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Wisconsin Union Collective Bargaining: A Teacher's Fundamental Right to Viagra

Posted By Kenneth Spence On February 25, 2011 @ 2:00 pm In Economics | Comments Disabled

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Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, in an exclusive interview with the Heritage Foundation [2], called union collective bargaining a “vicious cycle,… one I think people have realized we can’t afford anymore.”  Government unions bargain for more taxpayer money, collect dues from their membership, and come right back to the table demanding more.  In the case of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), more means Viagra, Cialis, and the like for male employees of Milwaukee public schools.

In 2002, through collective bargaining, MTEA won the inclusion of Viagra in its members’ health plans [3], and by 2004, 10% of union membership (which isn’t a male-dominated set) was subscribing to the benefit — at a cost of more than $200,000 per year to the Milwaukee school district [4].  Not until 2005 was the school district finally able to convince an arbitrator to drop the coverage.

Last year, while the school district faced a $10 million dollar budget shortfall [5], the MTEA decided it was time to revisit those drug benefits [3] and filed a lawsuit demanding their reintroduction to union health plans—at a projected cost of $786,000 in 2010.

It may look like the union trying to raise costs for taxpayers, but MTEA spokeswoman Kristin Collett insists that it’s really a matter of fundamental rights:  “this is an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members.”  (Lest any private sector employee forget that Viagra is a right.)

The MTEA represents more than 10,000 teachers and administrators in Milwaukee and has an annual budget of millions of dollars.  Its priority was not, however, saving the jobs of the 400 teachers laid off because of a budget hole [6].  Instead, the union pursued an opportunity to flex its muscles under the guise of defending a civil right — just as protestors are now [7].

All of this makes MTEA president Mike Langyel’s recent attack on Governor Walker’s budget rescue plan [8] sound rather hollow:

Proposals to layoff over 600 hardworking employees … would have serious negative consequences to classrooms throughout the district.  For years, educators and MTEA leaders have urged the School Board and the administration to join us in moving education forward by working together to change the school finance system in Wisconsin.

As Governor Walker explained to Heritage [2], public sector unions exist to prevent governments from making “reasonable decisions to protect jobs.”

Kenneth Spence is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm [9]


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/25/wisconsin-union-collective-bargaining-a-teachers-fundamental-right-to-viagra/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/504px-Viagra_in_Pack.jpg

[2] in an exclusive interview with the Heritage Foundation: http://www.foundry.org/2011/02/21/morning-bell-gov-scott-walker-answers-the-tough-questions-in-exclusive-interview/

[3] through collective bargaining, MTEA won the inclusion of Viagra in its members’ health plans: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/100108249.html

[4] at a cost of more than $200,000 per year to the Milwaukee school district: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/milwaukee-schools-ban-viagra-teachers-union-sues-discrimination/story?id=11378595&page=1

[5] $10 million dollar budget shortfall: http://badgerherald.com/news/2010/10/27/mps_faces_107_millio.php

[6] the 400 teachers laid off because of a budget hole: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/06/health/main6748776.shtml

[7] just as protestors are now: http://blog.heritage.org../2011/02/20/video-myths-vs-facts-of-the-wisconsin-union-protest/

[8] recent attack on Governor Walker’s budget rescue plan: http://www.mtea.org/Public/pdf/PressReleases/April-29-MPS-budget.pdf

[9] http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

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