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sandlanders
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-01-18
Posts: 18932
Location: Adams, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:02 am Reply with quote Back to top

Starting a thread on this because many people want to say something. Keep your posts civil and respectful. No name calling or bad words. All opinions are welcome.
 
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sandlanders
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-01-18
Posts: 18932
Location: Adams, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:07 am Reply with quote Back to top

From a post in the Thread Stealers' Thread...
(Go here to read the full post.)
Captain and Mate wrote:
My wife and I are retired educators and obviously have been following the events in Madison closely. We both worked for the same school district for 33 and 31 years, respectively, before retiring in 2005. The pensions we receive today come from the Employee Trust Fund. The district for which we worked made contributions to that fund on our behalf throughout our careers. Incidentally, our pensions have been cut the last 2 years (and probably will be cut again this year) due to the stock market crash from which we are still recovering. The state's budget issues, however, are not a result of our pensions, nor are they a result of the salary and other benefits we received when we were teaching. Our collective bargaining agreement was between our union and our local school district, not with the state.

Captain and Mate are 100% right on the above. The state of Wisconsin does NOT pay for teachers’ pensions. It is already a requirement (which is an unnecessary part of the current budget relief bill) that teachers are responsible for half of their retirement funding, and the local districts are responsible for the other half. If teachers pay in less, that is because they have negotiated with their local districts to pay less than the employee 50%. The teachers usually give up salary increases to get this provision. Any other funding of teacher pensions comes from the state investments board‘s investing the funds put in by the districts and the teachers. This worked quite well when the markets were doing well, but like all over, the pension fund’s investments did not do well a couple of years ago. This resulted in a reduction in public pension amounts for the first time EVER in Wisconsin. Because any loss is not imposed entirely that year but is “smoothed out” over five years, barring a dramatic surge in the markets, teachers and other public retirees in the system could be seeing pension decrease in all five years. The pensions, in all parts, are NOT funded by any state monies but locally.

“Local” is the key. That is where the hit is felt the most. Due to decreased federal and state funding, the burden of higher costs for operating and maintaining services and providing for employee salaries and benefits has been passed on to local governments: school districts, cities, counties. This is where your voices can be heard more effectively, but the turnouts for elections for local officials is usually much smaller than for those involving a statewide or national races. The part of the budget repair bill that is most vehemently being protested in Madison this week, is the removal of the public employees’ capabilities to bilaterally negotiate contracts with their local governing authorities. Many districts and municipalities may recognize the value of their employees to their communities and will try to work out some beneficial solution for all, but in these tough times, it is hard to consider anything but the bottom line.

What really bothers me is the rhetoric going on, especially against teachers. Agree or disagree with the choices of some to leave their jobs to speak up in Madison, this does not justify so many “teacher bashing” statements. We DO care about children, we DO realize that times are tough, we DO suffer economically along with everyone else. We don’t agree with the actions or the rhetoric of some of the protesters, and we know there are teachers who ARE more concerned about the money and benefits, and who do not have the passion for their jobs that most do, but this does not warrant bashing the whole profession. Please take some time to think before you say or post anything here or elsewhere, especially when talking to your children, and please get involved as passionately in your local government as you might be on the current issue, pro or con.[url][/url]


Last edited by sandlanders on Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:10 am; edited 1 time in total 
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Captain and Mate
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-09-25
Posts: 293
Location: Burlington, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:10 am Reply with quote Back to top

We expessed our thoughts in "Thread Stealers" this AM and will not comment further. Thanks for this new thread, though-good idea! It was getting too serious and the drivel was starting to suffer. Very Happy

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\"Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest places if you look at it right.\"
-Grateful Dead 
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JimandLinda
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-08-14
Posts: 5193
Location: Rosendale WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:40 am Reply with quote Back to top

Correct me if I'm wrong...

Let's say you are an hourly paid county employee. You have negotiated your pay and benefits and make $40,000/year.
Your supervisor is salaried, making $70,000/year. He/she has the same benefits but higher pay, as well as a higher amount being put in their pension.
How do the salaried employees negotiate their pay and benefits?

I'm assuming that they don't. After the unions have negotiated their packages, the salaried employees are thrown in the group, and basicly, get the same benefits, but higher pay and pension contributions.

In order to cut from the top, you need to change the rules for the workers that negotiated these benefits, that are on the bottom. If this is done, no one will be safe from being hired and terminated on a "needs" basis, hourly OR salaried. Once a budget is established, whether it be State, County, or Municiple, slash and burn can be done at will.

The protest is mainly about a new governor that is acting more like a dictator than a leader of a democracy. There is no simple answer to the deficits that we have. It took years of careless spending, and will take even more years to decrease.

But a governor coming into office and trying to change the face of the state, in just a few short weeks, without feeling the pulse of the people, is walking on thin ice.
It looks like there may be several more days, if not weeks of "game playing" before this is settled.

My stand? Changes need to be made in the top, salaried benefit packages. The vested administrators and executives that cash out their millions at early retirement, only to seek employment elsewhere, need to be curtailled, as well. The hourly paid workers need to take concessions, as well, but they need preperation time to make some life style changes.
It will take a minimum of 2 generations to resolve the national deficit, much less state by state. We need to make changes, but they should be discussed by both sides, thus the word "negotiation".

My concern? What happens to seniority if collective bargaining is gone? Job security will be a thing of the past, which will cause family, business. and relationship problems. We may need to implement the same social programs that we cut employment from to balance the budget.

An interesting saga is being played out in Madison. Let's hope it doesn't get resolved in the same fashion as the company towns in the coal mining era of the '30s.
 
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BigJim60
WGA Member



Joined: 2010-01-02
Posts: 6982
Location: Auburndale, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:56 am Reply with quote Back to top

JimandLinda wrote:


My concern? What happens to seniority if collective bargaining is gone? Job security will be a thing of the past, which will cause family, business. and relationship problems.

Seniority goes out the window. I was talking with a school administrator yesterday, and he told me that an administrator from another district had told him that, if this bill is passed and he needs to cut teachers, he will cut the ones with the most seniority, because they get paid the most.

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BigJim
There are three kinds of people in this world ... the wee, the not-so-wee, and the frickin huge. 
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-cheeto-
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-06-12
Posts: 4538
Location: Appleton, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:32 pm Reply with quote Back to top

BigJim60 wrote:
Seniority goes out the window. I was talking with a school administrator yesterday, and he told me that an administrator from another district had told him that, if this bill is passed and he needs to cut teachers, he will cut the ones with the most seniority, because they get paid the most.


In the salaried, non-unionized, private world, seniority doesn't mean much either. Especially during acquisitions, mergers, and down-sizings.

I can see both sides of the fence from here.

My health insurance is more expensive than a state of wisconsin employee's health insurance and I get less insurance for my money. I put my own money in a 401K account for retirement. I am employed at-will and can be terminated at any time. If I had cheaper, better insurance, free money at retirement, and a group to fight for my employment "rights" and was about to lose all or some of those things I probably would be upset too.

I think it's horrible that over 200 teachers in my kid's district called in sick yesterday. However, I'm not sure how they can make themselves heard if they're at work teaching.

I won't comment on the politics.
 
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CodeJunkie
WGA Member



Joined: 2009-07-21
Posts: 8149
Location: Berlin, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:00 pm Reply with quote Back to top

-cheeto- wrote:
I think it's horrible that over 200 teachers in my kid's district called in sick yesterday. However, I'm not sure how they can make themselves heard if they're at work teaching.

Jeez - Let's see. How about before or after work if you want to do it yourself. Or maybe LET YOUR UNION REPRESENTATIVE DO IT (that's what their job is).

The Berlin teachers are protesting this afternoon downtown about the same time I'm getting home. I've already put the local PD's phone number on my speed dial in case they're blocking the sidewalk I'm planning to walk down. And I'm sure words will be exchanged as I make my way through the crowd.
 
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gotta run
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-11-26
Posts: 3293

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:47 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Having been a teacher, union member, hourly laborer, salaried nonunion worker, and sole proprietor in my life, I have strong opinions grounded in experience but I will not express them here. I know it is an off topic thread but keep in mind it is a geocaching forum. No good can come of this.
 
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gotta run
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-11-26
Posts: 3293

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:54 pm Reply with quote Back to top

BTW, yes I know I commented on the impact of the sickout in the other forum...but I still think this is a bad idea.
 
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Mister Greenthumb
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-02-03
Posts: 2632

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:04 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Maybe as a distraction a new topic could be started on the merits of TEMPORARY CACHES. That way everyone could stay riled up and it would now be geocache related.

Bring back the DEAD HORSE too.

.
 
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Vegas Gamblers
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-06-27
Posts: 6621
Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:35 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Mister Greenthumb wrote:
Maybe as a distraction a new topic could be started on the merits of TEMPORARY CACHES. That way everyone could stay riled up and it would now be geocache related.

Bring back the DEAD HORSE too.

.


Nice!! Laughing
 
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CodeJunkie
WGA Member



Joined: 2009-07-21
Posts: 8149
Location: Berlin, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:19 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Ho Hum. No protestors = no excitement for me on the way home. Time to go back to the useless drivel in the other forum.
 
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Johnny Cache
WGA Member



Joined: 2005-08-30
Posts: 304
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:41 pm Reply with quote Back to top

GR - with experience, comes wisdom. I haven't learned my lesson yet.

"Governor acting like a dictator"? Not the way I see it. My education taught me there is more than one branch of government and it takes more than 1 guy to approve a bill. The sign waving comparisons to Mubarak are ridiculous.

"a governor coming into office and trying to change the face of the state, in just a few short weeks, without feeling the pulse of the people, is walking on thin ice." I disagree. The pulse of the people was felt in November. I think the ice is getting thicker.

We need to make changes, but they should be discussed by both sides, thus the word "negotiation". Where was this when ObamaCare was rammed through? And isn't it a little difficult to negotiate when the Democrat law makers run away to another state? Democracy has a hard time succeeding with that type of behavior.

Would you prefer Governor Walker take New York Mayor Bloomberg's course of action? Laying off 6000 teachers and asking Gov. Cuomo for the right to allow teacher layoffs to be based on merit and not based solely on tenure. At least Walker's proposal has no layoffs.

So do I give a hoot what happens to the teachers in the state? You bet I do. They're educating my kids and I have 3 teachers, all with 20+ years, near and dear to my heart (Sister-in-law, Brother and Wife). Each one has acted like a professional and went to work this week, except for today when Milwaukee shut down (That didn't stop my wife from going to school).

I wonder what the teachers in Madison think of a single mom, with a few kids, that depend on her kids being at school so she can work. How can she afford to have the last 3 days off? What if she loses her job for not being there? And what about all the kids that are dependent on the schools being open to get a breakfast or lunch? I'm guessing that most of those teachers in Madison didn't give it a single thought. I commend the majority of teachers that stayed at work and acted like professionals.
 
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JimandLinda
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-08-14
Posts: 5193
Location: Rosendale WI

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:57 pm Reply with quote Back to top

The single Mom with several children deserves the same amount of sympathy as the home with 2 state employees that have twice as much to lose as a home with one.
We all know people who work for the state. They are different people with different personalities. I don't agree with all their comments, but look past them and wonder what turns this tale will make in the distant future.

Walker was elected with 52% of the vote, by voters looking for a change during a recession. I know many Republicans, other than the Elite 19, that are surprised by his actions toward collective bargaining.

The STATE Democrats weren't needed for negotiations. Only 1 was needed (for a quorem) to have a vote. I don't think that "talking" was an option.

ObamaCare? Was voted on in Washington, D.C., and probably done illegally, to boot, according to the many pending court cases on it. And most of the ObamaCare was effective for 2014, not immediately.

I understand the threat of lay-offs. We don't need anymore, especially teachers. Concessions must be made to keep employment steady.

I doubt anyone has all the answers, but we are all going to feel this thing, one way or another.
 
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Vegas Gamblers
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-06-27
Posts: 6621
Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:19 pm Reply with quote Back to top

If I did not have to work tomorrow I would go join the tea party rally tomorrow, here is my sign.

Governor WALKER, I would have been here to support you sooner but I had to work.
 
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