Quantcast
Home / Government / Walker to cut union rights in budget (UPDATE)

Walker to cut union rights in budget (UPDATE)

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker says in an exclusive interview that he will propose removing nearly all public employee collective bargaining rights to help plug a $3.6 billion budget hole.

Walker told The Associated Press on Thursday that no one should be surprised by the move that he is asking the Republican-controlled Legislature to approve next week given that he’s talked about doing it for two months.

He said the cuts are necessary to avoid up to 6,000 state employee layoffs.

The state faces a $137 million budget shortfall in the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Walker said he will call a special session of the Legislature on Friday and ask them to pass his plan next week.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

44 comments

  1. Such a shame that Governor Walker would choose to attack legal Wisconsin citizens — union & nonunion — rather than make the tough decisions he was elected to do.

    A 2010 study reveals the State of Wisconsin spends $883 million per year on illegal immigrants. Curtailing this outrageous spending behavior would not only eliminate the current budget shortfall, it would also quickly fill the budget hole.

    Stop taking the easy way out Governor. Stand up and protect the legal citizens of Wisconsin.

    Report at: http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/USCostStudy_2010.pdf?docID=4921
    See page 4 of report, aka page 8 of pdf document, for state fiscal burden info.

  2. $883 represents about 25% of our budget shortfall. Should he go after those funds, you bet. That does not mean he should not also look at Union agreements that have gotten out of whack compared to private sector counterparts.

    Most in the non-union private sector have suffered wage freezes (if not cuts), pay an ever increasing part of medical insurance and finance the bulk of their retirement (401k) accounts. It’s the new reality. All unions have resisted this reality. Some at Harley, Kohler and Mercury Marine have seen the light and have given concessions. It’s time for the State and trade unions to do the same.

  3. The teacher’s union negotiated for better benefits by giving up pay increases. They haven’t asked for both and typically the current pay works out to be about $14/hour. The current health insurance cost for a teacher in our area for a single person coverage is $500/month. This doesn’t seem like people who are abusing the system. My children have had really excellent people for teachers nearly every year they were in the school system. I do not join the tea party and other folks who have found our teachers to be some easy target for abusive attacks. In my community they are like me honest, hard working, they get involved with the community activities and they have provided a strong educational and character building support for my children. Why attack them? Why not wonder about the upper 20% of our society who now control 93% of the wealth of this country and continue to be financially subsidized by our governments – aren’t they the ones who seem to lack integrity and aren’t they the destroyers of the middle class which will ultimately bring our country down?

  4. The average teacher pay in Wisconsin was $46,390 last year (granted, not a fortune). $14/hr? Sorry, that would mean they work 3,313 hours a year. Required instruction hours are about 1,100/yr. Add in for lunch, lesson planning period, lesson planning outside of school and paper grading and you might get up to a standard 2,000 hr work year. That is $23+ per hour if my teachers taught me correctly.

    On average teachers got a 4.7% raise last year. How many private sector non union workers got that?

    Here’s my source: http://teacherportal.com/salary/Wisconsin-teacher-salary

    How about the union in Racine County that sued because the County wanted to use jail inmates to cut grass on medians that otherwise would not have gotten cut? Nice. As taxpayers we need to let our government find creative ways to get work done. We should not be handcuffed by the unions.

  5. Let the non teachers determine how much teachers work and are worth. Unlike our foreign counterparts, who are revered and respected. It is part of the continued development into a two class society, rich and poor. As a young college student, I would not dream of entering a profession that is so maligned and poorly paid.

  6. State workers did not get a raise in the last 2 years, but during that time they had a 3% wage cut due to furlough days. Insurance rates have continued to go up and so have the enployee share. I would bet most state employees would be open to cuts, if they were across the board and the same percentage for each state program, there should be no favorites.

    Besides the $883 million spent on non citizens, maybe the state should collect the nearly $778 million owed in back taxes.

    Employees are an easy target, just like the smokers of the years under Doyle, politians are afraid to tackle the real issues.

  7. So sorry – I was wrong about how much teachers make. It does look like it is between 34,000/year and 63,000/year based on amount of education, years of service, and school district. There doesn’t appear to be anywhere (other than the Web site link which doesn’t state where they got their information) in the state that actually gave 4.7% increases last year and I remember at the time teachers deferring raises in our area for better benefits. That being said, like all state workers (and most other workers) teachers have not seen large increases recently and salaries of 34,000 to 63,000 for a professional position is certainly not unusual for workers outside of government either. I don’t know what the response by state workers would have been had Walker negotiated contracts as has been done for 50 years in Wisconsin with the union workers, but seeing that over the past 2 years the workers have made concessions in consideration of the urgent need in our state I would have no reason to believe they would not do so again. My main point is that we are not solving anything when we let Walker or any other person convince us that our neighbors (who are living lives very much like our own) are somehow the enemy. 80% of the people in our country now share 7% of the country’s wealth. Does anyone really believe that the excessively wealthy really worked to earn the other 93%? It is the erosion of the middle class that is the root cause of these problems not the people in the middle class.

  8. Republicans dislike unions from one perspective; they think ‘union members’ get money that should be in their pockets…

    What is up w/ Congressman Paul Ryan? After hearing him blather about how Obama is no leader on the budget (after what Reagan and the first George Bush did to the deficit) I have to ask, does anyone know if Congressman Paul Ryan smokes crack or uses crystal meth?

  9. I have no problem in paying good teachers what they deserve, if they are the best in that field they should be properly awarded. But what about the bad and intermediate teachers? They should not be making and receiving the same benefits as the good ones. How is a school system able to retain new gifted employees dedicated teachers while forever being bogged down by the senority sytem.

  10. Basic Point:
    An employee is paid in wages and benefits, what the employer is willing to pay for their services. Period.

    That’s free market economy 101
    This employer, the state of Wisconsin, is no longer willing (or able) to continue this level of compensation to it’s employees. Furthermore, it is NOT Scott Walker who’s the bad guy here. He just happens to be the guy with the balls to stand up and do what the voters of Wisconsin (the employer) elected him to do. As an employee of the people, he is taking a logical, common sense approach to a major budget shortfall. That is, to try to bring under control, an out of control bloated budget.

    Any argument outside that basic point, is irrelevant.

  11. Again, we do not know what wages and benefit cuts the state employees would take when/if approached in the process that has worked for 50 years in this state. His approach is not just about a reduction in wages and benefits it is a direct attack on working people who use the union process to have a voice in their wages, benefits, as well as other issues related to their employment such as safety, grieivance and fair treatment. Also, Scott Walker is employed by ALL Wisconsinites not just those who voted for him or those who agree with this attack on middle class workers. His approach is not necessarily a logical or common sense approach to our budget shortfall since it fails to do the most important thing – produce jobs in our State and in fact the more that the middle class is squeezed with regards to income the less they will spend on goods and services and jobs will only increase if demand for goods and services increase. Finally it is really sad to think that the people who voted for Walker actually voted for or support this campaign to demonize State Workers (have you seen the ads?). How will we survive these hard times if we continue to turn neighbor against neighbor? Working middle class people are not the problem!

  12. You can’t just look at $34-63k and say “that looks fair”… That is just their base wage… lob another $20-25k on top of that for their fat pension and other benefits (including health). Teachers in general are overpaid…. that is why there are 100+ applicants for most open teaching positions. Does anybody really think if they were so disrespected and underpaid that there would be so many people lining up of those positions (even in good economic times)? Of course not.

  13. Brian,

    Take a look at this:

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1903_2010&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy12&chart=F0-total&bar=0&stack=1&size=1579_730&title=US Government Spending As Percent Of GDP&state=US&color=c&local=s&show=

    You will see spending, as a portion of GDP has greatly increased under Obama. Neither Reagan, nor Bush could compare. Obama is adding FAR more to the debt. Just wait till his house of cards comes tumbling down. It’s as if he has Bernie Madoff as an economic advisor and we are the investors.

  14. Abe, wow, we agree. 🙂

    T. – Unions are not needed today for worker protection. OSHA and the Department of Labor have volumes of regulations that all employers must abide by.

    The State as a finite amount of resources. It cannot run a deficit like the federal government, as Wisconsin does not have a currency to debase by printing more money. Given the amount of money to spend is fixed, the equation is very simple:

    Total $ available to spend = Manhours x $/hour cost

    To reduce $ spent you can either:

    a: reduce the number of manhours (i.e. jobs)
    b. reduce the $/hour cost.

    The private sector has been struggling with that for the last 2 1/2 years. Some have chosen to cut jobs, some have cut $/hour and some have done both.

    It’s just reality my friend. Welcome to the party.

  15. You can also work to create more jobs thereby bringing more money into the budget via more people paying in. Walker led us to believe that job creation strategies would be top of the list, but so far he has turned down the stimulus money that would have created jobs and now he is depression wages for middle class people another loss of income into the treasury. And what I really object to is the approach that pits one set of workers against another – have we ever overcome really big problems by being led to fight amonst ourselves? And why not just negotiate first and see what further concessions state workers would agree to, it seems like this is just union busting and highly political and devisive rather than genuine problem solving with the interests of all Wisconsinites in mind.

  16. \You will see spending, as a portion of GDP has greatly increased under Obama. Neither Reagan, nor Bush could compare. Obama is adding FAR more to the debt. Just wait till his house of cards comes tumbling down. It’s as if he has Bernie Madoff as an economic advisor and we are the investors.\

    That’s not fair. The stimulus program was designed and put in place by the previous administatrtion and continued by the current one. Both parties own this.

    And while the stimulus program has not made everything right and created a ton of jobs, nobody can say for certain that this whole motherf*cker wouldn’t have collapsed down on our heads without it, either (and it still might). Regardless, the majority of economists on both sides of the aisle agreed it was the right thing to do. Putting it on Obama is ridiculous.

    See how I can find the correct side of two arguments while not being a partisan hack? Take notes, my friends!

  17. Abe,

    I am no fan of Bush, that’s for sure. The prescription drug entitlement was bad. Obamacare makes that seem insignificant.

    The problem is that we cannot keep spending and our debasing our currancy. At some point we will have to pay the piper.

    There are lots of things in this world that would be great to have, or do, but we cannot afford them all.

  18. I see the super-partisan belt-tightenening watchdogs’ concern here about saving state money doesn’t quite extend to their own hero, His Imperial Highness Himself, with his chauffeured limousine, personal chef (what happened to the brown bags?), flower arranger, gardener and the other fulltime and part-time servants in the Governor’s Executive Mansion. We’re talking a million dollars a year in expenditures there.

  19. T ,

    Scott Walker is working for jobs. He is working to keep 6,000 State employees on the payroll.

    What did Jim Doyle do for jobs? nada. What has Tom Barrett done for jobs in Milwaukee, not much. (He lost Buy Seasons to New Berlin and Eaton to Tosa to name a few)

    Mr. Walker is relaxing taxes on businesses to encourage companies to move here and the ones that are here to expand. There is not much more he can do to create jobs.

    I guess he could cut the pay and benefits of all State employees by 50% and then add more jobs at the new pay rate. (sarcasm)

  20. “I see the super-partisan belt-tightenening watchdogs’ concern here about saving state money doesn’t quite extend to their own hero, His Imperial Highness Himself, with his chauffeured limousine, personal chef (what happened to the brown bags?), flower arranger, gardener and the other fulltime and part-time servants in the Governor’s Executive Mansion. We’re talking a million dollars a year in expenditures there.”

    I dislike Walker. He is one of those people you just want to punch just by looking at him. We shoudl definitely cut his benefits and pay…. in a perfect world he would wear a jester’s costume and dance in my court for my amusement.

  21. Fletch:

    The link you posted has very little in the way of real data -the fact there is an error on the page doesn’t help either…

    it’s also just a bit disingenuous to present your information without analysis of why spending as % of GDP is so high. Research. Repost.

    http://cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/USDebt.png

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/08/deficit_num

  22. Fletch:
    The following indicates that Bush Jr. started office w/63.4% and left office w/83.4%…

    Funny, but that is exactly the amount when President Obama took office… 🙂

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

  23. Brian,

    Your Cedar chart is interesting. Bush took over with 5.5 trillion in debt and left 8 years later with 11 trillion. That’s about 690 billion/year. Please, give Obama a chance. He is only 2 years in and is spending at a 1.75 trillion/year budget deficit clip. We have not seen the full brunt of the HCR bill yet. Obama will do more damage in his one and done term that Bush was able to do in 2 terms. (again, I am not a Bush fan)

    Writing checks we cannot cash is a House-O-Cards my friend.

  24. The problem is cutting taxes doesn’t have any good history of producing jobs. Businesses will hire when there is a return for them – that is when there is a demand for their goods or services. Turning down the jobs that would have happened with the high speed rail project and depressing the spending power of the middle class will mean less money to spend on goods and services and therefore fewer jobs.

    It’s interesting to me that Hoover cut taxes to spur job growth and we went into the great depression. Nixon also tried it and unemployment went up from 6% to 7.8%. Bush did it and look where we ended up. But Clinton raised taxes and job growth went up by 16% (and they balanced the budget and had a surplus by the time he left office). So far Walker has only pushed for less spending power in our state so I stand by my position that he is hurting and not helping job growth. (By the way by the time he left Milwaukee County they were recommending that the county declare bankruptcy. Here in La Crosse County were we support unions and our county officials negotiate with them for wages and benefits we continue to balance our budget. Hard to trust that Walker really is capable.)

  25. “”I do not join the tea party and other folks who have found our teachers to be some easy target for abusive attacks. In my community they are like me honest, hard working, they get involved with the community activities and they have provided a strong educational and character building support for my children. Why attack them? Why not wonder about the upper 20% of our society who now control 93% of the wealth of this country and continue to be financially subsidized by our governments – aren’t they the ones who seem to lack integrity and aren’t they the destroyers of the middle class which will ultimately bring our country down?””

    I don’t understand how you think those 20% are less hardworking than anyone else. Both my parents are lawyers who take their work very seriously and often take cases pro bono even and work just as hard or even harder on those. They are good upstanding citizens in the community contributing money to the schools, churches, and other organizations. Is it their fault that they are so cautious about their well-earned money?

    And personally, I am okay with this bill. I don’t like it, but I understand why it’s needed and I think Walker is heading in the right direction. I just don’t like how he’s targeting the single group though because teachers are important to any society. I believe he should spread out the cuts to other state workers too.

  26. “By the way by the time he left Milwaukee County they were recommending that the county declare bankruptcy. Here in La Crosse County were we support unions and our county officials negotiate with them for wages and benefits we continue to balance our budget.”

    Good god…. you don’t see a difference between Milwaukee and La Crosse? Don’t like Walker myself, but come on…. apples and oranges.

    “I just don’t like how he’s targeting the single group though because teachers are important to any society. I believe he should spread out the cuts to other state workers too.”

    You need to edcuate yourself on this…. it is covering almost all public workers.

  27. “Writing checks we cannot cash is a House-O-Cards my friend.”

    Yes, and Republicans have been happily doing it since 1980 -earlier if Nixon’s efforts are factored in…

    This is a pretty good page showing deficits and surplus up through the end of Bush jr.’s term:

    http://mikelove.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/deficit-by-president/

    This is also good; the deficit hawk ‘Chuck Spinney’ referenced herein is a former military analyst for the Pentagon…
    http://liberalvaluesblog.com/2010/11/16/who-is-responsible-for-the-deficit-hint-conservative-republican-presidents/

  28. Of course, we can just go on saying: “it’s all the new guy’s fault…” and hope no one looks too closely.

  29. I live in the south (Arkansas) and we have a balanced budget and the teachers have their Union. Salaries are negotiated and if the budget doesn’t support huge raises then the teachers don’t get them. As an outsider looking in, I don’t understand why Walker is wanting to balance the budget on the backs of the teachers. It just seems to me that at the very least, this new law would cover all government employees, not just teachers union. What about police and firefighters?

  30. Brian,

    I agree it did not start with Obama, but just because he did not start it, does not mean that he should not continue and increase or government’s entitlement obligations. Pure lunacy.

    I do give him credit for setting a path to end Fannie and Freddie.

    The protests we see in Madison today is nothing compared to what is to come as tough budget choices mean real cuts in areas that will force changes in the way we live.

  31. Oops, it meant to say:

    I agree it did not start with Obama. Just because he did not start it, does not mean that he SHOULDcontinue and increase or government’s entitlement obligations. Pure lunacy.

  32. I agree completely, Irwin.

    I’ve seen reports that the state projects a surplus this year; think Gov. Walker would have a bit more credibility were he to apply the same efforts to both Firefighting and Law Enforcement unions re: collective bargaining.

    I think consideration should be give to cutting medicare and most importantly, defense.

  33. Uh-huh, and His Phoniness would have a *whole* lot more credibility were he to set an example by giving up that tax-supported Executive Mansion on the lake with his fulltime servants including a fulltime flower arranger.

  34. Karen you are falsely making it seem as though Scott Walker built the Govoner’s mansion. It is a historical landmark that has been used for years by many of our former Govoners, including Democratic Govoner Jim Doyle. I think it does give Scott Walker credibility in that he too will be paying more towards his own health care and pension. There isn’t an exception in this bill for the polititions. They are state employees, as well. It should also be noted that as Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker gave a portion of his salary back to the county each year. In my opinion, he has proven time and again that he does lead by example.

  35. J. Lee–I don’t think your 2 lawyer parents put them in the upper 20% of the nation, but hey, I could be wrong. So let me ask you this–you have 2 parents that work in the private world, and I don’t doubt for one minute that they don’t work hard for what they do. Now, if they worked for the public sector instead, do you think they would work any less hard? I’m guessing your answer is no. So, do you feel that an attorney–whether public OR private–should be comparably compensated? I’m saying the whole ball of wax–wages, pension, health care, etc? And if they’re not, would you fight to make sure one or the other was?

    I’m not an attorney, but an engineer (hence, my screen name). I have asked one simple request of my state politicians for years–do a market analysis of what I make vs what the private sector makes. Analyze the whole package. If I’m making too much–cut my pay, pension, health care, whatever. But if I’m not making enough–MAKE IT RIGHT. So far, I’ve made this simple request for over 5 years and have gotten nowhere. I’m not asking for more–I’m asking for fairness.

  36. “I have asked one simple request of my state politicians for years–do a market analysis of what I make vs what the private sector makes. Analyze the whole package. If I’m making too much–cut my pay, pension, health care, whatever. But if I’m not making enough–MAKE IT RIGHT. So far, I’ve made this simple request for over 5 years and have gotten nowhere. I’m not asking for more–I’m asking for fairness.”

    I like this idea… the teachers would not! They probably think everybody gets tenure.

  37. Engineerchick,

    Certainly if you have been unhappy with your compensation for 5 years you should have moved on. 3-4 years ago there was still ample opprotunity.

    In the last couple years your arguement likely would not hold water. Most engineering firms have had multiple layoffs, multiple pay cuts AND 1 day a week furlough. Add to that cutting out employer match to the 401k and ever increasing medical contributions.

    How many times are engineers working till midnight or face 7 day work weeks in the public sector? In the private sector, if a job is in the balance we do that.

    When considering privately employed engineers, be sure not to use a 40-45 hour work week as your basis. In most cases it does not happen.

  38. Why does the daily reporter keep calling what is happening “Scott Walker’s anti-union bill”? Is that really the language that our Legislatures have presented this bill in?
    Why does creating a balanced budget carry people away with such rage?
    Are we afraid to actually come to grips with the fact that we ARE BROKE?
    Does calling or problem something else make it any less a threat?
    Anyone out there in favor of bringing back debtor prison?
    Anyone even know what I am talking about?
    We use to take a posture of shame when we could not pay or debts and willingly “enslaved” ourselves until we made things right. Now we simply say it is someone else’s problem and scream that we have “our rights” and if we do not get “our rights” then those refusing to give us “our rights” are bad and let us not forget “the children”. I saw how the children were treated last week….I also know the children received a real education on how to come to grips with a problem…so much for “the children” hey.

  39. They call it the anti-union bill because that’s what it is —- If this bill did not have the union busting language it most likely would have been passed by now. By refusing to compromise they have shown they are more hell bent on busting the unions and killing collective bargaining than doing anything on fixing the budget

  40. MSNBC??? Really??? Pfft.

  41. Three national polls now show growing support for public employee unions.

    The Pew Research Center poll finds that 42 percent side with the unions than stand with Walker at 31 percent.
    Monday’ night’s New York Times/CBS poll found that 60 percent of Americans support the right of public employee unions to collectively bargain, while only 33 percent oppose.
    Last week’s USA Today/Gallop poll found that 61 percent of Americans favor the public unions against Walker.

    A poll of Wisconsin residents by Public Policy Polling found that if voters in the state could do November’s election over today, they would support Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Walker by a 52-45 margin.

    A poll on behalf of the conservative-leaning Franklin Center For Government and Public Integrity found that 56 percent of Wisconsin residents believe that public employees should have collective bargaining, while only 32 percent agree with Walker’s plan.

  42. Dont forget about the biggest poll that was taken last November. If you dont like the outcome vote for someone you do like next election cycle. This is how its done in America, all I see is screaming tantrums like children coming from the left because they cant have there way.

  43. The polls are likely trending that way only because under the Obama administration, most of his trillions of non-stimulating stimulus dollars were by and large for government jobs. The public sector job growth has outpaced private sector job growth, by a wide margin, and well beyond the point of sustainability, as the average public sector job is paid in salary and benefits more than double the average private sector job which is paying for that job in taxes. Yes I know that public sector employees also pay taxes…but think it through, that money is ‘circular’, the money for public sector jobs, ultimately has to come from the private sector. Furthermore, even the GM bailout was nothing more than a bailout of the union.
    Two things are obvious regarding these polls:
    1- It all depends on ‘who’s ox is being gored’,
    >the private sector has for the last three years taken far worse cuts than this.
    2- Unions (and the ‘left’) have always been more vocal, and organized in their ‘protests’
    Hence…”the silent majority”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*