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Author Topic: Oh, Wisconsin, you so silly.
aspectre
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The Koch Queen Governor.
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aspectre
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The Koch Queen Governor: Part 2
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Juxtapose
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(Partial) Transcript here.
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Dan_Frank
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That's pretty cool. I stopped listening part way through, but some things that struck me:

Walker obviously doesn't talk to Koch often enough to recognize his voice/caller ID/etc. He doesn't engage in any sort of friendly conversation. He just treats him like he's any random supporter calling to hear about what's going on.

Not too sure the video proves what the person who put it on youtube seems to think it proves, but then, that's probably not a surprise.

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Samprimary
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quote:
He also shared a plan to trick the Senate Democrats by inviting them back to the capital to listen to their concerns and then use their appearance in the capital to declare a quorum and resume session, whether or not they attend. “If you heard I was going to talk to them that’s the only reason why,” he said.
That the caller got this guy to start reporting all this to him just by pretending to be Koch is at least as instructive as what he actually said.
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Darth_Mauve
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"Hello all you business owners in or considering moving to Wisconsin. It seems that the politicians in that state believe they do not need good quality public servants. They are attempting to do away with every benefit that an intelligent and hard working person may have for being a public servant.

These are the people who will be teaching your children, or teaching your future employees. These are the people who will be repairing your roads and in charge of highway safety on the highways you will be using. These are the people who maintain the parks you can enjoy, the legal documentation that defines your wealth, and the infrastructure your company needs to exist.

These are important services, but the government in the State of Wisconsin thinks they should be done by only those lazy or stupid enough to except minimum pay, minimum benefits, and minimum chance for promotion.

Last month some states advertised that companies move out of Illinois because we dared to ask our people to pay for these services. These same politicians want to bribe you with tax cuts and tax incentives to do business in their state. I'm sure some short sighted companies will do just that.

But if you want success on the long term, you want to go where we reward dedicated hard working employees, public and private, to insure we keep the best. You don't need strikes and labor issues. Come to Illinois. We won't bribe you with cash, but with great teachers, great service, and improving infrastructure that you business needs to run.

Oh, and to those top performing public servants in Wisconsin. Have you considered moving to a place where you will be asked to work hard, but be rewarded appropriately. Labor and Capital should be allies for prosperity. When they fight we get poverty."

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Samprimary
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBD209nYHjM
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Samprimary
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I love this. I love all of this. The prank call might be enough to hang him on this issue re: the Kochs.

Anyone who's still siding with his narrative at this point is kind of an idiot. [Smile]

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BlackBlade
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I dislike very much what Gov. Walker is trying to do, and I completely disagree with his approach to balancing the budget. But I don't think this blogger has nearly the sort of juicy proof some might think he has. After listening to what was actually said in the transcripts and the tone of voice, Gov. Walker sounded more like somebody who was just trying to be polite to a powerful donor, than a collaborator. I have a lot of experience with people who say things that couldn't be more different than their meaning. That is pretty much the way things are done in China. Now perhaps I am giving Gov. Walker too much credit for nuance, but for example when he was offered by the blogger to be flown out to California and be shown, "A good time". His tone and choice of words, "That would be outstanding" struck me pretty solidly as something you would say if you wanted to reject the offer but not offend the offering party, who did, after all, donate $40,000+ dollars to your campaign fund. He didn't ask what kind of a good time "Koch" had in mind or even mention when he might be available for that sort of thing.

Earlier in the call the blooger suggests they hire trouble makers, and Gov. Walker demurs somewhat and says, "Well we thought about that" which gives who Gov. Walker believes is Koch the sense that his idea is a good one on the face of things, rather than flat out saying, "That's a bad idea." He then proceeds to say why objectively that idea wouldn't work. You wouldn't tell a political donor, "That's a terrible/awful/ineffective/unethical idea."

When the blogger stokes his pride, he of course laps that up because he believes a wealthy influential businessman likes him, and he of course reciprocates by saying how firm he is on his principles, how evil the opposition is, what they are doing to solve the problem, etc.

His plan to trick senate Democrats into coming back into the building so they can technically say they had a quorum, and pass the legislation anyway, is probably the only conceivably damning thing he said the entire call, and that's really more of a, "If they are going to pull a stunt like that, then I'm throwing the rule book out too." It's greasy, but what the Democrats did (and I agree this legislation is absolutely terrible) is no different than a filibuster to my mind. Further, he has to be able to tell Koch he's doing something to break this gridlock, otherwise he looks impotent and incompetent, only an idiot admits that sort of weakness to anybody. There wasn't even a mention of the supposed "power plant deal" on the phone, I imagine that blogger had no idea that angle existed. Walker certainly didn't act like he was expecting it to be brought up.

Anyway, this is just one guy's opinion, but the only impression I got from Gov. Walkers conversation is that his plan is terrible, he doesn't know how to get the protests to stop, and he's obviously trying to push his agenda now, and hope the heat dies off when the media loses interest. I don't feel he divulged anything especially important to this blogger who he believed to be Koch.

[ February 24, 2011, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: JanitorBlade ]

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Samprimary
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quote:
I don't feel he divulged anything especially important to this blogger who he believed to be Koch.
impressing that his plan is terrible and obvious trust-busting poorly concealed as budget salvation methods: important
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
I don't feel he divulged anything especially important to this blogger who he believed to be Koch.
impressing that his plan is terrible and obvious trust-busting poorly concealed as budget salvation methods: important
But already knew that, since he said unions wouldn't budge on higher contributions towards pensions and health care, and now that unions have indicated they are, he's still going full steam ahead with his union crushing initiative.
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TomDavidson
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The other important thing he said, which I don't think should be overlooked, is that the only thing they need to do is wait.

The protesters who're out there now can't protest forever. Even taking it in shifts, the crowds will have to die down eventually because -- as much as Fox News would tell you otherwise -- people want to work and want to do their jobs. By the same token, the Dems can't stay away forever, because the Republicans don't need a quorum for a lot of really destructive non-budget legislation, and they could use this opportunity to simply pass a lot of punitive crap if they felt like it. All the Republicans need to do is stuff cotton in their ears and ignore their constituents, safe in the knowledge that they're damaging Democratic election infrastructure and thus securing their jobs in a different way.

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natural_mystic
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Is there a time sensitive re-finance of debt (that is actually needed for the budget)?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
But already knew that, since he said unions wouldn't budge on higher contributions towards pensions and health care, and now that unions have indicated they are, he's still going full steam ahead with his union crushing initiative.

There's plenty that one can easily infer. It is different when it comes from his own mouth.

quote:
When Gov. Scott Walker discussed strategies to lay off state employees for political purposes, to coordinate supposedly “independent” political expenditures to aid legislators who support his budget repair bill, and to place agent provocateurs on the streets of Madison in order to disrupt peaceful demonstrations, he engaged in what a former attorney general of Wisconsin says could turn out to be serious ethics, election law and labor violations.
Much of the attention to the “prank” call that the governor took from a blogger who identified himself as billionaire David Koch has focused on the bizarre, at times comic, character of the discussion between a blogger posing as a powerful political player on the right and a governor whose budget repair bill has sparked mass demonstrations in Wisconsin communities and a national outcry. But the state’s former chief law-enforcement officer described the governor’s statements as “deeply troubling” and suggested that they would require inquiry and investigation by watchdog agencies.
“There clearly are potential ethics violations, and there are potential election law violations and there are a lot of what look to me like labor law violations,” said Peg Lautenschlager, a Democrat who served as Wisconsin’s attorney general after serving for many years as a U.S. attorney. “I think that the ethics violations are something the (state) Government Accountability Board should look into because they are considerable. He is on tape talking with someone who he thinks is the funder of an independent political action committee to purchase advertising to benefit Republican legislators who are nervous about taking votes on legislation he sees as critical to his political success.”
Lautenschlager, a former legislator who has known Walker for many years and who has worked with many of the unions involved in the current dispute, says: “One of the things I find most problematic in all of this is the governor’s casual talk about using outside troublemakers to stir up trouble on the streets, and the fact that he only dismissed the idea because it might cause a political problem for him.”
On the tape, Walker is asked about “planting some troublemakers” to incite the crowds at what have been peaceful protests.
“(We) thought about that,” replied the governor, who added: “My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems.”
“I think there’s a serious issue there,” Lautenschlager explained. “That’s a public safety issue. And I think that is really troublesome: a governor with an obligation to maintain public safety says he’s going to plant people to make trouble. That screams out to me. For a governor even to consider a strategy that could unnecessarily threaten the safety of peaceful demonstrators — which the governor acknowledged he did — is something that simply amazes me.”
Lautenschlager reviewed the tape of the phone call and the transcript at the request of The Capital Times. She noted a pattern of instances where the governor seemed to put his personal political agenda ahead of his duties as the state’s chief executive.
Lautenschlager noted, in particular, the governor’s reference to displaying a photo of former President Ronald Reagan at the dinner where he explained plans for his budget repair bill — which seeks to strip state, county and municipal employees of their collective bargaining rights, restructure state government in a manner that dramatically extends the power of the governor, undermine the BadgerCare and SeniorCare programs, and sell off publicly owned power plants to private firms like Koch Industries.
“He essentially parallels what he’s going to do to organized labor with what Ronald Reagan did to the air traffic controllers,” said Lautenschlager, referencing the former president’s firing of striking controllers in 1981. “By doing that at this time, when the contracts for state employees are still in effect, it looks as if he’s signaling a willingness to commit an unfair labor practice violation by refusing to negotiate.”
Lautenschlager noted a body of labor law that prevents employers from using threats of layoffs as a negotiating tactic with unionized workers.
Regarding another part of the conversation, where the caller posing as David Koch promises to bring the governor to California as a reward when and if the budget repair bill passes, the former attorney general noted the tenor of the conversation.
“Scott: Once you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time,” says the caller identified as David Koch.
Walker replies: “All right, that would be outstanding.”
“When an elected official in Wisconsin is offered a trip somewhere to have a good time, and he responds by saying ‘that would be outstanding,' ” said Lautenchlager, “it certainly sounds like something ethics investigators should look into.”

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/john_nichols/article_0657a7e5-a7ca-59df-abf0-3222b8c8ef98.html?nstrack=sid:334184|met:100300|cat:0|order:1

Think about what what things he casually admitted to. What do they amount to? Firing state workers as political retaliation is not nothing. Potentially illegal campaign funding is not nothing. Plotting to place agent provocateurs on the streets of Madison to cause chaos is certainly not nothing.

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MrSquicky
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I think that's stretching a lot. BB's explanation of those interactions as a politician using kid gloves with someone he thinks is a huge donor seems more reasonable to me. Even were the governor serious in all of that, however, there are no grounds I can see for ethics complaints.
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MrSquicky
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I didn't see it here, so I thought I'd post that an Indiana deputy attorney general has been fired for advocating that the police shoot the protesters in Wisconsin (link). The only way this makes sense to me is he was upset that people were making pretty specious comparisons to Egypt, Libia, etc. and he thought having the police mow down peaceful protesters would help close the gap between them.
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MattP
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He's got a history for making inflammatory remarks.

quote:
As one of 144 attorneys in that office, Jeff Cox has represented the people of his state for 10 years. And for much of that time, it turns out, he's vented similar feelings on Twitter and on his blog, Pro Cynic. In his nonpolitical tweets and blog posts, Cox displays a keen litigator's mind, writing sharply and often wittily on military history and professional basketball. But he evinces contempt for political opponents--from labeling President Obama an "incompetent and treasonous" enemy of the nation to comparing "enviro-Nazis" to Osama bin Laden, likening ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Service Employees International Union members to Nazi "brownshirts" on multiple occasions, and referring to an Indianapolis teen as "a black teenage thug who was (deservedly) beaten up" by local police. A "sensible policy for handling Afghanistan," he offered, could be summed up as: "KILL! KILL! ANNIHILATE!"
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/indiana-official-jeff-cox-live-ammunition-against-wisconsin-protesters
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Darth_Mauve
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Interesting take on his phone conversation. Is it illegal to threaten layoffs to employees while in labor negotiations. Can a case be brought against him for doing so now?
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TomDavidson
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Probably not a successful one. And I think the attempt is itself rather petty.
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Destineer
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Wow, it looks like it's over. Damn.

The bad guys win.

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TomDavidson
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Why do you say that, Destineer? We always knew it would pass the Assembly.
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kmbboots
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The bad guys were always going to win. The best possible outcome was making sure people were aware of how bad the bad guys are so maybe they will regain their sanity in time for the next election.
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TomDavidson
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The problem with that, Kate, is that part of the point of this thievery is to make it that much harder for Democrats in the next election.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Wow, it looks like it's over. Damn.

The bad guys win.

Libertarians buy out government in order to ensure a decidedly non-libertarian environment of capitalistic advantage for themselves; irony news at 11
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Destineer
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Ah, I should've read further down. Didn't realize the Wisconsin legislature is bicameral.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
The problem with that, Kate, is that part of the point of this thievery is to make it that much harder for Democrats in the next election.

Well, yes. But that was always going to happen once the unions are wiped out. But the protests weren't going to be able to stop it. Just bring attention to it.
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Tstorm
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The only state that has a unicameral legislature is Nebraska. (DC isn't a state, so I'm not counting it. [Razz] )
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Destineer
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Huh. My dad always complains about what a waste it is for Michigan to have a Senate, which led me to believe that many other states don't.
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Lyrhawn
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To be fair, Michigan's House is a waste as well. So's the Governor. And I say that having voted for the guy.
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Destineer
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Yeah, his budget proposal wasn't exactly -- how should I say -- tolerable?
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Tstorm
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Kansas considering anti-union legislation (Topeka Capital-Journal)

Oh, hey, I didn't see that coming...

I'd like to quip that Wisconsin's outcome will determine ours, but I know that's not true. One party can propose, write, and pass legislation in this state without any opposition. Even if all the Kansas Democrats suddenly went missing, they couldn't stop anything the other party wants to do.

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Darth_Mauve
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Let me ask a question:

The most common argument made about getting rid of the Teachers Union is that it makes it impossible to fire poor performing teachers. Governor Walker said that school districts and government officials want to be able to fire those teacher they believe need to go.

So does this mean that if I am teaching the mayor's daughter, she either aces the class or I can be fired?

If I dare fail the wrong student, the one who will complain the loudest to the school board, or the one that bankrolls the major political party in town, I can be fired?

If the high school football team's QB is failing history because he doesn't want to do the work, I can't fail him because the school board places more value on a winning season than on my employment?

Does this mean that if two students are up for a full scholarship, I have to give a higher grade not to the student who is better qualified, but to the one that will insure my contract is picked up next year?

I predict that no child in the Koch family will ever fail.

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Tresopax
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quote:
So does this mean that if I am teaching the mayor's daughter, she either aces the class or I can be fired?
There exists a great deal of space between "impossible to fire" and "can be fired for any reason whatsoever".
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Darth_Mauve
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Tres, yes there is a big difference.

However, removing bargaining rights on what is and is not allowed to go into the firing decision means that those with the power--the Principals, Administrators, and Politicians will decide where that school stands on that space.

Or are there legal safety measures that protect teachers from being fired for purely political reasons.

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Darth_Mauve
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More After School Details: http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/EvaluationsBackgrounder2011.pdf
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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I predict that no child in the Koch family will ever fail.

I'm no friend of the unions but i cannot help but side with them on this one, since what they're fighting against is worse than them.
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DDDaysh
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Let me ask a question:

The most common argument made about getting rid of the Teachers Union is that it makes it impossible to fire poor performing teachers. Governor Walker said that school districts and government officials want to be able to fire those teacher they believe need to go.

So does this mean that if I am teaching the mayor's daughter, she either aces the class or I can be fired?

If I dare fail the wrong student, the one who will complain the loudest to the school board, or the one that bankrolls the major political party in town, I can be fired?

If the high school football team's QB is failing history because he doesn't want to do the work, I can't fail him because the school board places more value on a winning season than on my employment?

Does this mean that if two students are up for a full scholarship, I have to give a higher grade not to the student who is better qualified, but to the one that will insure my contract is picked up next year?

I predict that no child in the Koch family will ever fail.

Living in a district where everyone knows everyone in a state where teachers unions are severely hobbled, I can say that it's very unlikely that you would ever get fired for failing the mayor's daughter. It isn't that easy, and a single person rarely has that much control since hiring/firing decisions are ultimately in the hands of a group of people (the school board). It might be different in other states, but here a principal has no authority to hire or fire anyone. The most he/she can do is make recommendations to the school board.

As for being fired if you don't pass the star quarterback... Well, I'm not sure anything has really changed there. After all, there are a heck of alot of bad things that can be done to a teacher without firing him/her. I'm pretty sure if the school wanted to play that card it could easily be, "Pass that kid or you'll be assigned cafeteria duty at the alternative school next year."

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Tstorm
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quote:
Originally posted by Parkour:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I predict that no child in the Koch family will ever fail.

I'm no friend of the unions but i cannot help but side with them on this one, since what they're fighting against is worse than them.
By 'what they're fighting against' do you mean the elimination of collective bargaining rights?

###

As an aside, I'll say that I've got a strong independent streak. I also live in a 'right to work' state, Kansas, and I happen to work at an educational institution where there is a faculty 'union'. (I'll use that term loosely, because it's unclear what collective bargaining powers the group actually has. And also, to be clear, I'm not a member.)

I do know that my pay schedule, as a staff member, is tied to what the 'union' negotiates. If the faculty negotiate a raise, the trustees apply the same raise, on a percentage basis, to the staff, who do not engage in collective bargaining. On the other hand, sometimes the trustees perform end-runs around the bargaining process, since the faculty union can't really retaliate. Some of the rules and maneuvers are a mystery to me; I'm essentially feeding on the leanings of an established process, here.

My perspective and experiences are hardly unique, but I find that I'm interested in the outcome of this political battle.

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Darth_Mauve
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Here's a question. The school board, or in the case of other city workers, the Mayor or City Counsel hands you a contract and says--"This is what we are paying."

Do you get the opportunity to discuss or negotiate it?

Several of the Libertarian, Tea Party, and Anti-Union Conservatives say that everyone who is hired is paid based on individual negotiations between the employer and the employee. They say there is not need for a third party (the Union) to come between those two individuals.

That is true in white collar jobs where job offers are often met with counter offers. I've received more pay than the offered fee by negotiating on occasion.

On far more occasions the offer is set, and there is no room for change. This is especially so in blue collar jobs. When my wife's contract comes up every year, she is given a form letter that says, "You are being paid X. These are the rules you agree to work by. Sign here or refuse and we will know to get you a replacement."

If an individual wants to negotiate does the district or an employer have to listen, or can they state their demands and require everyone to comply of be fired.

Tstorm, you mention that the system is very convoluted. Its difficult to imagine you have the time or knowledge to determine what the legalese of your contract really means. Unions have lawyers that check the legalese of the contract before agreeing to it. The Superintendent of the school had his contract run by his lawyer before he signed it. Yet most teachers can't afford to run their contracts by a lawyer. They just take it on faith that the district is being honest.

I wonder if there is a market for an Employment Contract Lawyer. They would be paid about 1/2 of average Union Dues, plus a percentage of any law-suit settlements they would gather from the employer and would represent you in individual contract bargaining. Basically, they would get several teachers or other employees signed on to their plan and represent them all--individually.

The result would be that a Lawyer who is most compensated by keeping his clients employed and suing the employer for unfair labor issues, etc. Would make the employers kind of wish for simple to work with Unions.

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DarkKnight
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quote:
Here's a question. The school board, or in the case of other city workers, the Mayor or City Counsel hands you a contract and says--"This is what we are paying."

Do you get the opportunity to discuss or negotiate it?

Several of the Libertarian, Tea Party, and Anti-Union Conservatives say that everyone who is hired is paid based on individual negotiations between the employer and the employee. They say there is not need for a third party (the Union) to come between those two individuals.

*edit for clarity* In my state the answer is No. Not only that, but if a union can show you have a community of interest with their union then you must join the union. You can appeal it and then you have to go to arbitation, where the arbiter will decide what union you do belong in, not necessarily the one who is trying to absorb you.
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Tstorm
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quote:
Tstorm, you mention that the system is very convoluted. Its difficult to imagine you have the time or knowledge to determine what the legalese of your contract really means. Unions have lawyers that check the legalese of the contract before agreeing to it. The Superintendent of the school had his contract run by his lawyer before he signed it. Yet most teachers can't afford to run their contracts by a lawyer. They just take it on faith that the district is being honest.
My contract is quite simple -- less than a single typed page, actually. As far as the legalese behind it, you're right. I don't have the time or experience to go through the details. They hand me the contract and there's no room for negotiation.

I'm fairly certain that the administrators at this college have their contracts tended to by lawyers.

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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by Tstorm:
quote:
Originally posted by Parkour:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I predict that no child in the Koch family will ever fail.

I'm no friend of the unions but i cannot help but side with them on this one, since what they're fighting against is worse than them.
By 'what they're fighting against' do you mean the elimination of collective bargaining rights?
The whole thing. A person who is breaking the unions because of what political and corporate forces they stand in the way of. A person who has privatized in unethical ways.
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Samprimary
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I am kind of tempted to link Maddow, basically confirming I am a terrible person
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Strider
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Destineer was right. The bad guys won:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/03/09/wisconsin.budget/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

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Lyrhawn
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That's pretty clever. I'm surprised they didn't do it sooner. Gives Dems good fodder for a recall campaign against the Gov. in a year, though really, they didn't do anything illegal, or even tricky really, they just did something unpopular. You can argue whether or not it was a bad bill (and I think it was), but I don't think anyone can make an argument that they subverted democracy to do it (and that's an argument I've read in a couple places now). Sometimes you don't have the votes, and you need to let bad legislation pass in order to get the people on your side.
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Tstorm
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Violation of the state open meetings law, perhaps?

Doubt it will mean much, though. It's not like the Attorney General of Wisconsin (R) will prosecute anyone for that.

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kmbboots
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This bill was always going to pass. The Democrats couldn't stay away forever. The best possible outcome we could ever have had was to draw enough attention to this that Wisconsin voters will remember what happens when the vote for big-business Republicans when the next go to the polls.
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Blayne Bradley
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They should have a state wide general strike, every union. Let the state ground to a halt for a month or so.
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TomDavidson
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Sadly, it is illegal in Wisconsin for public sector unions to strike.
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Chris Bridges
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And the bill that passed makes it legal to fire union workers who are absent from their jobs for three days without excuse. Striking doesn't count as an excuse.

The move wasn't illegal, unless, as stated, open meetings laws were violated. But it did expose the lie that the move was for budgetary reasons, since it could not have been voted on this way if it was. It was a union-buster bill, plain and simple.

What will be interesting is whether this will cause a resurgence in nationwide pro-union activity, as unions have been fragmenting of late.

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