I thought a lot about Labor Day today. Mama and Papa invited us over for a refesher course in gluttony lunch. This day isn’t just about barbecues and the last day you can wear white, it is about us workers.
Having this one day off between 4th of July and Thanksgiving didn’t come without cost. And it was steep. The Pullman Palace Car Company cut workers wages as its companies revenue and demand for their rail cars dropped. That and 16 hour workdays was enough. They striked and railroad workers across the nation joined them. 125K railroad workers quit rather than handle Pullman’s cars. The government intervened because the strike was a threat to national safety and would interfere with mail delivery. As a result, 13 people were killed by the US Army and Marshals breaking up the strike. Making it a national holiday was the government’s way to appease labor.
I am very thankful for my job. And I’m thankful for the things the labor movement allows me and millions of other workers enjoy. Holidays, 8 hour workdays, overtime, etc. Workers like those in the Pullman Strike died for better conditions and pay.
I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day. This holiday celebrates our contributions and achievements and those of workers before us.
Wisconsin GOP Strips Public Workers’ Bargaining Rights
Despite this blow, the war has just begun. Senate Republicans in Wisconsin were able to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights tonight. They cut the bill in half, voting on the collective bargaining rights. Because that aspect of the bill does not have any financial implications (to the budget), a quorum is not needed. The vote was 18-1. Thank you, Senator Dale Schultz for standing up to them by voting no.
“In 30 minutes, 18 state Senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people. Tomorrow we will join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government.”
Ya damn skippy!
Governor Walker and the GOP succeeded where union leaders have failed – revitalizing union solidarity. The sleeping giant is awake, pissed off, and ready to go. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
The e-mails emerge. Governor Walker is softening. He really misses Senator Jauch.
He poured out his heart in the letters. He agreed that unions can keep some of their collective bargaining rights:
1. Salaries with no market rate limit
2. Mandatory overtime
3. Performance bonuses
4. Hazardous duty pay
5. Classroom size
Walker also said OK to the agreeements lasting up to two years.
Jauch wanted sick leave and vacation pay to be included as well.
Then, Walker had to go and tell everyone how close Jauch was to coming back. He had to blame outsiders for ruining their relationship (e.g., union bosses, Senator Miller). He mocked the proposed border meeting, letting his stubborn pride stand in the way of real reconciliation.
“Trust is completely broken down now. I don’t believe anything he says.” – Jauch said.
Way to go Scotty.
Naturally, Jauch is hurt and doesn’t want to talk. Walker is left to ponder the e-mails and their relationship.
Being an internet-trained psychotherapist, I offer my advice to Walker. Let them keep more bargaining rights and send flowers. Huge, beautiful, and expensive. With this note:
“Baby come back. You can blame it all on me. I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you.”
I wasn’t shocked since we had that spoiler yesterday. Yeah, it’s that bad. ~9% almost $900M. Hmm. I know a lot of people (myself included) believe throwing money at a problem doesn’t work. Taking away money isn’t going to solve it either, though. The teachers lose their bargaining rights, and the entire state’s school system loses almost $1B in funding. Teachers are a resilient lot, though. They practically live by the making do with less mantra. Wave bye bye to music and art classes. They’re usually the first to go.
He also wants to cut $500M from Medicaid. He would achieve this by including increasing co-pays and deductibles and requiring Seniors to be enrolled in Medicare Part D. The latter makes sense if they can be covered anyway. But increasing co-pays and deductibles? Hello. They’re poor. That’s why they’re on Medicaid. Where are they going to get the extra money for co-pays and deductibles? Pick and choose meds time. And there’s always the ER where you can run up a bill, not pay, and discharge it in bankruptcy. Problem solved.
OK, now I don’t want to be completely negative. Just mostly. There are things I do like in his budget.
Exclusion of capital gains on investments in Wisconsin-based businesses
Very nice. More attractive if you don’t have to pay both federal and state capital gains taxes.
Elimination of positions vacant for more than a year
It might suck, but it seems the department stayed afloat without that position filled.
I like this in theory. How they intend to pay for all those prisoners is another story.
So there you have it. A few lonely buoys of good in a sea of bad and ugly. Good luck, Wisconsinites.
Well, that was a ominous title. Just what are your ultimate intentions, Scotty? One of them, according to the article, is major cuts to schools. Big surprise.
Another interesting tidbit I read from the article.
Wisconsin’s average teacher salary of about $48,000 ranks in the top half of states nationally, though it remains significantly behind the $60,000 average salaries in the top-paying states of California and Connecticut, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Wisconsin students also rank in the top half nationally on standardized tests, scoring a full percentage point better on the ACT college entrance exam.
The teachers are doing something right, despite the naysayers.
I can’t wait for the release of his “outline” tomorrow, which will probably be one of the creepiest PowerPoint Presentations ever.
Football can be the great uniter. I love this picture even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the Wisconsin showdown.
I loved this: “You’re not going to convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if you don’t properly reward their bravery.”
And thanks for reminding the governors that both sides have “to give something up.” The union members in Wisconsin gave up the fight on the pension and healthcare contribution. That helps your budget, right? What are you willing to give up, Scotty?
So he wasn’t trying to trick them into coming back? I guess everyone else can see flames emanating from his pants but him.
*ahem* Scotty. You were on tape.
I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders—talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn—but I’ll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly…legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have quorum…so we’re double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that’s the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them…
The prank phone call only proved what most of us already knew.
The latest news is that the state troopers went to the homes of the Wisconsin 14 since there have been “sightings” – returning to get clothes, etc. No luck. Stay on the IL side, Senators. Your family can get the clothes to you. Stay close, and maybe move around a bit to different locations within IL. Man, this is like a spy movie.
Anyway, Walker said that he’s not going to let one prank phone call to be a distraction…from his pants on fire?
Silly Governor, tricks are for kids and impeached Presidents.