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Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:25 pm
by Deb Richardson
Actually, tooten the message board administrator prefers links.

Also tooten have you provided the names of these golfing professors, their tee times, and respected golf courses so the UW can deal with them?

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:06 pm
by Kerry Tobin

As I've said a number of times on the message boards, I tend to lean anti-union. However, the way this is being done is simply wrong. No, I'm not a union member. In fact, until last year Academic Staff (my job classification) were banned from even considering collective bargaining. And I likely would vote not to be union.

I'm curious where you went to school. I spent four years at UWEC and can't remember having a TA for any class. They were all taught by professors. UW-Madison does use TA's for classes. Typically you'll see them more often in the large lecture classes while the professors focus on the higher level classes and this magical thing called research. It also is considered training for the TA's, who are potentially going to be professors some day and will have to teach the higher level classes.

Did you know that UW-Madison is actually the largest fully public research institution in the US on a grant income basis? There is only one school larger and they accept DOD grants where the results must be kept private (which isn't allowed at the UW). Yes, the professors might go play golf during the day, but they also show back up at night, on weekends, etc. We don't have set business hours and there are people working in our building 24 hours a day. UW-Madison generates more than $1 billion in revenue from out-of-state sources.

Also, did you know that on the average state employee has considerably more education than the average worker in the private sector? My position, and all academic staff, for example is required to have a minimum of a bachelors degree and many require masters if not a PhD. I believe most of the classified positions on campus require this too. I work with a number of people with at least one PhD.

As far as the links. Ideally links should include some opinion too. We would rather you link to the content so the author's website gets the traffic they deserve, but there should be a comment on your opinion of why it's important, etc. in most cases.

Oh, by the way. I'm going to be taking a pay cut as part of all of this. I'm not arguing the pay cut (although I personally am considering quitting) but I don't believe stripping all of the rights of the states teachers, staff, etc. without at least talking with them to see if there can be mutual agreement is right. Also, capping pay increases will be a serious issue for the UW in the future. On average Academic Staff are paid considerably lower than our peers at the universities surrounding us. The UW is having difficulties recruiting top tier researchers because they can go to other research institutions (including Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa) and make considerably more money. These are the same people that write the grants and generate the patents that bring money into the state. The UW System was begging for a 7% pay increase for Academic Staff before the economy started declining just to try to start catching up to their competition. This was for employees without unions and without collective bargaining.

Scott Walker may not have needed more than dropping out of college with a 2.2 GPA to succeed but for Wisconsin to compete on a global scale in the future, a number of our children will.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:43 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
Correspondence from State Rep. Tom Tiffany that will appear in the Feb. 22 Tomahawk Leader:

Last week the state legislature, including the assembly, began review of Governor Walker's Budget Repair Bill. The Joint Finance Committee after making modifications to the proposal, passed the Budget Repair Bill, 12-4, sending it on to each house of the legislature.

The state senate was prepared to begin debate on the Budget Repair Bill Thursday, February 17th. However, 14 senators chose to leave the state, effectively closing off the senate's ability to debate the issue. The issue of the 14 missing senators is unresoved as of this writing.

On Friday the 18th, the state assembly was scheduled to begin debate on the Budget Repair Bill. The scheduled floor debate was halted due to the assembly minority asking for more time to review the bill and security concerns at the capitol. The state assembly will reconvene on Tuesday February 22nd to review all amendments to the Budget Repair Bill. I expect the process to be tedious, but if no further delays occur, we should be able to have a final bill prepared for a vote by the end of the week. I believe the assembly leadership made the correct decision to allow the minority party an additional four days to review the bill.

At the heart of the Budget Repair Bill is a proposal asking public employees to make concessions on their health and pension benefits. Currently most state employees pay about 6% of their health insurance and nothing towards their pensions. The Budget Repair Bill requires state employees to pay 12% of their health insurance and 5.8%, or half, of their pension contribution. If enacted, the proposal will save Wisconsin's budget $300 million. The savings amount to approximately 10% of the total savings required to fill the projected shortfall of $3.6 BILLION for the next biennial budget. If the Budget Repair Bill is not enacted, we could see layoffs of 6,000 state employees and 8-10,000 teachers in the next biennium.

One of the major concerns opponents of the Budget Repair Bill cite, is the loss of collective bargaining privileges. Some local public employees are concerned their employment can be terminated without just cause. As a result of those concerns, the legislature amended Governor Walker's original proposal to include civil service protections for local public employees. Local public employees will have the same civil service protections that state employees have had for the past 100 years. The Budget Repair Bill does NOT affect private sector unions.

In it's current form, I support the Budget Repair Bill. For too long politicians of both parties have been spending beyond the taxpayers means. The Budget Repair Bill is the first step in meeting our constitutional responsibility of passing a genuinely balanced budget.

Make no mistake, there will be sacrifice for virtually every Wisconsinite in the coming budget. However, if we make the tough decisions, now, future budgets--two, four and six years from now will be much more manageable.

Rep. Tom Tiffany
Town of Little Rice

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:44 pm
by Deb Richardson
Kerry wrote:

As far as the links. Ideally links should include some opinion too. We would rather you link to the content so the author's website gets the traffic they deserve, but there should be a comment on your opinion of why it's important, etc. in most cases.

I don't think an opinion is always necessary. Sharing information is important too.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:24 pm
by Kerry Tobin
Funny how Tiffany completely fails to mention that Republican Assembly leaders violated the rules of the assembly and called the session to order five minutes earlier than scheduled (with no Democrats present). They then immediately began voting to move the bill past the point that amendments could be offered. All of this violated Assembly rules and probably Wisconsin's open meetings laws.

It wasn't until Democrats rushed in and pointed out the major rules violations that suddenly the vote to move the bill forward was undone and they agreed to move everything back to the beginning on Tuesday.

Democrats may be pushing the limits by leaving the state to stall, but Republicans are ready to ram this through even if they have to break the rules or the law.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:36 pm
by Kerry Tobin
Well, two interesting things in this article.

First, 4 of the 5 public unions that endorsed Walker are magically exempt from his bill. Yep, it doesn't include any political favors at all... Why not just include all of the unions and actually be fair?

Second, one of those unions has come out on record saying they 'regret' endorsing him.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:50 pm
by Kerry Tobin
I also find Walker's track record of "trying to save jobs" is somewhat questionable. As Milwaukee County Executive he tried to give significant raises to a number of the top people in the county shortly before announcing a budget that pushed for layoffs and prevented filling 700 open positions in the county. That doesn't sound familiar at all does it???

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:49 am
by Deb Richardson
Great links Kerry thanks for sharing. Very informative.

If ignorance is bliss I lead the way in blissfulness. Might I add and this is i just my humble opinion, that those who consider the opinions of others and the information they have to offer as nothing more than the proverbial dog poo on the shoe of life as very blissful as well. Have a good day.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:54 am
by Deb Richardson
I found yet another article that makes me think that Gov. Walker could be the pawn in a much bigger plan. Reference to the Koch brothers. I found that the last paragraph particularly meaningful. ... .html?_r=1

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:05 pm
by Deb Richardson
I don't see how this doesn't scream nepotism. I don't see how someone with one ounce of common sense would do this. Maybe there was a reason that Dodge County didn't want Fitzgerald as their sheriff again. ... ffc25.html

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:29 pm
by Mimi61
Tooten, I take issue with some of your comments:

“WTF is Nicolet College Instructor Kevin Brown writing about? Making him pay into his own pension and health care doesn't take a nickel out of the local economy. It actually saves the taxpayer money. They, the taxpayer, will have more money to spend at Ace Hardware, Ben Franklin, Radio Shack, Bambino's, Tomahawk Family and even Heritage Chevrolet …”

As Kerry explained very well, as a teacher I do not have an option of paying into the WRS. Obviously, if I am bringing home upwards of $5000 LESS per year, I will not be able to put it back into the economy. We’re talking about over 300,000 state workers here – that's bound to have an impact on the economy of the entire state.

“Wisconsin Teacher 175 X 5.6 = 980 hours per year on average”

This certainly doesn’t apply to me. I am contracted for 187 days per year and for 7.5 hours per day. That’s substantially more, wouldn’t you agree? What I am NOT contacted for are the additional hours I put in. I am typically at school by 7:00 a.m. – my contract day begins at 7:30. I often leave later than my 3:30 contract time ends. Furthermore almost EVERY weekend I spend additional hours in my classroom. While my daughter plays in the pep band for football games, wrestling matches, basketball games, I am working in my classroom. I spend many many hours of my evenings and weekends taking time from my family at home correcting papers and planning lessons. Trust me, I’m not complaining. I put in this additional time because it makes me a better teacher.

Finally, yes I did become a teacher because I care deeply for children and love my profession. But where does it state I shouldn’t be adequately compensated as a professional? I taught for three years in a Catholic school, and I absolutely loved it. Why did I leave? Because with my income my husband and I felt we could not responsibly buy a home or raise a family.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:32 pm
by Mimi61
I couldn't resist - I received this from a teacher friend. I'm coming to believe that I'm quite a bargain!!! Tooten - please take particular note. Maybe you believe I'm just a glorified babysitter? If so, you'll love this article!

Teachers make too much money!
by Sarasota Values Education on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 5:32pm

Are you sick of high paid teachers? Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM
with 45 min. off for lunch and plan — that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now how many do they teach in day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

LET’S SEE…. That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 peryear. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children
X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your


Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:34 pm
by Deb Richardson
You go girl!!!

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:48 pm
by Mimi61
I know as a teacher I am very biased on this issue. I’m also the daughter of a paper mill worker who was a union member his entire time at “the mill.” Here are just a few links that range from interesting to downright scary! ... on_penalty ... ffc25.html ... .html?_r=1

…and to end my post:
As Pope John Paul II wrote in 1981, “[a] union remains a constructive factor of social order and solidarity, and it is impossible to ignore it.” (Laborem exercens #20, emphasis in original)

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:42 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
Dear Editor,

Since Governor Walker announced his budget repair bill, emotions have been running very high. On February 16, the Central Wisconsin UniServe Council (representing 6,000 central Wisconsin education professionals and retirees) recommended teachers leave their contractual duties and go to Madison to protest the bill. On Thursday, February 17, our administration and local leaders of our teachers union (MTA) met feverishly with our teachers to maintain the educational integrity of our school system. As Board President, I was actively engaged and strongly supported this collaborative effort by both parties, as did several calls of support to Dr. Snyder from other Board members. We offered several options to allow our teacher’s voices to be heard in Madison while still keeping our schools open. On Friday, February 18, enough teachers in Merrill did not show up for work to cause our schools to close. We were extremely disappointed and will pursue all disciplinary options available to us in our contract for those teachers not legitimately off on that day.

It is extremely important to separate the facts from emotion during this difficult time. Our local MTA officials recommended our teachers honor their contracts and report for work as scheduled. The majority of our teaching staff, as well as all other staff reported for work as expected on Friday. It is critical we recognize the majority of our staff put the integrity of our school system above personal views. When we think of our teachers and staff as a whole, these individuals truly represent our district and deserve our respect. We must not let the poor judgment of a minority of our staff influence our view of the staff as a whole. We have great teachers and staff in Merrill.

Over the last 4 months, the administration and BoE have been struggling with what seems like an impossible budget shortfall. We have put solid local plans in place for a variety of scenarios. Once we know the final effects of both the Budget Repair Bill as well as the final state budget proposal (now postponed to March 1), we will recalibrate our local budget proposals. We, along with our community will get through this difficult time and we will do everything in our power to keep the Merrill Area School District one of the best in the State.

Jeff Verdoorn
MAPS BoE President
Merrill Area Public Schools

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:40 am
by Old Scout
I don't agree with taking all bargaining rights, but at the same time I do agree that state workers need to share some of the burden along with all of those in the private sector who have taken pay cuts and are paying more for insurance and benefits.

Lets be honest about this, with all the people that have lost their jobs, taken pay cuts and pay more for benefits, we just plain can't afford to keep paying at this rate and at the same time be looking at the raises and other increases that are coming up each year. I realize that they have a lot of responsibility and deserve a decent wage, but I don't think the teachers in Tomahawk are going to be hurting too badly with the changes in cost on their benefits. The average teacher in Tomahawk makes around $61,000.00 plus another $33000.00 for benefits. Some more some a little less. This is probably close to double what many are trying to raise a family on so with a little budget control they won't be terribly hurt.

The problem I have is with the teachers that walked off of their jobs to go to Madison and protest causing the schools to close. If I had done that on my job I wouldn't have a job anymore. I would like to know what makes the teachers think that they are so special and can just walk out of the classroom on a whim and expect no repercussions from it. If that is their idea of being dedicated to their profession I wonder what at teacher that doesn't care looks like. Of course they were honest enough about it to do their own protesting and didn't talk (even in an indirect way) their students into walking out of school and doing their protesting for them. And then having the big boss come up with a stupid comment that is was a learning experience. :roll: Even us old folks who haven't been in school for a while aren't senile enough to be fooled by that line of baloney. That is what is called a CYA and then laugh at the fools that believe you. It is because of these things that I have lost all sympathy and respect for the teachers union and those who walked off their jobs and deserted their students. They all need to pay the price for their actions.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:48 am
by Deb Richardson
Old Scout are you sure about the $61,000? I think that's a little high. Could be wrong. I'm sure there are some that are, if so it would be those with a Masters degree, those with many years of service and those that do above pay duties such as coaching and advising extra curricular activities . Mind you Old Scout the above pay these teachers receive is very minimal for the hours involved. Hardly the "average" teacher I'm thinking. I don't think there is any teacher that is not willing to pay their fair share.

Bottom line on this whole crazy fiasco is the manner in which it is being handled. Gov. Walker has not been forthright, one representative heard there was a new bill being proposed by a radio ad from a Washington, DC special interest group, e-mail memos to the Democratic representatives said for them to be there BY 5:00pm three minutes before 5 the voting had begun.....I'm sure Old Scout you have heard all these news reports. I'm of the opinion that this is about more than a budget bill it's about Walker thinking he's advancing his political career. More and more evidence points in the direction of the Koch Bros. People that already own coal and power interests in Wisconsin. Reportedly they have laid off workers in their plants and turned around and given themselves an $11 billion dollar bonus. Of course they own the business but how would you feel if you were laid off only to find your owner rewarded himself. Do you want the entire infrastructural of our state controlled by one big company? I don't. I pay way too much for my electricity now.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:37 am
by Mimi61
Old Scout - I teach in a district that's a bit smaller than Tomahawk, but TOP of our pay scale - that's with a masters degree, additional credits, and the maximum years experience they'll grant you - is approximately $56,000/year. Keep in mind, that's the very top - the only people who earn more are our administrators. I would wager that your numbers are a bit inflated if you're claiming that's the average salary for teachers.

I did not take any school days to go to Madison and the VAST majority of teachers in our state didn't either. The VAST majority of schools remained open. I personally would have had trouble with a sick-out, as I know it puts parents in a bind as far as daycare, etc. However, if I would have taken one of my two personal days to go, no one should have a problem with that. They're personal days for me to use at my discretion.

I did go to Madison on Saturday and stood proud not only with other teachers from the state, but nurses, policemen, firefighters, PRIVATE union workers, and other unions workers from several midwestern states.

I'm not going to get into my worth as a professional. I did that in a previous post. However, anyone who figures a teacher's job is part-time is sorely mistaken. I will mention the thousands of dollars I have spent to further my education and retain my license. I don't get reimbursed for that. I don't get reimbursed for the cost of renewing my license. I don't get reimbursed for the money I spend on my students and in my classroom.

Until you walk in my shoes, as is the case for any profession, please don't judge. And please get the facts. Education will be affected. But that's not the only target. Badgercare and Medicaid are predicted to be gutted. On Saturday there was a disabled gentlemen in a wheelchair in Madison supporting Walker and the Tea Party. When he was asked by a Democratic Senator if he had read the bill, he admitted he hadn't. When he was told that his Medicaid could change considerably with the passage of this bill, he was shocked! Everyone needs to know how their lives will be affected!

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:45 am
by Kerry Tobin
For anyone interested... The Appleton Post Crescent has a search system where you can look up the salary of any public teacher in Wisconsin. I helped build the first version of this back when I worked at Gannett. Looks like they've changed the system since then but still works just the same.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:50 am
by Kerry Tobin
Oh, and so far going through and randomly picking names of teachers who were teaching when I was there (so they've been there awhile) the top pay has been closer to $61,000 than the average. A lot of the people I went to school with (as students) are much ($10,000 to $30,000) lower.

I suspect an average pay of $61,000 is probably pretty far off unless you are including the administrators and even that might not be enough to bring it up that far.

Update: The highest I've found so far is $61,628 and that's been on a couple of people that I know have to be nearing retirement and both had Master's degrees in specialized areas.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:43 am
by XYZ1
Also, let's not forget that the argument is not about benefits/pension contributions anymore. Every public sector union which would be affected by this bill has accepted that they need to do their part and make the contributions Walker wants in his bill. So, the argument about "well, they need to contribute...." is over.

All that is left to argue is collective bargaining. Walker claims that we need this so that local level governments have flexibility (even though I have seen several local government administrators come out and say that they want collective bargaining to remaine in tact). I think he's just doing it to repay his donors who got him elected.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:09 am
by XYZ1
Also, Walker is now threatening to start laying people off if the people don't bow down to his demands. Nice threat. And if he actually goes through with it the state would be 1500 jobs in the red and have 1500 new people on state unemployment. Good idea. The public unions have given into your fiscal demands for your budget bill. Make a compromise and allow them to retain their rights.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:59 am
by Tomahawk Leader
Senator Pam Galloway (R‐Wausau, a doctor), has released the following statement:

“Over the weekend, various news outlets have reported that some physicians were handing out medical excuse notes to protestors attending rallies at the State Capitol. There is video footage of this including notes signed by a physician who is employed as an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have no issue with public employees who went in to see their physicians and obtained a note after being examined. However, I am outraged that doctors allegedly stood on street corners in downtown Madison passing out medical excuses like leaflets. Make no mistake these medical excuses are as flimsy as the paper they were written on.

As a physician, I took an oath to uphold professional standards. To hand out an excuse without properly evaluating a patient is both unethical and fraudulent. I am confident that reports of this will trigger a review of the medical licenses of those found to be responsible for engaging in this behavior. For those employers requiring a medical excuse to avoid taking disciplinary actions for unexcused absences, I would urge them to closely examine the validity of these notes. On a state level, I will be looking into this situation and urge the State Medical Examining Board to conduct a full investigation.”

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:02 am
by Tomahawk Leader
Statement from Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca on amendments

We strive to stop this impasse and this bill, not delay it

Yesterday I was asked repeatedly by reporters if the goal of Democrats who authored dozens of amendments had the goal of delaying this bill. I cannot express in strong enough terms that our goal is not to delay this bill. Our goal is to stop this bill, end the impasse and start over.

Gov. Walker has shown that he does not have any intention of listening to the more than 100,000 people who have come to Madison to petition their government or the many thousands of others who have written and called him. He has shown that compromise and leadership for all of Wisconsin is not something he has any interest in. He has shown that his vision is for our state to be open for business for the powerful at the expense of the working people.

So we turn our appeal to the Republicans in the Assembly today with these amendments. Surely they cannot all support the dozens of hidden costs and hurtful provisions of this bill. We ask them, with these amendments, if they really support:

•Costing Wisconsin $47 million in transit funding and other costs, such as to our forestry and paper industry, that could come from altering our collective bargaining;

•Jeopardizing health care for more than 70,000 Wisconsin seniors and children in the SeniorCare, BadgerCare and Family Care programs by turning them over to an unelected bureaucrat seeking to dismantle Medicaid. (Wisconsin has been among the top in the nation for health care quality and access – is that a ranking we want to throw away?);

•Giving one elected official extreme emergency powers to overrule dozens of state laws;

•Increasing the number of the Governor’s political patronage positions in state government by 50%;

•Eliminating vital funding passed last year for the prevention of drunk driving in Wisconsin;

These are just a few of the things we will seek to change today in amendments. Make no mistake, this is why we are proposing amendments. Democrats are fighting for democracy. Assembly Democrats will see all the people of Wisconsin represented in the House of the People today.

Re: State Budget, State Workers

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:21 pm
by By The Pond
I noticed that the offer to send buses to Madison last weekend was written by Tim Phillips from Americans for Prosperity. Tim Phillips is from Virginia, and Americans for Prosperity is sponsored by the Koch Brothers, who also are not from Wisconsin. Why are these outsiders becoming involved in this issue, and why don't they come forward and identify themselves as outsiders? How did Tim Phillips know people in Tomahawk would need a bus to Madison? I smell something sinister. Anyone wonder what their connection is to Scott Walker?