On Saturday, coordinated demonstrations in support of public employees and their bargaining rights were organized in State capitols all over the country by Moveon.org and numerous Unions.  The crowd in Madison was thought to be the biggest yet, with estimates of anywhere between 70,00 and 120,000 protesters turning out.  I’m confidently-inclined to believe that 100,000 is a safe bet: I was in Madison two weekends in a row, and this past Saturday’s crowd appeared to be significantly larger than the previous Saturday’s (when police estimates put the crowd at 70,000).

Madison protesters were able to maintain their 24/7 occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol building when police refused to carry out the Governor’s order to remove them by a 4pm Sunday deadline. It’s hard to overstate the unprecedented nature of the solidarity being shown in this struggle:

 

It was also reported over the weekend, that one Republican State Senator has defected to the side of the workers and is now opposing the Governor’s bill.

*******

In spite of an atmosphere of unprecedented anti-union hostility from Wisconsin’s Governor – or maybe because of it — faculty at the University of Wisconsin campuses in Stevens Point, River Falls, and Stout are taking steps to form their own unions.

*******

The online activist group Anonymous launched a cyber attack that intermittently-disrupted the Koch Brothers’ Americans For Prosperity website on Sunday.

*******

One Wisconsonite offered up a simple solution to that state’s budget crisis.

*******

David K. Johnston at tax.com peels away several layers of myth surrounding the debate over public employee pensions in Wisconsin.

*******

Joanna Weiss criticizes American Unions for handling their own PR poorly in a thoughtful Boston Globe editorial.

*******

Here’s a letter from a High School teacher (and disgruntled Cubs fan) that the Chicago Tribune probably won’t publish this week:

I have to laugh when the Tribune authoritatively proclaims how Chicago Public School teachers should be evaluated.  Wasn’t it Tribune Company executives who evaluated and signed Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukedome, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez to long term and extremely expensive contracts?  How did they perform last year?

The Tribune mentions how $2 million could be saved by not giving teachers raises for earning advanced degrees, but this year the four above mentioned Cubs will be paid a combined $67 million.  $67 million for four mediocre baseball players, but not $2 million for teachers earning advanced degrees from universities like DePaul and Northwestern.

How can the Tribune expect to be taken seriously?

Steve Parsons
Chicago, IL

*******

Idaho update: I was wrong when I wrote in a previous post that the attack on Idaho unions is focused on the private sector.  Planned cuts to education jobs, collective bargaining, and increased class sizes are being protested by both teachers and students in that state as well.

TomT will be posting under his real name here (at least part of it), in spite of the fact that this site already seems to be crammed-full of Toms. He is a suburban husband and dad doing Union work within public education in the Chicago area. Once in a great while he also posts diaries under the name “Skitters” on Daily Kos, and—during football season—he does his best to chronicle the dark history of a fairly-vicious fantasy league.

5 Comment on “Wisconsin Digest #4 (a brief one, I promise)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: