwin

    Note to Peter Barca, the public give their input, it was in the election that your side lost… Badly. Remember that?

  • Bruce Bradshaw

    All of the liberal media seem to think this move is a bad thing. All of the taxpayers supporting public employees have had to sacrifice and contribute to their own healthcare and pensions for a very long time. Yet it’s taboo to have public employees do the same?

  • Patty Kubetz

    Obviously Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca hasn’t been listening to the people. We want to do away with the unions having such a stranglehold on our smaller communities. We have a $435,000 budget deficit in our school district and no way to make up that difference unless we have more local control.

  • Bill Blair

    Good for Governor Walker.

    It’s time to put a halt to spending and only fair that government employees pay the same percentage toward Insurance and retirement as the general public.

  • Bernard Rodefer

    I am fully behind the Govenor and the legislative branches in this action. Unions had there day and were needed at that time, but in this day of age they are a deterant to our economy. The union leaders are a bunch of grubs living off others work and our working to undermine the American way of life, take for example the Democratic liberal policy and there actions with the president and the democratic majority’s in the federal government. I worked for the government at FT McCoy as a leader in Post engeneers and have seen there actions first hand. The leaders and the sapposedly representatives held down a full time job pay, set in the union office and watched TV or played cards, days on end and did not do the job they were hired for. One of the representatives was in my shop and he disrupted the other workers, he took his breaks for as long as he wanted and as often as he wanted ( of course that was when he was at work at all) The rest of the men seen these actions and decieded that if he could, they could. I turned in complaints to our other supervision and they were squelched because they did not want problems with the union. The union was and is a self serving enity that is tearing down our State and Country. The super majority of Wisconsin residents are completely behind our Govenor and our legislative branches. Go Republicans Go!!!!

  • Dick M.

    Governor, you have my support. Dems(Barca) are clueless if they don’t think the reason the republicans gained control is because they are going to try and get the state debt and budget under control. In fact if they don’t do these things then they will lose my vote the next election.

  • Ann Kearns

    I’m pleased with the changes Scott is bringing up. Especially the contracts with the union. It’s about

    time there is some control of the unions. Too bad the federal government doesn’t follow this pattern.

    I think it’s good to exempt police and fire fighter, etc. who are vital for everyone’s safety.

    it was also a good move to eliminate those jobs that haven’t been filled for 1-2 years.

    I want to comment about the rejecting the government monarail program. Hurray for Scott Walker.

    Maybe the other states with finally see the light, and take the reins in their hands, in spite of the federal

    government.

    I believe it’s necessary to have IDs for voting. There’s too many illegals, who shouldn’t have a voice but do within the voting process. Our national security is at risk if something isn’t done to stop this.

    I’m pleased the governor is doing what he can , at the state level. It’s a start.

    So far I’m well pleased with Scott’s job performance. He’s setting a good example for the other states.

    Thank you for what you are doing, and for allowing comments. Ann Kearns

  • Michael Moldenhauer

    IT IS ABOUT TIME!

  • mark schoening

    AGREE WITH WALKER ! If economic times were good I would not agree, but with common citizen suffering, I would ask why government employees should be protected from economic downturns as they are paid for by my TAX dollars. Times are good-everybody profits, times bad- everybody suffers!

  • Former Union Queen!

    The title of the article should be “REFRESHING: Walker Using Common Sense Approach Toward Unions!” I am disgusted and fed up with union thugs that want to “benefit” from off the backs of every other worker and taxpayer in the state. So much for a the “democratic” society they strive for. Kudos to our new Governor with gonads!!!

  • Richard Hofland

    This “tyranny by minority” must be crushed; taxpayers are past being fed-up with the inflationary, extortionate rape of the productive majority by grossly overpaid, parasitic, protected Socialist sub-groups camoflagued as “essential”, socially responsible / enlightened, PC, or most egregiously,

    “educators” [i.e. indoctrinators]. Unions of all stripe and their bretheren-in-groupthink i.e.

    liberals/Marxists/progressives/democrats/communists et al are resp0nsible for the intractable chaos we face; this country has been roundly debased by feckless, unaccountable, seemingly untouchable, narcissistic elites and their legions of brain-dead, doggedly ignorant sycophants. Unions, closed shops, tenure, anything protective of incompetence, must be relegated to the dung heap of obsolescence ASAP.

  • Melvin Weigel

    About time state employes pay ther oune health insurance and retirment like self emploed has dune for years

  • Deb Matz

    Whoopee! Finally a politician who follows up on his promises! We are all in this together. No sector of employees should be exempt from the financial constricts of reality. With fiscal responsibility and accountability this State will build a stronger more stable economy while leaving our children something better than financial disaster. I only wish the Federal government would jump on this strategy as well!!! Go Governor Walker!!!

  • Rita Kay Kline

    I appreciate this report per email. I get a good idea of where our Governor and our elected officials want to take us. So far, so good. As a small business owner, I say we must stop the spending and put the reins on unions, especially Teachers Union which is a disaster. Also, we find it impossible to hire people. They tell us even though we pay well, they “cannot afford to go to work” because they get great unemployment payments!

    PLEASE do not publish this! Do not want to lose good employees we already have

  • Bob Taticek

    Requiring public employees to contribute to their retirement is a great step forward and a long time in coming!

  • Dave Obernberger

    We must all work together to fix the sorry state of affairs in Wisconsin. We will be hearing a lot of squealing from some union leaders in the public sector but I think we will find that even private sector unions will be supportive of Walker’s efforts.

  • orlando lopez

    As a union member and taxpayer all I have to say is ” I love This guy”.

  • Paul Roehrig

    Good work Gov. Walker!! I’m proud to be a WI badger again!!

  • Pauline Plaziak

    My husband and I are behind you Scott. Thank you for your great start.

  • DOLORES

    RIGHT ON SCOT WALKER

    WAY TO GO

  • http://www.greenbayteaparty.org James Murphy

    RE: Local police and firefighter groups, along with State Troopers and Inspectors, will be exempt from these changes.

    WHY?

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

    I believe it should be all or nothing. It has to be fair!

    Murph

  • Julie Easterling

    This is fabulous and all I can say is horray for Governor Walker and it’s about freakin time!

  • Dave H Boyce

    THE UNIONS SHOULD RE-DISTRIBUTE THE FUNDS THAT THEY HAVE EXTORTED FROM UNWILLING WORKERS AND RETURN IT TO ITS RIGHTFUL OWNERS.

  • William A Carpenter

    Show this to many workers in Wisconsin, I think you would find many who would be happy to only have to pay such a small amount for health care and pension. I’m retired now, but almost all places I worked I had to pay fifty per cent of health care. My 401 they doubled the first 5 %. I was also payed far less than government workers. This info should be made available to citizens of Wisconsin, and I think they would tell these complaining government workers what my T. I. in basic training told me when I complained.

    Carp

  • Jim Panzer

    It’s about time the members of the state public employee unions start to pay for their health care and pensions like the rest of us (working) people. What part of financially broke don’t they understand?

  • Sandra Schneider

    I am 100% behind Gov. Walkers proposal and hope it does pass. The Unions have had plenty of time to work with the Legislater to ease some of our economic burden and have elected to ignore the states financial problems. I hope they look at this as saving their jobs instead of allowing 6000(?) employees to be let go.

    I know it has been talked about but not sure where it stands, to have a “Right to Work” state, but I’m a 100% behind that proposal also.

    Sandra Schneider-Kimberly

  • http://iratetirelessminority.blogspot.com Call Me Mom

    Kudos to Governor Walker.

    We all know that there need to be drastic cuts to bring us back to fiscal sanity. Let it begin here. It’s not as though collective bargaining cannot be brought back when we are on solid ground again.

    Yes, there will be sacrifices. The sooner they are made, the better off we will be down the road.

  • Bill Weimer

    Privatize all public sector jobs.Let these workers deal with reality. Then and only then will this problem be able to be dealt with at an adult level!!

  • Dave Swarthout

    Could we take up a collection and buy State Representative Peter Barca some hearing aids. He apparently did not hear the voters in the November election.

  • Margaret

    I applaud what Gov. Walker is doing with the unions. The state, counties and cities are broke. It is time that the unions come in line with the private sector-who still pay a lot more for health than he is asking the workers to pay. Also, the private sector has not gotten the large benefits and perks that the unions have demanded and received. I think Peter Barca is on the wrong track-I believe a majority of Wisconsin taxpayers do favor this move.

  • William Nawrocki

    Why not start cutting at your level govornor and work your way down. I think that some of the people in the government never take a pay cut. They silently slip in some bill that they all get a pay raise. I for one have not had a pay raise in 3 years. Now you try that on for size. When gas is over $3.oo a gallon. I can hardly afford to go to work . Granted I don’t work in the public sector but I count on them people to help plow the roads and keep sewers right and many more of the people that work their. Who calls when roads need to be plowed or they are icey. The police. Well the county worker may not go now if they call for help! Then what!!!!

  • Kristen Zehner

    Amazing how Walker is ramming through his pet projects, while the public nods asleep at the wheel.

    The sh–will hit the fan eventually, and citizens are going to hopping mad. They didn’t like the Dems in power. I sure hope they like what’s coming down the pike now–it’s going to hit them “SMACK” in the face and it will be too late–most people aren’t paying attention. Imagine! No JOBS bill yet but plenty of GOP retribution against the very people who voted Walker into power! Some chutzpah!

  • Mark

    I know this will be a bitter pill to swallow but we need STRONG leadership for tough times. My hat is off to our Gov. for saveing our state the embarasement of fileing chapter 7.

  • Shelly

    All I can say to the Unions is “welcome to the real world!” It’s about time you start paying into your pensions like the rest of us in the private sector have to do. We the taxpayers can’t afford to pay for all of your “cushy” benefit packages anymore.

  • Dale W. Anderson

    It is about time. It is truely about time that we have not only a Governor, but also state senators and legistrators to stand up and do what is actually good for the state of Wisconsin. I have supported Gov. Walker as my County Exec. and continue to support his leadership. I know that these policies are not going to be easy, nor well liked by some, but they are needed to correct the mess our state has developed. I do not believe that the tax payers (you and me) should be held captive or responsible for these run away contracts with the public sector unions. If the Unions want to be fair, have them place thier contracts on a referendem ballot for the people to vote on. I know I would vote NO! In todays market is there a need for public sector unions. For that matter was there ever a need for them, as the public sector unions came about in the 60′s. Prior to JFK, even Dem. Presidents were against the formation of public unions. Also, if the unions were truely for the members and the option is keep members working or take the increase and lose positions I would think they would agree to the former. That is my belief. I have argued similiar matters w/ my union, when I was a member, and received many different labels and gladly wore and stood by those labels. I have been in a non-union company for more than five years , vs nearly 20 as a union member, and have been more satisfied with my work ever since.

  • Jim & Connie Palmber

    We’re 100% behing Gov. Walker on this issue. Since that State of Wisconsin is in financial freefall due to the previous Governor and Legislature something has to be done. It would seem that this approach is the best for all concerned allowing public employees to keep their jobs while sharing the costs at a reasonable level.

  • chuck Bussie

    I believe that this had to happen, there is no easy way to do it

    I have children who are going to be greatly effected by this.

    I agree that it is being rammed down peoples throats.

    My dealings with unions tell me that there will be no backing down and no compromise from them.

    Unions are not built to deal with cutting anything.

    The real problems is not the workers and their saleries, it is all the promises and benefits given to a retired group that was unfunded by them in the first place. now all these bills will be placed on a younger group of tax payers.

    Like G.M. ought to declare bankruptcy and start over. won’t happen. but something has to or we end up like California or Illinois.

  • Judy & Wes

    Yes Governor Scott Warker – is doing the right thing – all unions need to be dissolved. Government workers need to know that the public sector is not a bed of roses – let them quit there government jobs and see how long they last in the public sector. Professional in the public sector work 50 to 70 hours per week -are held accountable for their performance and have no say over their salaries.

  • Kevin

    To people who think public employees should be singled out for pay and benefit cuts:

    I’m smart and you’re not! And I’m not a public employee. Wisconsin’s public workers will be forced by Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature to pay YOUR state deficit, because the Republicans are too stupid to come up with a fair plan. If you’re working – in or out of a union – beware of legislation that undercuts workers’ rights. YOU could be next!

    Also, consider: 1) the fact that cuts specific to teachers won’t add a penny to Wisconsin deficit relief!

    2) There is no sensible reason to limit union rights other than to damage workers, because unions have always negotiated on the tough issues and are not adverse to concessions.

    Finally, I ask the question: Why has Walker put the National Guard on call; hired a private Ohio security company and; told Capital Security Guards to tell state representatives not to see their constituents?

  • Wilma

    I, myself is a union member, not by choice…and I agree with your comment…keep up the good work Gov. Walker..you are doing what the people wants you to do.

  • Stibby

    One down: High-speed choo-choo.

    One to go: Public employee gravy train.

    All aboard!

  • Rick Husby

    Why is it always OK to give huge cuts to the upper 1% and hit the people working for a living? Reagan’s “trickle down” economics failed and now here we go again. These cuts are only the beginning. I just hope, Larry, that you’re not a senior…cause you’re next my friend. This guy is helping the big money people that got him into office and he’s going to crush everyone else. Why are middle class republicans so blind? Are firefighters more important than teachers? Since when? My kids need good teachers first and foremost. I hope it’s one term and out for this guy.

  • William Moore

    As part of an effort to improve the state’s ailing financial situation, Gov. Walker’s demand that the unions make concessions does not seem unreasonable. However, to demand concessions from state employees without requiring the wealthiest Wisconsinites to pony up a little more is a slap in the face to all middle class folks. I suspect the governor is more interested in punishing the unions and their members than he is in improving the state’s economic welfare. I suggest he and the legislature subject themselves to the same pay and benefit cuts they are imposing on state workers. This step would both benefit taxpayers and go a long way toward suggesting that the Republicans genuinely want to improve things, not simply bash a group that chose not to support Walker in his bid for governor.

  • G. S.

    I fully support Governor Walker’s plan. As one in the private sector, I’ve been cost sharing an ever increasing percentage of my health care since the 1990s and, up until my pension was handed over to the PBGC, I was contributing to that as well. To expect those of us in the private sector to contribute our wages to our benefits, yet require nothing of privleged government workers is preposterous! What makes government workers so special? What special talents do they posses that the general public doesn’t? This divide between union and non-union employees has been escalated by an individual masquerading as our President and such behavior is reprehensible at any level of government. As one who helps pay for a group of employees who generally produce nothing yet take everything they can, I vote for requiring some cost sharing on their behalf- or lay them off. Then, they can get a taste of what it’s like to be a citizen in the private sector!

  • Angela Adam

    How horrible this is.. My husband is a teacher and we have 3 children. I only work part time so that our kids don’t have to be raised by a daycare. This passing of the budget would be horrific for our family and either my husband will have to get a second job or I will. This will impact the state more in the fact that theses employees are not going to be able to spend as freely as most…taking a 17% cut off of our pay would mean no going out to eat, no shopping for anything extra and hopefully we will be able to pay our bill’s…How would everyone out there that supports this uneducated drop out like to take a 17% pay cut..It sounds good to everyone that it is NOT affecting, doesn’t it!

  • Angela Adam

    I agree with you William…this is a horrible time to cut pay and jobs. Punish the people who are here to help all!

  • Angela Adam

    I agree…No jobs…no stimulation of the government. It will hit the fan…when teachers are forced to others states to get jobs because we can’t afford to stay in the state of WI! Teachers are not paid well to begin with…It is the pensions and good health care that are the perks, not the pay! Trust me, my husband is a teacher and it is hard to live off of his income alone.

  • Bubba

    The state also needs to start privatizing as many state services as is possible. We are not only flat broke, we are in a financial pit. Desperate times call for desperate measure. You go Governor. The people of Wisconsin need to pull their heads out of the sand and realize we are in financial trouble. Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending.

  • Robert Biesel

    Have at it Scott! I’m sick of paying for state employees retirement funds when I can’t afford to retire and medical benefits when I can’t afford to pay for my own. State employees living high on the hog while the rest of us poor smucks have to pay for them. They’re the privileged class.

  • amy smith

    i bet that you wouldn’t be saying that if it were you that were a part of that group and worked hard for the pay and the benefits that you earned. that is affecting not only those employees but their families as well.

  • Tit-For-Tat

    Working in the public sector all my life as a contractor (unions call me a “scab”), I have to say that there are many parts I agree with. I used to get threatened by the good ole union boys when called in for work. They would show up in numbers in an attempt to get me to leave the work site – being female in an all-male work environment just made me tough from the beginning, so when they would show up, it wasn’t like I hadn’t dealt with their crap before. I would try to reason with them by reminding them that I too was a human being who had to eat, they didn’t care and I don’t care about them either. Now I own my own business, am my only employee and would love the opportunity to have a shot at more work and the right to support myself. I recently almost joined the union, I’m glad I haven’t. The handbook is more about how much they will cut into your Gross than it is about the “brotherhood” they want you to believe. However, I think it needs to go across the board…not just filter teachers, it needs to apply to government and police too. I agree with a semi-right to work state, not a Florida-style right to work state – we still need basic protections for ALL workers.

  • Darren

    Speaking from the perspective of an employee who worked in union shops as both part of the collective and not, I can honestly say, a unionized workforce is a burden and an unnecessary “evil.” The burden, in the private sector, is born by the non-bargained for employees, and is a factor in an industry’s interest in automation. The “unnecessary evil” comment is not intended to say unions are evil, but to say the basis for the need of an organized workforce is no longer valid. The unions were formed out the need to protect workers from: 1) Unsafe work conditions (OSHA now), 2) Being locked out of work for no reason (FLSA now), 3) Defining a reasonable work schedule (also FLSA now), and 4) Pushing the government to become engaged in “worker’s rights” (OSHA, FLSA, and a myriad other acts, laws, and “standard practices”).

    Why this long opening diatribe to such a “simple” situation? Because the Internet allows me to spout personal opinion like it matters to the greater population (LOL).

    Governor Walker’s proposal has great merit. The reports of “targeting” are unfortunate, if true. The complaints that the firefighter, and police are exempt from this action is dubious at best. There are specific contracts, classes of employees, and local agreements. Each contract must be visited separately. The demand of the unionized workforce to pay a portion of their health insurance premium, and make personal contributions to their pension fund is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever heard! Imagine being PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for your own life! Oh the humanity! These requests are not unreasonable. They are in align with the private sector industries aligned with the same work state employees perform. My personal involvement with unions and the company/industry I work for, has taught me the only purpose of a union now is to protect employees who are disciplinary nightmares, protects employees who do not “work as hard” as their peers, and can actually hinder the organization’s operations. The claims the union’s collective bargaining rights are being eliminated are ridiculous. ALL aspects of a person’s employment are negotiable and a people’s right to form a collective are guaranteed. If the employer refuses to negotiate then the people have the right not to work for that employer. So sayeth the laws governing an employee’s right to form a collective.

    Keep fighting for “money for nothing.” But when you are unemployed because of budget cuts, I don’t want to hear the whining. Put your collective heads back into the sunlight and realize your benefits are NOT supporting the collective society’s goals, only supporting the leaders of your union affiliations (they make money on your blood and sweat no matter how hard you work, how much you make, what benefits you pay, and whether you work or not).

    Oh what the heck – let’s privatize all government services. The companies in place to provide these services will hire you……well not ALL of you, but definitely 15% (maybe more). Don’t worry about having to interview for the position you held for years. The competition for available work is how it really works – the employer has the right to fond the most qualified people to fill their available positions (that means – those with demonstrated performance, attendance, and alignment with corporate goals).

  • Tracy

    living in WI, the R have turned me D; But go Scott., I pay 40% of my salary to Helath Care. We all are paying—-we all have to pay, this should be done at the federal level as well

  • KMD

    Please just answer one question…if this is truly about balancing the budget and not punishing unions, then why are they taking away the right to “pay union dues”???

  • Sandra Schneider

    You get rid of them and hire someone who will!!! There are plenty of people who want to work and can’t find a job!

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  • Denise

    I can’t wait for this to happen. When a parent wants me to stay after school to help their child (as a teacher)I can say, Nah I don’t feel like it. You don’t respect my rights so I don’t respect yours. Then I can go home and spend time with my children who are the ones I should be spending it with anyways.