Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association Turns on Gov. Wanker

The Daily Kos reports that Tracy Fuller, the Executive Board President of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, said this on the Association's web page: "I SPECIFICALLY REGRET THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE WISCONSIN TROOPER’S ASSOCIATION  FOR GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER," along with quite a bit more in that vein.  I cannot verify that this is on the Association web page.  However, there is a member's only forum that I can't access, which could include these statements.

However, I was able to find this in a note (not dated) titled -

To - WLEA memebers
 From  - WLEA Executive Board (Message 1)

On Friday, February 11, Governor Walker announced his plan to radically reshape Wisconsin’s public employee laws. The proposed bill, which the Governor refers to as a Budget Repair bill, goes far beyond that. One could argue that the doctor diagnosed a sprained knee, and the Governor’s solution is to amputate both legs. After all, if you get chop the knees off, you won’t have to worry about spraining them again. Of course, the treatment seems a little radical as a solution.

Statutes describe what is supposed to happen when a state employee union contract isn’t approved. 111.91(1) … If the legislature does not adopt without change that portion of the tentative agreement introduced by the joint committee on employment relations, the tentative agreement shall be returned to the parties for renegotiation.

Governor Elect Walker got his way in December when the legislature failed to approve the tentative agreements. The proper procedure would have been to reopen negotiations. However, no negotiations happened with any unions. Governor Walker was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the budget repair bill was introduced by saying, "I don't have anything to negotiate," Walker said. "We are broke in this state. We have been broke for years. People have ignored that for years, and it's about time somebody stood up and told the truth. The truth is: We don't have money to offer. We don't have finances to offer. This is what we have to offer."http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/115911379.html

As employees, we all know that there is more to negotiations than just economics. Under current law, wages, hours of work and other conditions of employment are subjects of negotiation. The Budget Repair Bill won’t just require state employees to pay more for insurance. It would abolish all bargaining other than wages, and those wages would be capped at the consumer price index.

The new administration never attempted to start discussions with the WLEA Bargaining Team or any other bargaining unit. They just dropped the bomb on all of the public employee unions.

This bill carves out an exemption for “public safety workers”, but if we are honest, those exemptions will be limited. Once the draconian changes are implemented on the rest of the public employees, it’s only a matter of time until they catch the public safety workers too.

This bill has some provisions that make no sense, unless the basic intent is to bust unions. One provision makes it illegal for public employers to collect dues for labor organizations. The employer can take deductions for the United Way, or other organizations, but they are prohibited from collecting union dues.

How does that repair the budget?

Another provision requires the WERC to conduct a representation election by December 1st each year, to determine if the employees still want the union to represent them. The WERC has to bill the union for the cost of the election. Currently, if a group petitions the WERC to do an election, the WERC covers the cost. Right now, the members have the right to request an election if the majority of the members want to change or eliminate representation. Why create unnecessarily processes?

Does that help repair the budget?

In partisan elections, a good estimate is that approximately 35% of the voters will vote for democrats, and 35% will vote for republicans. The remaining 30%, the independents, sway the elections. This election just got done, but public employees are already looking ahead. In 2012, the even numbered Senate seats will be up for election, along with all the representatives. In 2010, the independent voters, many of whom are government employees, voted overwhelmingly for Republicans.

Republican Senators Robert Cowles (R-2), Alberta Darling (R-8), Sheila Harsdorf (R-10), Luther Olsen (R-14),Randy Hopper (R-18), Glenn Grothman (R-20), Mary Lazich (R-28), and Dan Kapanke (R-32) are all Republicans who are up for re-election next fall. In addition, Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald(R-13), Senators Dale Schultz (R-17), Mike Ellis (R-19) and Van Wanggaard (R-21) are all elected by districts that have a high concentration of public employees. Public employees also have families who vote, so that is a substantial bloc of voters.

The Senate is currently 19-14 Republican. Three senators need to support changes to the Governor’s recommended proposal to eliminate some of the worst provisions of this bill.

In the meantime, you should be writing to your legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, to let them know that you are opposed to this bill. Their email addresses are their sen.lastname@legis.wisconsin.govThis E-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . You may also send to their staff members.

.   .   .   

The legislature’s calendar is to vote on this proposal this week, with a target of having it to the Governor by Friday, so you don’t have any time to waste.  Get writing now like your job depends on it, because it does!

The Law Enforcement Association now realizes, alas, all too late what a horrible blunder it is to vote for any Rethug, any time, anywhere.

Why?  Because the Rethug plan, in thrall to the Kochroaches, is to take us back to feudalism.

If we will allow it.


Octopus said...

I left the following comment under Nameless Cynic's post and thought it was worth sharing amongst your readers here (nothing like an adrenaline rush to stir the passions):

"I woke up this morning angry as hell over this Wisconsin mess … and found myself on the verge of going thermonuclear.

Let me clarify what has my tentacles in a twist. There was a time when our legislative process practiced the fine art of compromise and consensus such that the interests of diverse stakeholders were heard. No longer!

The goddamn GOP has this “my way or the highway” mentality that regards all tax money as THEIR tax money. Well, it is my tax money too. They think their priorities should be everyone’s priorities. I want MY government to reflect my core values and priorities too.

I resent their hypocritical attitude that trades on pious buzzwords like “democracy and freedom” when the first thing their candidates do when they get into office is persecute and oppress the loyal opposition.

The Republicans are following the Grover Norquist playbook. Successive GOP administrations cut taxes and doubled the deficit as a pretext for dismantling the progressive gains that generations of Americans fought for. That is the way they do business ...

I resent their telling me how my tax money should be spent, what church dogma becomes the law of the land, or how I should act in the privacy of MY own bedroom. And I resent the Republican war against the social safety net, against environmental protection, against healthcare and women's reproductive rights, against infrastructure investment, against regulations that prevent fraud and abuse committed by those who bought and sold their goddamn party.

There is an angry backlash building on my side of the political aisle, and the fucking Republicans better be damn careful in how they tread. When I awoke this morning, there was a distinct taste of blood in the water.

I am thinking of the active verb "atomize." How to divide and conquer, how to reduce an opposition into tiny bits so that they can no longer mount a cohesive and unified counter defense. That is why I am sticking with the unions.

Jazzbumpa said...

Well put, my tentacular friend.