Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What Is Going On In Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin Legislature has been overrun with massive protests, The Government is refusing to back down and the Democrat opposition members have fled the State! What is going on?
The Government is trying to balance the budget the way they have been doing it forever, on the backs of the workers. They have demanded wage cuts of $5000 per year from State employees. They want to do this by forcing workers to pay an additional $5000 per year towards their pensions. If the Unions refuse then there will be massive layoffs.

To block the passage of this Bill the thirteen elected Democrats have fled the State to deny the Government the quorum required to force passage of the Bill. If they had stayed in the State the police would have forced them back to their desks and no matter how they voted on the issue, the Bill would be passed by the Republican majority.

Why is the Republican government of Wisconsin taking these drastic measures against their own workers instead of looking at open negotiations and other obvious areas to cut like their own members Socialist medical plan?

Simple. Republicans have never had any problem raising election funds. The right wing has always had the financial support of the rich and of big business through their many Political Action Committees and offshoot organizations, not to mention the biggest Cash Cow, the NRA.

The only organizations that consistently support the Democrats financially are Unions. This action is simply a way to bust those Unions and to eliminate their funding to those pesky democrats. This was clearly laid out by non other than Rush Limbaugh the other night as he was “justifying” Walker's Union Busting actions.

It is simply Union busting in it’s basic form.

Anyone who has ever worked on either side in a Union environment would understand the concept of trade-offs and negotiations.

When you negotiate a benefit like health care or pensions you also negotiate where the funding is coming from. The workers will say, "We will take a smaller raise this year and have the employer put more into the ...... plan". You give up one thing to gain another, that is why it is called negotiations. You negotiate a package and allocate whatever you negotiate wherever your members want to put it. They may want a shorter work day or they may want a dental plan or they may want a raise in pay. It is their money to "spend" where they want.

The State workers in Wisconsin obviously have given up things over the years to get whatever pension plan and benefits package they have. Maybe it was cash, shorter hours, longer vacations... whatever but be assured they gave something up for every benefit the received. They negotiated and everyone was happy with the result or else the contract would not have been signed. Nothing was ever "given" to a worker.

For the Government to now go back and unilaterally try to cancel what they previously agree to is criminal! You have to be able to trust the person you are negotiating with or there is no point to the exercise and this is the point Wisconsin State employees are at. The Governor cannot be trusted.

Yes, I did union negotiations and no one ends up 100% happy but everyone ends up satisfied. If you are both good negotiators then both sides will think they could/should have done a little better but when you shake hands and sign, that is it. Signing a contract means you give your word you will abide by the conditions you negotiated. Your word is your bond and you do not go back on your word. At least I never did.


  1. I've always found it quite hilarious how the wealthy expect everyone else to 'sacrifice', while they themselves do nothing.

    Maybe it's time for those calling for such measures to give up some of the platinum-plated perks they have as well. Ya think?

    I could only imagine the uproar, and rhetoric that would come from it... Hypocrites!

  2. Croft

    You are exactly right. This is a blatant attempt to bust the unions. What is especially egregious is that it is specifically targeted at public school employees, and mainstream local and state employees. Governor Walker exempted police, fire, state patrol and state inspectors from the his legislation. When the unions agreed to concessions in pensions and health benefits they were spurned by Walker, who will not negotiate unless he breaks the unions by denying them collective bargaining. All of this is happening on the heels of Walker pushing through new large tax breaks to corporations in Wisconsin, like the Koch brothers who significantly funded his campaign.

    For years, state governments have raided pension funds, used pension funds as a bank and made risky investments with pension funds. They now turn around after losing what should have been protected money and propose to balance their state budgets on the backs of the workers. If the workers in Wisconsin were holding out and refusing to negotiate salaries, pensions and insurance that would be one thing. What is happening in this case is that they DID agree to negotiate and AGREED to concessions, with the exception of collective bargaining, which they know full well would be the demise of the unions. Once again, the workers take it in the shorts for the mismanagement of government. This is a travesty.

    Bill in NE

  3. Croft,

    I completely agree with your addendum to the post. You do not sign a CA without give and take on both sides. No side is completely happy, but it is agreed you both can live with it.

    It's called a contract. And in my opinion, it was never taken lightly by either side of the table.

    I'm glad to see the workers standing up to this debacle!

  4. The bottom line is there is no money left. Unless union members want to work for zip, the party is over. The poor overtaxed taxpayer has paid his taxes, but it's still not enough to support all the perks in a depression. This is NOT a recession

  5. acheapguy - generalizations and glib sayings are meaningless. you did nothing to address the previous comments and facts. every taxpayer is stressed, but going after one source with a political and ideological hatchet ignores all the other government waste. what other cuts do you suggest?

  6. acheapguy, your argument is tantamount to a person having negotiated for and purchased a house only to have the previous owner come forward later to say he sold the house too cheap and now requires the swimming pool to be returned. He then threatens to burn the house down if you refuse his demands. That is what is going on in Wisconsin. Don't be fooled by FOX news.

  7. The bill put forth by Republicans in Wisconsin (opens as .pdf), at the behest and with the support of Teabagger Governor Scott Walker, is not a "budget repair" bill. First, there wasn't a budget crisis until Gov. Walker put a $140 million tax break in place for his wealthiest donors. Prior to that tax cut, Wisconsin actually had a projected budget surplus. In other words, this whole budget crisis is one of the Tea Party's own making.

    This bill not only places the financial burden on the backs of those who can least afford it, it's an unprecedented power grab by the Koch Brothers and their obscenely wealthy friends, who supported Walker in his Gubernatorial run, and now own him. This bill would strip unions of their collective bargaining rights. It would put public property and facilities up for no-bid sale to the corporation offering the best price, rewarding the richest corporate doners with yet more authority over the government. It would give DHHS authority to boot 50,000 poor people off of Medicaid without being subject to legislative review or oversight. This bill, and others like it, are an attack on the American people by corporate interests who want to make sure they never see a living wage again.

  8. And most importantly, showing that this is politically motivated to bust the unions, is the fact that the unions have AGREED to wage and benefits concessions. What the unions are seeking to protect is the right of collective bargaining. The right to collective bargaining does not mean that they will get their way every time. Unless Walker makes cuts across the board, rather than selectively going after the unions, he is clearly being politically vindictive.

    Bill in NE

  9. Thank you for your support. I wish more could understand the situation as well as you do.

    A WI State employee of 34 years