Voices of Wisconsin: Protesters stand firm against budget bill
Demonstrators sing union songs as they protest inside the state Capitol in Madison on Monday.
March 9th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Voices of Wisconsin: Protesters stand firm against budget bill

Protesters have been converging on the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, since mid-February to protest the governor’s budget bill. Their voices are angry, energetic, accusatory.

The bill, which proponents say reels in spending but critics say is an overt attempt at union-busting, prompted 14 Democratic state senators to leave the state so they wouldn’t be forced to vote on the bill.

Despite reports of progress in the negotiations, there are still several bones of contention. The original bill by Gov. Scott Walker requires all public workers but police officers and firefighters to increase contributions to their pension and health insurance, and it prohibits unions from collecting dues.

It also restricts the unions’ collective bargaining power, caps wages and requires annual votes for unions to remain certified, which critics say would be costly.

The crowds have thinned since the protests first began, but many remain adamant that Walker’s bill must be defeated. Here is what some of them are saying:

Barney Decker, retiree

The 58-year-old from Madison said he’s worn out from walking 5 or 6 miles a day during the last 12 days of the protests.

He accuses the statehouse of “bully politics” and said he doesn’t appreciate “the way they’re trying to change things, ram things down our throat without a chance of really seeing the bill.”

He has faith, though, that the protesters will prevail.

“People who use democracy and understand what democracy is, always win in the end,” he said.

Sherry Carr, animal control worker

Carr, 48, has been attending the protests since they began, stopping in during lunch breaks and on her days off.

The Madison union member said that when she first heard of Walker’s proposals, “my jaw just dropped and I knew we had to do something to stop this.”

She predicted that if the bill passes, it will be detrimental to the state.

“The more that comes out about what’s in this bill – both the budget repair bill and the budget itself – it’s going to rip this state apart. It’s going to rip this state to the seams.”

Deborah Weisser, mom

The Madison stay-at-home mother of two has been a mainstay at the protests, pushing her 2-year-old son’s stroller amid the demonstrations.

The boy has heard the chants for 20 days now, and Weisser said he asks every morning, “Are we going to kill the bill, mom?”

Wielding a sign that reads, “This is a fight for democracy and human rights. Hold the line,” the 31-year-old said she has no government or union affiliation. She simply feels her fellow Wisconsinites are having their rights trampled on.

She feels the bill has little to do with the budget and is more focused on “busting unions so that we have to live in a corporate-controlled world.” She worries that it will hurt services like recycling programs and increase classroom sizes for her 9-year-old, she said.

“Now that I have stood up, I can’t sit down,” she said. “I’m just a mom who sees my rights and the rights of my fellow people being violated, and I’m not going to sit down for it.”

Marianne Julian, retiree

The 65-year-old former health care worker was bundled in a University of Wisconsin jacket to ward off the 20- and 30-degree temperatures in Madison.

A union member, she said she has been to the Capitol about 11 times since the protests began.

She stated flatly that the budget bill is wrong and that the state should continue engaging in collective bargaining.

“My favorite book of the Bible is the book of James,” she said, “and it says if you don’t get up off your bottom and do something about your faith, then your faith is worthless.”

Asked if she was optimistic the protests would be effective, she replied, “We always hope. That’s what Christians are all about.”

Marvin Cartwright, boilermaker

Cartwright is from Gladstone, and he has taken time off work to attend the last nine days of demonstrations at the Capitol.

A member of Local 107, he said he’s disturbed that Walker’s first step in office was to disband the unions. He’d like to see a compromise and said he and other protesters are at the Capitol to support the 14 Democrats who fled the state.

“(Walker’s) on a beeline to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state,” he said, using the term used for states where workers decide for themselves whether to join unions. “That’s the ultimate goal for Mr. Walker. We’ve got to stop him on the front end. We’ll be here as long as those 14 Democrats are out.”

Francis Clark, cook

The 50-year-old Madison resident looked tired but said he’s “fired up and ready to go.”

He joined the protests on their third day because he felt the “whole bill just wasn’t right.” He lives and works near the Capitol “and when I get off work I come out here and make sure my voice is heard.”

“The whole bill and the whole budget are just so contrary to what Wisconsin is all about, from BadgerCare (state health care coverage) to union-busting to our environment to green power to green jobs to green energy to green trains. Everything is just wrong with what Scott Walker is doing,” he said.

Though Clark said he’d like to see the bill killed largely for environmental reasons, he also believes Wisconsin needs a constitution that prevents both corporations and unions from buying elections. He feels such a measure would allow unions to purchase more health insurance for their members.

“I’m not yelling so much, but I don’t need to,” he said. “I just need to think about how we’re going to win.”

Jim Ross, building engineer

Ross is one of only three building engineers for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and he comes out to join the protests every Tuesday, his day off.

He's from Milwaukee County – which Walker represented as an assemblyman and county executive before winning the governorship last year – and he believes the governor is attempting to dismantle the unions.

“He was that way in Milwaukee County and he was real stubborn there, and he’s carrying on here,” he said.

The 50-year-old member of Local 317 said the bill “cuts to home” because his father was a union teacher in Chicago, Illinois, and Wisconsin, which “afforded me the opportunity to go to college and just live a decent life.”

His biggest fear, he said, is “that they’re going to pass this and drag the senators back here illegally,” but he remains optimistic.

“I think that the people have been reinvigorated about this, and we’ll persevere,” he said.

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Filed under: Economy • Gov. Scott Walker • Jobs • Politics • Protest • U.S. • Wisconsin
soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. Jordan

    You know, how many people one employ's is a great judge of character. Hitler and Stalin employed lots of people, so that makes them.......

    March 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. KCRick

    Here is an article published by a Madison,Wisconsin newspaper a year ago. The point is that the issue is complex, but there are three solutions – control wages/beneftis, cut services/teachers, or raise property taxes. Property taxes hit everyone and in a progressive manner e.g. the bigger the home you have, the more you pay. Here is the article:

    Wisconsin’s approach to funding schools relies on a confusing and frequently misunderstood formula under which the state picks up the bulk of costs while capping how much districts can collect in state aid and local property taxes combined.

    Districts have complained the caps, which are based largely on the number of students a district has, have not kept pace with expenses. In recent years, the state has reduced its share of aid to schools from two-thirds of total costs to slightly less than that, forcing districts to choose between two unpopular options: Cutting programs and services or raising property taxes.

    Tom Beebe, executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, said the problem has gotten so bad most politicians have given up trying to solve it.

    Still, education remains the largest single expense in the state budget, accounting for about 40 cents of every dollar the state spends out of its general fund. So the recent revelation that the state faces a $2.5 billion deficit in its next budget means even deeper cuts to schools could be in store.

    In light of the state’s daunting fiscal problems, none of the top candidates for governor is promising to reinstate the two-thirds state funding commitment, which was repealed in 2003.

    While he said he supports that level of state funding in principle, Walker said “the multibillion dollar hole left by Gov. (Jim) Doyle” makes it difficult to maintain in the upcoming budget.

    Neumann said such a decision “has to be made in conjunction with the overall budget and spending levels.”

    Barrett said, if elected, he would work to bring up the state’s commitment to school funding despite budget challenges, saying he would cut more than $1 billion in state spending in other areas.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TheOverlord

    "The crowds have thinned since the protests first began" This is misleading because the crowds grew steadily from the beginning until they exceeded 100k people. The only reason they declined is because the Governor locked the people out of our Capitol building. Now, instead of protesting in Madison we are all spreading out across our neighborhoods to recall these Tebagger politicians. They WISH we were still protesting!

    I have to to, I signed up to canvas signatures against Sen Hopper, a horrible man with only his own interests at heart – we will work until he is gone.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • utahsang

      The problem is the public sector unions in wisconsin expect the wisconsin taxpayers to be there servants . The teachers union in wisconsin is still pushing for taxpayers to pay for old teachers viagra if teachers want viagra why can't they buy it themselves why should taxpayers pay for it?

      March 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MJSouth

    This would be great if they all just worked at their jobs this hard!!

    March 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LINDY

    MY DAUGHTER WORKED IN THE BAKERY IN A UNION GROCERY STORE 20 HRS WEEK AT MINIMUM WAGE AND WAS EXPECTED TO PAY UNION DUES! AFTER TAXES, DUES & GAS SHE MADE NOTHING. I APPLAUD ANYONES EFFORTS TO REIN IN RIDICULOUS UNION DUES NO ONE SHOULD BE FORCED TO PAY DUES AND GET NOTHING IN RETURN. LET THE PUBLIC WORKERS GET THEIR PAY RAISES THE SAME WAY THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOES BY DOING A GOOD JOB! WHY SHOULD THEY GET FAT PENSIONS AND PAY RAISES JUST BY SHOWING UP TO WORK? BE LIKE THE REST OF US AND JUST BE GLAD THEY HAVE A JOB PERIOD.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MadCityWoman

      Lindy, I am a state worker and not in a union. No one gets raises even if they are doing a good job. Why? Because we are paid by the state, which gets its money from the taxpayers and they don't want to pay any more. In the private sector, if you do a good job and the boss wants to pay you more, he can always raise the price on whatever he is selling. Or raise the price, not pay the workers more, and keep the rest for himself.

      March 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eric in Colorado

    When are our politicans going to quit standing up for the extreme wealthy and start actually standing for everyday Americans. We have wall street back to their old games driving up oil prices which in turn is driving inflation. The everyday American needs a break here. Just like the healthcare bill, Boehner cries when he talks about America, but sheds no tears when Americans lose their house because of a catastrophic illness. Quit believing what they say, look at what they do!!

    March 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brad

    This will be easy. If there is no budget, shut down all government payments. Wisconsin will default on their loans/bonds etc. and state employees will go without paychecks. This will end things. Maybe then the run away democrat lawmakers will return....

    March 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RRRod

    It is neither Democrat, nor Republicans, nor even the Teabaggers who are to blame, but rather Wall Street:
    This year Bank of America is receiving the “income tax refund from hell” –
    $666 million for 2010, according to its annual report filed in late February 2011.
    This is following a $3.5 billion refund reported in 2009. Bank of America’s federal
    income tax benefit this year is roughly two times the Obama administration’s
    proposed cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program ($299
    million).
    • Six banks – Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman
    Sachs, and Morgan Stanley together paid income tax at an approximate rate of
    11% of their pre-tax US earnings in 2009 and 2010. Had they paid at 35%, what
    they are legally mandated to pay, the federal government would have received
    an additional $13 billion in tax revenue. This would cover more than two years
    of salaries for the 132,000 teacher jobs lost since the economic crisis began in
    2008.
    • Wells Fargo reportedly received a $4 billion federal income tax refund on
    $18 billion in pre-tax income in 2009, and paid 7.5% of its pre-tax income of
    $19 billion in 2010 in federal taxes. Its net federal income tax benefit for 2009
    and 2010 combined, $2.5 billion, is equal to the Obama administration’s proposed
    cuts of 50% to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
    • Banks use a variety of mechanisms to avoid corporate income taxes, including
    offshore tax shelters. 50% of the six banks’ 1871 foreign subsidiaries are
    incorporated in jurisdictions that have been identified as offshore tax
    havens, such as the Cayman Islands.
    • Bank of America operates 371 tax-sheltered subsidiaries, more than any
    other big bank studied, and 204 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands alone,
    according to its latest regulatory filings. 75% of Goldman Sachs’s foreign
    subsidiaries are incorporated in offshore tax havens.
    • The banks’ private banking arms also protect the wealth of rich clients from
    taxation through offshore investment strategies. Bank of America’s wealth
    management arm encourages clients to register their yachts in foreign
    jurisdictions for tax reasons.
    • Closing special tax loopholes on the financial sector and implementing sensible
    revenue-raising initiatives such as the Financial Speculation Tax could generate
    over $150 billion in federal tax revenue each year.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. shades123

    this really shouldnt be about Obamacare, but the hypocrisy is so glaring you cant ignore it. CNN is ignoring it, but.
    And on topic, Gov Walker cant lose this one, thats an impossibility, the only question is how long those democratic house members want to make silly fools of themselves. obama not at the very least suggesting they go back to work is eating away at his credibility one voter at a time.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Big Daddy

    When are people going to get it. I am tired of getting taxed to death. I am a teacher and I am ashamed of my fellow workers. They are more worried about benefits and pay than they are about the students. For the most part the students are not educated is this country. Lets buck up my fellow teachers and stop being so worried about what is in it for us.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      Unions have already conceded the financial provisions in the bill. Apparently, I'm going to repeat this until I'm blue in the face. Unions want to keep their collective bargaining rights, and be able to bargain for things like smaller class sizes.

      March 10, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Sorry, but I do not believe you are a teacher. Nice try though, saying you are, and then saying teachers are so evil. Too bad your ploy is so transparent. My wife is a teacher, and yes, they are concerned about their rights to be heard stripped from them...but not to the detriment of their students. To not care would be down right foolish, which is why I know you are not a teacher. You apparently did not think out your ploy very fully, you foolish little person.

      March 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tag

    All these folks talking about anti-union being un-American. You know what's un-American? Being denied a job because you won't join the union. How is that even legal?

    March 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • HempLover

      It isn't illegal, it is just dumb.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic.

      You wouldn't pay a meager 2 hours pay a month to a union to have a good paying job? Thats what most union dues are.

      I don't think thats unAmerican, I think you're a fool.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • OC25

      How is it legal that you can't just live in this country and do whatever you want! They make you pay taxes and everything!

      And before you say but the Union doesn't have to do anything for me, actually it does.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Txborn

      In states with "Right to Work" laws, it is illegal. No one should be forced to join a Union. It should be a voluntary, employee-by-employee decision.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • sean

      I've spoken to managers who work at the airport near where i live and they will tell you how the union workers will play basketball on the tarmack, waiting until each plane comes in. If you need help with something, they refuse to do anything unless a union rep tells them too. They add extra cost having extra people, because of the extra steps and the disconectedness to management that they create through their rules and contractual requirements.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just Wondering

      go spend your welfare check

      March 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tag

      I wanted to teach in Madison and be close to family. But I can't unless I join the union and pay money out of my pocket for the right work (which was more than 2hr/mo worth of pay, Aero). That's called extortion... unless it's a union asking for the money for the right to work.

      So I ended up in NC where I didn't have to join a union in order to enjoy the work I do. I actually negotiated my own salary and benefits which ended up being slightly better than I would have gotten in Madison with a lower cost of living. It's just a long way from home.

      And Sean, that's an unfair blanket characterization of union workers. I'm certain there are some that are in it for the free ride, but there are many that are hard workers that just don't have any other choice.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveL

      Move to a "Right to Work State" like Arizona... You won't be paid well and or have any benefits...But you won't have to join a union and you can be surrounded by other Tea-Baggers who don't believe workers should have a voice...After a year or so, you will be wishing you had joined a union when you see how employers take advantage of you in return for your contribution.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Padraig

      What I find interesting is that these union employees do not understand one of the simple issues – which is your pensions are not sustainable so the state is going broke. Not only hear but pretty much through out the country. The governor offered to work with the legislature to avoid laying off state employees who through our current economic crisis (17% unemployment) would loose jobs. The protestors are only worried about what is in it for me instead of looking at the whole picture. The whole picture if you have not figured out is the solvency of the state of Wisconsin.

      Are the unions bad? No, there is a purpose and reason for them but they were not checked and have run amok and need to be brought back in line with the private market. The public employee under a union has it very easy in comparison to the private sector. The private sector is results based and the public sector is I am here based. That may seem critical and unfair but I watch the teachers and what they teach our children and it is a disgrace.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stand Up Against Citizen's United

      Stand up against Citizen's United. Watch The Corporation (google video). The corporations are allowed to poison our food without labeling it, hide political contributions, use front organizations. Public confidence in Congress is around 11% according to mitworld.mit.edu/video/827 Democracy After Citizen's United. People aren't allowed to know who they are voting for anymore...where the money is coming from. Our system is so corrupt that most of us don't even recognize our government anymore.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stand Up Against Citizen's United

      The corporations think they are people now. Watch The Corporation (google video), they will explain it. also watch Blue Gold: World Water Wars. They will explain how World Bank tried to get water from Wi once already. And watch The Unforeseen, Flow: For the Love of Water. All on google video...otherwise netflix.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You don't know what you're talking about. Anyone can opt out of the union. You've been brainwashed by Fox the talking box for corporate America. So sad.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby99

      Only 11% of workers in the U.S. belong to a Union. The typical American worker is nonunion....89%!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • TK57

      or being denied a better job because someone else - who doesn't deliver the results you do - has been around longer

      March 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomFoolery

      And the common denominator of this discussion? The anti-Walker posters, to a man, are name calling anyone expressing a dissenting point of view. Straight up name calling and personal attacks. When is it that this happens? It happens when someone has NO argument of substance to present. They are reduced to ridiculous "Koch brothers" whining, and name calling other people in the thread. Pathetic.

      March 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • chudley

      unions had there time in history, but in today's society, everyone can go to school and get and education and pursue their own success, going to high school and barely graduating should not equate to a 50K job, that is a stock person at the local grocery store. Individuals are not due anything except freedom, everything else you need to take, get your hand out of my pocket and go to school, get an education.

      March 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomFoolery

      @Jim – You are flat out wrong, and your name calling drivel about Fox News further exposes your utter lack of any substantive argument. Wisconsin is not a right to work state. Once you are hired for these jobs, you either join the union or you are fired.

      Why don't YOU check to see if you still have some soap coming out of your ears. Brainwashed indeed.

      March 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      the democrats have $400 million reasons to be upset with losing public employee unions. that's the amount of money unions contributed to Obama's 2008 campaign. seems to me if they have all that money to spend they could give it back to their union members.

      March 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • BADGUY

      Well....the deed is done! The Repugs just stripped the "Collective Bargaining" out of the budget bill and PASSED it on it's own. So, Collective bargaining has now been cancelled in Wisconsin for future union negotiations. The Vote was 18 to 1 (1 Repug voted against it). The Dems are still in Illinois. The vote took "minutes". What have the Republican's wrought! Certainly the anger will be reflected in the Recall elections.

      March 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      I never heard that happen unless the Job is a Union Place!!! That would be like saying it isn't right that I can't Teach because I didn't go to College... If You want a Un-Union Job go for a interview that aren't Union!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      OC: Please tell Us how the Union made thing bad for You??? Would You say Higher Wages are bad??? What about better working condition is that bad??? All the good things that People have in Their Working Condition You have to thank the Union for!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yolander

      The Wisconsin legislature just passed a bill that ends the public unions. As it was a non-fiscal bill there was a quorum present even without the absent Democratic senators.

      March 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      Texborn: You can get a job that doesn't have a union!!! McDonald, In Out Burger, Burger King, Carl Jr. , I Hop, Denny and Wendy... Why should People that want good wages have to work with Idiots like You???

      March 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      I bet if You got hurt because of that job You would expect the Union to fight for you??? They make sure that You are protected before You take on new work!!! They are looking out for you not the Bosses at work... I sure would have loved that protection when I was working!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimm

      WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET A MILLION TEACHER MARCH TO MAKE A VISIT TO EACH REPUBLICAN WISCONSIN SENATOR'S HOME AND THAT OF THE GOVERNOR ? Down with the Wisconsin Mubarak and the little Mubaraks, RESIGN NOW, TODAY, can't wait for new elections, GET OUT, GET OUT yesterday if not sooner.Time for s peaceful sit -n

      March 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      Tag: I bet the Other teachers are glad They have the Union fighting for Them!!! Look what is happening to the Teachers that has Union... do You think They would have gotten this far if Their wasn't a Union helping Them??? They are there when You need Them!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arnold McHenry

      If it would be like it use to be in the old day that Idiot governor would probably be dead. He be run out of office.

      March 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      Pairiag: Know One ever force Any One to join a Union... If You don't want to join find a job that doesn't have a union!!! There are plenty of those... But don't complain when You want a Job where They are union!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • whatguy

      Yes mr LarryKegel, there are SO MANY jobs out there now, that I should decide not to apply for every job I might be qualified for. That makes so much sense man. I mean with unemployment in the double digits and rising, I should limit my job search. Unions forcing me to pay them to work, especially in an economy where I can't find a job, is extortion and should be illegal.

      Frankly the union jobs I have had sucked, the union didn't do crap for me, but they did keep the waste around so I had to work harder to do their job too because such little things as not showing up ontime, leaving early, taking longer/extra breaks and lunch were not legitimate reasons to fire those people according to our Union rep. Same union rep did yell at/threaten me about working too hard though because I might make the rest of the union guys look bad. I am so glad we had a union there. Ran the shop clean out of business, even while the shop was making less and less they sat down and negotiated a new contract asking for more pay, less pay into our retirement, better benifits etc and ordered a strike when the company wouldn't give us that contract. The companies answer was to go bankrupt and shut down completely a week into the strike as they couldn't afford to stay open. Man that union protected me, protected me right out of my job. WOOHOO!!! GO UNIONS..

      Don't get me started on other union shops where I know people who work who have had reps tell them after negotiations, "They will have to move the shop to india after this contract is up if the economy doesn't improve, they won't be able to afford negotiating with us again." as if that is a good thing.

      Unions are completely out of touch with the current times and economy, and need to be reigned in, and voluntary. Also as a former scab at another plant, I hope a bolt of lightening comes down from the sky and strikes dead the next striking worker that harrasses or throws an unknown liquid onto a scab, it would serve the piece of trash union worker right.

      March 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • aatami

      Tag – You're not very bright are you..........

      March 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ani-unions

      These unions sponsored state employees are lazy and greedy. They do not think for the state as a whole. They want more what they deserved. I see many state employees are lazy, but enjoy the best salary in the country.

      March 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic

      Tag, do you care to say what your union dues would have been? I work at a UAW represented aerospace company and our dues are 2hrs pay PLUS 50 cents a month.

      Very reasonable IMHO. My sister is a elementary school teacher in Milwaukee, her dues are comparable to mine.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic

      Actually Tomfoolery, it is YOU that is wrong. You Can opt out of union memebership in any state. You will still have to pay a "representaion fee" which is a lower amount than what your dues would be.

      You have to notify your employer of your objections to dues. You will have to calim "Beck" objector status. Read up on this case. Communications Workers versus Beck.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Tag - why are you trying to make sense here? These are UNION folks you are dealing with. Common sense and reasoning are not their strong points. You'd have better luck talking to a brick of Wisconsin Dell cheese. And a better conversation as well.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • cl

      Because language matters. There's a difference between joining a union and being a union member versus paying fair share. Closed shops are illegal in the united states. In other words, unions can't make employers only hire union members.

      I think what you're talking about are known as fair share payments. Because the unions bargains on behalf of all the workers, not just union members; everybody makes fair share payments.

      March 10, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Commojoe

      Look, maybe once upon a time, long ago, unions MIGHT have been a good thing, but all they are now are bloated, arrogant, over-powerful, delusional holes that suck money and try to intimate people amd organizations with their power. They do MUCH more harm than good, and their time is up, and they need to go. Reagan was right to fire them, Walker is doing the right thing, and let's hope this kind of thing speads over the whole country very quickly.

      March 10, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Berinor

      @everyone claiming joining a union is mandatory anywhere

      That is illegal. What is allowed is charging non-members for representation in bargaining and retainers for legal representation in the case of grievances. If you want a reference, it is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_shop. Here is the relevant text.

      Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as amended by the Taft-Hartley Act, a union may require that employees either join the union or pay the equivalent of union dues. Nonmembers who object to that requirement may be compelled to pay only that portion of union dues that is attributable to the cost of representing employees in collective bargaining and in providing services to all represented employees, but not, with certain exceptions, to the union's political activities or organizing employees of other employers. Additional restrictions apply to unions covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA) and unionized governmental employees.

      @Padraig

      At least in Wisconsin, the pensions are fully funded. As for funding going forward, the unions have generally agreed to the increased contributions on the condition of retaining collective bargaining rates.

      @TomFoolery

      You make a fair point that there are, unfortunately, posters that overreach. You overreach stating that the posters participate in any kind of name-calling "to a man." Most posters don't even mention Walker. They have a strong tendency to make comments about how "It's about freedom" and about supporting Wisconsin families. I would say that maybe one in ten posters resorts to name-calling and a small minority of those resort to extreme name-calling such as Mubarek or Hitler statements. We can agree that those are unreasonable. They draw attention away from reasonable grievances in the interest of shock value.

      @chris

      Unions cannot use dues to contribute to political campaigns. Those are voluntary donations for the purposes of the PAC. Union dues (but not fair share payments) may be used to support the PAC for administrative and fundraising costs, but not for contributions to candidates. As of the Citizen's United Supreme Court ruling, union dues (but still not fair share payments) may be used to fund independent advertising (think Swift Boat). I'm pretty sure any union you ask would prefer that ruling had not happened. You could reasonably argue this is because unions have less money to throw around than corporations, but the point stands that union dues were not used to contribute to President Obama's campaign.

      Finally, @BADGUY

      You're right that the Senate passed the bill. The Assembly (Wisconsin's lower house) has yet to do so. It is likely, though, that this will pass the Assembly. As it turns out, though, Wisconsin requires that unless "good cause" exists, the legislature must announce to the public with 24 hour notice any bills it will vote upon. This was announced less than two hours before the vote was completed. As a result, there are court proceedings already begun to challenge the legality of this vote. In case you're curious, in the case of doubt whether "good cause" exists, the 24 hour rule takes precedence. In other words, although this passed the Senate, it is far from over.

      March 10, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Citizen

      Well said. It seems this is another area that the media ignores. This is an issue of discrimination. On a side note how about the fair and balanced reporting by CNN? Did you see any interviews of the millions who oppose union strongarming?

      March 10, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      If I am a business owner looking to reinvest and expand my business, I do it in a Right to Work State with low taxes. I do not live in WI but it is not hard to see why jobs (Companies) are moving south.

      March 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • scranton

      @areomechanic. That is his point. If he doesn't want to pay one minute worth of his pay to the union he shouldn't have to. Fool? That's why everyone is beginning to hate the unions is because of arrogance like that.

      March 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. djaymick

    This piece is nothing but people who voted against Walker who think they won the election. What do we have here: a 58-year old retiree (how many private sector workers do you know that retire that early in life), several union members (boilermaker healthcare worker, building engineer), an animal activist and a stay at home mom. Do you really think a 2-year old continually asks, "Did you kill the bill, mom?" He has no idea what's happening, unless this loon mother thinks he needs to be a political activist instead of a normal 2-year old boy. (Talk about teaching your child great language skills.) I have 3 children and have experienced the terrible twos with all of them. They don't remember anything, except the word no. It's propaganda at its finest.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac777

      What are you talking about? You're confusing.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      what's wrong is all the professional protesters picking up the fight to save the democratic party's biggest supporter. the taxpayer funded public unions.

      March 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • case

      What are you blathering about man?

      I have been a teacher in both the public sector and the private sector. Paid about 18 percent in both for heath care and pension. I would work for a union public sector over a corporate private sector any day of the week. The corporations is all about the money and not the kids. Fact: this will hurt Wisconsin. The Governor had a balanced budget he is a smug bagger.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      Stand Up against United: Don't You know that the Republicans and Corporations are above the same Laws as the Rest of The Country!!! They make it up for Themselves as they go along... They will do anything so They can control This Country!!! They talk about what others do!!! But if They do the same Thing GOD forgives Them...

      March 9, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      Chudley: The Unions will never be Obsolete but the Republicans sure are!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      Chris: I would rather see the Democrats get $400 billion from the Union than see the Republicans get $400 Trillion from the Big Corporations!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      If a Idiot like You came to Me for a job I wouldn't give it to you either!!! Employers can see a loser when They see one!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      Chris: The only losers are the ones that are against the Working People!!! I bet You never worked a day in Your life???

      March 9, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. solrac777

    I can't believe that anyone can be anti-union. I'm sure the republican party and big corporations are laughing their heads off when they ROBBED US, we give them tax breaks and then to top it off WE, THE WORKERS, ARE PENALIZED FOR IT!!!

    Are you really that gullible? There is a financial war going on, and it's Republicans with Big Corps against us, the workers.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ronjon

      Private business Unions are fine with me but when tax payers are being held hostage and when Cities, Towns and States are failing – it is time to change.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • utahsang

      Well I think if people want to be in unions is fine the problem with public sector unions is they get way out of line with what other people are paid for similar jobs and taxpayers pay for it with private sector unions the consumer ultimately pays costs of merchandise they can decide if they want to buy or not . Example of public sector collective bargaining is forcing taxpayers to pay for old teachers viagra in wisconsin now if the teachers want viagra why can't they buy it themselves instead of insisting taxpayers pay for it.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac777

      Wisconsin and the USA is not broke. You've been brainwashed to think that unions are the issue–private or public. And then, in the mean time, these CEO's are getting filthy rich on people like you being so hypocritical.

      If you're so concerned about your taxes and our economic status, here in the USA, then I would be the first one with a picket in hand and have the Republican Party (Democrats too) and Big Corporations to stop taking our money.

      Once we clear up the theft on the American workers, then maybe we can look at other means, but this is a slap in the face to US, THE WORKERS.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dudley4637289

      Straight up, RonJon.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • urallidiots

      You can't believe that anyone is anti-union? Talk to a business owner that is strong-armed into paying inflated labor costs with no commensurate return in value. Talk to a taxpayer staring down tax increases to support above-market compensation and unfunded pension benefits. Unions are destructive cancerous parasites. You are an idiot.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • solrac777

      Unions destructive? And big business's stealing your money and getting tax breaks healthy? I think logic has gone out the window in this country.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stayoutofmypocket

      It's easy to be anti government workers union. Or are you just a morron by Trade. How about all the non union workers going on strike. There are more of us than total union members. Let'd just shut down the entire country. Would that satisfy you?

      March 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Wow Sorlac..... Do you live in a domed community made up of all public workers? "WE, THE WORKERS, ARE PENALIZED FOR IT!!!"?? No – YOU the public workers who have been bleeding us (the other 5 million non-public-union workers) dry need to look past your fairytale land and wake up to reality.

      March 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      unions gave $400 million to Obama's campaign in 2008. that's essentially tax payer money used to support the democratic party. how much more wrong can it be?

      March 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      They know all the People that voted for Them are brain dead!!! Why do You think They think They will get away with it???

      March 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mary

    Bye to all I have overstayed my welcome

    March 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      I wish all the Right wing would stay away!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Daz Irons

    Go Wisconsin I wish I was there with you but you are in my pray. May God each and everyone of you.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel (USA ARMY)

      All Normal People are for Them!!! Just the Right Wing Republicans and Tea Party are against Them!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • nookly

      Yep, the teachers unions have done a great job, too bad it had nothing to do with educating kids. New report shows that 82% of public schools are failures and the US ranks 26th in education despite the fact we spend more per student than any other nation. Yep, thank the union for the utter failure of the public school system.
      We have to bail out the auto industry because a high school dropout is paid 70.00 an hour. Great work you parasites.

      March 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
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