I am a state worker in the UW system. I'm not in a teacher's union, though I am a member of the organizing committee trying to get collective bargaining on my campus, so I get lots of emails from ATF, plus from colleagues who are in Madison demonstrating. I thought I'd contribute contribute these links to the discussion: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Misc/2011_01_31Vos&Darling.pdf
- this is the actual state Legislative Budget Bureau report that shows WI does not have a deficit, but rather a 121.7 million dollar surplus in this biennium. http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/contributor_details.phtml?&c=116585&s=WI&y=2010&summary=0&so=a&p=1&PHPSESSID=22bf189f0c094786e168070a7a7c97dd#sorttable
- where walker's $ came from.http://wiseye.org/Programming/VideoArchive/EventDetail.aspx?evhdid=3759
- watch item number 4http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothershttp://www.alternet.org/story/149965/wisconsin_is_a_battleground_against_the_billionaire_kochs%27_plan_to_break_labor%27s_back
Even if we do
actually have a $3.6 trillion budget deficit that Walker states we have, that works out to $600 per WI citizen using 2009 census figures. The $30 million that walker proposes we'll save over the next three months by state workers being required to contribute 10% of their salaries for the rest of their working lives in WI
works out to $5.25 per person in WI every three months. That's right, less than 20$. Either way, I'm ready to write a check now for my portion and my husband's rather than have my earnings limited for the rest of the time I work for WI. As stated before, the only reason this bill is needed is to pay for the $140 million in payback and tax cuts that Walker pushed through in his first week as governor to pay back the people that supported his campaign.
State workers are rational people, we know that in tough times everyone has to "share the pain" as the state majority leader Suder pointed out in a speech. It just appears that we are being asked to carry more than our fair share of the pain. It should also be noted that contrary to the popular media, we have made sacrifices already, through de facto pay cuts in the form of mandatory furlough days (16 each year for the past two years), we have been denied raises for the past four years (even ones that were guaranteed and then recinded, and all were less than 2%, not equal to the cost of living increase) and that state workers make an average of 4.8% less than private sector employees in the same types of positions. Educators typically make between 10% less in the case of assistant professors, to exactly 20% less in the case of full professors for the same positions in other state universities. That's counting salaries AND benefits combined. In many cases the benefit package is the only thing that makes is financially feasible for someone to take a UW or other state job, and losing it will have a huge impact on the educational system in the state, because we will not be able to recruit talented faculty at all levels of education. Education students will also choose to look outside the state for jobs upon graduation. The entire state population will suffer. Plus, our benefits are all pre-tax deductions. Can Walker really help the state budget by removing the tax revenue we pay on this 10% of our salaries?
This all pales in comparison to the idea that we will not be able to talk with our employer about details of our jobs. Even the United Nations recognizes the right to collectively bargain. The only thing we would be able to discuss is our salaries, and that any increase has to be lower than the consumer index.
*deep breath* Anyway, sorry to get on a soapbox. As you can imagine, this issue has been dominating my life for the past week and more.