Woodson Releases Statement In Support Of Wisconsin's Workers

Charles Woodson released a statement today through the players union in support of the unions that are in a standoff with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker

Charles Woodson has released the following statement through the NFLPA:

Last week I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them. Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work.
It is an honor for me to play for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and be a part of the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. I am also honored as a member of the NFL Players Association to stand together with working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against this attempt to hurt them by targeting unions. I hope those leading the attack will sit down with Wisconsin's public workers and discuss the problems Wisconsin faces, so that together they can truly move Wisconsin forward.

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Comments (125)

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Okay. Everyone should watch:

(1) This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP3b0_fnPxQ

(2) The documentary "Waiting for Superman."

And then let's have an intelligent informed conversation that doesn't rely on meaningless talking points about "attacks" on "basic rights."

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PackerAaron's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:12 pm

Love that movie - available on Netflix for those interested.

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bleedsgreen's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:40 pm

Great as drama, but truly shabby as informative documentary.

A former Bush supporting education scholar weights in: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/

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PackerAaron's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:49 pm

And after all that - I can still love it. Amazing huh?

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bleedsgreen's picture

February 20, 2011 at 02:16 pm

Amazing is one word for it, I suppose, if you "love" the blatant miseducation of the American public on one of the critical issues of the day.

Woot~~~

As a teacher, and direct target of such propaganda, I'm a bit less sanguine about such things.

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PackerAaron's picture

February 20, 2011 at 03:03 pm

You're right. I should in no way shape or form be happy that it helped start a national conversation about an educational system in dire need of an overhaul. (rollseyes)

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bleedsgreen's picture

February 20, 2011 at 03:47 pm

Not only that, you should engage in three self-criticism sessions at your local PS.

Seriously though... I said, "less than sanguine" - which doesn't mean I issuing a diktat for public hate sessions... I'm just saying, an educated viewer might want to be aware of how the movie is conducisve to some very detrimental cultural movements that demonize the very people who are at the front lines of trying to make a difference.

Would you be all that happy with a "documentary" that uses a terribly biased portrayal of the facts to place the bulk of the blame for all of the economy's woes on the financial services industry and helped inspire the culture to demonize you, even if it was conducive to starting a national conversation? Maybe you would. For me, having been called a free-loader and told I "don't care about the kids" because I'm a public school teacher in a union, it's a bit harder to do that.

(smiles kindly)

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 20, 2011 at 07:51 pm

I think the movie is pretty upfront about the limitations on charter schools, and the movie DEFINITELY does not demonize *teachers.* The movie goes way out of its way to distinguish between teachers and their union.

My two points in the original post are:

(1) We really are facing a serious crisis. Pensions and healthcare costs are the biggest culprit, and one way or another, we have to get it fixed.

(2) Public sector unions are too often obstacles to reform and have been protecting bad employees and some just really terrible human beings for far too long. A lot of the public is rightfully fed up.

It's not just teachers. Here in Milwaukee there is a story about a cop (with a nice record of "disciplinary" actions) responding to a 911 call and raping a woman. (Yeah, yeah "allegedly") Oh, and here the best part, after he (allegedly) raped her he threw her in jail for a day (where she wasn't getting medical treatment for her trauma). The local DA refused to prosecute the guy because cops wan't testify against one of their own. Now the feds are getting involved. Why wasn't this guy fired years ago? This a real problem.

With all due respect to Mr. Woodson, (and I respect him quite a bit), we have to get away from all the "fundamental rights" claptrap and start to examine this like we would any other matter of public policy. Ultimately, it's not a "fundamental right" for public employees to collectively bargain. It is a statutory right granted by voters. If voters can enact a statute, voters have the power to revoke or amend it. All of this "fundamental rights" rhetoric is just not helpful.

--------------------------

As an aside, my oldest child attends a one of the language immersion programs in MPS. (My youngest will go there as well.) It's a great school and he has a great teacher.

It's both wonderful and depressing that there are pockets of fantastic schools even PUBLIC schools within MPS. All of the students that request my child's school get in. The barrier to entry is having one parent show up at a central MPS office with a birth certificate some January morning. How do we fix that problem?

For each child attending of the lotteries at the end of Waiting For Superman (first of all that was just cruel to conduct the lotteries like that) there are hundreds of children that weren't there because they lost in the "parent lottery."

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Unfortunately, I have to disagree from the get-go. PLEASE READ THE BILL AND EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT IS IN IT. Walker's bill eviscerates unions that have nothing to do with education, and even one union whose demise will have zero impact on the state budget - the SEIU nurses who work for UW Hospitals and Clinics. This is a political attack under the guise of a budget repair bill.

Does the education system need reform? You bet. Is Wisconsin's public pension system in a shambles? No. We have one of the only 100% solvent public pension systems in the country. But Walker's bill calls for a study on how to dismantle it. Unsurprisingly, the study is due in the summer of 2012, just in time for campaign season.

The bill also gives the Secretary of Health Services the unilateral power to change Medicaid and Medicare coverage with only a 14-day passive review by the Joint Finance Committee, which has a 3-1 Republican majority. So much for getting unelected bureaucrats out of your life. The legislature will never even have to read or review these rule changes. If you have a family member over the age of 65, or a disabled or handicapped family member, you need to go to Wisconsineye.org and watch the interview dated 02.03.11 with Secretary Dennis Smith. He talks alot about "strengthening the role of the family." Get ready to host a relative once the cuts kick in. I don't know what disabled or elederly folks without families will do.

Finally, hang on to your property tax bill for 2010, and compare with the bill you get for 2011 or 2012. You will see dramatic increases. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards is warning about cuts of $900 million for the next biennium. Don't believe me, go the news archives at wispolitics.com. Similar cuts will be coming to your municipality. They will not be able to make up the difference by slashing wages and benefits.

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 21, 2011 at 07:41 am

"We have one of the only 100% solvent public pension systems in the country."

I love to see your source on this. Does your source take into account anticipated retirements in the next 120-20 years?

Moreover, this bill affects not just the state, but county and municipalities as well. I KNOW that MKE County is heading towards bankruptcy. I suspect there are others as well.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 21, 2011 at 01:26 pm

The Wisconsin Retirement System is fully funded. Wisconsin is one of the few states that has fully paid as they go. No one debates this point in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County has a separate retirement system. They are the only county that does. Milwaukee schools, pension fund, etc., all have problems that either do not exist in the rest of the state, or are much less severe.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 21, 2011 at 02:04 pm

http://www.swib.state.wi.us/WRSsustainability.pdf

Here's a document explaining why Wisconsin's retirement system is so stable.

It's also worth noting that Wisconsin has one of the lowest numbers of public employees per capita in the midwest, and the nation.

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packfan4u2c's picture

February 21, 2011 at 05:41 pm

thank you D.D Driver!

I 100% agree with evrything you have said!its good to know that some people (including you) really know what they're talking about!

PS : I have so much respect for Woodson... but only on the football feild!

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snackpack's picture

February 22, 2011 at 09:49 pm

MarkinMadison, you are absolutely right- Walker's bill is an attempt to destroy public sector unions plain and simple.

The unions in question have AGREED TO ALL OF THE CUTS to their pension and benefits that are a part of this bill, which means that this fight no longer has anything at all to do with the Wisconsin budget deficit. It is about Walker trying to end over 50 years of collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin public sector workers.

I have read the bill and it is scary.

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Irish Cheesehaed's picture

February 21, 2011 at 07:07 pm

Problem is most people watch that and look at nothing else. Lazy Americans sitting on their couch eating potato chips and drinking soda will believe anything they see on the boob tube. Just don't ask them to actually READ anything or find out the facts. Too much work.

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pooch's picture

February 21, 2011 at 09:19 pm

Woody needs to stick with football.Freebies are done for government workers.Go to a different state and work if you don't like what's happening or subsidize my R.E taxes,healthcare &401k and maybe I can retire at 55 instead of 62

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Packer Pete's picture

February 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Agreed. Fire the ones who skip work to protest. Thousands of qualified people would love to have those jobs. Good riddance to the collectivists!

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ibleedgrnngold's picture

February 21, 2011 at 03:54 am

Obviously their jobs arent that important to them if theyre skipping out...wait what? lol

Glossed over in all of this are the 1500+ unlucky 'union brothers' that wont have a job to protest over if they get their way and the bill doesnt pass

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bleedsgreen's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:11 pm

Way to go Wood.

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Starry Barts's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:19 pm

+1.

Maybe a P.R. person wrote/edited it for him, but I appreciate the articulate and thoughtful rhetoric of the statement. Nice.

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MadJam's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:24 pm

Agree! We stand together.

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JJB's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:19 pm

Good job 21. Let's get the devil out of WI

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packfan4u2c's picture

February 21, 2011 at 05:45 pm

Dont worry the senotors already ran away!

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Evan's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:27 pm

I love that the Packers are throwing their support behind the workers. I didn't think I could like Woodson more than I already did.

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jack in jersey city's picture

February 20, 2011 at 02:29 pm

+1

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packfan4u2c's picture

February 21, 2011 at 05:45 pm

-10!

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hyperRevue's picture

February 21, 2011 at 06:16 pm

Ouch.

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Irish Cheesehaed's picture

February 21, 2011 at 07:08 pm

+100

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Mark O'Brien's picture

February 20, 2011 at 01:42 pm

Somebody tell the bosses at both my jobs that collective bargaining is a "basic right". And while you're speaking with them mention that starting monday I'll be taking a sick week to support my Governor.

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Packerbacker's picture

February 20, 2011 at 02:53 pm

Amen brother. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of collective bargaining rights.

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Josh's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:19 pm

Hey it's easy to trash teachers, let's just forget they teach the next generation of people.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 09:36 am

No one is trashing teachers. That's a cop-out and a weak argument. My wife is a teacher, as well as 5 aunts/uncles and my grandmother. That doesn't mean we have to pay them more than the market would pay someone if it was a private industry, or pay for their entire retirement and health insurance.

The problem is that Democrats are too eager to coddle the unions when they are in power because that is their constituency, then when they've gone too far, and our budget is shot to hell, we elect Republicans to be the "bad guys" who have to make major cuts and fix things.

That's a nice little arrangement for the Dems, wouldn't you say?

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PackerAaron's picture

February 21, 2011 at 10:10 am

"No one is trashing teachers" - not in this thread perhaps. But teachers are being made out as the villains elsewhere. And it is beyond absurd.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:11 am

Maybe so, but the trash talk goes both ways. Also, it's hard to not loose a little respect for someone if they decide not to show up for work and to use deception to do it. Especially when their decision affects so many other people. One of the people I manage lost out on a days-worth of pay because she didn't have enough warning to find day-care for her kid and lost out on a day of work. That kind of stuff doesn't exactly breed respect.

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PackerAaron's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

Feel free to check my Twitter timeline when the news broke about teachers staying home from school. I am completely against it and I think it sends the wrong message (hell, my father and I have had a public back and forth on it on my Facebook page. He's a retired teacher and disagrees with my take) That said - why did they not show up? Because they were attacked. You make it sound like they were sitting around going "Hm. How can we screw with people that PackerBacker manages?" Being a teacher is one of if not THEE most important job in society - and we continually give them short shrift. Then we wonder why they need unions and act out when we attack them. It's beyond absurd.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I was only using my fellow employee as an example of what happened to hundreds of people.
They don't work 24-7, there are other times when they can protest if they want to. They made a choice to leave their jobs and in my eyes, that looses them a little respect.

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packfan4u2c's picture

February 21, 2011 at 05:49 pm

The fact that they can do what ever the hell they want without being fired for doing nothing ( if they have been working as a teachers for 10 years or +) or that they get so much money and public schools dont do half as well as private schools and they're teachers get paid less... well it means SOMETHING! dont it?

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JackieTreehorn's picture

February 21, 2011 at 03:51 pm

Your kidding about republicans making the major cuts right?

Because if you are thats a pretty good joke.

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Hyperrevue's picture

February 21, 2011 at 08:27 pm

Don't you remember how Clinton left that huge deficit after he left office and Bush had to make all those tough spending cuts to balance the budget? I'm pretty sure I have that right.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 22, 2011 at 05:40 pm

Are you insinuating that Democrats are bastions of budget reform? Because that's just silly.

And as for Clinton, it was the Republican Congress that did the real work as far as the budget. He just rode the wave and took all the credit.

Bush did spend too much money. I'll give you that one.

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Point Packer's picture

February 20, 2011 at 03:00 pm

As the son of a father who was a 30 year civil servant, thanks Charles.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 20, 2011 at 03:00 pm

People speak about what they value most with their wallet. A prime example of this is the NFL today. Economy still in the tank, and yet the owners and NFL office has consecutively broken financial ceilings for the past 10 years it seems. (how's that working out this offseason?) ;)
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It's amazing to me that we as a culture so obviously value our health, with doctors, surgeons, drug companies, hospital admin, etc.. all being paid so highly. And we so obviously value our rights: With most private sector careers within the judicial system being high on the pay scale.
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Yet the ones we ask to educate our children we expect to work sometimes 70+ hours a week for a small percentage of the pay that most of the careers I've mentioned above gain annually.
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Being a public school teacher has long been a career that you work many more than 40 hours a week to get paid much less than those in the private sector. Now the conservative government in WI (and elsewhere soon) is going to take away the only part of being a teacher that is a financial boon: a good pension and good health care.
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Newsflash right wingers: If you want intelligent and talented teachers you have to pay for them. Already many people who would be good educators have chosen other career paths to pursue a more fiscally successful lifestyle. Further, if you alienate so many veteran teachers who still are in the prime of their careers by cutting their already meager pay (which, in effect, is what cutting benefits and pension is - an attack on their bottom line income) they will leave to pursue a lifestyle that will support them and their families better. Then watch the schools go even further in the tank. Bottom line: If we as a culture want good schools, we as a culture have to pony up for them with our back pockets. Period.
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There are three things I will always vote (and thereby want to pay) for: 1. More money for education to enhance the quality of the future workforce. 2. Healthcare to take care of people who need it. 3. Because of the USA's position as a "super-power" and the large number of people who hate us simply because of that. That puts me in a position where I routinely despise both parties and their attendant kickbacks for who got them into office and their political posturing against whoever worked against them during their campaign.
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All that being said: I do not consider myself a rightest or a leftist. I vote for the candidate, not a political ideology. This bill is a thinly disguised attack by the Republican Party of WI on unions - who always throw their full support behind whatever candidate is furthest left on the political line. It's very similar to how the Democrats acted nationally when Obama's Healthcare bill was pushed through. Republicans were more mad that it hit their political backers in the back pocket (thereby weakening their party) than they were about the bill itself. In both cases, the bills were posturing and grandstanding, with a design on gaining more power by the bill's backers.
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That is just my take. You can all feel free to roundly disagree with me in a (hopefully) respectful manner. That is the beauty of democracy.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 20, 2011 at 03:05 pm

Sorry - after re-reading: the 3rd thing I vote for is military spending... just realized that sentence was not clear.

Out

Bearmeat

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jack in jersey city's picture

February 20, 2011 at 03:15 pm

right on. the workers have already said that they would be willing to concede on their pensions and health care and governor walker said that it's not good enough. this is ALL about union busting. if you look at the top 10 political contributors during election years only 3 of them support the democratic party and all 3 of them are unions.

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Oppy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 04:07 pm

This isn't "all about union busting" for the sake of union busting.

This is, however, about trying to balance a budget. Just so happens that the Unions don't care about how far in debt the state of WI is, they just care about getting more for their workers, they don't care where it comes from or what effect it will have. That's not their concern.

I'm not making a stand, here. I'm not taking sides. I'm just making the realities crystal clear.

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Chad Toporski's picture

February 20, 2011 at 04:59 pm

"Just so happens that the Unions don’t care about how far in debt the state of WI is, they just care about getting more for their workers, they don’t care where it comes from or what effect it will have. That’s not their concern."

That may be true to a point, but if they've shown a willingness to concede items of contention in order to help the budget, then how can you argue they don't care?

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jack in jersey city's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:24 pm

oppy- sorry buddy but you're flat out wrong. do some research and you'll see that the unions and the workers ARE willing to concede on their pensions and health care but do not want to give up their right to collective bargaining. scott walker came out on friday and said that he would not accept those conditions. if this is all about balancing WI's budget then he would have accepted their terms and this would be over immediately.

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Ceallaigh_k's picture

February 21, 2011 at 03:07 pm

<i>It’s amazing to me that we as a culture so obviously value our health, with doctors, surgeons, drug companies, hospital admin, etc.. all being paid so highly</i>

Wasn't going to weigh in on this, but as a physician I want to address this. I just love how salaries created out of nothing but hyperbole are always trotted out to bring about fear and loathing. As a rural primary care physician, I hardly command a huge salary. In fact, primary care physicians tend to make the "league minimum," work ridiculous hours, and get a fraction of the salaries of subspecialists.

But ask any primary care family physician, internist or pediatrician why they went in to medicine, and you'll get a similar an answer as you would receive from most teachers: it's about helping those in need and advocating. If I wanted to be a bamillionaire doctor, I would've become an ophthamologist or plastic surgeon. As it is, I see some of the poorest kids in the region and, guess what? I love my job.

That said, I refuse to demonize public teachers in this budget/labor dispute in Wisconsin. A local state senator (thankfully not mine!) said he doesn't give two rips about teachers' opinons because "they don't produce a product."

I guess the future of the entire state isn't an important comodity for him. Sigh.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 21, 2011 at 05:49 pm

C -

My point is not to rip doctors. If that is how it came across, my apologies.

My point is to show how little teachers make in comparison to other similarly skilled workers. Most teaching vets have a masters degree, plus enough yearly "continuing education" credits that by the time they retire, they have enough college coursework to have doctorate's a number of times over.

I am not in any way denigrating the medical profession (nor the legal profession for that matter).

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Ceallaigh_k's picture

February 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Sorry if I pounced. Guess i'm extra twitchy because I'm sick of finger pointing at primary care docs and also the kid of a college educator.

I get where you're coming from.

*olive branch*

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Joe P's picture

February 20, 2011 at 03:30 pm

Collective bargining is not a right, and should not be for public workers. Even the patron saint of liberalism FDR knew this. Scott Walker is not taking any rights away, public workers will still have their unions. Oh and by the way, which union is speaking up for me the taxpayer? If teachers are so professional, they should have been at work here in Wisconsin for the last 3 days and not in Madison picketing. True professionals would have been at work. Why does anyone care what Charles Woodson has to say about this anyway?

Next time I hear a teacher say they do it for the kids I am going to puke.

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Josh's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:21 pm

Collective bargaining is a right.

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MadJam's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:28 pm

Agree.

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Brian's picture

February 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Perhaps you ought to read the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. I don't see collective bargaining mentioned. When laws are enacted to "give" someone a "privilege" it is equally acceptable to remove that law when justified to remove that "privilege". Owning a car is a privilege just as collective bargaining.

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jeremy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:31 pm

More nonsense from those educated by Shock Jocks.

Freedom of assembly/association is widely recognized around the world as freedom to bargain collectively.

Look it up for yourself.

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Joe P's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm

There is no right for public sector employees to collectively bargin. There are many states were they cannot collectively bargin. I love the way people through the word "right" around.

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seekr's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:40 pm

You'd think differently if you had a wife who taught early childhood special education.

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stinkdaddy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 06:07 pm

"Which union is speaking up for the taxpayer?"

Republican National Committee, Club for Growth, Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Tax Reform, Heritage Foundation, Cato Industries, Americans for Prosperity, Andrew Breitbart, Wisconsin GOP, Governor Walker, etc. You may not have seen that DC interest groups have set up a "Stand With Walker" website to solicit donations from people nationwide, but let's not pretend that the folks on your side of the fence are somehow marginalized in this.

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Joe P's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:58 am

The difference here is that these entities get voluntary donations. If I want to work in the Public sector in Wisconsin I am mandated to join the union or make a fair share payment. This money is then used to elect democrats or politicans who will support their causes. This is a conflict of interest. There is a big difference between private sector unions and public sector unions, even FDR knew this.

What is happening now in Madision is a perfect example on why public employees should not be unionized.

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Brian's picture

February 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm

FYI,
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the patron saint of the American labor movement, was a man of strong character. One has to look no further than the heroic way he coped with his crippling polio. This dreadful disease undoubtedly made him the consummate realist.
For example, although he had a lock on labor's vote, he expressed caution about public sector unions. In a little-known letter he wrote to the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in 1937, Roosevelt reasoned:

"... Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the government. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations ... The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for ... officials ... to bind the employer ... The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives ...

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PackerAaron's picture

February 20, 2011 at 06:32 pm

"Why does anyone care what Charles Woodson has to say about this anyway?" Because he's a former union rep for a union that is currently in a very public struggle with management. And because he's a Green Bay Packer.

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packfan4u2c's picture

February 21, 2011 at 05:56 pm

Joe P -

I got your back!
i cant agree with you more!

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Packer Pete's picture

February 20, 2011 at 04:42 pm

Bearmeat, value in a free market is based on two factors, demand AND supply. Many people who argue for more pay for teachers (or other occupations) forget about that.

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Josh's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:22 pm

This isn't a free market system, you are clearly misinformed.

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PackersRS's picture

February 20, 2011 at 06:53 pm

I'm not gonna enter into the Wisconsin Workers issue, but the free market system collapesed around 1929.

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PackerBelle's picture

February 20, 2011 at 07:48 pm

That only works in a perfectly competitive market. Labor markets tend to be monopsonistic - meaning one party has more market power than the other. And that party is almost always the employer. This distorts the labor market and you do not get the most efficient allocation of resources. From an economics standpoint, unions help address the imbalance of market power by consolidating the power of the workforce.

The free market system only works efficiently when a series of unrealistic assumptions are met. Very few markets are perfectly competitive, have no barriers to entry or exit the marketplace, all parties have access to perfect information regarding the transaction, etc.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

Can you think of a more competitive market than education? There is a school in every city/town/hamlet you visit. Each one run by a different principal. I would agree that there are industries where the companies have all of the power, but education is not that industry. You could make the argument that the unions are causing more problems with that system than they are helping.

Most people working in the manufacturing setting would fall all over themselves to be in a situation like that.

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PackerAaron's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

I love it when the private sector makes this argument. Right - because manufacturing an inanimate object is just like teaching a young human being. It's no wonder we devalue teachers so much when we make absurdly flippant comparisons like this one.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I wish I had a job that instilled such emotions in people that they were willing to pay me more than I'm worth. There aren't many of those.

And the teachers union does more to over-value bad teachers who've been teaching for too long.

Please do not misunderstand me. Teaching is a very difficult job and takes a huge commitment. They have to deal with many little pricks every day who don't want to be there, and they deal with their crappy parents who don't have a clue. These aren't the majority of kids or parents, but enough to make it tough.

But with that level of commitment, some teachers can give up and loose the will to be great teachers. The union forces the school systems to keep those teachers around instead of replacing them with good teachers who have the will to teach.

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PackerBelle's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Education is not perfectly competitive. For one thing, teachers don't have somewhere else that they can use their skills. They pretty much have to teach or not work in their field. Whereas someone who works an assembly line can more easily transfer between industries because their skill set more easily transfers. A cashier with Target could fairly easily transfer those skills to cashier at Wal-mart. Or with someone who has a degree in economics, such as myself, can work in a variety of fields. What else could an English teacher do besides teach?

And while each school has a different principal, there are limited differences within school districts. And given that school districts, especially those in rural areas, can cover good sized geographic areas there is less competition since the cost of either commuting long distances or having to move yourself (and possibly a family) to a new location. So districts are not having to compete as much because they are not always geographically close. That also limits competition.

Also given that teachers have to focus on one field and typically level (elementary, junior high, high school) there is not always multiple positions open in one area also limiting competition for that teacher. One teaching position is not equivalent to another. As a result the assumption of perfect information on both sides is not met, since a candidate doesn't neccessarily know what neighboring districts offer in terms of wages and other compensation.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Fine, I'll concede that education is not "perfectly" competitive. However, since perfection will never be achieved in the real world, I'll take "pretty damn close". And from where I'm sitting, education is pretty damn close.
That evidence is pretty clear from the large number of out of work teachers who apply for every opening a district has. The only exception being in areas where the job is made more difficult by environmental factors (ex. MPS). But even there, they pay teachers larger salaries to get them to apply. Isn't this an example of how the free market system should work everywhere?

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PackerBelle's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm

It is not even close to perfectly competitive never mind 'perfectly damn close'.

As for the multiple number of people who apply for each position is evidence that it isn't perfectly competitive. There is an excess supply of teachers meaning that there is some market failure preventing the efficient allocation of resources.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 02:26 pm

But it's the union that's creating the market failure. By keeping the wages/benefits higher than the true ceiling, they are creating a higher supply than there is a demand.

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Tommyboy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:33 pm

I'm a school psychologist. The clips I've seen on Waiting for Superman focus on large urban districts. Some of the concepts they show are completely foreign to any district I've been a part of. That said, I've seen only about 10 minutes of "highlights" from that documentary, so I have absolutely no right to criticize or support it. What I can say is that in my district, there is a long way to go.

On the positive side, several teachers in our district work 60+ hr work weeks. If we strike, we'll strike by only working our contracted hours. Very few other professions could do that because they either get paid extra for overtime, or wouldn't be missed.

HOWEVER...MAN, we have some who cannot wrap their mind around differentiating instruction or trying to pull in the "bad kids." I could make this post absolutely, absurdly long by siting examples. I'll just say INSERT 3 ABSURD EXAMPLES HERE and leave it at that for now. We have a lot of great things going on, but yes - deeper conversations need to start about not just our teachers, but the system as a whole (this means you administration, parents, and lawmakers). If you're a hard working public educator who is a persistent student of teaching, then you're getting screwed right now. If you're barely showing up, or teach one way and then blame the kids for not getting it - you're part of the problem.

Oh yeah, and go pack.

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stinkdaddy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 05:59 pm

Good for him. Whether you agree with him or not (and I do) he certainly has a right to state his opinion.

I'm not going to wade much into the political debate here, but the unions offered to accept the salary cuts in exchange for keeping their collective bargaining rights. Walker refused and said it has to be everything he asked for.

The deficit's only $140 million dollars, and though there's been a lot of inaccurate claims from liberal blogs and etc. that Walker caused the deficit, he did just pass $140 million in tax breaks that will hit the budget in the next cycle. He didn't cause this deficit but he did just spend almost exactly as much money as he's saying the state is in crisis over. Something to think about.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

February 20, 2011 at 06:51 pm

IFPTE Local 17. Washington's broke too, and the concessions my union has made sure are felt on payday... beats the alternative though.

GBP 4 LIFE

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PackerBelle's picture

February 20, 2011 at 07:29 pm

Good for Woodson for standing up for what he believes in. Agree or disagree he is trying to do what he thinks is right.

Personally, I think that when passing a budget repair bill it should be focused on fixing the budget. Eliminating the unions' right to bargain for anything but inflation adjustments in the future doesn't fix the current budget. Eliminating the ability of unions to use payroll deduction to collect dues doesn't fix the current budget. Forcing them to re-certify every year doesn't fix the current budget. And if the unions are such a drain on the budget, why are police and firefighter unions exempt?

The unions have agreed to accept the financial concessions Gov. Walker wants, as long as they retain their ability to collectively bargain in the future (http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_a05349b...). Gov. Walker refused. When the unions are willing to give the financial concessions needed to fix the budget why not accept that and fix the budget? Why take away 50 years of collective bargaining rights?

The issue of should public employees have the right to unionize and collectively bargain seems unrelated to how to close a budget gap.

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 20, 2011 at 08:15 pm

The short answer is that, the concessions asked are not anticipated to be a THE ONE FINAL FIX for the budget problems. And the government wants flexibility to enact future changes down the road.

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PackerBelle's picture

February 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Then do it in a different bill. This bill is an optional adjustment to the current budget. It shouldn't be dealing with potential problems down the road.

And negotiating with unions does not mean they do not have flexibility. Maybe they just need to get better negotiators. Or have shorter contracts.

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 21, 2011 at 07:36 am

We cannot have this fight every time we need to reform the public workforce. One of the gaps Walker needs to close if getting people to understand the crisis that we will be facing in the next 10-20 years. So far that message is not getting through. Most people are blissfully unaware and think what we face is a run-of-the-mill budgetary shortfall related to the economic downturn. It's not.

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PackerBelle's picture

February 21, 2011 at 08:40 am

That doesn't justify using an option budget repair bill for a budget that expires this year to take away 50 years of collective bargaining rights.

Nor does it explain how forcing unions to re-certify every year addressed budgetary issues. Or how not allowing them to collect dues through payroll deduction address budgetary issues.

Nor do I see unions as being the main cause of budgetary issues. Gov. Walker and his fellow Republicans just passed tax cuts thereby decreasing their revenue and increasing the liklihood of future budget shortfalls.

I have an M.S. in Applied Economics and I focused on labor and wage policies. And based on my studies and my own research I support unions. For my M.S. thesis I looked at living wage oridinances and whether they affect local economic growth. And I found that increasing wages for government workers and/or the workers of government contractors is associated with higher rates of economic growth. Since public employee unions basically work to raise the wages of government workers.

The book 'Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century' actually has a number of good studies looking at the impacts of unions as well as other labor groups.

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 21, 2011 at 09:36 am

"Nor does it explain how forcing unions to re-certify every year addressed budgetary issues. Or how not allowing them to collect dues through payroll deduction address budgetary issues."

This is a fair criticism.

"Nor do I see unions as being the main cause of budgetary issues."

No one is saying that unions, per se, are the problem. PENSIONS are the problem. Unions simply fight tooth and nail for the status quo. It's time to put this matter to public as we would with any other matter important public policy. The notion that the public is going to somehow exploit public servants unless they can bargain over EVERYTHING seems pretty far-fetched .

The need for public employee unions is a rather modern invention, and was anathema to progressives like FDR:

"All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters."

"I have an M.S. in Applied Economics and I focused on labor and wage policies. . . . . And I found that increasing wages for government workers and/or the workers of government contractors is associated with higher rates of economic growth."

By associated, I assume you mean correlated? And what does that say about causation?

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PackerBelle's picture

February 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

I don't mean correlated. In my thesis I ran multiple panel regressions - basically I looked at a group of counties over multiple years both before and after they instituted living wage ordinances. The indicators for a living wage ordinance being in effect for a given county and year were positive and statistically significant. However I am hesitant to use the word 'caused' or anything like that, because my work was the first to look at that issue according to my thesis committee. It also has a limited sample size and range just based on data limitations and economic data has its own set of issues and so having multiple studies with consistent results would be needed before I would say 'cause'. But my results are stronger than just correlationa and suggest a relationship between higher wages and economic growth rates in the surrounding area.

If pensions are the issue then focus on pensions. This bill doesn't allow them to bargain for pay increases aside from adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is not actually the best way to measure cost of living increases. It doesn't allow them to bargain for working conditions. None of that addresses pensions.

The unions are not fighting for the status quo - they agreed to siginificant cuts under former Gov. Doyle and have agreed to the concessions Gov. Walker is demanding. The only thing they want is to be able to continue to negotiate for all aspects of their job in the future. And given that they are sharing the sacrifice, don't they also get to share in potential benefits down the line? And why do we need to take away their rights to collectively bargain when they have shown good faith in accepting cutbacks?

And if allowing public workers to collecitively bargain is so bad, why are police and fire fighter unions exempt? They have pensions too. They negotiate for pay raises and working conditions too. So why is it a problem when nurses and teachers do it but not police and fire fighters?

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Bearmeat's picture

February 20, 2011 at 08:16 pm

Packer Pete - I would say the demand for educators is pretty darn high right now. Class sizes getting bigger by the year. More special needs students enroll in public education yearly, which requires a more diversified and specialist needy workforce.

These things all take money.

The REAL reason teachers don't get paid more is because our culture decided years ago that teachers weren't very highly skilled people on the whole. In other words that "anyone can be a teacher."

That is just out wrong. Really high quality teachers change lives. Think about it: did a great teacher alter the course of your life? Odds are that answer is yes. Yet despite this intrinsic value of teaching well, our nations schools are DESPERATE for good quality teachers. And administrators. And PA's. and...etc.... Why? Because it is a demanding, difficult, and poorly paid career. Pretty simple.

In this case, demand and supply is not the reason for the problem. A lack of respect is.

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 20, 2011 at 08:31 pm

I mentioned Waiting for Superman above.

***SPOILER ALERT***

There is a really telling scene where the DC School District proposed almost doubling the salaries of teacher that were willing to give up tenure. Each teacher would have been able to choose for themselves whether they wanted the increased pay or whether they wanted to go on being unfireable.

The teacher's union blocked the proposal.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 20, 2011 at 09:59 pm

I did not say there are not bad teachers. There certainly are -

But the point is that most teachers are very hardworking, very good and underpaid.

I worked on the Southside of the Chicago Public Schools as a Band Director and General Music Teacher for 2 years.

The entire district was full of incompetent, lazy, corrupt and disenfranchised teachers, admin and support staff. That is mostly because most teachers who are motivated and competent grow frustrated in such a poor educational environment, and most of the good ones leave.

The majority of people in the education business are competent, hardworking and caring people. If you are not caring and hardworking there is no point in staying in the business. You can make more $ elsewhere..

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 21, 2011 at 07:26 am

But the union seems more interested in sheltering the bad teachers than advancing the good ones.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

Just like the administrators are most interested in making the district look as appealing as possible to outsiders?

Just like the politicians skew facts just so they can say their policies made things 'better'?

Just like many parents of students don't care what happens with their kid, as long as they get the free child care and free lunch for them for 13 years?

The point is that ALL professions are corrupt - not just teachers unions. Teachers unions are necessary simply because without them teachers would get even more of a raw deal than they do now.

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packfan4u2c's picture

February 21, 2011 at 06:04 pm

agreed

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Brian's picture

February 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm

As a point of reference. Cedarburg High had an opening for a teacher last summer and received over 700 applications for one position. Demand is not so high.

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Larry Marchionda's picture

February 20, 2011 at 08:18 pm

Charles Woodson has and continues to be a class act. His loyalty to his family, team and community is an example for all of us to admire and follow.

May God Bless Charles and the Packer family for showing their support for our Wisconsin Community ..

We are truly one Big Family working together for the betterment of mankind. More that I can ever say for the majority of our Politicians.

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PackerAaron's picture

February 20, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I'd just like to thank everyone for keeping a civil tone on this subject. Really appreciate it.

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stinkdaddy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Yeah, it's neat to see that there's better discussion here than on a site that actually covers politics.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm

That's pretty funny stinkdaddy!

I don't go to political blogs for that reason (which is the same reason I usually don't go to profootblltalk btw..).

One of my fav things about CHTV is that cooler heads usually prevail, even if GB plays poorly.... and that cannot be overstated. It is not so in most places.

Thanks CHTV and all great posters!

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stinkdaddy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Well, we at least have football to let the MY TEAM IS BETTER HA HA stuff out. For a lot of people who're commenting on political sites, the party they support is their Packers and the other party is some horrible combination of the Bears, the Vikings, the Lions, and the 1990s versions of the Cowboys and 49ers.

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stinkdaddy's picture

February 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Another of Walker's demands is that the unions have to hold yearly recertification elections to stay in existence. What does that have to do with the budget?

He also exempted police and firefighters... but I thought he was doing this because of a budget crisis that had to be dealt with by any means necessary? What is special about a cop or firefighter that they should keep their full pay and full collective bargaining rights when teachers, etc. don't?

Divide and conquer. Too bad for Walker that the Police and Firefighters have thrown their support behind the rest of the public employees.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

What's wrong with making the unions prove that their members want to join? Why should new teachers be forced to join the union (and I know that they don't HAVE to, but who are we kidding) when the decision to create a union was made by teachers who aren't even around any more. Yearly might be overkill, but the right to vote on periodically on it makes sense. The unions are just afraid that if CBA rights are pulled, and people actually have to sign checks to the union, their support will dwindle.

As for Police and Fire Department, Walker didn't have any choice but to leave them out in this round. If they went on stike, there would be pandemonium (another reason why they shouldn't have unions in my opinion, public safety gives them too much power). At least with the prison system, they have the National Guard to cover their butts.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 20, 2011 at 11:03 pm

No Stink - he excluded police and firefighter unions because they are more centist than the teacher unions.

Bottom line, this is not about balancing the budget as it is about cutting down the other party's backers when you have the political power to do so.

Not unexpected, but pathetic.

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Timbo's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

"No Stink – he excluded police and firefighter unions because they are more centist than the teacher unions."

No, Bearmeat. He excluded police and firefighters because he doesn't want to be seen as "soft on crime." If he goes after benefits for those groups, imagine the attack ads when he runs for reelection ("Scott Walker cut benefits for the police and firefighters who keep us safe...")

Police and firefighters are untouchable, particularly in our post-9/11 world. Excluding them is strictly politics.

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Brian's picture

February 22, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Walker stated in a press conference that he did not include the police and firefighters because they are at the center of one of government's basic purposes...public safety.

To understand Walker's reason to eliminate collective bargaining, you need to listen to his statements regarding his time spent as Milwaukee County Executive and the mess he inherited from Tom Ament. I believe that this experience really made a large impact on this bill. He discussed how hamstrung he was at the local level and with future state aid cuts coming to local governments, he felt he needs to eliminate the collective bargaining law.

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Josh's picture

February 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Wow, nobody's name-calling yet? That runs counter to everything on Fox News.

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TPackers's picture

February 21, 2011 at 10:30 am

haha

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Ruppert's picture

February 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I am split on this issue in WI. Public employee unions have far too much power, but I do not think collective bargaining should be abolished.

I am not split, however, on my opinion towards the democratic senators who fled the state rather than stay and do their job.

Over the past 200+ years, literally thousands of legislators knew the outcome of a vote before the votes were cast, and they knew they would lose. It comes with the territory. I am surprised their actions are not illegal. They are setting a precedent that could, frankly, lead to a revolution in this nation if not immediately curtailed. Majority rules. Most votes win.

Imagine if half of the US Senate just decided to get up and leave before a contentious vote. Their actions are not civil.

I am ashamed of this development.

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Josh's picture

February 21, 2011 at 08:44 am

Majority rule worked on blacks and women, and is currently working on gays. There is no all-encompassing statement for the fake form of government currently used.

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Ruppert's picture

February 21, 2011 at 09:12 am

Our current form of government is fake? Do go on.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

Are you suggesting that we would be better with another form? Please, let me know which one that is. Maybe if you gave all the power to only one person, that might work.

RIDICULOUS.

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PackersRS's picture

February 21, 2011 at 03:32 pm

Name five dictatorial goverments that didn't work. YOU CAN'T.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 22, 2011 at 05:43 pm

Nice.

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Brian's picture

February 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Dude, you are starting to get snarky and ruin the "classiness" of this thread. Take a deep breath and be a bit more objective!

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hyperRevue's picture

February 21, 2011 at 09:10 am

And "majority rules" hardly works in the US Sentate, not with the insane filibuster rules and anonymous holds.

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hyperRevue's picture

February 21, 2011 at 09:15 am

There are compromises to be made in this bill - very easy ones, in fact, since the unions have already agreed to the pay concessions. But with Walker and the Republicans not interested in any compromise whatsoever, the Dems are doing the only thing within their power to delay (or hopefully cancel) the vote. I fully support it.

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PackerBacker's picture

February 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

Why should they compromise with Senators who won't even show up? They have the votes to pass what they want. But the Dems have decided not to play by the rules. When the Dems had full control you didn't see the Reps running with their tail between their legs. They showed up, said their peace, did what they could, and then took a damn vote. That's the way this country works.

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hyperRevue's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm

They should compromise if they want to get a budget repair bill passed to start tackling the deficit. Not showing up is the only leverage the Dems have at the moment.

Just like you need 60 votes to break a filibuster in the US Senate, you need 20 to quorum in Wisconsin. If the majority can't get those votes, they need to figure out a way to get people on board. Like them or not (and I hate the filibuster rules), rules like this are in place to give the minority a modicum of voice in the process.

There is a perfectly fair compromise on the table.

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hyperRevue's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

And now Republican Sen. Dale Schultz is floating another compromise that would take away the collective bargaining rights only for 2 years. That doesn't make sense to me, but I'm happy that the two sides are starting to talk - something that wouldn't have happened had the Dems not skipped town.

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cindy lanzetta's picture

February 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

This discussion leaves me proud to be an American Wisconsin/New York Green Bay Packer fan.

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Mrvanc's picture

February 21, 2011 at 01:06 am

My mother is an elementary school teacher in southeastern Virginia, where there are no public labor unions--a place where a starting teacher's salary is barely 30,000 dollars a year. My mom, a teacher of 25 years makes around 41,000 dollars a year. (Imagine a lawyer or a defense contractor making 41,000 dollars after 25 years of service.)

The state government (Republican majority) cut the education budget, is in the process of reducing teacher pensions, and already has frozen teacher pay indefinitely.

Personally, I know that teachers here in VA would be grateful to have collective bargaining, because despite the duds, many of them are great professionals who work for peanuts. Unfortunately, Virginia is a "right to work" state so they get treated like second-class citizens.

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D.D. Driver's picture

February 21, 2011 at 07:29 am

Yeah, but in Northern Virginia is (or was five years ago) a shortage of teachers in certain subjects. It became such a problem that they were recruiting foreigners to teach. And they were offering very nice salaries.

My point being, what you are describing is the effect of market forces.

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PackerBelle's picture

February 21, 2011 at 08:21 am

Market forces don't always result in the most efficient allocation of resources though. Especially in labor markets which are monopsonistic. And that is one reason why unions have been found to be very beneficial in economic studies - they help address that market failure. Market forces, Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' are great when you meet a dozen or so assumptions, but those assumptions are rarely met.

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Bernard Shuford's picture

February 21, 2011 at 08:50 am

Millionaires who make 500 times as much as the teachers that they are siding with probably need to realize how well off they are and put their money where their mouth is. If I can somehow make a mortgage payment and feed my family of 4 on less than $70K a year, why, exactly, does a football player need so much more?

Basically, I side with the NFL players vs. the owners. There is a very unique employment situation, in that the players themselves are the product and the NFL is a monopoly. The revenue is money that is based on public demand for the product, and if the demand is high, the value of the product increases.

However, the public sector job situation is NOT the same thing, and I seriously doubt that Charles Woodson did this without some prompting and some very expensive advice from very poweful people. Charles very likely spoke from his heart, but if the NFLPA thought this would be damaging to their cause, I can guarantee you they would have gagged it in some way. This is clearly an effort to attract support for the NFLPA from the OTHER labor union memberships, and teachers are a huge hot button issue right now. Even in states where there are no official teachers unions, there are teachers, and they basically tend to support other teachers. That's a big chunk of population that quite possibly doesn't like the millionaire NFL players, but now that one is speaking publicly on behalf of the teachers, perhaps this can help sway public opinion toward the NFLPA and give them pressure to apply to the owners.

I love Charles Woodson to death, and I love my Packers like crazy, but I think this stance may have some undertones that aren't necessarily obvious. It's clearly a shot in the "unions vs. employers" battle, no question, but I think it's also a nationwide shot, very calculated, to increase grassroots support for the NFLPA. I suspect this statement would have never been released if the CBA weren't such a big deal right now.

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PackersRS's picture

February 21, 2011 at 03:35 pm

I agree to some extent, but then why this statement came from Charles Woodson and not Aaron Rodgers, the current Packers' NFLPA rep?

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Bernard Shuford's picture

February 22, 2011 at 08:21 am

A fair question that I honestly don't have an answer for :)

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tundraman's picture

February 21, 2011 at 01:25 pm

Wow, there is a sportsblog with civil discourse on OT threads.

My 2 cents. It's not about $$ or Walker would have accepted the concessions and removed the labor language from the bill.
Walker didn't run on this. I pay attention to politics. He said he would create jobs, but he didn't say he would strip bargaining rights from public sector employees.
Finally, Woody may be using this situation as a dog-whistle to the current labor situation he faces. Then again, they're facing a lockout, not a strike.

Wow...The PACKERS WON THE SUPERBOWL!!!

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hyperRevue's picture

February 22, 2011 at 08:57 am

FWIW, there are now two polls out (one from Democratic pollster GQR and another from the conservative group WeAskAmerica). Both show majorities opposing this bill and evaporating support for Walker in general.

Warms my heart.

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Erikgj's picture

February 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

Great job Charles. The union attacks are just absurd.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 22, 2011 at 01:26 pm

The latest is a claim by Rush and other right wing media outlets, all within the in the last two hours, that 2/3 of Wisconsin 8th Grade students are below proficient in reading. Attached is a link to the real statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. It shows that over 80% of Wisconsin 8th Graders are proficient or advanced in reading. Please also bear in mind that these tests are used for all students, including those with learning disabilities.

http://data.dpi.state.wi.us/data/StateTestsPerformance.aspx?OrgLevel=st&...

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