President Obama Eggs on Big Labor Lawbreakers
(Source: March 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)
Labels Proposed Rollback of Union Monopoly Powers As an 'Assault'
As the cover story of this Right to Work Newsletter edition reports, last month Wisconsin teacher union bosses encouraged educators in Madison, Milwaukee, and other school districts to strike illegally in order to participate in protests against GOP Gov. Scott Walker's monopoly-bargaining rollback proposal.
Most teachers rejected union bosses' exhortations and reported for their jobs. However, the number of teachers who heeded the siren call of union militancy was sufficient to force multiple school districts, including Milwaukee's, to cancel classes. Madison's schools were closed for a total of four days.
Many of the striking union militants, convinced that they should be paid for protesting rather than carrying out their assigned duties, collected phony "sick notes" from pro-forced unionism doctors. Wisconsin taxpayers may have to furnish these outlaw teachers with up to $6 million in "sick pay" for work they were perfectly capable of performing, but chose not to.
Wisconsites quoted in media reports, including some who are normally sympathetic to Big Labor, are outraged by the actions of a relatively small share of Badger State teachers (in Milwaukee, for example, just a few more than 600 out of 5,400 teachers joined in the union-instigated "sickout").
Former Union Czar Andy Stern: President's Statement 'Helped Enormously'
Even as they were losing the good will of the people of Wisconsin, however, teacher union zealots and thousands of other government union radicals who joined in their wildcat strikes got a "thumbs up" from the White House.
On February 17, the second day of illegal teacher strikes, President Obama took the extraordinary step of inviting a reporter and camera crew from a Milwaukee TV station to sit down with him at the White House for an interview.
Mr. Obama suggested he was okay with the portions of Gov. Walker's reform package that authorize public agencies to divert a significantly higher share of employees' wages and salaries into their health care and pension plans, and thus reduce taxpayers' total compensation liabilities.
At the same time, the President blasted the provision that would, for the first time in decades, restore for most Wisconsin public employees the Right to Work without being fired for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union.