1. Scott Walker was elected Governor in 2010 with the benefit of having a GOP controlled congress in Wisconsin. Less then two months into his term he put out an audacious bill which has a few parts. State workers must increase contributions to their pensions to 5.8 percent of salary, and double contributions to their health insurance premiums to 12.6 percent. This would result in a cut in take-home pay of about 8 percent.It would also limit collective bargaining to the issue of wages, and cap increases to the rate of inflation as well as prohibit employer collection of dues. There would also be a voter referendum for any future salary increase. It should be noted that the average teacher salary in Milwaukee Public Schools is $56,000 and total compensation is over $100,000. Police and Firemen are exempt from the collective bargaining changes. There would also be no more union dues....
2. A vote in the House requires that 20 people be there there in order for the vote to take place. Currently there are 19 Republicans and 14 Democrats, so to postpone the vote Democrats fled to a hotel in Illinois and show no willingness to return for a vote.
3. Protests began in Madison outside the Capitol and have gotten bigger every day. Schools have been shut down as teachers have joined in the protests. In Madison, schools were cancelled Friday morning because 600 of the 5400 teachers called in sick, roughly 11%. I have seen estimates between 25 to 50 thousand at the protests and they have attracted national attention. All politicians have spoke out about the matter in no uncertain terms and I suspect many prominent Dems to be there this weekend.
The events I have listed above are well documented and if you pay attention to the news you have heard them. But there is a much bigger issue here that must be understood: the true ramifications of this bill do not involve a balanced state budget but a transformation in the political landscape. Take a look at the big picture here............
|Leading Union Political Campaign Contributors|
|American Fed. of State, County, & Municipal Employees||$40,281,900||$547,700|
|Intel Brotherhood of Electrical Workers||29,705,600||679,000|
|National Education Association||27,679,300||2,005,200|
|Service Employees International Union||26,368,470||98,700|
|Communication Workers of America||26,305,500||125,300|
|Service Employees International Union||26,252,000||1,086,200|
|American Federation of Teachers||25,682,800||200,000|
|United Auto Workers||25,082,200||182,700|
|Carpenters and Joiners Union||24,094,100||2,658,000|
|Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union||23,875,600||226,300|
|United Food and Commercial Workers Union||23,182,000||334,200|
|Sheet Metal Workers Union||16,347,200||342,800|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Union||14,790,000||818,500|
|Operating Engineers Union||13,840,000||2,309,500|
|Airline Pilots Association||12,806,600||2,398,300|
|International Association of Firefighters||12,421,700||2,685,400|
|United Transportation Workers||11,807,000||1,459,300|
|American Postal Workers Union||11,633,100||544,300|
|Nat'l Active & Retired Fed. Employees Association||8,135,400||2,294,600|
|Seafarers International Union||6,726,800||1,281,300|
|Source: Center for Responsive Politics, Washington, D.C.|