Dear Senators of Wisconsin,
I remember teacher strikes when I was growing up -- those families on my street who suffered for a basic raise. They stuck together. They went without pay. They fell behind financially. They dug into their savings -- if they had any to dig into. Things were lean, but they stuck it out. They fought and won; and they didn't get rich. They went back to their classrooms and worked hard and still struggled to make ends meet. Educators who'd dedicated their time and energy to learning, they struggled to send their own children to college.
Don't strip the middle class of teachers' hard-earned basic rights to negotiate, to speak up for themselves. Don't let them down. Don't let the students down. Let's build a better education system -- together.
All my best,
Here are a few facts brought to you a friend of mine, Robin Goodman.
Fact #1. Walker claims WI faces $137 million deficit. The truth is Wisconsin would actually have a budget surplus for 2009-2011 except for the fact that in his first month in office Walker pushed through $140 million in new spending and tax cuts. Now he demands public employees pay for HIS GIVEAWAY TO SPECIAL INTERESTS. Find the facts at The Cap Times editorial"Walker gins up 'crisis' to reward cronies." http://host.madison.com/ct/
Fact #2. The bill is the nuclear option used to bust unions and pad thepockets of wealthy special interests. For over 20 years the average annual American wage has been stuck at $33,000 while the top 1% have increased their average income by 33% to more than $500,000. Why the 33% gap? Largely because of union busting. Find the facts at "How the Middle Classbecame the Underclass," by Annalyn Censky, a staff reporter for CNN.comhttp:// finance.yahoo.com/news/How-
Fact #3. Walker claims public employees are "haves" while private employees are "have nots." The truth is when you compare Wisconsin public workers toprivate sector employees who do similar work, public workers are actually UNDERCOMPENSATED on average by over 8%. Find the facts at Jeffrey Keefe,"Are Wisconsin Employees Over-compensated?" Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/
Fact #4. In a letter to Sen. Harsdorf and Rep. Murtha, Chancellor Sorenson explained the devastating effects this bill will have on UW-Stout staff, instructors and students. Truth is, in my [colleauge's] 20 years at Stout state funding has dropped from about 60% of our operating costs to under 20%. Yet they still dictate everything we can and cannot do. Now with this bill, whatwill the state's contribution be? 15%? 10%? Wisconsin has become a leader in the RACE TO THE BOTTOM.
IN CONCLUSION, this bill is being rammed through at light speed. The most important piece of labor legislation in 50 years and its sponsors allowed only 1 day of public testimony.