If you’ve been under a rock the last week or so, you might not be aware of the current political situation brewing in Wisconsin. Last week, the Governor introduced a bill, called the Budget Repair Bill. This sure seems like a good idea, but there are concerns. Education in the state will be impacted. One of the biggest concerns for educators in Wisconsin would be increased out of pocket costs for health insurance and pensions and more importantly, the removal of collective bargaining rights. Essentially, teachers and other union employees, would only be able to negotiate over salaries. No longer would there be a say in any sort of working conditions. For teachers, that could include class sizes, working hours, prep time, etc. The Governor wants to fix the budget by increasing out of pockets costs for health insurance and pensions. He wants more. The unions have already agreed to give in the health insurance contributions and pension payments. The Governor still will not give in and work with the unions. He’s refusing the negotiate. The term “Union Buster” is being tossed around a lot these days when referring to Gov. Walker. He says he’s not.
Thousands of protesters have been heading to Madison, Wisconsin. I went to the Capital on Friday and was amazed at the energy and enthusiasm people had for our profession. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to attend, but after spending the day with thousands of other educators fighting for what we believe, I’m proud to say I participated. Here are some of my pictures from the day.
This is no longer a state issue. News of this has spread across the country with articles from CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Time, and the Washington Post. If you have a lot of time on your hands and want to learn more, I suggest you head to this link for a lot of information. Or, just Google “Budget Repair Bill”
I have no idea when this will end. The Senate Democrats have left the state and said they will not return until the Governor is willing to negotiate and take out the collective bargaining section. The Governor said that’s not going to happen. Regardless, this situation isn’t good for the workers, families, children of Wisconsin. People need to work together to solve the problems we’re facing. Until that happens, Wisconsin will stay in the news.