Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Say no to a "Wisconsin Moment"

Last July, Tom Foley stated he wanted Connecticut to have a "Wisconsin Moment."

What does that mean?

Since that time, Foley has tried to explain that he meant Connecticut should have an end to one party rule.
Maybe Foley doesn't keep up with the news, that would certainly explain how he was unaware of who State Senator Cathy Osten was, when he visited Sprague to tell Fusion Paperboard workers they had failed, and that is why their jobs were gone.  It would also explain why he didn't realize that Wisconsin doesn't have two party rule, Republicans hold the governorship and the legislature.

In fact, Republicans have controlled Wisconsin since 2010, and in 2011, under Scott Walker, they changed state law, enacting Act 10,  and made public employee unions illegal.
Public Employee unions in Wisconsin cannot collectively bargain for pensions, health insurance, safety, vacation, sick leave, or hours of work.

Americans have the right to join together, to go to their employer, and to bargain collectively as a group.
Apparently, public sector workers in Wisconsin are not Americans, because as a result of the "Wisconsin Moment" these rights have been taken away.

When current contracts run out, Wisconsin public employees are prohibited from bargaining on a new contract.
At the same time, Walker's "Wisconsin Moment" cut funding to towns.
Faced with a decrease in funding, local school boards were forced to cut public employee pay and benefits, including teacher's, and they were allowed to do so under Act 10 without negotiations.
Now teachers, faced with mortgages and school loans themselves, have been forced to sell houses and move to other states for work.

The result has been a loss of 15,00 jobs,and over $1 million in additional pay cuts to workers who kept their jobs.  These are not people who were investing in Wall Street, they were people who were investing in Main St.
The effect on Wisconsin's economy has been devastating.  When a public sector employee loses their job or faces a significant pay cut, they lack the money to spend that boosts the local economy.  Services to the public drop as less workers are left to handle the work, unemployment increases, teachers leave for other states, small businesses are adversely effected by the decrease in spending, and on and on.
It is the death spiral.

Contrast that to what has happened in Connecticut.

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would state that Dan Malloy has rolled over and given teachers and public employees everything they wanted.  In fact, he is in danger of losing their support because he did just the opposite.
He has been a tough negotiator with public employees, gaining concessions from them.
He has pushed for teacher evaluation reform, inciting teachers with some of his remarks.

I see their frustration, I understand their anger.

He negotiated with public sector workers, he did not push for a "Wisconsin Moment" and has publicly affirmed the rights of both private and public sector workers to collectively bargain.
After a rocky start on teacher evaluation reforms, he has stepped back, taken another look, publicly apologized for his comments, sat to work with teachers for a more common sense approach, and even appointed a teacher to the State Board of Ed.

Connecticut's economy is rebounding, because Molley rejects a "Wisconsin Moment."
Our teachers are working, our public sector employees are working, our trade workers are rebuilding bridges, repaving roads, erecting new buildings, our hospitals and doctor's offices are busy with patients who did not have insurance in the past.

The chose is clear, we can go with Tom Foley and Scott Walker, we can have a "Wisconsin Moment", or we can move forward with Governor Dan Malloy, who rejects a "Wisconsin Moment" and who affirms the right to collective bargaining and all the benefits to society that come with it.

The choice is ours.

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