Madison WI Schools Closed as Teachers <br>Stage "Sick Out" to Protest Budget Cuts

Raise your hand if you can walk off your job to protest govt. policy or legislation and not get fired. I can”t do that. Can you do that?]]>< ![CDATA[

From the Madison Wisconsin Journal:

“Madison schools will be closed Wednesday as teachers planned a district-wide absence to attend protests against Gov. Scott Walker”s proposal to limit union bargaining.

District Superintendent Dan Nerad made the announcement at 11 p.m. Tuesday after 40 percent of the 2,600 members of the teachers union had called in sick and more were expected to do so through Wednesday morning.

“At this ratio we have serious concerns about our ability to maintain safe and secure school environments,” Nerad said in the announcement.”

It”s unclear whether school will be held Thursday or Friday. Because, obviously, the teachers care more about money than educating children. Or am I being too cynical?

Last Friday, Gov. Walker(R) issued a budget repair proposal stating “Emergency measure is needed to balance the state budget and give government the tools to manage during economic crisis.” It”s designed to help plug a $3.6 billion shortfall in Wisconsin”s budget, including debt restructuring, Medicaid appropriations, selling state assets, and renegotiating employee compensation, etc.  The Governor”s proposal has been sent to Wisconsin”s Republican controlled legislature for debate in the coming week. Walker said the changes are necessary to avoid up to 6,000 state employee layoffs and the removal of more than 200,000 children from the online casino Medicaid program.

The cutbacks will effect many state & local union workers, including teachers. The key items which have the protesters panties in a twist are:

1) collective bargaining will only include salary considerations, and exclude pension and health benefits.
2) “right to work” provision so workers can opt out of paying union dues.
3) increase from zero to 5.8 percent of salary into employee pension fund.
4) increase from 6% to at least 12.6 percent of salary into employee health insurance costs.

I know. It”s almost inhuman to make people contribute to their own pension and health benefits, but those last two items alone would generate $30 million in savings by July 1, and roughly $300 million over the next two years when combined with the other concessions.

Or perhaps these unionists don”t care about lil kiddies being kick off Medicaid? Surely not.

Yet, last night, hundreds of unionists took to the streets in front of the governor”s private residence to voice their anger, before walking off the job Wednesday morning, closing Madison schools, abandoning students, and leaving working families scrambling for last minute day care.

Unlike most of us who can”t demand our neighbors pony up more money simply because we want it, these unionists obviously never learned that there is no money tree.

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May we live in interesting times