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Teacher walkout: As conservative reforms gain momentum, teachers unions losing money and members
WORLD ^ | 8/24/12 | Daniel James Devine

Posted on 09/03/2012 3:27:21 PM PDT by rhema

Wisconsin public high-school teacher Kristi Lacroix has endured yells, curses, laughs, derision, and threats to her face.

It isn't students who give her grief, though. It's the other adults. One woman spit on Lacroix while she shopped for groceries at Pick'n Save. At Capt. Mike's Beer & Burger Bar, a table of teachers moved when she sat nearby, while another patron suggested someone should assassinate her.

Her sin? Being a teachers union member who opposed the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

As a political conservative, Lacroix had become frustrated when she learned her union supported liberal candidates and agendas. But the Kenosha, Wis., teacher was legally obligated to pay over $100 a month in dues-until Walker brought reforms last year. That November, Lacroix, a member of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), appeared in a 30-second television ad endorsing Walker. The governor had done the right thing for Wisconsin, she told the camera. The recall attempt felt "a little like sour grapes."

After the commercial aired, Lacroix received a stream of hate mail calling her "idiot," "Judas," and worse. "You support Walker," read one: "Hope you share a jail cell with him."

Some of the vitriol came from Lacroix's own colleagues, which she says is "embarrassing and makes me feel sad." But dozens of others wrote to offer support or say they'd also like to leave their union: "I'm certainly not alone. I'm just the only one willing to be vocal."

Lacroix seems to be one of many teachers fed up with union dues and politics. Since Walker pushed through legislation last year making public-sector union membership voluntary, WEAC (it's pronounced WHEE-ack) has lost a fifth of its members. Last year the union laid off 40 percent of its staff as it dealt with budget cuts and engaged in what executive director Dan Burkhalter called a "membership continuation" campaign.

WEAC's parent, the National Education Association, is in the throes of a crisis itself: It has lost over 100,000 members since 2010, and expects the bleeding to continue.

NEA, the nation's largest union, represents one out of every 100 Americans through its state affiliates, such as WEAC. Since 2009, several affiliates have reported declining income and membership. Income from dues at the Arizona Education Association, for instance, dropped from $7.5 million to $5.4 million in one year. NEA had to bail out the group's Indiana affiliate in 2009 after it reported a four-year, multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

The bailout followed a mass exodus from public worker unions in Indiana. Gov. Mitch Daniels triggered the exodus in 2005 when he eliminated government-sector bargaining power by executive order. This February, four days before crowds descended on Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI, Daniels braved crowds of protesters in the Statehouse to sign legislation, making Indiana the nation's 23rd "right-to-work" state by outlawing forced union membership in the private sector. It was the first state to do so in over a decade.

NEA officials say collective bargaining attacks in Indiana and elsewhere, like Idaho, Ohio, and Wisconsin, have squeezed state and national budgets. In Wisconsin, Walker's reform last year angered some public-sector union members by increasing their contributions to retirement and health plans, and restraining bargaining power. Demonstrators at the Wisconsin Capitol did not intimidate Republicans into scuttling the bill, which Walker signed in March that year. Union leaders then helped organize 50,000 volunteers in a battle to recall the governor.

Meanwhile, since the law also made union membership voluntary for state workers, thousands of them, including teachers, stopped paying dues. In the time between Walker's signing of the union reform bill and his recall election, WEAC lost 20,000 of its 90,000 members. The Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, a WEAC rival, lost 6,000 of 17,000.

On June 5, Walker won the recall election by 7 percentage points. His victory suggested to some pundits that unions were weakening in political clout.

Some 7,403 union member delegates spent the Fourth of July at NEA's four-day leadership summit in Washington, D.C. Local unions appoint representatives to attend the annual summit, where they vote union policy changes up or down. This July, delegates used markers to scribble notes of support to President Barack Obama on a large banner titled "NEA Educators for Obama." The NEA has already voted to endorse Obama's reelection-and has never supported a Republican presidential candidate.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel tried to rally kindred spirits during a speech: "We must do everything we can to reelect President Obama. ... The other side will outspend us, but we can't let them outwork us." The crowd responded with cheers and applause. When one Republican teacher spoke up at the conference, attendees booed.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: education; nea; obama; walker

Kristi Lacroix

1 posted on 09/03/2012 3:27:24 PM PDT by rhema
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To: rhema
We need to do what Reagan did to the ATC staffers: FIRE THEM ALL, and re-hire NON-UNION COMPETENT replacements.

GET THE F$#@ing Unions out of the Public Sector, and cut the head off the DNC-money-laundering snake!

2 posted on 09/03/2012 3:34:03 PM PDT by traditional1 (Don't gotsta worry 'bout no mo'gage, don't gotsta worry 'bout no gas; Obama gonna take care o' me!)
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To: rhema
There is a growing revolt within multiple unions.

Commentary: Labor Bosses' Vision of Collective Bargaining Hurts Workers, Society Union plans will force Michigan to have to hang 'Closed for Business' signs

As a pro-union UAW member who happens to be a realist, I have a different view of collective bargaining than most union officials.

The idea that you can equally serve the needs of large numbers of employees by negotiating terms of employment en masse ignores basic rights and crushes a person's individualistic spirit. Union officials want to categorize workers as drone bees in a hive, but we each have differing abilities and strengths, hopes and dreams, and wants and needs that collective bargaining cannot hope to address.

Collective bargaining steals away distinctiveness and strips workers of basic human dignity because it essentially tells workers that they are no better or worse than anyone else.

In other words, it is Marxist in nature, which is anti-American.


Tery Bowman is head of http://www.unionconservatives.com/ was a big Michigan supporter of Scott Walker, supports right to work laws in Michigan, and has testified against union political fundraising on capitol hill.
3 posted on 09/03/2012 3:37:04 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: rhema

God bless this teacher and those like her. I suspect it’s many, many more than we realize.


4 posted on 09/03/2012 3:38:05 PM PDT by workerbee (June 28, 2012 -- 9/11 From Within)
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To: traditional1

Wow. Those union people in WI are pure evil. I would never want them teaching my children. Fire them all and replace them. Keep only the decent conservatives that speak up and tell the unions to just go to heck.


5 posted on 09/03/2012 3:43:07 PM PDT by Qwackertoo (Romney/Ryan 2012 The Future of Our Children and Their Children are at stake.)
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To: rhema

Is there any way we can support her and people like her?


6 posted on 09/03/2012 3:44:16 PM PDT by TwelveOfTwenty (Ho, ho, hey, hey, I'm BUYcotting Chick-Fil-A)
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To: Qwackertoo
"Keep only the decent conservatives that speak up and tell the unions to just go to heck"

Notwithstanding the un-necessary existence of ANY Union, I believe PUBLIC EMPLOYEES serve at the expense of the Taxpayer, who in turn is the one who should decide REASONABLE Compensation and Benefits.....NOT strong-arm, striking against Taxpayers and BUYING favor from Dues to Democrat Politicians.

7 posted on 09/03/2012 3:48:48 PM PDT by traditional1 (Don't gotsta worry 'bout no mo'gage, don't gotsta worry 'bout no gas; Obama gonna take care o' me!)
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To: traditional1

I agree. Whoever thought public unions was a good idea should be, well I probably shouldn’t say. Very bad idea.


8 posted on 09/03/2012 3:51:40 PM PDT by Qwackertoo (Romney/Ryan 2012 The Future of Our Children and Their Children are at stake.)
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To: TwelveOfTwenty
Is there any way we can support her and people like her?

Do business with businesses in Wisconsin.

9 posted on 09/03/2012 3:52:02 PM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: rhema

23 yrs in Education, longtime activist

He is also a member of the US Department of Education’s Equity

10 posted on 09/03/2012 3:52:32 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: rhema
let's see now....each union member pays $100 per month in union dues......doesn't anyone except me see an extreme amount of money being paid, unwillingly in many cases, to a private organization that basically does nothing all year long. Where on earth do all those extorted dollars go????

No real need to answer, I was a member of the joint council in the union I was forced to belong to as a correctional officer for the state of Indiana.

When I asked the same question at a union meeting I became VERY unpopular!!!!!

11 posted on 09/03/2012 3:53:01 PM PDT by terycarl
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To: rhema

I am not a teacher,but a member(not by choice)of a very ,very strong politically active union in Calif.
I have become sick of the way my dues goes to support their political agenda.There are many of us who share the same values and are opposed to what the union represents.
Yes on Ca.Prop 32.
Kristi Lacroix,God bless You.


12 posted on 09/03/2012 3:55:16 PM PDT by peteyd (A dog may bite you in the ass,but it will never stab you in the back.)
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To: terycarl

I used to agitate my union steward by calling dues our “Union tax”.


13 posted on 09/03/2012 3:55:48 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Qwackertoo
In my 45 year career, I was a Union member for less than a year, when I first hired. IMMEDIATELY, I saw what Seniority meant and advancement was "wait your turn", and NEVER based on Merit.

I moved to Management and never looked back. The WORST offenders seem to be the least-productive and least-skilled workers, who NEED the Union to keep them employed. They can't move up on Merit; they have none. THAT is so pervasive in the Public Sector, even more than the Private Sector, because of Nepotism, Political Appointments, Patronage, etc., and once hired, they are virtually IMPOSSIBLE TO FIRE for anything other than a "Convicted" Felony (that's the beauty of Plea Bargains, and saves their jobs).

14 posted on 09/03/2012 3:55:55 PM PDT by traditional1 (Don't gotsta worry 'bout no mo'gage, don't gotsta worry 'bout no gas; Obama gonna take care o' me!)
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To: terycarl

and remember all the awful health benefit contracts they had? When the school districts could go out and competitively bid them they were saving 50%. One day Rush had a guy from WI and don’t remember his name but all the sneaky tricks and they had the school districts and cities hostage to certain providers. That has since changed. For the better.


15 posted on 09/03/2012 4:03:53 PM PDT by Qwackertoo (Romney/Ryan 2012 The Future of Our Children and Their Children are at stake.)
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To: rhema
Another,

The lady's got guts.

16 posted on 09/03/2012 4:20:19 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The Slave Party Switcheroo: Economic crisis! Zero's eligibility Trumped!! Hillary 2012!!!)
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To: rhema
Income from dues at the Arizona Education Association, for instance, dropped from $7.5 million to $5.4 million in one year.

Huh, the solution to that is so simple I'm surprised they even mentioned money.

They already have the answer, now they just need to do what they have always told us need to be done.

Raise taxes, or in this case dues.

Problem solved.

They can send me my advisors fee by mail.

17 posted on 09/03/2012 4:23:53 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Liberals, at their core, are aggressive & dangerous to everyone around them,)
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To: traditional1
The problem with firing teachers is that they are already the bottom of the academic barrel. Short of hiring still more Democrats, who are you going to replace them with?

Why do you think the NEA is so adamantly opposed to testing teachers on a regular basis, or worse, actually testing the results of their work, the knowledge of those seriously brainwashed little Socialists in the schools? How about ranking them in ability, and rather than seniority?

If you have been back to any cow college, you will have found that Education Majors are the absolute bottom of the IQ Bell Curve. Even Journalism Majors are brighter.

The classes are such things as to how to teach camping, fishing, ballroom dancing, because these losers are in school to delay, for as long as possible, actually having to work for a living. Only the philosophy majors dragging out a student loan for a tenured professorship are more useless.

18 posted on 09/03/2012 4:29:58 PM PDT by jonascord (Any Democrat = Classic examples of the Downing Effect.)
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To: traditional1
The problem with firing teachers is that they are already the bottom of the academic barrel. Short of hiring still more Democrats, who are you going to replace them with?

Why do you think the NEA is so adamantly opposed to testing teachers on a regular basis, or worse, actually testing the results of their work, the knowledge of those seriously brainwashed little Socialists in the schools? How about ranking them in ability, and rather than seniority?

If you have been back to any cow college, you will have found that Education Majors are the absolute bottom of the IQ Bell Curve. Even Journalism Majors are brighter.

The classes are such things as to how to teach camping, fishing, ballroom dancing, because these losers are in school to delay, for as long as possible, actually having to work for a living. Only the philosophy majors dragging out a student loan for a tenured professorship are more useless.

19 posted on 09/03/2012 4:30:19 PM PDT by jonascord (Any Democrat = Classic examples of the Downing Effect.)
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To: jonascord

Hillsdale college has quit offering teaching degrees without a 4 year degree in something else. You can still get a teaching degree while working on your 4 year degree but they have a deal with Spring Arbor college about 25 miles to the north for it.


20 posted on 09/03/2012 4:46:05 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: rhema
I've generally voted with my feet,(as far as selecting states to live in) and have never joined a union.
I know many people who perceive themselves to be forced to join labor unions, in order to retain their jobs.

They claim to hate the working conditions, including graft, corruption and the general anti-USA activities of their labor unions.

Repeal the executive (Kennedy)permission for federal government workers to unionize, and the remainder of the RICO/Labor Unions house of cards immediately falls.

We could actually enforce our hard fought for universal labor laws better, without government labor unions.
We might even be able to start to do what now is seemingly impossible, and that would be to enforce or repeal our laws!

Imagine returning to a system of just laws again!
Not what we have now, which is a system of various levels of corruption.

21 posted on 09/03/2012 4:48:21 PM PDT by sarasmom
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To: rhema

Unions have a place, but they need to be balanced.


22 posted on 09/03/2012 5:04:50 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum

Unions had their place - when this country had masses of largely unskilled and uneducated workers in production and manufacturing. Those days have been over for decades. Even then the unions were corrupt and lawless, so it could be easily argued that they never had their place. The unions most certainly never had a place in the public sector/government.


23 posted on 09/03/2012 5:33:53 PM PDT by Henry Hnyellar
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To: rhema; Hunton Peck; Diana in Wisconsin; P from Sheb; Shady; DonkeyBonker; Wisconsinlady; JPG; ...

Wisconsin Teachers’ Unions acting childish ping

FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.


24 posted on 09/03/2012 8:40:40 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic (Joe Biden is reported to be seeking asylum in a foreign country so he does not have to debate Ryan.)
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To: Qwackertoo
Wow. Those union people in WI are pure evil.

Isn't that the truth! We have educators of children who vote, for their own benefit, for a party that supports millions of children being murdered. Millions of children are missing from their classrooms, but the important thing for them is that they are well taken care of.

25 posted on 09/03/2012 9:13:41 PM PDT by Bellflower (The LORD is Holy, separated from all sin, perfect, righteous, high and lifted up.)
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To: workerbee
I suspect it’s many, many more than we realize.

Yup. Like me.

26 posted on 09/03/2012 10:11:49 PM PDT by ExSoldier (Stand up and be counted... OR LINE UP AND BE NUMBERED...)
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To: Henry Hnyellar

I agree they should not function in the public sector.

But they do help balance things in some cases. The problem is that the unions have gone full tilt Democrat over the years, and as a result totally corrupt.


27 posted on 09/04/2012 4:28:36 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: traditional1

Ronnie did not just arbitrarily fire the ATC. They broke the law forbidding them to strike and THEN he fired them.


28 posted on 09/04/2012 8:45:35 AM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama MUST Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: rhema

God Bless Kristi! And God Bless all Wisconsin educators who have come to realize the truth about what the Teachers’ Unions are up to! They are up to only keeping their Union membership and money going to the Democrat Party...NOT working for teachers and students!!

As a public school teacher (retired after 43 years) I learned many years ago that the NEA was not for me or the students I taught!


29 posted on 09/04/2012 6:48:26 PM PDT by seekthetruth (I want a Commander In Chief who honors and supports our Military!)
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