Skip to comments.Wisconsin Officials Rush to Walker-Proof Their Benefits
Posted on 03/03/2011 6:33:39 PM PST by Nachum
Just days after Gov. Scott Walker introduced his budget repair bill, public-sector-union leaders said they would accept Walkers financial demands as long as he kept collective bargaining intact. However, in the time bought by the flight of 14 Democratic state senators, local governments have been quickly adopting new contracts in advance of Walkers bill becoming law. In effect, the unions are spraying their benefits with Walker repellent. (In fact, an investigative report shows that there may have been collusion between the missing state senators and City of Madison officials to delay the bill so contracts could be signed.)
Three days after the governor introduced his budget, the Milwaukee Area Technical College ratified a new three-year contract that preserves no-cost pensions and contains no layoffs for its teachers (average pay: $95,000.) Union leaders called an emergency meeting at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday night to vote on their new contract yet their president said that had nothing to do with Walkers budget-repair bill.
State employees tried to pull a similar trick in December. In a Hindenburg-like fiasco, Democrats tried to use the pre-Walker lame-duck session to pass state union-worker contracts with microscopic concessions. To get their deciding vote in the assembly, they even pulled a legislator out of jail, where he was serving time for drunk driving. The contracts unexpectedly failed by one vote in the senate when the Democrats leader inexplicably switched his position at the last minute.
Also before Walker took office, the Milwaukee Public School board quickly adopted a four-year teacher contract that runs through 2013. It contains pay increases of 2.5 to 3 percent, and requires teachers to begin contributing to their health insurance for the first time although in amounts well short of what Walker is proposing (1 percent of salary for single coverage, 2 percent for family). The contract also extends health benefits to domestic partners, which will offset a good portion of the $50 million in savings the district expects to realize from the teachers contributions.
For other school districts that ram through generous contracts, the results could be disastrous: Walker just announced a budget that reduces state aid to local school districts by $834 million; much of that cut was going to be offset by teachers increased benefit contributions, but districts that capitulate to their teachers wont have that option. Instead of having a full complement of teachers paying slightly more for their benefits, they will have fewer teachers, but teachers with jewel-encrusted retirement and health packages. Then they will blame Scott Walker for the massive layoffs their districts will see.
The president of the states largest teachers union has already set the stage for a Blame Walker campaign. Theres no way that school districts in this state are going to be able to address this kind of budget shortfall without layoffs and program cuts that will damage the quality of education, said WEACs Mary Bell on Tuesday.
Yet many of her bargaining units are trying to guarantee as many layoffs as possible. In rushing to the negotiating table, teachers union leaders are picking their own bank accounts over kids. This should be no surprise to anyone in Wisconsin whose child sat at home for a few days when teachers walked off the job over a week ago.
This rush to ratify new contracts is why Scott Walker didnt take the union leaders up on their deal almost two weeks ago theres no way the AFSCME and AFL-CIO big shots could control the contract machinations of over 1,000 local governments. While protesters roared that their objection to Walkers plan wasnt about the money, their bargaining units were working furiously behind the scenes to grab as much cash as possible before Walker dropped the guillotine.
Furthermore, these new contracts demonstrate why declaring public sector collective bargaining to be sacrosanct is so preposterous. In places like the City of Madison, theres very little bargaining happening. Public employees and elected officials are sitting on the same side of the table. The only actual negotiating taking place is from city employees deciding which Applebees theyll crash to celebrate their fat new contracts.
Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.
And if found illegal, these butt-wipe democrats should go to jail.
State needs to make laws to bid out school districts to private contractors.
We are out of other people’s money. Their socialist scheme has reached rock bottom.
Yep - big scandal.
Any press coverage will focus on the “unfairness” of the people trying to hold these guys’ feet to the fire.
In the end, a bunch of liberal judges will give a couple of guys wrist slaps and the matter will be dropped.
Have a nice day.
Why lay them off. Axe the budget. No Money, No Job.
And nobama said that government were our neighbors and friends. I call them fiends! Fire them all. Jail them. Put them in stocks so we can show our appreciation. Shouldn’t most of these parasitic bloodsuckers be in a jail somewhere?
This just proves that the Rats are more concerned with preserving the unions than representing the people who pay the bills.
I sure as heck would let them learn a new socialist awakening, standing in a soup line.
Fire the striking teachers and offer to any takers the package the striking teachers WOULD have received. You’d have thousands jumping at the chance.
No teachers are “formally” on strike at this point. Seems they are busy getting their local contracts in order before the states can pass any limits on their bargaining ability with their school district.
Could it be any more clear why the governor was trying to limit the collective bargaining in a state bill. These individual districts have made contracts (for years ahead) that will bust the state’s budget. Teachers will be laid off.
This is one of the most disgusting example of the collusion between the Unions and the Dummie pols.
All in defiance of the will of the PEOPLE.
The Unions should be brought up on RICO Charges.
That’s how the Feds got their Mob Fathers.
Please feel free to use the term “collusive bargaining” . . . as often as possible:)
Stop paying taxes until sane citizens reclaim the government.
but they won’t.
As long as layoffs follow the LIFO rule, the union membership will not hesitate to throw the younger ones under the bus. The average age of employees in many NYS agencies (where I live), is close to 50.
And the lowly taxpayer takes it in the BOHICA again.
It’s going to Backfire on them.
Fire the entire lot of them, now! They are a bunch of worthless ratbags who deserve to lose their jobs. Thugs and greedy goons - that's what they are. They are a hazard to the community. They are destroying our children and their futures!
All aboard the taxpayer-funded, public-employee Gravy Train!
The drooling public is brainwashed by TV and submits to the scum unions will.
Fire the lot so they can beat their drums on American Idol... who knows they might win.
If so, a link would be great - thanks!
This is very good news for conservatives. We need to get the word out to our lists, friends and families.
These tactics, once understood, will not work again and will backfire.
What you’ll see occur from this is that Walker will get his budget and the unions will lose. Wise local governments, seeing this, will carefully craft contracts or let their contracts expire.
It will be the most Democratic locales, like Madison, in which disaster will occur. Either the unions will accept layoffs or they will return to the bargaining table and accept concessions.
The Democrats and the unions are in a lose-lose situation.
The best thing for our side is that they’ve exposed themselves as the greedy thugs they truly are.
I love it and this will go nationwide.
Mary Bell, as in the serial killer? O_o
Just do like Bill Clinton did with the tax increases in ‘93 and make the law retro-active.
You could offer the position at 15% to 20% less than the current teacher/administrator is earning and, in this job market, people would line up around the block to apply for it.
I’m sure the same shenanigans are happening right now in Illinois and Ohio. Delay is the unions’ friend!
They should have just voted the collective bargaining portion in a separate bill 2 wks. ago.
Thanks for all the pings, Diana. I appreciate your efforts to keep me up to speed on all that’s happening in our fine state.
You’re welcome! My pleasure. Wish I had more time, but then you guys would be sick of my pings, LOL! :)
Never sick of your pings! But I’m getting mightily sick of all the shenanigans!! On the up side, there are going to be some vacancies. Lots of people are retiring. Not all of them will be replaced, but some will HAVE to be replaced to keep the state in business.
You and I are movin’ up The Food Chain at a steady pace, LOL! You in the Public Sector, me in the Private. :)
If there’s no way to defeat the unions on this issue, the Wisconsin GOP needs to start having a lot of press conferences with charts showing the salaries and benefits of the teachers who survive the coming layoffs.
I wish Wisconsin parents would pull their kids out of the public schools en masse.
State needs to make laws to bid out school districts to private contractors.
Just like a lot of things the military does. Your new airplane comes from the “lowest” bidder.
Just another epic fail of the GOP. Walker had a historic opportunity he could have channeled Reagan here...but he just let himself be manipulated.
Whatever he does nothing will change nothing.
Ridiculous...just like the GOP cutting 61 billion...that is 17 days of deficit spending out of 365...
Bottom line: nothing has changed...