Wisconsin Governor and Teachers Union

Rush to Reason, by Dave Rush

Just so you’ll think twice before calling me a right wing Republican extremist, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
First, yes, I am a registered Republican, but other than Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, my votes have gone independent, one year for example, I cast my ballot for Ralph Nader, another year for the Libertarian Candidate, still others Democrat. I was once a registered Democrat, many years ago, until that party, like the AARP, lost sight of what it stood for, in favor of a “me, me, me” party line.
I was strongly pro-union for years. I was a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) from 1964 to 1987 (when I left broadcasting), President of the Washington DC Local three times, a Member of the AFTRA National Board, a member of the Network Contract Negotiating Team, and a member of the Greater Washington Central Labor Council, and personal friends of some of the AFL-CIO top executives.
I tell you this because many Democratic leftists who read this blog are bound to use all sort of adjectives to condemn what I say.
The battle between the Wisconsin Governor and the Teachers Union. Never have I been so ashamed to be associated with organized labor as I am the Wisconsin Teachers Union.
As you probably know the state, like a number of others, is broke, billions of dollars in the hole. And like all other bankrupt states, except maybe California, efforts are being made to try and deal with Wisconsin’s shortfall.
In Wisconsin the Governor is proposing that the Teachers Union members take some cuts in their salaries and benefits, small cuts as they are. The rest is history, Teachers by the numbers, in Madison especially, began calling in sick, to go to the State Capitol and in as shrill a tone as possible, denounce the proposal. Schools were closed.
The Democratic National Committee, and we are told, even the White House has gotten into the act, supporting the teachers and condemning the Governor as wanting to “bust the union”. That’s simply not true with respect to the pay and benefit cut proposal. Some democrats in Congress joined the parade. And Democrats In the State Legislature fled to Illinois so the issue would be blocked.
I for one am a proponent of peaceful demonstrations to voice one grievances. But there are a couple of things very wrong with this case.
One, the teachers, by calling In sick so they can protest, are telling their students if you don’t like something, and you don’t have a legitimate excuse to protest, lie about it. They’re taking the position that it is alright to lie to get what you want. The proposed reductions are small compared to top salaries of $89,000.00 for teachers there. I won’t even get into the tenure issue, which by my thinking, is one of the worst provisions ever in a contract.
Two, peaceful protest means just that, it doesn’t mean pushing and shoving, as happened early on in Wisconsin, and it doesn’t mean writing graffiti on the walls of a hallowed building like the State Capitol.
Three, The Democratic National Committee and the members of Congress who have sent their goons to join the protest, saying to the world, “we don’t give a damn about our children’s education in values and academics, and we could care less how much private citizens pay in taxes to support our bloated appetites. They and the White House should keep their mouths shut about this issue, let the State and the Union work it out
I was a Washington Correspondent when the Air Traffic Controllers when on strike. Ronald Reagan gave them an ultimatum, go back to work or be fired.
Perhaps that may be the resolution of this case. Let the Teachers join the millions who don’t have jobs.
Then they will see what constitutes a REAL pay and benefit reduction.

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Comments » 10

nstinks writes:

Thanks for this blog piece Dave.

Yep.......when you say "many Democratic leftists who read this blog are bound to use all sort of adjectives to condemn what I say," be prepared.

Take a look at the Naples Tea Party Blog regarding the same subject matter and what the Lefties are saying.

http://www.naplesnews.com/blogs/naple...

The word "insult" will have to be redefined.

Anyway........thanks again for you blog entry and keep up the good work.

SWFlaNative writes:

You hardly have a grasp of the total facts.

The state of Wisconsin started the year with a major surplus of over $100 million dollars in reserves.

Gov. Walker decided to cut taxes for private companies. This not only eliminated the surpluses, but created a new state deficit.

Gov. Walker now wants to double penalize certain unions (those that didn't support him) by not only cutting their benefits, but also their rights.

Those are the basic facts. Discuss.

stepetroni writes:

Public sector Unions have the protection of Civil Service Law. High taxes drive businesses away to more enlightened places where "trickle down" actually works.

Mr. Rush is absolutely correct and the presence of the Communist Party at the Union rallies, alongside the SEIU and imported, professional protesters from out of state, bussed in with orchestration by Mr. Obama's political organization says it all for me.

America is tired of the "more equal" portion of society, expecting everyone else to pick up their fat pensions, rediculous time off and failing performance in , seemingly, every area but Socialist indoctrination. Enough is enough!

mycophile2 writes:

Dave,
You are totally off base and buying into the lamest excuses to start the destruction of unions so that the rich may benefit. At a time when we need to encourage the best and brightest to become teachers or see our nation lose out to other countries, your solution will keep university grads from ever considering education as a profession. This governor will not accept wage concessions, he wants to destroy this and all other unions. And you are helping him. Unions help build the middle class in this country. I, for one, support the public employees in their struggle against Republican excesses and against your narrow minded position.

justanfair writes:

Budget shortfall this year is $130 milion (Scott Walker's speech to WI last night). Projected shortfall next 2 years is 3 billion because he came in and gave corporate tax cuts. Rescind those and budget problem eliminated. Audio tape emerging with fake David Koch on the phone. Walker buys it - who will run the tape? Corporate media with all those big advertisers? Independent media might if we had any. Only NPR stands between us and corporate/government/GOP propaganda.

justanfair writes:

Chickendog. And why would the unions destroy the middle class? And how exactly would it benefit them to destroy the very socio-economic group they want to belong to? Your post is ridiculous on it's face.

flcertifiedteacher writes:

RE: "I was a Washington Correspondent when the Air Traffic Controllers when on strike. Ronald Reagan gave them an ultimatum, go back to work or be fired."

You omit to mention the reason Air Traffic Controllers went on strike, which had to do with safety issues. No one was listening to them before they went on strike, and President Reagan made it clear he would not listen to them when they went on strike. It was not a safe time to fly, and the situation was not improved for many years because of Reagan flexing his anti-union muscle. This was not Reagan's finest moment, suffice to say.

As for the Wisconsin teachers, I can only say: it is a struggle to make it in this country. The "top" salary you cite for teachers there may be collected by only a very small percentage. Most teachers never see such a salary in their lifetimes.

The situation is very different for school district administrators, though.
They usually start at salaries higher than $89,000, pushing paper year-round.

Thus -- another way to cut the fat in education might be to shut down huge Taj Mahal-like school district administrative centers and fire all the corrupt rot inside that collects millions from taxpayers but never sets foot in a classroom -- sound familiar??? (Hint: The same situation exists in Collier County.)

The Wisconsin governor is doing a great job of energizing and unifying the left in this country -- something which even the most popular leaders on the left are not always able to do.

Sounds like he's be doing the left this favor for a very long time.

BTW, Rachel Maddow has done some very interesting analysis of the situation in Wisconsin, relating it to the desire of many GOP political leaders to
(1) completely eliminate political contributions from unions, leaving only (2) huge GOP corporate donors at election time.

In other words, making it impossible for anyone else to compete in an election.

Not good for the country. A 2-party system instead of more parties is bad enough; a 1-party system is even worse.

http://www.colliercountysunshinerevie...

NoMasRacismo writes:

Excerts and commentary from the Scott Walker/Koch phone prank:

Koch caller: “Well, I tell you what, Scott: once you crush these illegitimates I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.”

Governor Walker: “All right, that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support in helping us move the cause forward…“

Koch caller: “Absolutely. And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well. ”

“Well,” replies Walker, “that’s just it.”

When someone who Scott Walker thought was a major donor to national groups that aided Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial run—and that gave the Walker campaign $43,000 directly, via Koch Industries’ KochPAC—said he had a “vested interest” in a budget plan being pushed by the governor, Walker replied, “Well, that’s just it.”

The governor since proposing his bill has refused to meet with Democratic state legislators, with union leaders and with the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin citizens who have been gathering around the state capitol in Madison and in city and town squares across the state to protest his sweeping proposal to bust public employee unions, begin the dismantling of healthcare programs for seniors and low-income families and begin selling of state power plants via no-bid deals with multinational corporations such as David Koch’s Koch Industries.

But he took the call from the man who said he was Koch.

“This is ground-zero, there’s no doubt about it,” Walker tells his billionaire benefactor.

“This is our moment,” says Walker.

“What more can we do for you?” asks the Koch caller.

In the conversation, Walker hailed the coverage of the story by the New York Times, which has written a string of news stories favorable to his initiative. The Koch caller talked about “the liberal illegitimates on MSNBC” and Walker agreed with the reference.

Walker hails a faked-up Tea Party rally—which the Koch caller said he had helped organize – as “good stuff.” And they talked about using Koch-funded front groups to launch massive advertising campaigns to support the governor and his legislative allies.

Walker and the Koch caller joke about the protests, with Walker claiming—falsely—that “almost all of [them] are in from other states.”

The governor says that “we thought about” planting troublemakers in the crowd.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/158804/...

Mahmoud writes:

The author of this piece is another right-wing nut who is barely literate; here's something he wrote a few months ago, perhaps after having a few drinks:

http://www.naplesnews.com/blogs/rush-...

But, I must say, it's good to see you tea-partiers drop any pretense that you care for working-class or middle-class Americans.

bossman1 writes:

Hey Dave, Don't believe you are extreme? If Stinkn thanking you isn't enough, how about the recent elections and votes in Ohio?

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