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  • VIDEO: Myths vs. Facts of the Wisconsin Union Protest

    MADISON, Wis. — The fight in Wisconsin’s capital is marked by a fundamental disagreement over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal. Protesters claim it’s a blatant assault on labor unions, while the governor’s supporters say it’s about government spending, plain and simple.

    The Heritage Foundation sent a team to Wisconsin to report on the action. Our video captures the claims of pro-union protesters as well as state Sen. Leah Vukmir, a Republican supporter of Walker’s budget plan.

    “It’s about rights; it’s not about the money,” protesters called out. Many told us they represented not only their own interests, but the interests of the rest of the country as well. “This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted.

    But Vukmir said Walker and the Republican majority in the Wisconsin legislature remain confident that the people of Wisconsin — the silent majority, she said — want legislators to make the difficult decisions necessary to balance the budget. That’s why Wisconsinites elected the officials they did, Vukmir said.

    For all that protesters said they weren’t marching on the Capitol because of money, the protest had definite overtones of class-consciousness.

    Numerous signs proclaimed, “Tax the rich,” and protesters frequently cited that mantra as the solution to budget problems.

    Some denied the deficit entirely, saying Walker “manufactured” the budget crisis to justify this bill, which some said he must want to pass because he has dictatorial ambitions.

    The protests were notably organized, with signs posted throughout the Capitol building providing “media talking points” for protesters. At least one taught protesters “how to talk to teabaggers.”

    “They will be trying to provoke you!” the sign proclaimed. Perhaps because of the promptings of such signs, many protesters refused to speak with us when we identified ourselves as with The Heritage Foundation.

    “You’re against everything we stand for,” one said. Another said, “In case you don’t know, you work for an organization with a bad reputation.” Yet another said, “Stand there too long and you might not have your equipment.” When we asked if that meant he was threatening us, he said, “That means whatever you want it to mean.”

    But others were eager to speak with us.

    “That’s why we’re here — so our voices can be heard,” one teacher said, adding at the end of our interview that she hoped she and her two colleagues had made “friends” of us. When we passed her later, she called out, “Hi, friends!” and waved.

    The day revealed the extent of the ideological divide that seems to characterize this debate — and the lack of consensus about the underlying facts that necessitate it in the first place.

    Few protesters we spoke to knew Wisconsin has a deficit of $137 million — a deficit projected to increase to $3.6 billion in the next two years. Fewer still seemed to realize just how generous public worker benefits in Wisconsin are — far more generous than the national average.

    Dispute also existed as to whether union membership is currently optional for public workers in Wisconsin (it’s not), even though most protesters seemed to think it should be optional.

    But the protests seem to have done even more than expose ideological fault lines and a lack of mutual understanding of the facts.

    As one CNN commentator put it, the protests have revealed that “things get ugly when the money’s just not there” — and they may perhaps foreshadow more to come as states across the country face budget shortfalls.

    In Wisconsin, the protests seem unlikely to end anytime soon, as the state Senate Democratic minority (whom protesters call the “Fab 14″) remain out-of-state and unwilling to vote on the issue.

    Vukmir said their absence is an abdication of their constitutional responsibility, while protesters carried signs that said, “My senator serves me better in Illinois than my governor does in Wisconsin.”

    Senate Democrats, protesters said, are not being childish — they’re ensuring the debate receives attention.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    96 Responses to VIDEO: Myths vs. Facts of the Wisconsin Union Protest

    1. Jim, Madison, WI says:

      The truth is between the tea party and union positions. The deficit is real, and must be addressed. It is not at all clear why state workers must take all the blame. It is also not at all clear how depriving unions of bargaining rights will address the deficit. It is not clear why tax increases are not on the agenda, especially when tax exemptions have been given to big business and the wealthy in excess of Gov Walker's projected deficit.

      Look, the unions have to give up some of their benefits and income – no choice. If Gov Walker was at all interested in fairness, big business would have to forego those tax exemptions, as well. And, yes, folks making more than $100G/year are going to have to pony up a little extra.

      I'm sure the Koch Bros. will still be immensely wealthy in either scenario, but the garbage has to be picked up, and the kids have to be taught.

      • bill says:

        state workers make less than their private counterparts in the private sector [about 3-4%].this includes all compensation. Teachers make 78k? walker cut billions in taxes to corporations and basically lies about how much of wisconsin workers pay for their health and pension.[IT'S 100% ] ONLY 6% COMES OUT OF PAYROLL. THE REST IS THRU DIFFERED PAY. anyone who does an ounce of research knows this looking at this childish display by the heritage foundation would be funny if it wasn't so scary.I know their overpaid

    2. chris, philadelphia, says:

      How exactly does a budget deficit go from 137 million to 3.6 billion in 2 years?

    3. Justen Charters says:

      Pre Nazi Germany? Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. My advice get ready to teach class on Monday, and stop this immature unneeded display of selfishness.

    4. Skip ONeill says:

      Are the public employees crazy? Don't they realize that we all have to make cuts. What they don't mention is that FDR and Hitler both seized power at the same time and collectively ran their counties into the ground. It just took the FDR progressive group an addition 60 years. Also, the first thing Hitler did was to take a national census to determine who the Jews were, then he took away the right own a gun and nationalized industry.

    5. m d murphy says:

      It is not surprising that many if not most of the protest folks don't know the facts about the budget situation. If talking and educating doesn't help, and if they (union folks) insist on playing "hardball", then so be it. Let the state follow the lead of Pres. R, R, and take hard action against them. Any comparison between our country and the riots in Egypt is absurd.

    6. Suzanne Greydanus, B says:

      How DARE these protesters compare their situation to the Holocaust? Even with the liberal media bias, how do they get away with saying things like, "First take away the unions, then take away the Jews"??? This is one reason I homeschool. Is this who you want teaching your children and grandchildren???

    7. Jennifer says:

      The term 'useful idiots' comes to mind…interesting that there are so many people dressed in red (CPUSA anyone????)

    8. Brian Todd,Spring Hi says:

      These labor lemmings don't get it. They can contribute to their own retirement just like the private sector. The left doesn't care as long as their needs are met. The are self edifying and aren't concerned about this country.We spend more than any country on education and have gotten no return on investment.The unions house the mediocre and the poor performers.This is the M.O. of the unions. We spent over 1 trillion dollars,or 1/14 of GDP, on pensions for govt.employees. They are draining this country of its livelihood and rendering our ability to compete globally difficult at best. Tax and spend Democrats are the demise of liberty and prosperity.

    9. OhioHistorian says:

      If it weren't for the continued media exposure to try to make this a "pro democracy rally" and the OAFs at OFA the whole thing would die rapidly.

      Another myth; it is NOT a democracy rally; it is free speech, but it is NOT democracy. It is NOT the people of WI coming out on the injustice to their workers .It IS the same free speech that the left and media has tried to stifle and malign at Tea Party gatherings. It is a UNION SOLIDARITY gathering, with the union guys saying "how dare you" to change anything they like. My message to the unions is: "Change is a-coming. Either go with the flow, or get washed downstream by the flood."

    10. Bobbie says:

      What about the rights of the children they're clearly violating? Why is collective bargaining even offered when there is no accountability, no consequences to their actions? An unfair bias right that isn't right at all. They go on strike and they're still getting paid. The private sector union members don't get paid. Collective bargaining should not be collective and only bargain when the wage needs necessary reduction. The tax payers should set the wage for government labor since they're the ones that pay. Base pay and pay for performance because you're not righteous and you're not royalty.

      Private schools accomplish much more in favor of the students with much less (unlike government union goons who get paid regardless) .

    11. Toddy Littman, AZ says:

      Not sure this dispels myths, but it certainly shows how gullible teachers are, how collectivism when combined with Saul Alinsky's organizing tactics, http://www.nea.org/tools/17231.htm, can result in the unreasonable.

      The NAZI Germany theme is beyond comprehension, other than in the idea of Chicken Little. Yet this makes it obvious that for these teachers this is the first time they find themselves confronted with the same cost the rest of us have at this time. I believe this shock value is the mobilizing force, along with the "tenure" sense of persistent invincibility.

      I've yet to understand what makes pensions any less of an investment than anyone else's investment, with the risk associated with investment, or how collective bargaining is some silver bullet for "you can't touch us." Capital has no such moral distinctions, no sacred cows, when things are good we all enjoy, when they go down, we all suffer to at least some extent. Public employee unions are not some special class of people to which this does not extend.

      Funny how the socialists love redistribution of wealth until it includes taking from the collective to which they belong.

    12. Bob Smith says:

      Tina,

      Thanks for this excellent video and report. I think it is beautiful how an issue that everyone can easily relate to has emerged to reveal the left's position. When people call in sick and intentionally leave their post of duty to save their sweetheart deals, the media can't spin that for long.

    13. Carol Schaal says:

      It is about money and sacrifice of which those on the video have no desire to make any sacrifice. I haven't heard one person say they can't have a union any longer…but to give up something for two years. I personally believe public employees should not be unionized…but that aside…is it about the kids or their checkbooks?

    14. Mary, New York says:

      Wondering what the deal is with the goofy music in the background. Seems a bit like whomever put this together is making a mockery of the statements made by the teachers and those representing unions. Ridiculous.

    15. Mark Hagebak, Mankat says:

      Thank you Governor Walker. Finally a politician who does right for the people.

    16. Wanda Lammers says:

      Walker said it is too late to talk, wrong he wants to take away the right to collective bargain. That shows no respect for hard working Wisconsin people.

    17. Katie, Wisconsin says:

      I'm a student in the UW-system and the protests down in Madison as well as across the UW-system against Gov. Walker's Budget-Repair Bill have been on everyone's mind for the past week. Everyone here is suddenly politically engaged, and they all act like they know what is going on here in the state, when really, so many students here just believe what their professors tell them. And many professors are promoting the protests and encouraging students to go to Madison or to hold on campus rallies, as they have been doing, in order to protest.

      There are union-sponsored buses coming to all UW-campuses and dropping students off at Madison so they can join in the protests. But they're not just protesting the bill– many of them have not even read the bill and don't know what is in it. They need a cause, and so they're making this their cause. They're rallying against Gov. Walker and some are even calling for him to be recalled. They don't seem to realize that the purpose of this bill is to REDUCE the state deficit, which developed under the previous governor's administration. Without this bill, Governor Walker says that he would have to lay several thousands of workers off. I think cutting collective-bargaining is a much nicer alternative to having them lose their jobs altogether.

      The teachers unions in WI are very strong and their influence is widespread. However, that does not give teachers the right to skip out of class and their students. Last week, Madison and Milwaukee public school districts were largely closed, due to so many (as much as 40%) teachers calling in "sick" in order to go protest the bill in Madison. If they're going to protest, they should do it on their own time and NOT on students' time. I also find terrible that there are doctors in Madison passing out fake doctor's notes so that teachers can keep abandoning their students and stay at the protests.

      There are still conservatives out here in Wisconsin, and there are still plenty of students like myself who stand in support of Governor Walker. We just aren't as vocal. (Protests have typically been a liberal thing anyway– many are comparing this to the Madison protests of 1968). There was the Tea Party counter-protest on Saturday and conservatives in this state will continue to stick to their guns in support of the Budget-Repair Bill AND Governor Walker.

    18. Bob Smith, Clearwate says:

      It is beautiful how this issue, easily understood by the masses, will serve to illustrate to many the positions of big government spenders. It will be hard to spin the actions of teachers harder still the 14 state senators, Thank you heritage for your thoughtful approach.

    19. Boo, scaryville says:

      The state has a deficit because of the tax breaks Walker and the legislature passed last month.

    20. Leslie Conklin , Aur says:

      Maybe Walmart would have a better bottom line..and requre that the employees show up for work and meet performace standards..Just sayin'

    21. Duchess of Stubb, Ma says:

      This video and article is incredibly misleading. Here are some facts:

      1. The current budget was balanced (ends June 30th.) before Gov. Walker came into office and he squandered millions on corporate handouts to his supporters: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial

      2. There is an estimated ~3 billion deficit estimated for the next cycle (starts July 1st), but the extent of the budget crisis is debatable: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-po

      3. The previous administration was able to balance a $7 billion without busting employee unions: http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/20

      4. Unions have made it clear that will agree to Governor Walker's concessions so long as they can maintain their right to collectively bargain: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-p

    22. K.White (formerly of says:

      While the $137 Billion dollar figure is correct, the $3.6 Billion dollar figure is not. That number is predicated upon agency requests for funding on a budget that has not yet been passed. The total agency increase requests come to $3.9 Billion dollars, and because there is little-to-no support for most of these requests, it is likely that the projected deficit will be much smaller (and could be as much as a $300 Million surplus).

      Moreover, while Wisconsin state union benefits are higher than their private sector equivalents, their wages are lower. Adjusting for education and a number of other factors (including gender, controlling for which should theoretically make the state look worse because of the higher concentration of women in teaching positions), their total compensation package is considerably lower than their private sector counterparts. I'd also quibble with the notion that pensions are actually "benefits" rather than delayed wages, but that's more a technical question.

      And, yes, I do support the union workers, given that Wisconsin has one of the ten best educational systems in the country but its teacher pay (adjusted for cost-of-living) is in the bottom half of all states. Its starting teacher's salary is especially bad (2nd worst), averaging 25k for a first-year teacher that has gone to 4 years of schooling and achieved their teaching certificate! The fact that teachers can even be recruited to begin with (at all) rests primarily on the fact that they are guaranteed job stability, arbitration in the workplace, and good benefits. This certainly won't help.

    23. Conserve This says:

      It is sad how you use all your dirty $$$ to hammer the poor and less affluent into the dirt even further, Your foundation is nothing but a Bully.

    24. Jami Francis, Corona says:

      Thanks for getting the truth out there…. now if people would just open their eyes and ears.

    25. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "Some denied the deficit entirely, saying Walker “manufactured” the budget crisis to justify this bill, which some said he must want to pass because he has dictatorial ambitions."

      We are constantly told that public workers are paid so high because they have higher education and higher degrees. But this kind of ignorance coming from them is frightening. They are obviously very much out of touch with reality. They spend like money is no object, while we the taxpayer are constantly picking up the pieces.

      The thing is, we have no more resources to pick up the messes the public sector leaves behind.

    26. Pingback: Cutting Through the Smoke in Wisconsin

    27. mickeywhite says:

      I would beware of the NeoCon Heritage Foundation, and why not do this to ALL UNIONS ? In All States ?

    28. Thea Winter - Indian says:

      He is NOT taking the union away. He just wants the teachers help pay for more of their benifits just like the rest of us who are not teachers. The schools are a business that runs off of tax money. When less money, tax, comes in some things have to go, like jobs. Or people have to pay for more benifits. So, just teach or go out and try to find a job that gives you the benifits you have now. But you will not be able to find one.

    29. West Texan says:

      My far left liberal brother-in-law is a great guy and well meaning. He's simply on a social progessive page. Just the same he often says "This to shall pass". So it will. Governor Walker has chosen the correct path. Keep following it Sir. Bravo Zulu.

    30. PBennett. Arizona says:

      Gov. Walker's 'tax cuts' last month caused the $137 million deficit? That surely wasn't one of the protesting teachers making that call (I'd hope). And if the Legislature, (at least those who stayed in town) says there will be no discussion, or compromise before the vote, I would say that the actions and attitudes of the protesters give ample demonstration of just what sort of discussion could ensue while seeking compromise. Or, equally possible, some of the absentees legislators may harbor the same view on the bill as their Republican opponents and fear some sort of thuggery reprisal if they vote their consciences in favor of it's adoption.

    31. Diane NY says:

      For one thing…the biggest argument about not paying up is the fact that "the national average". Wisconsin is a snow belt. Living expenses are more and operating expenses are more…so stop with the "National Average". Now Unions are a moral and constitutional right. Unions help with the protection of aging workers, health care, safety, training. Union workers produce 30 percent more because of the correct operating procedures. Go to other countries and you will see operating conditions that are appauling. Now about wages..negotiable…but job security, healthcare, vacation, work conditions, safety, retirement are all outlined in a contract. People in a union pay a percentage of their salaries to maintain the contract. The union has lawyers to maintain the contract. The dues are like a lawyer to protect rights. IBM aging workers professed that they didn't need a union. 75 % were replaced with temporary workers so the company didn't have to pay benefits. So you say..the companys will outsource…go after our Government officials that borrow money with conditions of free trade…they are the holy grail of the destruction of of our economy.

    32. Darin, Las Vegas says:

      It is very easy to spend somebody else's money as schools do. Here in NV we always have these "grants" that are used to buy teacher's time before and after school hours. These "grants" are tax dollars from the people whose kds we teach. I am a teacher, but fo how much longer I do not know. By the way, come Tuesday morning, I will be in class ready to go while those in Wisconsin have their "sick" notes and paid protesting time.

    33. Donallen says:

      Post what the teachers make what they contribute for benefits and retirement now and what they are being asked to contribute for benefits and retirement i guarantee is less than the private sector or what the average tax payer pays into theirs

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    36. Jennifer, Wisconsin says:

      http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/dataondemand/335

      The above link reveals how much teachers are paid in Wisconsin. See their high salaries plus their hefty benefits packages per year. Those silly protesting union hacks are the rich in Wisconsin. Time to get off their high horses and get back to work. The non-union workers of Wisconsin are Taxed Enough Already and sick of it.

    37. Eva, Ohio says:

      Why do Republicans hate America so much? Why do they want to destroy the middle class and take away what they have worked for decades to achieve? It's madness.

    38. tom beebe st louis says:

      While I am very sympathetic to Governor Walker's position, I wonder if he took the wrong path to fiscal responsibility. Might not severe cuts in services have energized the electorate better than this attempt to set the cost of those services down to a sustainable level. I'd like to see one of those representatives who has the sense of responsibility to show up for work offer alternatives. I'd start with a proposal to shorten the school week to four days. That would get attention. Maybe mayoff 20% of the troopers.

    39. Troy says:

      WI is in the top 10 educational systems in the country? If our state is in the top 10 (even with the Milwaukee public schools being in the top 5 worst) – I pity the rest of the nation.

      Oh yeah – that is with some teachers making $100k + (if you include benefits) at the Milwaukee Schools.

    40. Martin, MS says:

      The very idea these teachers, because of their union's power, are being paid not to teach but to demonstrate is ample reason to end public sector union collective bargaining! Abuse it; lose it!

    41. Donald Shue,New Orle says:

      The deficit is real and must be addressed,but the proposed disallowance of collective bargaining is definitely an attack against the principle behind the creation of the union.

      The removal of collective is the removal of any and all possibility of compromise both now and in the future.

      I agree that unions can at times be destructive.But without unions it is likely there would be no middle class in America.

      I'm with the President on this one.

    42. Jon - Wisconsin says:

      "Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely." I see socialism at work here, involving the unions and the teachers. They "THINK" they are smarter then the rest of us, and want to order us around like sheep, thinking we'll fall into line, and roll over for them while they continue the mantra of propaganda to disuade the thinking man by trying to wear him down. It won't work as the people of Wisconsin have common sense, see what is going on, and support the Governor in what he is doing. Go back to some socialist northeastern state where you can get away with this junk.

      Jon

    43. Richard Hunter says:

      Someone said that teachers start out making $25,000 a year. When you been out of work for 17 months, that looks mighty fine. Gov. Walker needs to fire all of the teachers for not working last week and then tell the kids they need to make those days at the end of the school year. Then listen to the howls from parents when they can't go on vacation right after the school year ends. Unions were good when they started, but they have lived out their usefulness in this day of time.

    44. West Texan says:

      To Diane NY, I'm not sure what fairytale you've come to believe in, but many workers have unknowingly and knowingly been victims of the corrupt self-serving hand of unions. What personally angers me is the use of large sums of forced union dues for personal gain and political favors. As far as workers' rights, most states have labor laws such as our own state's TexasWorkforce.

    45. Bob Miller Bass Lake says:

      I hope that the time has come to make major changes in the educational system in this country. It is not working! The recent documentary " Waiting for Superman" is very enlightening. The reality our educational system is a good example of a socialist system as there is no competition. Teachers have lifetime security and it's almost impossible to fire bad teachers due to the union contracts.

      The system is basically unfair as union dues go to keep the democrats in office who will agree to outrageous benefits such as lifetime medical and defined pension benefits, while the rest of us private sector workers have 401k plans if anything.

      The unions have negotiated reduced hours, many holidays,many non-teaching days as well as summer off. In Los Angeles the average student now only goes to school 5 1/2 hours a day. No wonder kids are failing and dropping out.

      Lets get competition into the system by using vouchers, charter schools, magnet schools and eliminate tenure. Pay exceptional teachers merit pay and fire the bad teachers. Unions were necessary before the plethoria of labor laws, but now they just protect the incompetant. I understand it takes 15 months to negotiate a union contract in Wisconsin. The average teacher pay in Madison with benefits is over $ 100,00.00 annually and the kids are still below grade level in math and science.

    46. West Texan says:

      PS: Big social progressive federal government has proven to be just as corrupt as the labor unions..

    47. John Frei, Washingto says:

      It's amazing to see teachers who have a salary and benefits package that would be the envy of most of the private sector – even if Walker is successful – claim that they are being victimized.

      No wonder we raise generations of kids who look to better their lives by claiming to be the victim of someone else.

    48. Kurt Aikele says:

      How come no one on the conservative side is willing to talk about what the teachers say is the basis for the disagreement, collective bargaining rights?

      There was one spot where the representative mentioned that it took 18 months to complete last years negotiations. Why not focus on that? What were the issues?

      I believe the vast majority of union members are regular everyday people trying to get through life with a decent lifestyle. Yes they get out of whack when unions are given (through negotiation) to much power. If we go back to the 1800's where business had all the rights and people have none it will be a sad day. If the contract took 18 months to hammer out someone was not following the national laws or they were mutually set aside. I think as usual there is a lot more to this story that is not being told!

    49. Linda Bradley, Orang says:

      Do you realize that unions protect their employees and still pay their salaries even if they go to prison? This is true. Nobody in the private sector of work will go to prison for 10 years and still get paid! Utterly one of the most stupid things on the union agenda….Union is the symbol for the silver bullet "you can't touch us"! It's time to rethink the situation…

    50. AWM -NW Indiana says:

      mickeywhite- your statement would be correct if you said all PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS in all states- this conversation has strictly been about unions which are taxpayer supported. Competition does not exist in the public sector, therefore collective bargaining is not a valid option. Private business must float with the economy/market in order to compete, providing that check/balance. Private unions actually have skin in the game-

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    53. Dan, Phoenix, Arizon says:

      The collective bargaining fight is just starting to rear its ugly head. Public employees need to understand the unions truly do not have their best interests at hand. If they did, they would not REQUIRE enrollment in a union upon hiring.

      I suggest readers check out a book written by right-to-work expert Robert Graham. It's called Job Killers: The American Dream in Reverse. Insightful, statistical information that sheds light on the true nature of labor unions in this country.

    54. Tom says:

      Jim of Madison Wi….it's not so much the state workers as it is the unions themselves. Unions can be a good idea but the fact of the matter is that once a union gets to be a certain size it no longer functions for it's members but for itself. The "bargaining" you are confused about costs money in very real ways. When a union bargains for and recieves…say free health care. The only ones it's free for is the union member. The empolyer pays which is passed on to the price of whatever they manufacture or service. That costs ME money. It costs you money. How much of your salary goes to health care? Bet it ain't free…..and asking union members to pay a fraction of that expense is not unreasonable. The step system many unions have is hopelessly flawed since it advances pay for individuals who would not get a raise on merit. Unions also stand by every member regardless of that workers ability to do the job assigned. I have seen many construction sites where some workmen (not all) are worthless and lazy but they pay union dues and they keep their jobs. Same with teachers…some are horrible and need to be out of the job but unions cherish those dues and they don't care about quality…only quantity…..more members more dues…more political clout.Anytime you have a union you have a middleman and whenever you have a middleman you pay more…..if it's private sector it's reflected in prices….in public sector it's reflective in taxes.

    55. Sher, Va. says:

      The one thing I find so amazing is that the union leaders are makng more money than their rank and file counter-parts and the union members are talking about business executives making all the money? Clearly, some are mis-informed. The private sector works for their vacation, does not need a union rep to contract that out, the private sector works hard for their merit raises and does not need a union rep for that either. We also work hard to pay 50% to 75% of our health care and really do not complain too much about it as long as we have health care. We also work very hard to put money away for retirement, and still do not need a union rep to contract that either. So far I'd say I have saved at least $5,000.00 in union dues working things out on my very own. Imagine that!!!

    56. Laura A. Nickerson S says:

      It is scary to think that people who are ignorant enough state that "first they take away the Unions and then next they take away the Jews" are actually being allowed to teach our children.

      Surely we must have wiser teachers than this. But they are probably the ones that are not calling in and lying about being sick so they can go protest!

      I pray that Gov. Walker will be strengthened with prayer to stand firm until the end of this ridiculous battle

    57. SUN CITY WEST, AZ says:

      I NEVER REGRET HAVING MOVED FROM WISCONSIN & NOW FEEL GREAT SADNESS FOR RELATIVES & FRIENDS STILL LIVING THERE.

      I CAN REMEMBER BACK TO WHEN MY FATHER WORKED AT HARNISCHFEGER & HAD THE DURN UNIION PROBLEM THERE TOO!!!!!

      OH – TO UNDESTAND HOW UNION OFFICERS ALWAYS HAVE SUCH HIGH SALARIES!!!!! GO FIGURE IT OUT FOR YOURSELF.

    58. Jeff, Chippewa Falls says:

      I wholeheartedly believe that collective bargaining must go as outlined in the budget repair bill. Collective bargaining allows for transfer of costs. So the union agrees to give something up, but only if they get something in return. Save here, spend there. It's like a shell game. I also absolutely love the provision that any raise above the cost of living index needs to be approved through a referendum voted on by the taxpayers. Puts the power where it belongs in the first place.

      Jeff

    59. Dutch, Oklahoma says:

      Public sector unions should be criminalized–period.

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    62. John, Wisconsin says:

      The sign actually read "My senator serves me better from Illinois than my Governor does from Madison" but I appreciate that you notices it and included it in your article.

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    65. Barbara says:

      The Union tactics are repulsive – they are mindless bullies. Do think the hiding senators should come back and make their case, both sides can lay out the fact minus the political spin. Where is "civility" that Obama mentioned in Arizona.

      Amazed how much money the unions and their leadership have to play politics.

    66. JME, Indianapolis IN says:

      The Fab 14 should be forced to resign.

    67. Harry Snyder Tempera says:

      It's hard to find any sympathy for these people. I understand that so-called doctors were handing out sick-day excuses to all comers, that the "earnest" "protesters' were leaving trash all over the floor of the Capitol. $87K salary and benefits per year (of 180 days). Pretty good "bread" I say.

      I say "bread" because the same kind of —– during the the "60's." The notorious SDS is there, I believe. (Was that the gang that Obama's buds Ayers and Doern belonged to?)

      Interesting that Obama's own gang (Organizing For America) is there, apparently at his request. The outcome of this mess should be quite interesting, maybe even enlightening……………

    68. Redfray, Pea Ridge, says:

      If we had a law that would NOT allow a government to borrow money, that would end some of the problems each state is facing. It would also end the federal government problem of over spending the budget.

    69. Pingback: 3 Reasons Why This Is Christie’s Time « JimEltringham.com

    70. Pingback: Unions and Republicans | Mr. Topp and the Big Bad Blog

    71. tony chicago says:

      before we blame the unions for all the problems with state bugets and how evil we are. please tell the american pepole how much money the illeagle immigrantes cost us americans every year in every states bugets.

    72. Pingback: Cut and run fever hits Indiana House Democrats | Conservatives for America

    73. MMO, Shiloh IL says:

      Whats wrong with American's, if we lose the right to collective bargaining we are on our way to "Heil Hitler" with the Republican's paving the road for the rich to get richer and poor to get poorer. First we lose our all our employer sponsored benefits, then our freedom of speech, then our right to hold peaceful demonstrations, then our right to live and work where we want….Next thing you know the richest 2% of American's (those making over $250,000) will be marching the rest of us to work camps where we become slave labor while they continue to rake in millions. Raise taxes on the rich and leave those of us making less than $250,000 alone. If every American paid 10% federal income tax on all income (no deductions or credits allowed) and every business or corporation did the same, we might not have a budget deficit!

    74. Ed says:

      This article is strongly biased. When union protesters say it is not about money they mean it. The union has offered to accept ALL the financial demands of the Governor. The only sticking point left is whether the unions also must give up certain collective bargaining rights. So there it is, yet your article mentions NOTHING about this.

    75. John, Fort Atkinson, says:

      If a union in the private sector makes a company uncompetitive through too-high labor expenses or through restrictive and unadaptable work rules, the company will go out of business.

      This has happened many times.

      But what about the public sector?

      Their is no competition for government and they won't go out of business.

      It just eventually gets to the point that the taxpayers are either unable or unwilling to pay for the additional costs associated with union labor.

      What is happening in Wisconsin is what THAT process looks like.

      Walker may lose this fight, I hope not, but if he does the real losers will be the taxpayers of Wisconsin who will continue to overpay for government employees.

      This overpayment can't go on forever, and it won't.

    76. Lou, Tucson AZ says:

      When union protestors say it's not about the money, you can bet the farm that it is ALL about the money!

      Public unions are supported by taxpayers. Everything the public union gets is at the expense of the taxpayers…who have no say in the so called, collective bargaining, intstead, it's done with POLITICIANS who depend on the unions for votes and reelection. This is a failed system and is completely unsustainable. FDR himself warned against public unions and collective bargaining. Why do you protestors think that is? I pray Governor Walker stands firm. He's right, and this fight needs to happen in every state.

    77. Lisa, Ft. Lauderdale says:

      While I sympathize with folks getting their benefits cut, I must say it doesn't keep me up at night. What keeps me up is the fact that my job reduced my hours from 40 hrs per week to 32 hours per week thereby reducing my paycheck. What keeps me up is the fact that the group health plan insurance company will no longer be offering group plans as of March 1st. What keeps me up is the fact that my employer suspended the 401K employer matching program indefinitely. What keeps me up is the rising cost of gasoline, food and electric. What keeps me up at night is the fact that my mortgage pymt increased by $155 per month due to the rate hike in my homeowners insurance policy. So forgive me if I feel like the people in Wisconsin should "take the hit" like the rest of us and feel lucky that they are still employed. I to made life plans and decisions based on my employer's promises when he hired me. Unfortunately, things change and we have to adjust our goals. It's called life.

    78. Greg Kilgore says:

      In the private sector, someone leaves their job and hides out is terminated without a second thought, and yet, in this corupt world of Politics, where our elected officials set their own rules, we are left helpless. The Democrats in Wisconsin (now hiding in Illinois) have no respect for the Democratic process, are only looking to pander to their Union contributors, and should become the poster-boys(persons) for a comprehensive change toward the rule of law and our Constitution; both of which are losing ground daily.

      The anger and vitriol toward these 'Politicians', as well as, the Unions is growing after every Newscast and we can only hope that the blow-back in the next election cycle delivers results.

      The problem for many of us, is who to vote for…many (most) Repulicrats are the same animals. After 30 years of voting (R) in elections, 'McCain the RINO' drove me away…I'm now left afloat in a sea of corruption with nothing to grab on to.

      The exception…The Tea Party

    79. Kerry, Madison WI says:

      You people need to get your facts……this is one of the worst threads I've seen on this subject, so much noise and not enough truth…..

      FACT:

      80 Percent Of The States That Have Banned Collective Bargaining For Public Employees Have Worse 2012 Budget Deficits Than Wisconsin.

      According to figures compiled by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Wisconsin faces a projected 2012 deficit of $1.8 billion, or 12.8 percent of the state's 2011 budget.

      Of the five states that do not permit public employees to bargain, only Georgia (10.3 percent) has a smaller projected shortfall in its 2012 budget.

      In Wisconsin, when comparing the total compensation (which includes non-wage benefits such as health care and pensions) of workers with similar education, public-sector workers consistently make less than their private-sector peers.

      Workers with a bachelor's degree or more-which constitute nearly 60% of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin-are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor's degree) to over $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine).

      In Wisconsin, Workers "Face A Compensation Penalty Of Five Percent For Choosing To Work In Public Sector." From a study of employee compensation in Wisconsin by the Economic Policy Institute: "It is necessary for making true apples-to-apples comparisons to control for worker characteristics such as education in order to best measure a worker's potential earnings in a different sector or industry.

      Controlling for a larger range of earnings predictors-including not just education but also age, experience, gender, race, etc., Wisconsin public-sector workers face an annual compensation penalty of 11%. Adjusting for the slightly fewer hours worked per week on average, these public workers still face a compensation penalty of 5% for choosing to work in the public sector."

      There was no sharp rise in collective bargaining in 2006 and 2007, no major reforms of the country's labor laws, no dramatic change in how unions organize. And yet, state budgets collapsed. Revenues plummeted. Taxes had to go up, and spending had to go down, all across the country.

      Blame the banks. Blame global capital flows. Blame lax regulation of Wall Street. Blame home buyers, or home sellers. But don't blame the unions. Not for this recession." [Washington Post, 2/18/11]

      From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "States and localities have the next 30 years in which to remedy any pension shortfalls. As Alicia Munnell, an expert on these matters who directs the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, has explained, 'even after the worst market crash in decades, state and local plans do not face an immediate liquidity crisis; most plans will be able to cover benefit payments for the next 15-20 years.'

      States and localities do not need to increase contributions immediately, and generally should not do so while the economy is still weak and they are struggling to provide basic services."

      From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "State and local shortfalls in funding pensions for future retirees have gradually emerged over the last decade principally because of the two most recent recessions, which reduced the value of assets in those funds and made it difficult for some jurisdictions to find sufficient revenues to make required deposits into the trust funds. Before these two recessions, state and local pensions were, in the aggregate, funded at 100 percent of future liabilities.

    80. Kerry, Madison WI says:

      Oh and let's not forget that it's BS that Scott (the drop out with a 2.6GPA) campaigned on taking away collective bargaining rights….I dare anyone reading this to find that campaign promise and post it here.

    81. william says:

      Budget problems are real across the board. there is no single point of blame. The main issue is the democrats do not want to fix the problem they want to force their beliefs by not showing up for work. wonder just how deep the money goes into the dems bank accounts.

    82. Kerry in Madison says:

      OMG the ignorance is astounding……….like the Tea Party is not backed by rich interests with deep deep pockets that have absolutely no desire to support the working class.

    83. Christopher of Houst says:

      It's interesting how the left always imply or expressly refer to conservatives as nazis and fascists when it's the left who has the history of being affiliated with those regimes. We in our society of become group of people who believes they are entitled to things. Why should the taxpayer pay for the bulk of these pensions ? Even if they input the 5.8 %, the over all plan is still more generous than the national average, and the collective bargaining is not on income but on benefits. Why is it an evil also to grant a teacher the right to opt out of giving money towards a union ? They still can if they choose but now they have a choice. Liberals also love to criticize businesses for getting tax credits. This is not the Karl Marx society. We aren't even suppose to have a progressive income tax system – taxing people more because they have more. I've never gotten a job from a poor person so this class warfare nonsense needs to stop. Rich people provide jobs – period ! If Wisconsin is not tax friendly, businesses will bail and there will be fewer jobs – that's Economics 101.

    84. Kerry in Madison says:

      Are you seriously trying to portray the Dems as being corrupted by money interests as the reason they walked out?

      We here know why they walked out and we support their effort, might I remind you of the latest poll numbers that show state support by 54% and a national of 64% and growing?

      Walker lied and the independents who supported him know it now, had he talked like this during his campaign he never would have gotten elected.

      He said he wanted modest cuts in teacher benefits and pay, but would discuss it "At the collective bargaining table" then he tries to pull this last minute 6 day slam thru of this bill, the Dems had no choice and good on them for doing it.

    85. Harry Merkin, Califo says:

      This is pure politics. Gov Walker created this "Crisis" by Tax cuts for Corporations and now wants to make working and middle Class people pay. The bill contains authorization for the gov to secretly sell the 15 State owned Power Plants to Koch Industries Power Company at any price the Gov chooses. Koch spent millions helping get him elected.This Bill is to destroy unions which supported Dems last election but leaves intact those who supported him. The unions are pure scapegoats. Who will they target next? Pure Politics and Dirty Corrupt Class Warfare against the Middle Class.

    86. Harry Merkin, Califo says:

      Towns, cities, counties, states and the federal government have all lost revenue due to Irresponsible Tax cuts and the Economic Collapse of 2008. The GOP is trying to use this "Crisis" as an excuse to Bust Unions and destroy the Economic Engine of our Country, the Middle Class.

      After the Middle Class and Workers are reduced to Serfs, Who will buy your junk?

    87. Robert Allen, Ca. 92 says:

      FACTS ABOUT UNIONS

      Right to work laws sounds like a good thing but it’s a Republican fraud. It’s a full on assault against the American working/middle class. All workers, union or non union, earn on average, higher wages in states that are NOT right to work states, i.e. states that have unions.

      There are 3 ways to retire: 1.) The U.S. military get a crazy good pension & health care, as they should. 2.) Politicians write their own contracts & can legally take money from the super rich robber barons as long as no one can prove that they are being bought off. 3.) Belong to a union.

      Republicans are anti working/middle class. The very few exceptions to this are those that come from states that have a significant union population. Many laws the Republicans have passed cause the American working class to suffer through seeing their wages, (if they go up), going up at a far lesser rate than inflation. Meanwhile the super rich robber barons such as the Koch brothers see their incomes going up at multiple times the inflation rate. A large portion of this rise is due to favors they have bought from the Republicans. Then the cycle starts all over again as they use that money to turn politicians such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker into their marionettes. The super rich are smart & greedy enough to set up, (with the help of Fox, [Faux], “News”), such organizations as the Tea Party.

      The Democrats & the leadership of the Union’s AF of L-CIO have shown they do not know how to market themselves & get their message out to the American people. THE TRUTH IS WE ARE IN A FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL & WE’RE LOSING GROUND! If the Super Rich/Republican alliance gets their way America will become a 3rd world country with the “Filthy Rich” class & the “Dirt Poor” working class. There will be NO middle class. This is the reason Republicans are opposed to taxing the rich.

      Democratic politicians & Union Leadership need to get tough & call the Republicans out for selling America out to the richest & greediest people in our country at the expense of the American middle class. Democrats & Union leaders need to learn how to market their agenda as well as the Republicans do, but without the lying & exaggerating. Many union rank & file are “shooting themselves in the foot” by listening to Beck & Rush, joining the Tea Party & voting Republican. This needs to be addressed.

    88. NNY, NY says:

      Hey KERRY!!!!!! from Madison: Here it is, Read it:

      O' He didn't use the Words "Collective Bargaining", but means the samething. You should have done your homework when he was running for office!

      Change mediation/arbitration rules for teacher unions to reflect "common sense"

      Will change mediation/arbitration rules. "Mediation and arbitration changes will also be needed to ensure that local economic factors are considered."

      http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/promises/walk

      Kerry, Madison WI on February 24th, 2011 at 1:53am said:

      Oh and let’s not forget that it’s BS that Scott (the drop out with a 2.6GPA) campaigned on taking away collective bargaining rights….I dare anyone reading this to find that campaign promise and post it here.

    89. Honest Abe says:

      2.6 million so far for police protection due to the protests? I guess the corrupt governor does not mind spending taxpayer money to further the corporate agenda which is to distroy the union. For those of you that haven't figured it out, that's what it's all about. Just read line 2 of the bill (Unions could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized). No dues, no union. Just what the rich corporate elites want, to take away the little bit of power that the "underclass" (that's what they call us) has left. Same "corporate welfare/transfer of wealth" using taxpayers money was used for the war in Iraq. Now our corporate elites are making lots of money there !

    90. Gary Ewers , Tomah, says:

      You seem to be revising history as you go. So, Scott Walker did not want to eliminate collective bargaining? The discussion is too recent and to one sided to think you can write a new version of the events leading up to now. The many problems that Scott Walker has include his great desire to give his backers payback for thier support and desire to eliminate his adversaries ability to have a fair chance to argue the actual facts of the situation.

    91. ArcactCeape says:

      I can't tell you how scary it can be walking onto a movie and suddenly joining this family, it's like going to somebody else's Christmas dinner, everyone knows everyone, and you're there and you're not quite sure what you're supposed to be doing.

    92. erick, rockford says:

      I'm not dispute the facts that were brought up on that video. But the reason a lot of these teachers public teachers take these jobs because they don't get paid as much as they would out in the private sector. Grant these teachers have made their own choice. To be paid less than with people with the same education. Some of these teachers feel calling to teach our children and thank God for them. So I have absolutely no problem paying for their health plan or pension plan is the least we can do. Far as I'm concerned taxpayers haven't been able to pay for teachers ever since I was a child. I remember my teacher paying for school supplies even back then that was a child early 70s teachers are the one thing I have no problem paying taxes for. And you can't compare wages with the Wal-Mart workers and target workers and the service sector people. wages with our teachers who were higher educated. As years go by the gap between wages of the teachers and the private sector will get further apart as a wages lower and lower in the private sector. Especially if union don't exist. The government should set the standard for fair wages. Most wages for teachers are not much over $50,000 a year. If you want to include their insurance and pension yesterday another 30,000. But that still lower that what most educators get paid in other countries that care about their education. I could go on and on defending our policemen and firemen in other government workers. It wasn't for government workers. We all be going to grass shacks and making a buck and a half a day . People of the upper income brackets have absolutely no problem with those people in America middle class. Living like they do in Mexico and other Third World countries. As long as they make their money.

    93. Madison/McFarland, W says:

      Lets get a few facts out there, then you decide.

      * Green Bay School District – teachers retires and works 30 days over 3 years. They are guaranteed a years worth of salary in addition to their pension. SOURCE: WLUK-TV

      *Due to a provision in 1982 collective bargaining agreement. Milwaukee Public Schoot teachers receive 2 pensions. The second is equal to 4.2% of salary, with the District making 100% contribution, just like they do for the first one. SOURCE: Milwaukee Public Schools 2/17/2010.

      * Wausau public employee union filed a grievance to prohibit a local volunteer from serving as a crossing guard. SOURCE: WKOW-TV 1/27/10

      * In 2009 the City of Madison's highest paid employee was the mayor right? NO, a bus driver who earned $159,258 including $109,892 in OT. SOURCE: WSJ 2/7/2010

      * Milwaukee County, 14 employees receive salary and benefits for doing union business work. Of the 14, 3 are FT release for union business, cost to the County: $170,000.

      Now currently: several business's are being black mailed: Kwik Trip, M & I, Johsonville Sausage and more. Either back the unions or else. Signed by: Police, Fire, Madison School District and more.

      These protestors you see leave trash everywhere. One person had to purchase a dumpster to remove sleeping bags left behind. Protestor's stand out side an M & I Bank, threatning customers and the police look the other way. Signs and trash are posted on buidlings everywhere. Its the business ower's problem. So now tell me. Are these protestors just paid thugs? All of you who are aware of budget problems. Not sure where you have lived for the last 3 years but times are tough!! The last 2 years the property taxes in Dane County (home to Madison) has went UP 10%, yet no one can sell their homes. This madness of just spend and tax has to stop somewhere. Thanks you Gov. Walker.

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