The Story of Wisconsin

In any good and mystery there is a story that leaves you wondering who the bad guy really is.  In Wisconsin, is it the Unions protecting the Collective Bargaining Rights or Governor Walker holding Wisconsin public employees hostage?

To find the answer we need to follow the money.

Governor Walker is leading the Wisconsin Campaign to take away the employees’ collective bargaining rights.  The Governor said Wisconsin was under financial stress and needs to cut the budget.  The Governor claims that employees, being one of the larger shares of the budget, must share part of this burden.

The Union agreed to take the monetary concessions to help the Wisconsin budget but refused to give up their collective bargaining rights.

This started the ‘Stand Off’ in Wisconsin.

The Governor has taken an all -or -nothing position claiming the collective bargaining rights of the public employees must be taken away.  The Unions are saying that they gave the Governor concessions to make up for the shortfalls in the states budgets.  Collective bargaining rights will not save Wisconsin’s budget.

In this standoff we have to question if this is really to save the revenue shortfalls, then why wouldn’t the Governor accept the Union’s concessions, fix the current budget, then work out their fundamental differences on collective bargaining.

Following the story we start to get more answers.  As the plot goes on we find a couple of billionaire brothers who enter the scene.  We learn that the Koch brothers are feeding millions into this fire to keep it burning.

They have been donating to anti-union and anti-public employees candidates.  Koch Industries, based out of Kansas was one of the largest campaign contributors of Gov. Scott Walker.

They also fund a few “Non-Profits” that support the governor’s proposal to take on the public employees and their unions.

The mystery starts to come together.  Governor Walker was merely a pawn being played by the Koch brothers.

But these two billionaires don’t care about Wisconsin’s Budget problems or it’s public employees:;  their corporation is in another state.  So why do they care?

We have to look between the lines.  The Koch brothers deny anything more than fiscal responsibility but their actions show different.  They are lining up politicians to cut federal and state laws that protect workers’ rights.  These rights include health and safety regulations, labor laws, overtime laws, fair corporate taxes, and more.     If they can cut these regulations their corporations become more profitable at the cost of working families in both the private and public sector.

But what does all this have to do with taking away the Unions Collective Bargaining Rights?

Unions, both private and public, fought to get workers rights.  Over the years they helped win a 40 hour week, safety regulations, child labor laws, anti-discrimination acts, and so much more.  The attack against private sector unions has been going on for years and now has turned to the public sector.

The Koch bothers, and corporations like them, know once they can silence the voice of all working families they will be able to affect legislation that protects our rights as workers.  The Unions are the last line of defense on protecting these rights – the very rights that keep your family fed and safe.

UAGE will continue to bring you information on how these same tactics are affecting legislation here in Utah.

You need to call your Senator Today

The senate is meeting tomorrow to kill your four day workweek.  There is no reason for this move other than they can.  If we are going to stop this we must call our senators today.

Senate to reconvene Saturday for workweek bill override
May 6th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The veto override session will continue, at least for the state Senate, which couldn’t muster the votes Friday needed to override Gov. Gary Herbert’s veto of a bill to eliminate the state’s four-day workweek.

Earlier Friday morning, the House had voted to overturn the governor’s veto on that bill during a rare override session.

Senate President Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, lobbied Senate Democrats, meeting with them in caucus, attempting to garner a sufficient number of votes to overturn the veto but he was unsuccessful. The Senate will reconvene Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Republican Sens. Lyle Hillyard, of Logan, and Curtis Bramble, of Provo, were absent Friday, and could have cast the deciding votes on HB328. Another GOP senator was allowed to leave. Hillyard and Bramble are expected to attend Saturday’s session.

Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said she would not vote for the override over concerns about disrupting state employees’ child care arrangements and other personal accommodations that workers had to make when the four-day week was implemented.

There was no reason the issue could not be revived in the 2012 General Session, she said.

Meanwhile the House and Senate also voted to override Herbert’s veto of a bill that would earmark growth in future sales-tax money for road projects.

Despite debate that SB229 was yet another earmark, both representatives and senators argued that the move was an investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Others, however, said setting aside the funds for roads sent the message that transportation is more important than other programs funded by the state including education and human services programs.

SB229 had been the focus of the session called by legislative leaders. The bill would set aside nearly 30 percent of additional future sales-tax revenues for road construction, beginning in 2013. Herbert said the earmark could hurt other state programs, including education.

SB229’s sponsor, Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, has said his bill would not only ensure better funding for transportation, it would create in effect a second Rainy Day Fund that could be used to help other areas of the budget in tough times.

The bill is also seen as a way of avoiding a gas-tax increase in the 2012 Legislature, given that’s an election year for the majority of lawmakers. A bill boosting the gas tax failed last session.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, urged the GOP caucus to vote to override the bill, saying it’s the Legislature that has responsibility for setting the state budget and is “not subservient” to the executive branch.

Following the override vote, Herbert issued a statement saying education was the “biggest loser” Friday.

He called SB229 a “bad way to allocate our very limited state resources.

“I have always been and will continue to be a strong supporter of transportation funding. But earmarking revenues risks subsequent increased bonding, jeopardizes Utah’s AAA bond rating and exacerbates a lack of budgetary flexibility.”

House Republicans surprised their Senate colleagues by overriding the governor’s veto of HB328, intended to end the four-day workweek for state agencies established to save energy costs by closing offices on Fridays.

Waddoups said he was calling Senate Republicans into a caucus to decide what to do. Waddoups said he didn’t know how much support the bill had.

That bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, asked to bring the bill back today for a vote after a caucus discussion about whether former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. had the authority to establish the shortened workweek.

The same debate continued on the House floor, where members also disagreed over whether their constituents liked the longer hours state offices are now open Mondays through Thursdays or angry that those same offices are shuttered on Fridays.

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