February 20, 2011

Who Are You Unionized Against?

Dave in Pa originally posted this in the comments of an earlier posting but it very much deserves to be published again here.

The following comes from a fellow in Wisconsin named Tim. He posted it at the Wisconsin Education Association Council (aka Wisconsin Teachers Union) website. Tim is not a teacher, is employed in the private sector, and is one of the taxpayers who has to pay the teachers. What he says is a breath of reality and, I'm sure, not at all welcome by these entitled-to-their-entitlements protesting teachers and their union:

Tim 2/14/2011

It is really troubling to see what many of you are writing.

I am a private sector employee, lucky to have my job and to be able to feed, clothe and house my wife and four kids - all of which attend a public school. I have a modest income of $50,000 per year gross. Out of this income, I pay 100% of my insurance premiums for my $10,500 family deductible health insurance plan. I have no 401k and pensions haven't existed in my private sector industry for 25+ years. Like many of my coworkers, I have not seen a raise in the past several annual reviews. My company's revenues are down, and we middle class workers share in the down cycle.

My wife and I love the commitment of our kid's school teachers. We help and support them any way we can. But it is so difficult to hear the arguments and disdain against our family by all of you teachers.


Do you think you are organized against Scott Walker? Really?    

Wise up and understand that you are no different than any other middle class worker. We are all suffering.

Don't ask us to join you in rallying up against our elected officials. Instead, spend a bit of energy getting your facts straight. Ask your student's parents how much they earn per year, what they do to support their families and what type of insurance benefits and pension they enjoy. Did you know you can look up the salary and fringe benefit of any state employee using Data on Demand?

Find out how much you have been given in fringe pay (insurance, pension, vacation/sick days) each year. I think you will be startled when you realize your fringe pay is between 25 and 75% of your annual compensation.

Would it surprise you to hear that most private sector middle class employees earn "fringe pay" of less than 10% of their annual salary?

Would it surprise you to hear the average middle class health benefit today has a $3000 family deductible and no prescription benefit until that deductible is satisfied?

Would it surprise you to hear the true middle class of Wisconsin earns an average of $57k/yr including fringe benefits, while 70% of Wisconsin teachers earn compensation greater than $90k?

Stat: First year music teacher, Pulaski School District, full time salary is $35,600 Fringe Benefit $21,872 = total salary $57,472. Only teachers in their first 5 years of their career are truly middle class.

Did you ever consider that the reason you all feel so salary poor is because you are unusually benefit rich?

Did you ever consider that the money to pay for your "middle class" salary is coming from the middle class private sector?

Did you know that private sector employees are not able to bargain their salaries, hours, working conditions or benefits?


Please, times are tough for all of us in the middle class. If you are not happy with the hand that has been dealt to you, please step aside and let one of the several thousand eager and willing recent graduates take your jobs. They don't share your overwhelming sense of entitlement. They are not malcontent, and they will not take it out on the parents and kids by threatening to strike if they don't get their fair share of the tax base.

Posted by Robert at February 20, 2011 1:14 PM

He says it as well as it can be said.

Posted by: m at February 20, 2011 1:33 PM

Canada's cities are like the public sector unoins. Asking for more from the provinces and feds. Those who have way more always demand even more. Of course they won't pay, they want those who have way less to pay for their demands.

Posted by: m-alta at February 20, 2011 1:38 PM

Richard Trumka, head of the AFL CIO, was in Wisconsin the other day, and said this strike is about " dignity ". Yeah, if Wisconsin teachers don't have a stranglehold on the finances of Wisconsin, they have no " dignity ".

So we should all remember this strike, and the intimidation tactics by Trumka's AFL CIO, and the fleeing Dem legislators are all about their union's " dignity ". The needs of the children who the teachers were hired to educate seems to have dropped through the cracks.

Posted by: small c conservative at February 20, 2011 1:41 PM

The bookmark-worthy Bookworm provides the following analogy:

"The average Wisconsin teacher has a better total compensation package than the average Wisconsin taxpayer. After the proposed legislation goes through, the average Wisconsin teacher will still have a better total compensation package than the average Wisconsin taxpayer. If this was 1789, events in Madison would be the equivalent of the French aristocrats taking to the streets, attired in satins, silks and jewels, and armed with pitchforks and pikes, to stridently demand even more from France’s starved and overworked peasantry."

Posted by: EBD at February 20, 2011 1:46 PM

Unions appeal to people who don't want to face reality, who can't handle the truth about the economy, who think they are entitled to extra entitlements because they are so deserving of being protected from reality while others have to actually face reality should pay for their entitlements.

Posted by: Fred at February 20, 2011 1:52 PM

My sister and Husband are both teachers in Ontario. Their combined income is $170,000 per year plus full benefits and pension plan. They got two weeks off at Christmas, have had an additional 10 snow days off. They will get another two weeks off during the March break plus the stat Holidays that fall on dates during the school year.They get two months off every summer plus you can tack on the numerous pro development days throughout the school year. Oh to be a teacher.On top of it all, it is almost impossible to get fired, especially if your a bad teacher.
I do not begrudge my sister as she doesn't complain...she knows how good she has it.

Posted by: mot at February 20, 2011 1:54 PM

O's bros and sisses from the 'hood.


"Seriously, it has had me even questioning my own emotional and mental health,".

"There was even a collection of Doctors available with signs announcing their availability to write "A Note" for pubic employees and others who have been absent from work:"


"God, I'm proud to be a Badger! And I wish you were here!


"Dateline: Madison, Wisconsin, Feb. 19, 2011

by SleepinJeezus 2/20/2011 - 9:33 am"

Posted by: maz2 at February 20, 2011 2:06 PM

red meat . . .

"Will was obviously ready for the question, and proceeded to smack the ball right out of the park:

GEORGE WILL, ABC: It would have been even if the president hadn't intervened. But in the span of three days, Christiane, he first submits a budget that would increase the federal deficit and, two days later, he mobilizes his party, his own political machine, and organized labor, which is an appendage to his party, to sabotage Wisconsin's attempt to do what he will not do, which is deal with the insolvency of their government. In doing so, he has set the stage for 2012 by saying the Democratic Party is the party of government, not just in having an exaggerated view of the scope and competence of government, but because its base is in public employees.

Indeed. In roughly 40 seconds, Will perfectly laid out the hypocrisy of today's Democrat Party and the media that support them.

Posted by: Fred at February 20, 2011 2:07 PM

Austerity programs are getting closer and closer to Canada all the time. The Total Public Debt of Ontario is 310B, that's more than Greece. Quebec's total public debt is 420B That is more than Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Canada's Total Public Debt is 3.5 Trillion, That is more than most of the EU put together, Taxes in Canada now consume more of the average Canadian Family Budget than Food, Clothing and Housing Combined. It is only a matter of time until the crunch comes. Wisconsin only owes a few billion compared to Ontario or Quebec. When the bond buyers start backing off Canadian Public Debt, or the interest rates shoot up we will be pooched.

Posted by: RFB at February 20, 2011 2:28 PM

Great piece, but they won't get it.
They're special (because we're not).
They work hard for their compensation (because we do not).
They are qualified (because we aren't).
They're on the gravy train, and they ain't getting off anytime soon if they can help it (and if we're not on the train with them, that's apparently just too bad for us).

Now, excuse me while my posse and I try to round up some yellow-bellied Democratic legislators who can't seem to show up for work.
Probably the first time anyone's been run "into" town on a rail...

Posted by: Carl at February 20, 2011 2:37 PM

I often hear and/or read the comment "it's just the union - the teachers themselves are really nice people." The demonstrations in WI show that this is not so - remain a union member for a certain length of time, and you eventually drink the kool-aid. I can only remember one teacher (and my field of acquaintances includes a number of family members) who saw the light. My heroine quit teaching after several years and returned to school to become a nurse. After a couple of more years as a unionized nurse she quit and took up raising show horses. "I'm still dealing with horses' asses, she told me - but real ones are easier to get along with than the ones who run the unions."

How will it all end? Maybe with a murmur. Maybe with a new Pol Pot.

Posted by: kakola at February 20, 2011 2:48 PM

The Wisconsin Teachers Union is facing a far more implacable foe than Scott Walker.

They're facing arithmetic. And arithmetic isn't about to blink first.

Posted by: rabbit at February 20, 2011 2:51 PM

lol rabbit

Posted by: Brad in Waterloo at February 20, 2011 3:34 PM

Teachers carrying on, on camera, as if they are spoiled hippies, their union bosses urging threatening actions complete with home addresses - could this all lead to a massive increase in Home Schooling? I would think the Internet and great software would makes it far far more feasible today. Am I wrong?

Posted by: ron in kelowna ∴ at February 20, 2011 3:57 PM

Two of my buddies in Texas have just published their vidcast that deals with what's been occurring in Wisconsin. You can view it here.

Posted by: Robert W. (Vancouver) at February 20, 2011 4:05 PM

As an educator, I need to point out that being a teacher today -- given that all legitimate authority has been trashed and the fact that students know only about their "rights" (what are responsibilities??), and that too many parents' attitudes are infantile -- is probably one of the most difficult and, perhaps, the least satisfying of jobs around, except, of course, for the salaries, benefits, and perks.

Having said that, the unions have contributed mightily to the often difficult position teachers find themselves in -- at least, good teachers (and there are many). Don't be fooled by all of those holidays -- which, I admit, are better than most. Any teacher worth their salt, and there are quite a few, are marking and doing prep work evenings, weekends, and during holidays. The work load -- and the lousy working conditions, given that teachers are now the filling in the parent-administrator sandwich, with too many kids tattle-telling on their teachers about petty issues which often get blown out of all proportion -- is considerable, especially with the Ministry downloading responsibilities onto teachers without ever taking prior obligations off the table. Teachers these days are often being asked to do the job of 2 & 1/2 to three people.

The unions are wimps when it comes to genuinely improving the lot of teachers, let alone students. Their only concerns seem to be salaries, planning time, benefits, and pensions. It's all about perks and money, money, money.

In the end, it will be the unions that decimate the whole system and they're just too stupid to know when to stop with their demands. When it comes to unions, enough is too much, way too much.

Posted by: batb at February 20, 2011 4:29 PM

Batb, I don't have any issue with the first part of what you said. I have PLENTY of teacher friends across Canada. While some of them do tend to go on & on & on about how hard done by they are compared to everyone else in society, they're still good people.

My entire issue with them and with all public sector employees is the cost. Simply put, we can't afford the Full Meal Deal anymore and actually haven't been able to for decades. We've borrowed endlessly to pretend we could afford it but now the piper must be paid.

To anyone who says, "Teachers deserve what they're paid" I always respond thusly: "You know what, why don't we pay them each $1,000,000.00 per year?! But wait, we can't afford that and we also can't afford to pay them collectively what they're currently making. However, if the benefits were dramatically cut back to be more in line with the private sector then I suspect few people would have any complaints."

Posted by: Robert W. (Vancouver) at February 20, 2011 4:51 PM

Some accuse Governor Walker of trying to break the unions. I wish him well and I would do the same, best wishes go out to Mr. Walker...

Posted by: Orlin in Marquette at February 20, 2011 5:14 PM

"My entire issue with them and with all public sector employees is the cost. Simply put, we can't afford the Full Meal Deal anymore and actually haven't been able to for decades. We've borrowed endlessly to pretend we could afford it but now the piper must be paid."

I've stayed out of these discussions for the most part because much is what is written is economic gibberish. While I too, am no fan of teacher's unions in general, you are, in a large part, barking up the wrong tree. NO ONE in a service sector employment, public or private, contributes to the creation of societal wealth. All anybody does who is not in a tangible value adding industry does is redistribute existing wealth.

We cannot afford an econmy that is based on service industry REGARDLESS of who the money comes from. Teachers and other public servants don't keep the money they are given. They, like every other employee in any sector return the cash they receive back to the economy in purchases. The source is immaterial.

We have, steadily over the last 50 years, surrendered our production to outside economies. We create the false value of "value-added" to nothing, out of nothing.

The reality of modern economies is that the services demanded by the private sector to be delivered by government require people to deliver them. Many, if not most of these services, are not profitable in the business sense. Governments give back most of what they give to the people they take it from. The unions are a strawman argument. The standard of living that exists in western democracies is a direct result of the collective benefit of union activity over the last 100 years. If you want to reduce the cost of government, you have to do two things: insist that large amounts of federal, provincial and municipal legislation be repealed - it all takes people to enforce and administer legislation, and be prepared to accept a lower standard of living. Many of the benefits that all enjoy are not in and of themselves profitable. The private sector will not provide them, and if they did, most of you would not be able to afford them. As to the "full meal deal", that hasn't been the case in many public sector shops for a long time. In Canada, at the federal level, staff have been losing economic ground steadily since Paul Martin was finance minister. Public sector unions are not all the same, the same as private sector union and industries are not all the same either. The solution isn't to go around and beat up other people because they secured a better deal then you did. The solution is move toward rebuilding an economy that creates real value out of raw materials, not simply reprice the same old sh!t.

Posted by: Skip at February 20, 2011 5:33 PM

rabbit said "The Wisconsin Teachers Union is facing a far more implacable foe than Scott Walker.They're facing arithmetic. And arithmetic isn't about to blink first."

Don't forget that the left relies on statistics not pure math. They can make the numbers say anything they want.

Posted by: $ FKA gord at February 20, 2011 6:09 PM

Further to what I said earlier, please listen to Victor Davis Hanson beginning at 6:45 here.

Posted by: Robert W. (Vancouver) at February 20, 2011 6:25 PM

As a physician, I was utterly appalled by the individuals issuing "sick notes" at the rally. Either those individuals are not actually physicians, (my hope) or they deserve to be disciplined by their state governing body for what they are doing. They may also be liable for prosecution for fraud. If so, they deserve it.

Posted by: DrD at February 20, 2011 6:38 PM

Skip, you are way out to lunch. If you take my property and give it to someone else, and because they then spend my money, that is now somehow to my benefit. Go back to school. If I am robbed of my property via confiscatory taxes, and the thief, spends my money I should be happy because he is now spending it. You my skippy friend are stunned.

Posted by: RFB at February 20, 2011 7:04 PM


"They can make the numbers say anything they want."

Yeah, but that can't make a bank account say anything they want. No money is no money.

Posted by: rabbit at February 20, 2011 7:19 PM

What Tim said.
As many have pointed out, there is no more money to pad the fat wallets of the very people who walked out on the students they claim to care about. Is there more blood to get out of a stone?

Posted by: Osumashi Kinyobe at February 20, 2011 7:41 PM

Robert @ 4:51 p.m.: I believe you miss the point. batb posits, as I have over and over, that teachers are doing the often thankless job of about three adults—minus the necessary authority to do it (Charter intention, I think). The job is often hell these days, no matter how well intentioned, committed, or successful the teacher is, an altogether different discussion from the Wisconsin situation.

On that, I’m with Governor Walker all the way.

IMO, union operatives are subversive, self-serving, dangerous cads: they care nothing for the kids. Teacher unions are full of utopian progressives. In all my face to face—and other—interactions with these people, I can attest that they’re uninformed on matters they’re paid to know about, altogether shallow, and utterly stupid. (But, I’ve had more important things to do, like actually teaching my students, than to take on, another time, the union jerks, who, with all the time, money, and status quo on their side, make resistance very difficult.)

Posted by: lookout at February 20, 2011 9:28 PM

This is the part the teachers can easily deny, even scoff at:'Wise up and understand that you are no different than any other middle class worker. We are all suffering.'

Because of their union thugocracy and embedded sense of entitlement they feel above the riff-raff of the working stiff. IMO

Posted by: dailyrasp at February 20, 2011 10:36 PM

Who are you unionised against is a very good line.

Posted by: Robert of Ottawa at February 21, 2011 10:15 AM

If you want to see an awesome anti-union-greed sign carried by a protesting taxpayer, go to

Posted by: Dave in Pa at February 21, 2011 11:45 AM