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Madison WI Schools Closed as Teachers
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?

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 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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Comments (50)

When was the last time I he... (Below threshold)
Cadrys:

When was the last time I heard of something on a grand scale like this, with unionized public servants walking out...oh yeah, air-traffic controllers in '81.

They have a contract curren... (Below threshold)

They have a contract currently, yes? Fine, keep the schools closed and keep explaining it's because the teachers refused to come to work if they have to pay for any of their benefits. How long is it going to take for the parents of suddenly-home-all-day kids that have jobs where they have to contribute to benefits to turn on them (and you can bet #2 on that list is the on that really got the unions fired up)? This stuff used to work back in the '80s.

Then the nation's governors met Chris Christie.

Teachers who 'called in sic... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Teachers who 'called in sick' should receive a call from their local school boards this evening. "You're fired".

The kids will probably lear... (Below threshold)
914:

The kids will probably learn more about life, liberals, unions and greed by staying home.

I'm mildly sympathetic towa... (Below threshold)
James H:

I'm mildly sympathetic toward the teachers on this point:

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.

That's about 10 percent of salary going bye-bye. It's going to hurt.

However, we are in tough economic times. If the state is having budget troubles, it needs to either increase revenues or trim expenses. Increasing tax rates during a fragile recovery is a no-go. So slash payroll it is.

Also notice ... teachers are not being singled out. All state employees are being asked to give up something. So teachers should not be spared.

The city of Madison should ... (Below threshold)
Bill Fabrizio:

The city of Madison should stage a "Wage Out" and deduct a day's pay and a pro-rata reduction in benefits as a response to the teachers actions!

PS. In the private sector,... (Below threshold)
James H:

PS. In the private sector, employees would certainly raise a stink if their employers slash benefits. But in the private sector, we do something else, too, when an employer starts slashing benefits ... we shop around the resume. That's the other angle on the ol' "right to work" thing.

End Tenure, Fire them all. ... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

End Tenure, Fire them all.

End public schools, issue vouchers for privates schools.

That's about 10 percent ... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

That's about 10 percent of salary going bye-bye. It's going to hurt.

It's better than being laid off due to budget cuts.

The "Right to Work" provisi... (Below threshold)
mojo:

The "Right to Work" provision is what really scares 'em. If California had one, half the state employees would dump SEIU tomorrow.

Can't have that.

Bye Bye. Boot 'em. They c... (Below threshold)
Mo:

Bye Bye. Boot 'em. They care not one whit about the kids. I'm ok with them protesting, but they can do it on Sat. or Sunday like the rest of us.

CLEARLY this is a PATCO moment, and the Gov. needs to fire every teacher on the line protesting or not showing up for work, unless they can get a note from their doctor!

It's better than b... (Below threshold)
James H:
It's better than being laid off due to budget cuts.

Which raises an interesting side point. What if it was presented to teachers at each school. "You can accept a 10 percent pay cut, or we can lay off XX teachers at this school." which would they accept, I wonder ...

What if it was pre... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:
What if it was presented to teachers at each school. "You can accept a 10 percent pay cut, or we can lay off XX teachers at this school." which would they accept, I wonder ...

If they are like the unions I've been a member of, the more secure and senior members will throw the juniors under the bus. And we didn't have tenure...
And from what I've seen of the avg teachers' union shop (I got out of the education track after student teaching) most of the tenured members wouldn't bat an eyelash if the 20-somethings were shown the door. So long as they kept their benefits and security

There are probably a lot of... (Below threshold)
Roy:

There are probably a lot of Illinois teachers available as replacements that would come north to avoid the never-ending FIB tax increases.

The striking teachers think... (Below threshold)
Sharon:

The striking teachers think they are above the rest of us... other professions do contribute to their pension funds & health care. Yes, the teachers are important, but so are the rest of us who need to support our families without all of the freebies handed to us. They need to look around & see the real world thru the rest of our eyes.

Governor Walker should do w... (Below threshold)
Stan:

Governor Walker should do what Ronald Reagan did in 1981, when the air traffic controllers went on an illegal strike. Fire them. All of them. Starting with the tenured ones first. Then take away all of the retirement that they illegally received by being union stooges. Then make the local school boards negotiate every contract of every teacher on a yearly basis. Also give them an evaluation every year and if they don't meet the standards set by the board, refuse to renew the contract and hire ones that will meet those standards.

No wonder children aren't l... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

No wonder children aren't learning in our public schools. The teachers don't even know basic math skills. ww

aw cmon. this iz da people... (Below threshold)
epador:

aw cmon. this iz da people's republic of Madison
don't hold your breath waiting for sensible politics and budget

"don't hold your breath wai... (Below threshold)
jim:

"don't hold your breath waiting for sensible politics and budget"

Especially not with Walker in office, this is merely a power grab. Teachers make hardly any money as it is, for such an important job they have in society.

Well, I knew I would... (Below threshold)
gnossoss papadopoulis:


Well, I knew I would find a bunch of submissive wussies here at Wizbang willing to tote the line of conservative bullshit. If you are making a WHOPPING 51,000 dollars a year and by no fault of your own after forgoing raises for years you are going to lose 5,000.00 and you don't raise a bunch of shit you are the ultimate spineless pussy. Exactly the kind of submissive terrified conservative that make up most of the Wizbang world. Do you guys ever stand up for anything good?

Yes. Your freedom of speec... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Yes. Your freedom of speech.

Well, given how numbingly i... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

Well, given how numbingly idiotic public sector K-12 teachers are, the affected kids probably will regain some I.Q. points with not having to go to school for a while.

The powerful teacher unions... (Below threshold)
Grace:

The powerful teacher unions do no favors for decent, good teachers. The most productive action the teachers could take would be to expel their union which protects bad teachers practically forever. Next, fight the ever-expanding bureacracy which mandates foolish programs foisted on teachers trying to actually teach during their classroom time. And last, but certainly not least, get back to teaching math, science, English and history.

Good teachers can make learning exciting, but good teachers are stifled by the layers above them mandating all kinds of nonsense.

Do you remember the new math? Multiply that idocy by 10 and it probably still doesn't cover the wasted time and resources that happens inside the schools.

What people in Wisconsin, a... (Below threshold)
RJ:

What people in Wisconsin, and elsewhere, need to remember is that over the years, teachers have sacrificed salary increases so that they could maintain their excellent benefits. This has resulted in many of the teachers in our state neing underpaid by professional standards (for those with Bachelor's degrees) by as much as 49% in some districts. Teachers have made, and continue to make, sacrifices in order to meet the needs of our students. How many private sector employees would go out and purchase supplies for their company, out of their own pocket, when the company says there is no money for supplies? Not many. So before we villify our teachers lets remember that they have sacrificed and will continue to do so for our state.

aristotle papadoofus-... (Below threshold)
914:

aristotle papadoofus-

"Exactly the kind of submissive terrified conservative that make up most of the Wizbang world. Do you guys ever stand up for anything good?"


Yes, your right to make a complete an utter ass of yourself.


This has resulted in man... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

This has resulted in many of the teachers in our state neing underpaid by professional standards (for those with Bachelor's degrees) by as much as 49% in some districts. Teachers have made, and continue to make, sacrifices in order to meet the needs of our students.

Proof positive that the kids are being taught by idiots. If teachers are concerned about pay, and think that they're underpaid, then they should pursue one of those better paying jobs you talk about.

Bottom line: you don't have a right to do the job you want at the pay you want. Most people have to make trade offs between the two.

"Adulthood," I believe it's called.

Teacher have always been un... (Below threshold)
Jessica Tomberlin:

Teacher have always been underpaid. This is sick. Those who complain that their children will have to be home do not care that they are not receiving an education that day- they just rely on the free convenience of not having to arrange child care! Nine times out of ten, teachers care much more about children than the children's own parents do. They should remember that they were once given a public education, too. If it were not for their education and their children's education, the upper class citizens would be forced to stay at home and teach their children, instead of avoiding them by going to the office and bringing home their undeserved inflated salaries!

Teacher have always been... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Teacher have always been underpaid.

No, they're not. In fact, they're overpaid.

"What?," you splutter? How can I say that?

Easy. Are school districts having trouble recruiting teachers?

Answer: no. Quite the contrary, at least here in CA. People fight to get teaching jobs. Ergo, teachers are overpaid. If you can't get someone to do the job at the offered salary, you're offering too little. And conversely, ...

If you (and you're obviously a teacher. Duh.) think you're underpaid, and money matters to you, get a better paid job. It would serve us right. If on the other hand, you "do it for the children," then STFU about the money, or admit that that statement is bullshit.

Nine times out of ten, teachers care much more about children than the children's own parents do.

Much as I love totally unsubstantiated conclusory statements, this one is a dilly. First, how does one assess "level of caring?" Second, "caring" is totally irrelevant in any case. Would you rather have competence or caring? In teaching, as in medical care, give me a competent asshole over a caring incompetent any time.

bringing home their undeserved inflated salaries!

Behold the intellectual level of our teachers, at least this one. She cannot discern the obvious logical flaws in her statement, and therefore embarrasses herself.

But let's help her by positing these questions:

1. By what operational criterion are we to decide what salary someone deserves?

2. Similarly, by what operational criterion do we decide whether someone's salary is "inflated?"

To prevent you from wasting your time in a rant about anti-intellectual, anti-education know-nothings, be advised I was a university professor for many years.

"Those who complain that th... (Below threshold)
914:

"Those who complain that their children will have to be home do not care that they are not receiving an education that day-"


No, they probably have more pressing issue's to deal with, like who is going to care for My children while I am at work. Or, will I be fired if I miss work to stay home with the kids?

That may make them bad parents to You but then, who really gives a shit?


If teachers gave a rat's pa... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

If teachers gave a rat's patootie about the children, they wouldn't be faking sickness to protest their being asked to bear their share of the burden of cutbacks. There is no real choice - states cannot run deficits like the federal government.

All these union thugs care about is their own sweetheart deals. As Nick2 points out @ #22, the kids will probably benefit from not being exposed to the educrat nonsense for a day.

Not yet addressed is all th... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

Not yet addressed is all the State regulation plumping Administrations.

Back in the not-so-old days their were 2.5 teachers per administrator. More like 1 to 1 now.

Governments are this biennium doing the easy work. Revenues are not coming back. Hard work will have to be done.

What most here fai... (Below threshold)
gnossoss papadopoulis:

What most here fail to realize is the direct result of strong unions and the average wage for everyone else. The further you drive down unions and union wages the less everyone else makes. This is a no brainer to most but Wizbangers may need a graph:

http://www.stanford.edu/group/scspi/cgi-bin/fact17.php

It's all about "ME!". Whil... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

It's all about "ME!". While these teachers demand that tax payers fund their pensions on top of paying their salaries and the lion's share of their health benefits, vacations, etc., they're pretty much telling any other government employees that could lose their jobs due to the fact that the goverment is out of money, "Too friggin bad for you! I want my freebies."

What happened to the constant refrain "everyone has to pitch in"?

The fact is, their union AND their government have put them in this position together and only one of them realizes that something's gotta give.

#32What you describe... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

#32
What you describe is also called inflation.

"Raise your hand if y... (Below threshold)
John S:

"Raise your hand if you can walk off your job to protest govt. policy or legislation and not get fired."

These teachers need to understand that their next job (if they are lucky) will pay $8 hour, have no benefits, no vacation days, no sick days, mandatory work on weekends and every holiday. And they can and will be fired for the slightest infraction. I work up to 12 hours on my feet at my McJob. If I ever left the floor for 5 minutes to go to the bathroom, there would be an illegal alien standing in my place when I returned. Hence, I go to work with an empty stomach and an empty bladder!

What most here fail to r... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

What most here fail to realize is the direct result of strong unions and the average wage for everyone else.

Uh, no.

"That's about 10 perc... (Below threshold)
John S:

"That's about 10 percent of salary going bye-bye. It's going to hurt."

Cry me a river. I took an 80 percent cut in 2010.

I took an 80 percent cut in... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

I took an 80 percent cut in 2010.

I lost my job and took a 33% cut to find another and lost all vacation and heatlh benefits. My husband lost his job and took a cut upon finding another and now pays more for health benefits, gets no bonuses and fewer vacation days.

You adjust your style of living. It's as simple as that. We cut the cable bill in half, cancelled unnecessary memberships, started buying store brands, etc.

Demonstrating to students i... (Below threshold)
Olsoljer:

Demonstrating to students it is OK to lie.
There are plenty of unemployed teachers out there, making NO money, I bet they would be thrilled to have jobs now - fire the sick ones, give them their 2 weeks severance pay, and hire the unemployed teachers on a contract more acceptable. In the meantime, suspend school and "tack" the school time missed by the students onto the end of the school year. That should also make the parents aware they should become more involved in education.

Crush public sector unions.... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Crush public sector unions. All of them.

The whole principle is fundamentally immoral. Public sector employees get to vote on who their bosses will be, and make campaign contributions to them, which in any other context would be an illegal kickback, a bribe, to cut a sweetheart contract.

Public sector unions gotta go.

What most here fail to r... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

What most here fail to realize is the direct result of strong unions and the average wage for everyone else.

Ridiculous.

First, union members are a small fraction of the workforce (ca. 10%, IIRC).

Second, most of them are in the public sector, where they have little to no impact on wages paid in the private (i.e., grownup) sector. Try going to a private sector boss and asking for a raise because union thugs in the government get paid more.

Third, as pointed out above, higher wages result in no small measure from inflation. If everyone's pay gets doubled...prices double too, obviously.

But thanks for sharing leftist theology.

32. Posted by gnossoss papa... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

32. Posted by gnossoss papadopoulis | February 17, 2011 7:41 AM

Friend, you are letting your given name delude you.

PhDs other than Education are regularly underpaid in State and Local governments.

PhDs of Ed are more in excess than lawyers in our economy.

Janitors in government are wealthy in comparison to their private peers.

Chart Fu doesn't do a thing to change the obvious.

Union wages are tied to pri... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Union wages are tied to private sector wages, but not the way Mr. Chart Fu thinks.

Unions negotiate their wages based on a multiple of private sector wages. Most specifically on minimum wage (why do you think they're always so gung-ho about raising the minimum wage?) But they only get the good end of the deal. When private sector wages freeze or even go down, the union wages have historically never suffered that horrid injustice.

Every "sick" teacher should... (Below threshold)
Oldpuppymax:

Every "sick" teacher should be fired and replaced.

Raise your hand if... (Below threshold)
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?

Heh. I dare the union thugs to try to pull this stunt in New Jersey, where Chris Christie lives.

OregonMuse: Governor Chris... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

OregonMuse: Governor Christie has called Governor Walker to voice his support.

That's about 10 percent of ... (Below threshold)
Ernie:

That's about 10 percent of salary going bye-bye. It's going to hurt

it's not a 10% cut because it is before taxes. it is more like a 6% cut.
I work as a contractor and do not get any paid time off or medical. they need to learn what it is like in the real world.

<a href="http://www.jsonlin... (Below threshold)
James H:

This is troubling:

Except for police, firefighters and troopers, raises would be limited to inflation unless a bigger increase was approved in a referendum. The non-law enforcement unions would lose their rights to bargain over anything but wages, would have to hold annual elections to keep their organizations intact and would lose the ability to have union dues deducted from state paychecks.

Seems to me that if you're cutting union rights and wage increases to public employees, you need to cut them across the board. Kevin Drum attributes this to partisanship, though I'm not sure I'd go as far as he does.

it's not a 10% cut... (Below threshold)
James H:
it's not a 10% cut because it is before taxes. it is more like a 6% cut. I work as a contractor and do not get any paid time off or medical. they need to learn what it is like in the real world.

Couple notes:

1) It's 10 percent of gross, perhaps 6 percent of net. We're both right.

2) In the real world? You mean in the private sector, where I get a rather generous PTO benefit, and where millions of Americans get good benefits including paid medical and PTO?

James,Public. Sect... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

James,

Public. Sector. Unions. Gotta. Go.

It's that simple.




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