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"Unions vs. The People"

By Tim Shoemaker

For the past week, much attention has turned to Madison, WI, where Governor Scott Walker is taking on the public sector unions in an all-out battle royale.  The scene has been one of massive protests by the unions, and over a dozen State Senate Democrats actually fled the state to keep the legislature from having a quorum, which is necessary for them to hold a vote.

The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney has an excellent piece showing how “there’s no fat-cat owner wanting to pocket more profits here. The unions’ target in Wisconsin is the taxpayer.”

The ferment in Wisconsin is no workers‘ uprising against the rich and powerful. It is instead political muscle-flexing by a well-funded special interest group, which is limbering up for President Obama’s re-election bid. Obama’s campaign, operating as Organizing for America, is bussing protesters to the state capitol and manning phone banks to apply pressure to state legislatures. Obama himself has called Gov. Scott Walker‘s bill curbing government-sector collective bargaining “an attack on unions.”

I would encourage folks to read the rest and see how he makes his point.  But before you go feeling sorry for the public-sector workers, The Daily Caller ran an article today showing some of these teachers are making a “bit” more than they let on publicly…

For instance:

Wisconsin‘s 2010 Teacher of the Year, Leah Lechleiter-Luke of Mauston High School, told CNN the budget changes would force her to look for additional part-time work.

“When people say that public sector employees live high off the hog, I’d like to share that for 13 of my 19-year teaching career I have held a part-time job either in the summer or teaching night class at the local technical college,” Lechleiter-Luke told CNN. “In addition to tightening the belt even more and crossing our fingers that nothing breaks, I will need to find part-time work again.”

Lechleiter-Luke makes $54,928 in base salary and $32,213 in “fringe benefits,” which include health insurance, life insurance and retirement pay.

Compare that to the average WI workers pay of $37,398 in 2009, according to the Department of Commerce.

In addition to the salary and benefits, teachers in WI, like most states, are only contracted to work part of the year.

Most teachers start their work year around Aug. 30 and end around June 3, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. They also get vacation time during the student breaks, like during Christmas, fall vacation and spring vacation. Year-round, teachers in the state are out of the classroom for about 13 or 14 weeks.

There’s a major problem with public-sector unions, one that Tim Carney notes the WSJ points out:

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, campaign contributions by government-sector unions, collected through mandatory dues, help elect the public officials who are then supposed to negotiate with them: “The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table.” [emphasis added]

Finally, remember the Tea Party and other like-minded groups being called extremists for making Hitler/Nazi comparisons?  Hmm, I do… Anyways, Heritage Foundation sent a film crew to separate out the myths and facts of what is being said in WI.  Here’s what they found.

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