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ugotda7
08-03-2011, 07:16 PM
This is what true leadership is....

Walker’s Vindication

The controversial Wisconsin budget reform saves teachers’ jobs.

Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.
Teachers Union Protest Photo

Newscom

“We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”

On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill​—​delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court​—​was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.

With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan​—​such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)​—​saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.

“Everything we changed didn’t touch the children,” Koczela said. Under a collective bargaining agreement, she continued, “We could never have negotiated that​—​never ever.” Koczela, a graduate of Smith College and Duke University Law School, is no Republican flack. She says she’s a “classic Wisconsin independent. I vote both parties. I voted for Senator [Russ] Feingold but I voted for [Republican state] Senator Alberta Darling too.”

In Brown Deer and school districts across the state, Walker’s budget repair bill, known as Act 10, is working just as he promised. To make up for a $2.8 billion deficit without raising taxes, state aid to school districts (the largest budget line) was reduced by $830 million. Act 10, Walker said, would give districts “the tools” needed to make up for the lost money as fairly as possible.

But union leaders argued that the fight over the budget repair bill had nothing to do with balancing budgets. It was all about stripping public employees of their “collective bargaining rights.”

“We have said all along that this isn’t about pay and benefits,” Mary Bell, president of the state’s teachers’ union, said in February. “We are prepared to implement the financial concessions proposed to help our state in these tough times. But .  .  . we will not be denied our right to collectively bargain.”

Acceding, at least rhetorically, to higher benefit contributions​—​5.8 percent of salary for pension (up from nothing) and 12.6 percent of health care premiums​—​looked like a smart tactic. It made teachers seem reasonable and focused the fight on collective bargaining “rights.”

What few people may have understood, though, is that these are “rights” that most people, including federal employees, don’t have. But Americans don’t like taking away anybody’s rights. The polls in Wisconsin showed voters overwhelmingly opposed to “weakening” or “stripping” or “eliminating” collective bargaining rights. President Obama called the bill an “assault on unions.” Democratic state senator Lena Taylor compared Scott Walker to Hitler.

But as the abstract debate over collective bargaining collides with reality, it is becoming clear just how big a lie the Big Labor line was. Now that the law is in effect, where are the horror stories of massive layoffs and schools shutting down? They don’t exist​—​except in a couple of districts where collective bargaining agreements, inked before the budget repair bill was introduced, remain in effect.

In Milwaukee, nine schools are shutting and 354 teachers have been fired due to a drop in state funding and the end of federal stimulus funding. But if teachers there agreed to the 5.8 percent pension contribution, the school district says it would rehire 200 of those teachers. (Other changes could offset the rest of the layoffs.)

Despite the promise from Mary Bell that all teachers would contribute something toward their pensions, Milwaukee teachers’ union president Bob Peterson won’t agree to the change. In doing so he’s made it clear that “collective bargaining rights” is code for “union veto power.”

“You have a choice: layoffs or pension contributions. Do you see that choice?” a local Fox News reporter asked Peterson. “Why did you make a choice of layoffs?”

“I didn’t lay off anybody,” Peterson replied. He thinks Milwaukee teachers have conceded enough and blames Walker’s budget cuts for the layoffs. But a year ago​—​before Walker was elected and when Democrats controlled all branches of government​—​there were also layoffs.

Given the choice between fewer benefits and layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers’ union chose the latter. In 2010, 482 teachers, including Megan Sampson, a young educator named an “outstanding first year teacher” by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English, got the axe. CNN reports that this year “Milwaukee teachers are offering meals and moral support to 354 fellow educators who will be laid off.” Meals and moral support? The union’s got your back. A job? Not so much.

The only other district seeing such massive layoffs is Kenosha, where 212 teachers will be fired this year. “Kenosha is in the same boat as [Milwaukee], with a collective bargaining agreement signed before Walker took office that lasts until June 30, 2013,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on July 16. “But most other Wisconsin districts have avoided layoffs and massive cuts to programs.”

One striking feature of Walker’s budget repair bill is the flexibility it has given school districts to balance their budgets. For example, things are looking up in the tiny town of Pittsville in the heart of the state, where the district balanced its budget mostly through increased pension contributions and not replacing four retiring teachers.

“We didn’t change anything in our health care at all,” Superintendent Terry Reynolds told me. “If Act 10 hadn’t passed,” he said, “I don’t think the teachers’ union would have wanted to approve the 5.8 percent contribution” to pensions. “That would have been a hard battle to fight. I’m not sure we would have saved dollars there.” Enough money was freed up that Pittsville property taxes will decrease by 9 percent next year.

While class sizes increased slightly in Pittsville, they’re going down in the Kaukauna school district, where the school board used the budget repair bill to turn a $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. In addition to the 5.8 percent pension contribution, the board pared back personal days from ten to five, increased the deductible for a family health insurance plan from $250 to $500, and required middle school and high school teachers to teach six classes instead of five. Any or all of these changes could have been vetoed by the union under a collective bargaining agreement.

The reforms will allow Kaukauna to spend $300,000 in merit pay for teachers next year and offer more Advanced Placement classes and languages like Chinese or Arabic in the future, according to board president Todd Arnoldussen. Bringing down class sizes “was a win for the kids and a win for everybody,” he told me.

But as Patrick Meyer, the head union negotiator in Kaukauna, says in a video, “morale has been terrible” in the district. Might teachers be spread too thin now? “Elementary teachers already teach seven hours a day,” says Arnoldussen. “That’s a horrible argument. I mean, come on. Six classes at 50 minutes.”

If morale is down, interest in teaching at Kaukauna isn’t. An opening for an elementary teacher attracted “over 500 applicants,” says Arnoldussen. “So you obviously have a huge amount of people that really want to work for Kaukauna .  .  . under our noncollective bargaining agreement.”

Just three weeks after Walker’s budget went into effect, its sweeping success is already apparent. But will it be enough to spare the six Republican state senators who face recall elections on August 9? Whether or not the Democrats gain the three seats they need to take over the senate, Walker’s collective bargaining success won’t be undone anytime soon. But a victory could embolden Democrats, who are gearing up for a recall election against Walker as early as the spring of 2012.

“I don’t think they think the sky’s going to fall,” says Emily Koczela of Brown Deer residents, who will vote in the recall election of Republican state senator Alberta Darling.

As for the teachers, “some of them will feel better in a year or two.” Koczela says the union told them that “this is all a sham. There isn’t really a budget shortfall. If we just all stop giving tax breaks to wealthy corporations you’ll all be fine.”

“They didn’t know who was lying to them.” But soon enough they will.

John McCormack is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

Sev
08-03-2011, 07:34 PM
The resident harpy should be swooping in any time now.

eg8r
08-03-2011, 07:38 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan​—​such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)​—​saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.

“Everything we changed didn’t touch the children,” Koczela said. Under a collective bargaining agreement, she continued, “We could never have negotiated that​—​never ever.” Koczela, a graduate of Smith College and Duke University Law School, is no Republican flack. She says she’s a “classic Wisconsin independent. I vote both parties. I voted for Senator [Russ] Feingold but I voted for [Republican state] Senator Alberta Darling too.”
</div></div>This is the important part of the story. This is the type of thinking outside the box that we rarely see from gayle or qtip. When budget cuts are mentioned the first thing gayle does is tell us the sky is falling and qtip goes out and scours the net looking for examples of an idiot columnist stating that the Rep is trying to steal money out of the kids mouths.

Sure qtip never has trouble finding this type of article and gayle can bring a gloomy mood to just about any discussion. The unions have this same affect. The unions will tell us how the money being budgeted out will make the students less successful but in the end, a bunch of thinking heads get together and find a way that will not negatively impact the children or their education.

This is a good story. Bravo Emily Koczela!!!

eg8r

Qtec
08-04-2011, 12:54 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to <span style='font-size: 14pt'>change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap.</span> Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan​—​such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)​—​saved $200,000. <span style='font-size: 14pt'>Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.</span> </div></div>

That was easy. Just get them to work<u> more</u> for <u>less</u>.

How about we apply that method to all American workers?



What about this.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">“We didn’t change anything in our health care at all,” Superintendent Terry Reynolds told me. “If Act 10 hadn’t passed,” he said, “I don’t think the teachers’ union would have wanted to approve the 5.8 percent contribution” to pensions. “That would have been a hard battle to fight. I’m not sure we would have saved dollars there.” <span style='font-size: 14pt'>Enough money was freed up that Pittsville<u> property taxes will decrease by 9 percent next year.</u></span> </div></div>

Teachers are now paying for tax cuts!

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Just three weeks after Walker’s budget went into effect, its sweeping success is already apparent. </div></div>

We will see.

Q

LWW
08-04-2011, 05:27 AM
So you would suggest the proper fix would have been to lose the 27 teacher's jobs?

Qtec
08-04-2011, 05:30 AM
Don't change the subject.

Q

LWW
08-04-2011, 06:17 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Qtec</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Don't change the subject.

Q </div></div>

They are the subject.

eg8r
08-04-2011, 08:45 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">That was easy. Just get them to work more for less.
</div></div>Yep, it is about time the government employees become subject to the same working conditions as the rest of America. I never said it was a great benefit for all involved since budget cuts never are but only an idiot like yourself would take the money from the kids when real thinking minds find ways to do so without affecting the kids.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">How about we apply that method to all American workers?
</div></div>It has been for decades upon decades. My company is currently going through a 10% reduction in force. If you cannot comprehend what that means it is a budget cut. We are not going to stop doing the current business so the 90% lucky enough to keep their jobs will have to pick up the slack and work more. How is it that you lack such fundamental common sense?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Teachers are now paying for tax cuts!
</div></div>So you actually don't understand what really happened do you? If the teachers don't pay in 5.8% who do you think was paying that money? Was it the property owners? Why should the property owners be forced to pay the pension of the teachers? Really this is probably the most stupid post you have made in a very long time. Let the teachers contribute a bit to their own pension so that the property owners can keep a little bit more of their own money (understanding that a large majority of those teachers are probably property owners and this will be a net gain for them).

eg8r

eg8r
08-04-2011, 08:46 AM
LOL, that idiot should not have even woke up today.

eg8r

eg8r
08-04-2011, 08:48 AM
Wow, strike 3 in the same thread. You are on a losing roll. The people we are referring to include the 27 that were going to be laid off. They were able to salvage these jobs by getting everyone to chip in a bit and pay a small % of their own pension. It sure is good to see thinking minds solving tough problems and leaving idiots like you to the internet forums.

eg8r

LWW
08-04-2011, 08:59 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: eg8r</div><div class="ubbcode-body">LOL, that idiot should not have even woke up today.

eg8r </div></div>

What makes you think he did?

Sev
08-04-2011, 09:47 AM
Unbelievable.

cushioncrawler
08-04-2011, 05:01 PM
If i were king there would be no unions. Unions and kollektiv bargaining are krappynomix.
mac.

LWW
06-06-2012, 02:43 AM
BRAVO SCOTT WALKER!

Sev
06-06-2012, 05:49 AM
How about those senate seats?
/forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

LWW
06-06-2012, 11:07 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Qtec</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

We will see.

Q

</div></div>

I saw.

Did you?

Soflasnapper
06-06-2012, 11:50 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sev</div><div class="ubbcode-body">How about those senate seats?
/forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif </div></div>

The GOP fell short by one seat, and so are in the minority for now, barring further developments.

Sev
06-06-2012, 05:26 PM
1 seat may not make the difference.
They got 1 out of 4. And the 1 was a vacant seat.
The people of Wisconsin have spoken. I would suspect that some of the democrats will be looking to their own reelection chanced in the next couple of years.
Especially if Walkers policies continue to bear fruit.

Sev
06-06-2012, 05:27 PM
Imagine if the democrats in national election manage only to hold 1 out of 4 seats that are up in Nov.

Soflasnapper
06-06-2012, 07:15 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sev</div><div class="ubbcode-body">1 seat may not make the difference.
They got 1 out of 4. And the 1 was a vacant seat.
The people of Wisconsin have spoken. I would suspect that some of the democrats will be looking to their own reelection chanced in the next couple of years.
Especially if Walkers policies continue to bear fruit. </div></div>

His 'divide and conquer' tactics are very effective, I agree.

Turns out the 'let's blame the unions for the state's financial woes' line was convincing, on the politics of envy and dividing one part of the 99% from another part of it.

It is probably true that unionized workers were getting a better deal than non-unionized workers. Which is the point, of course.

Those Wisconsonites didn't ask, why aren't WE getting a better deal ourselves? but rather, why do those other people deserve the better deal they are getting? Git 'em!!!

Sev
06-06-2012, 07:49 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sev</div><div class="ubbcode-body">1 seat may not make the difference.
They got 1 out of 4. And the 1 was a vacant seat.
The people of Wisconsin have spoken. I would suspect that some of the democrats will be looking to their own reelection chanced in the next couple of years.
Especially if Walkers policies continue to bear fruit. </div></div>

His 'divide and conquer' tactics are very effective, I agree.

Turns out the 'let's blame the unions for the state's financial woes' line was convincing, on the politics of envy and dividing one part of the 99% from another part of it.

It is probably true that unionized workers were getting a better deal than non-unionized workers. Which is the point, of course.

Those Wisconsonites didn't ask, why aren't WE getting a better deal ourselves? but rather, why do those other people deserve the better deal they are getting? Git 'em!!! </div></div>

A better question is. Why are people that are paid via the tax payers dollars getting a better deal than the tax payers themselves?

I believe I saw a figure that public union members were receiving 20% more in salaries and benefits than the tax payers in WI.

Public sector salaries and benefits should be capped and voted on by referendum. The government should not have the power to negotiate salaries and benefits. The voting public should.

Gayle in MD
06-06-2012, 10:25 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sev</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sev</div><div class="ubbcode-body">1 seat may not make the difference.
They got 1 out of 4. And the 1 was a vacant seat.
The people of Wisconsin have spoken. I would suspect that some of the democrats will be looking to their own reelection chanced in the next couple of years.
Especially if Walkers policies continue to bear fruit. </div></div>

His 'divide and conquer' tactics are very effective, I agree.

Turns out the 'let's blame the unions for the state's financial woes' line was convincing, on the politics of envy and dividing one part of the 99% from another part of it.

It is probably true that unionized workers were getting a better deal than non-unionized workers. Which is the point, of course.

Those Wisconsonites didn't ask, why aren't WE getting a better deal ourselves? but rather, why do those other people deserve the better deal they are getting? Git 'em!!! </div></div>

A better question is. Why are people that are paid via the tax payers dollars getting a better deal than the tax payers themselves?

I believe I saw a figure that public union members were receiving 20% more in salaries and benefits than the tax payers in WI.

Public sector salaries and benefits should be capped and voted on by referendum. The government should not have the power to negotiate salaries and benefits. The voting public should. </div></div>

Say Waaaaah?

Not the Koch Brothers?

OMG!


Don't worry, if Repubs maintain the majority, and Mitsey lies and buys his way into the White House, neither the public sector, nor the private sector, working people will get any pay, for anything, at all.

Just chains for you ankles and wrists, and whip lashes all over your back!

Then you'll really have something to cry about, huh? /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif

G.

cushioncrawler
06-07-2012, 02:43 AM
Walker woz elected, and he shood hav been allowed to govern, unless he broke an election promiss.

In the past i hav enjoyed it when a state premier (governor) who i otherwize hated managed to stick it up a union.
Most premiers havnt got the balls.

In particular i woz very happy when Queensland Premier Joh Bjelki Peterson (a rotten crook) stuck it up the electrical union -- they lost their jobs. A bit like Raygun and the air traffic kontrollers.

On the other hand one of the best things ever dunn by a union woz the green bans by the sydney builders labourers union. They stopped developers pulling down historic buildings, when no-one else cared.
mac.

Soflasnapper
06-10-2012, 04:51 PM
Walker woz elected, and he shood hav been allowed to govern, unless he broke an election promiss.


He sprung out this key plan out of the blue, having never mentioned it during the campaign.

Had he mentioned it in the campaign, and then did it, I would agree. But the funny thing is, HAD he mentioned it as his plan, he probably would not have been elected in the first place.

So drastic changes, unannounced and without the consent of the electorate, are worthy of a recall in my opinion.

cushioncrawler
06-10-2012, 05:10 PM
Yes, that woz a dirty trick. Shood be a law.
mac.