Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisconsin is Broke

 The Examiner

I would like to hear just one TV news show explain to us exactly what is in the bill that the governor of Wisconsin is proposing, that is causing the furor. Instead of bringing on people who could explain what part of collective bargaining the governor is talking about, we are shown young, tearful and frustrated teachers who are being manipulated by the union and worked into a frenzy. Do those teachers even know what the governor is suggesting with this bill? or do they simply have their collective fingers in their ears as they stand screaming at the capitol?

Although teachers' salaries are not what the bill addresses, just in case anyone is interested in knowing what kind of salaries the public educators in Wisconsin are making, here's a link that will take you to that information. It is public information (since they are public employees) and shows both the base salary and the benefits package.

With the exception of administrative staff, those salaries reflect work for nine months of the year. And included in that nine months is approximately three weeks of paid vacation.

In our area, it appears that the average teacher's wage is approximately twice that of the average non-teacher worker. Some of the benefits packages alone are more than what others in our area are making for salaries!

But remember, our governor is not talking about adjusting salaries, but adjusting benefits. I realize that many people don't consider their benefits package to be part of their income, but for those of us who pay out of pocket and are not part of a union, we realize how expensive those benefits packages are - and come from the taxpayers - your friends and neighbors.

How is it that some can retire at age 55 with nearly full pay for the rest of their lives. Why does anyone think the taxpayer can sustain that kind of support??

Don't get me wrong. I don't begrudge anyone making a fair wage. And I don't think the problem here is the teachers. It's the unions. Wouldn't any individual reasonable teacher rather negotiate with a school district to keep their job than be manipulated by the union to hold out for the impossible and lose their job altogether?

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Yenta Mary said...

Oh, it's such a tangled web! My father is a GM retiree who has spent years watching as the courts have supported his benefits being slashed; and the victims are those who are elderly and ill, who aren't in a position to get a new job or even a part-time one as a supplement. Union members, though, have protection. I don't begrudge unions when they're looking out for workers' rights; but often it seems as though they're now merely tools for extortion, and non-union members -- whether with the same company, taxpayers, whomever -- suffer instead. Things should be fair for ALL.

I'll get off my little soapbox now!

Unknown said...

Unions aren't what they used to be. When my husband lost his job a few years back, his 'insert big name union here' pension plan went down the toilet. Yeah, it stinks.

Cranberry Morning said...

I think you're right, Mary. The unions have gotten so far out of hand, making demands that can't possibly be sustained by the taxpayer. In Milwaukee, the average teacher's salary is $56,500, benefits package over $39.000. The average Milwaukee worker income salary (from U.S. Census Bureau data) is $19,500.

Something has got to be changed.

Cranberry Morning said...

P.S. In Wisconsin, this particular bill is simply referring to 'from now going forward,' not affecting current benefits but only future contracts re. negotiations for benefits, not wages.

Natalya said...

Unions are just a bad idea. They don't work, and they just cause Trouble Trouble Trouble with a capital "T" They talked about film makers unions at the film academy and I would suspect unions in other contexts are just as annoying and failing! Unions don't work. >:( and that's good.
P.S. just watch North and South *wink, wink*

Unknown said...

Must be the week for legislative angst. I never liked the teacher's union and belonged only maybe 2-3 years. The more people trying to make the pie, the more people who want a piece of it.

Does Wisconsin require teachers to work toward their Masters Degree and/or take continuing education courses. That was always a big bone of contention with me to have someone require more training without offering to pay for any of it. OH we had a bonus after taking 15 hrs., but I would have had to work 20 years to see those many hours actually paid for from the bonus.

It's always frustrating. I so miss the kids and actually teaching, but I miss NONE of this turmoil that always turns up this time of year along with reduction in staff slips! sigh.....

Unknown said...

OH! PS. Indiana teachers are paid for the 180 days they teach school plus maybe one or two contracted days for a total of like 185. NO paid Christmas or spring vacations! We are on our own time then!

Cranberry Morning said...

In our private business, the state still requires my husband to hold 8 licenses/certifications and take continuing education. He pays up to $1400 fee in addition, per job.

I can't speak to Indiana's situation, but in Milwaukee, the average teacher's salary for 2010 was $59,500 with a benefits package of $36,000 in addition to that. BUT, per the U.S. Census, the average wage in Milwaukee across the board is $19,500.

So if you spread that teacher's salary over the nine months only, that's a pretty good wage, but unsustainable by the taxpayer and unrealistic.

J_on_tour said...

I am not really qualified to talk about this but I can't quite believe that I found individual salaries that are published on line when I did a random search to see what the link was all about. Here in the UK, teachers salaries have been an issue from time to time in the not so distant past. I realise that they have a difficult task and have met some who have left the profession through stress related illness but we are in economic times now where all salaries and benefits need to be streamlined. I am hearing noises about this with the top professions in my line of work. Unions have lost the clout that they once had here thanks to Margaret Thatcher. Industry has had a slightly better time than the public sector since then... but the reality is now beginning to bite as it is not just wages that are at risk but jobs in both sectors. We may at times not like what we do, but I for one am thankful to be in employment at the moment.


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