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Dylanfan

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Wis,
I'm not trying to be evasive or combatitive when I say this, but I don't remember the situation being quite that simple. Frankly, the way I remember it (and I'll admit I may be misremembering) is that the full extent of Act 10 was not known until shortly before the scheduled vote and that there was no opportunity for negotiation. I do remember at one point Gov. Walker et al flatly saying that they wouldn't negotiate or that they wouldn't negotiate certain points. Of course, that was after the democrats left the state (I'm certain we have VERY different feelings on that... ;-) ), so one could argue that at that point negotiations were already broken. And of course there was the fact that WEAC was willing to give up the contributions to benefits in exchange for retaining stronger negotiating rights. Frankly, I felt betrayed by that, but I understood their rationale. But by that point Gov. Walker had pretty much washed his hands.

Frankly, I know the unions were not flawless and I'm embarrassed by some of the things done during the protests (but not all). Both sides came out stinking on this. My feeling is that the state republican leadership came out stinking more, and I'm sure you and Hunter feel the opposite. My thought had always been that it was the responsibility of the elected leadership to understand the negative impact these actions would have on a large portion of their constituents and try to rise above the rhetoric rather than the attitude they seemed to display, which was simply "eff 'em."

Good Lord, I'm verbose tonight. Apologies. Seriously. If you've managed to wade through those sentences, I commend you.

Hunter,
I appreciate your honest and well-tempered response. You didn't rise to meet the anger I was showing, and I appreciate that. This is a touchy issue for me as my first child was born right as this was all going down. It'll still be years before I'm making what I was making when we decided we were financially stable enough to have children.

I have considered looking for other work. With majors in English and theatre and a Masters in education, however, I feel a bit limited in my options. That, and I truly love what I do.

I am no longer a member of our union. I had no problem paying dues, but it's simply a luxury I can no longer afford. I also had some qualms about the support we received on the local level, but given the animosity our board has shown to teachers, I would always prefer to be part of the pack here.

I understand that many good Wisconsin families supported Act 10 for the reasons you listed. It will always leave a bitter taste in my mouth the way it was presented by the Fitzgeralds and Governor Walker. I strongly believe that many people (myself included) would have been more open to changes had state leadership worked with us rather than against us. For example, a graduated introduction of increases in our contributions would have been preferable to the sudden way in which it happened. I know two teaching families in our district who lost $10,000 in wages due to these laws. One of these families was just sending their first child to college, a child who will now have increased student loans. I feel like these type of genuine concerns were at best ignored and at worst scoffed at by our supposed state leaders.

I guess in your mind, laws passed by democrats can't be changed.

That's the third time in this thread that a position has been assigned to me without any support. It's ridiculous.

Your thug public unions

This phrase alone tells me that you have no desire to engage in serious discourse.

But I can't help myself. Briefly, as to your other points, I understand where you're coming from. Compared to where many other workers are currently, things have been pretty good for me and continue to be.

But what you're telling me is that I don't deserve to have a good deal, that I'm making too much and deserve to make less. When a democrat says that about a CEO, republicans often start spouting off about class warfare, wealth redistribution, and socialism.

Furthermore, do you understand that these benefits were negotiated? That "thug public unions" agreed to take lower pay for higher benefits? So now that benefits are being reduced, do you understand why people are a little bitter? But I also understand that benefit packages are changing all over and there's no reason teachers should be immune. That, of course, reverts back to my previous point; the gist of your argument is "Everyone else has a crummy deal...they should have a crummy deal, too!"

I'd also like to point out that, since public union workers and our families were largely the ONLY people asked to sacrifice to bail Wisconsin out of the deficit, shouldn't we now be seeing a little bit of a break since Wisconsin is in the black again? "Boy, times are tough now. You know, we've always given you a pretty good deal. We need you to make a sacrifice now, but when things are better, life can go back to normal for you." That would've been decent. Instead we get "You 'thug unions' caused the problem and we're going to hold you under our thumb for as long as we can." Did you know I can never get a raise higher than 2% again? Even if inflation goes above that level, even if I increase my education, even if I'm recognized as an outstanding teacher according to some baloney test, I'm by law limited to 2%. Let me tell you - there's not much financial incentive to perform well there or to increase my education or perfect my craft.

I don't have WEAC insurance, so you can take that point and politely discard it.

And let me say this again because it's conveniently ignored by everyone who comments on here about Act 10. One of the Fitzgerald brothers said at a fundraising meeting that it was important to get Act 10 passed quickly. Surely it was important for deficit reasons. With a $6 billion hole to plug, we can't waste time. Surely that's the reason he gave, right?

No.

He said they had to act quickly so that the unions couldn't contribute to President Obama's re-election. So excuse me if I'm a little angry that my wages and ability to support my family were tampered with to support some futile bid to undermine a politician's reelection campaign.

I guess that wasn't brief. Brevity was never my strength.

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