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Thread: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    So in reality, they already had a deficit then.

    Edit: And these tax cuts exacerbated the deficit.
    The tax cuts don't even go into effect until next year, so they did NOT exacerbate the deficit.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Conservative View Post
    Earned their money from whom? Where do the Department's get the money to pay these people? No one said they didn't earn the money although some would disagree based upon results. The fact remains the taxpayers pay these employees as I stated.
    As usual, you twist facts to serve your condescending attitude. You implied the taxpayers directly funded the unions by stating: "I know, the truth hurts. Taxpayers fund the public union employees." Are you also going to say that those who pay federal income taxes funded the killing of troops in Iraq? Some people would.


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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    After reading through the first 10 pages of this thread, I'd like to try to address the issue as I am a state employee whose state has just gone through the same thing as Wisconsin has with little fanfare.

    Our Teacher's Union also represents a vast majority of State Employees and some of their power was recently striped away since our newly elected Republican governor took office. I am not a union member - never really saw much interest in joining - but I can see the purpose behind them. It's really about having a voice in government whether at the local or state level. The way I see it in every state that is now taking up this fight to "get their financial house in order", state employees are being used as the scapegoats for all things "over budget". To cut costs, I'm seeing that most states are implementing the following tactics:

    - freezing pay raises.
    - freezing new hiring.
    - increasing health insurance premiums while also reducing health benefits (or removing benefits, yet keeping premiums the same).
    - limiting the collective bargaining power of state unions
    - changing investment strategies for active (and retired) state employee 401(k) plans (in some cases increasing mandatory contribution levels) or proposeing dropping 401(k)'s altogether

    In every state I've looked at where state budget woes are a key factor, issues surrounding state employees and their benefits are the focal point. But what cuts have these states actually sought to get their financial houses in order other than attacking the salaries and/or benefits of state employees? Seems to me few states have attempted to truly address the root causes of their financial woes, i.e., their investment strategies, their tax policies, the excesses within their state congressional budgets (i.e., are State Representative's salaries being frozen? Are their benefits being reduced? Are they coming out of pocket to pay more and do with less?)

    In every instance, it is the State employees, teachers and public school systems that are being attacked, but it's not these individuals or entities that are the root causes of the State's financial woes. It has been over-spending, lack of proper tax codes, not balancing their own state budgets for years and a host of other problems where the salaries of state employees have very little economic impact as far as state budget shortfalls are concerned.

    Now, let me be fair on this matter where the hierarchy of state employees are concerned: the Governor is their boss! As such, he (or she) has every right to direct state matters as he/she sees fit. However, our national Constitution in some ways trump state Constitutions. Therefore, all state employees have the right to peacefully assemble and have their voices heard. To that, Gov. Walker, in attempting to eliminate the collective bargaining power of Wisconsin state employees, is in effect not only trying to silence state employees, he's also trying to destroy their only means of fair representation within their state legislator. That is wrong!! What he and other Governors are attempting to do (or in the case of my own state Governor, has done) is create a dictatorship - the very form of (federal) government many people (Conservatives) claim they themselves despise! It's not enough to reduce or hold wages or cut benefits of state employees. Our voices are also being silenced by state government's quest to remove the only voice state employees have to advocate on their behalf.

    Write your Congressman you say? How can I do that when it's the very "representative" who's attempting to take away my income, my benefits and most importantly my voice!!!???

    If you support freedom of speech, I really don't see how anyone can be against what's happening not only in Wisconsin, but in other places all across the country. Now, sure as state employees our salaries come from state taxes, but we're people just as anyone in the private sector, and for most of us doing the job of serving the public is personal. Very few of us receive pay equal to what someone in the private sector would receive if we were doing the exact same job. Not only that, but most of the state jobs (atleast in my state) are mandated by state law, i.e., public health departments, state transportation departments, highway patrols (state troopers), tourism departments (which in some states is separate from parks and recreation departments), human resources departments, etc., etc., etc. These agencies do a great service to the "PUBLIC". Without them, a great many things many of us take for granted within our states would fall apart. But for most of us, we do the job at a fraction of the pay we'd otherwise receive in the private sector. However, in many cases there is no competing job for the kind of work performed in state government within the private sector. So, whenever I hear the tired argument that "government (state or federal) can't do this or that better than the private sector," I shrug my shoulders and ask why hasn't the private sector sought to do the work of forrest rangers, state troopers, Boarder Patrol agents, Drug Enforcement agents, and a host of other service related jobs do? It's quite laughable when you really sit down and think about it. But I digress...

    Gov. Walker isn't simply trying to "fix" his state's budget problems. He views state employee unions (and in effect, state employees) as the problem when, in fact, the problem within Wisconsin and several other states has been their own policies, taxation issues and over-spending for years. State employees are simply being used as the scapegoats.
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 02-24-11 at 12:21 PM.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by pbrauer View Post
    As usual, you twist facts to serve your condescending attitude. You implied the taxpayers directly funded the unions by stating: "I know, the truth hurts. Taxpayers fund the public union employees." Are you also going to say that those who pay federal income taxes funded the killing of troops in Iraq? Some people would.
    Keep diverting, taxpayers pay for the public union employees, no taxpayers no public union employees. You buy what you are told because you want to believe it. Those paying Federal Income taxes fund the govt. and you believe that is killing people in Iraq so be it. Your President has adopted the Bush Doctrine in Iraq, expanded the war in Afghanistan, and increased the defense budget more than 100 billion dollars over the last Bush budget but Obama spending good, Bush spending bad even though 100 billion less.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    After reading through the first 10 pages of this thread, I'd like to try to address the issue as I am a state employee whose state has just gone through the same thing as Wisconsin has with little fanfare.

    Our Teacher's Union also represents a vast majority of State Employees and some of their power was recently striped away since our newly elected Republican governor took office. I am not a union member - never really saw much interest in joining - but I can see the purpose behind them. It's really about having a voice in government whether at the local or state level. The way I see it in every state that is now taking up this fight to "get their financial house in order", state employees are being used as the scapegoats for all things "over budget". To cut costs, I've seeing that most states are implementing the following tactics:

    - freezing pay raises.
    - freezing new hiring.
    - increasing health insurance premiums while also reducing health benefits (or removing benefits, yet keeping premiums the same).
    - limiting the collective bargaining power of state unions
    - changing investment strategies for active (and retired) state employee 401(k) plans (in some cases increasing mandatory contribution levels) or proposeing dropping 401(k)'s altogether
    Join the real world with the rest of us, Objective Voice. This has been going on in the private sector for the past three years. Washington bailout money infused billions into public sector jobs, second only to its bailout of the financial industry. In the past two years, the private sector employment has dropped by 7%. During those same two years, public sector employment has risen by 2%. Cities with job growth favor public sector hiring - Business - Forbes.com - msnbc.com
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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    After reading through the first 10 pages of this thread, I'd like to try to address the issue as I am a state employee whose state has just gone through the same thing as Wisconsin has with little fanfare.

    Our Teacher's Union also represents a vast majority of State Employees and some of their power was recently striped away since our newly elected Republican governor took office. I am not a union member - never really saw much interest in joining - but I can see the purpose behind them. It's really about having a voice in government whether at the local or state level. The way I see it in every state that is now taking up this fight to "get their financial house in order", state employees are being used as the scapegoats for all things "over budget". To cut costs, I've seeing that most states are implementing the following tactics:

    - freezing pay raises.
    - freezing new hiring.
    - increasing health insurance premiums while also reducing health benefits (or removing benefits, yet keeping premiums the same).
    - limiting the collective bargaining power of state unions
    - changing investment strategies for active (and retired) state employee 401(k) plans (in some cases increasing mandatory contribution levels) or proposeing dropping 401(k)'s altogether

    In every state I've looked at where state budget woes are a key factor, issues surrounding state employees and their benefits are the focal point. But what cuts have these states actually sought to get their financial houses in order other than attacking the salaries and/or benefits of state employees? Seems to me few states have attempted to truly address the root causes of their financial woes, i.e., their investment strategies, their tax policies, the excesses within their state congressional budgets (i.e., are State Representative's salaries being frozen? Are their benefits being reduced? Are they coming out of pocket to pay more and do with less?)

    In every instance, it is the State employees, teachers and public school systems that are being attacked, but it's not these individuals or entities that are the root causes of the State's financial woes. It has been over-spending, lack of proper tax codes, not balancing their own state budgets for years and a host of other problems where the salaries of state employees have very little economic impact as far as state budget shortfalls are concerned.

    Now, let me be fair on this matter where the hieracy of state employees are concerned: the Governor is their boss! As such, he (or she) has every right to direct state matters as he/she sees fit. However, our national Constitution in some ways trump state Constitutions. Therefore, all state employees have the right to peacefully assemble and have their voices heard. To that, Gov. Walker, in attempting to eliminate the collective bargaining power of Wisconsin state employees, is in effect not only trying to silence state employees, he's also trying to destroy their only means of fair representation within their state legislator. That is wrong!! What he and other Governors are attempting to do (or in the case of my own state Governor, has done) is create a dictatorship - the very form of (federal) government many people (Conservatives) claim they themselves despise! It's not enough to reduce or hold wages or cut benefits of state employees. Our voices are also being silenced by state government's quest to remove the only voice state employees have to advocate on their behalf.

    Write your Congressman you say. How can I do that when it's the very "representative" who's attempting to take away my income, my benefits and most importantly my voice!!!

    If you support freedom of speech, I really don't see how anyone can be against what's happening not only in Wisconsin, but in other places all across the country.
    Not sure that the FDR paper was in the last ten pages but suggest you find that paper and see what the "Father of liberalism" said about public unions. There is nothing that prevents public unions from being heard but when the leadership of that union demands from elected Representatives of the taxpayer that they provide public unions with better benefits than the private sector and then directs campaign contributions to representatives that support unions, there is something wrong with that picture.

    Scott Walker ran on the platform he is implementing in Wisconsin and the election results gave him the authority to do what he said he would do. As we were told by Obama elections have consequences, "we won, you lost" except now when the election results went against the unions in Wisconsin. Public unions have no business having collective bargaining rights and FDR agrees.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Conservative View Post
    Keep diverting, taxpayers pay for the public union employees, no taxpayers no public union employees. You buy what you are told because you want to believe it. Those paying Federal Income taxes fund the govt.

    Iíll just address the meat of this rambling, almost incoherent post. Taxpayers PAY WAGES of public employees, for services performed. If taxpayers were funding unions,people that had a hard on against unions(such as yourself) would have been lining up for the last hindered years filing court cases against their money funding unions. End of story,have a good day conservative.:
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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Join the real world with the rest of us, Objective Voice. This has been going on in the private sector for the past three years. Washington bailout money infused billions into public sector jobs, second only to its bailout of the financial industry. In the past two years, the private sector employment has dropped by 7%. During those same two years, public sector employment has risen by 2%. Cities with job growth favor public sector hiring - Business - Forbes.com - msnbc.com
    But was that infusion of federal capital the fault of public workers? We didn't ask for that money. Our state legislator/governor's did. And what did they do with it? Some used it effectively; others squandered it. But that has little to do with what got these states with budget shortfalls in trouble in the first place.

    Again, my point is state employee and retiree salaries and benefits are NOT the main cause of these state's budget shortfalls, and the collective bargaining power afforded state employee unions should not be held accountable for any given state's inability to balance their own budgets. The legislators created the mess, but state employees are paying for it. That's wrong.

    (BTW, let's not be patronizing here, okay? I may be a state employee, but I pay city, state and federal taxes just as everyone else. I pay my property taxes same as you. I shop at retail stores same as you. I live in much the same way as everybody else. So, let's not attempt to differentiate one world view from another simply because I work in state government. Contrary to popular belief, I live in the exact same world as you do. My association with public (state and federal government) and private sector employment may provide me with a better perspective on these such issues than you may otherwise believe. So, let's first seek to understand one another then be understood, before passing judgment shall we?)
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 02-24-11 at 12:40 PM.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by pbrauer View Post
    As usual, you twist facts to serve your condescending attitude. You implied the taxpayers directly funded the unions by stating: "I know, the truth hurts. Taxpayers fund the public union employees." Are you also going to say that those who pay federal income taxes funded the killing of troops in Iraq? Some people would.
    Non-union taxpayers fund public sector unions in Wisconsin.

    Period.

    And that is pathetic.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Because taxpayers can't afford to pay them an average of $75,000 a year. Because their benefits are totally out of line. Look at the numbers -- if those are even right -- their benefits are damn near as much as their salaries, for heaven's sake. And fighting for Viagra coverage? Really. Give me a break.

    Oh, and they got a 4.7% increase last year....in one of the toughest economic climates our country has ever faced. No pity party here...

    I would be interested to see if you have any documentation that shows that $75,000, which includes their benefits, is out of line with the average worker with 4 - 8 years of college.
    Or is this just your feeling?
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