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February 18th, 2011
07:25 AM ET

Teachers’ leader lauds Democrats who hid

Thousands gathered in Madison, Wisconsin Thursday to protest a bill being pushed forward by Governor Scott Walker. If passed, the bill would strip teachers' unions of their collective bargaining rights and would require that they contribute more to their benefits. In response, Democratic state senators skipped town Thursday, stalling a vote on the divisive bill.

Bryan Kennedy, the President of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin represents about 17,000 workers who would be affected by the bill Governor Walker is proposing. Kennedy speaks to American Morning's T.J. Holmes about the Wisconsin protests.

Filed under: Education • Politics
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Dave B

    Winning the elections with fake promises and then after Scott Walker has become Governor .... now he thinks he own the state by being the self proclaimed dictator.
    Democracy does not mean ..... just because you won an election, you become the absolute ruler of the land like an king or emperor. Scott Walker is trying to become exactly that or maybe even more like a dictator who believes in the philosophy "My way or the highway".
    Its not Scott Walker .... but the whole conservative base of the Republican Party .... who believes that make as much false or fake promises as possible to win the elections and after they win .... now they act like dictators.
    Hello ..... people dont you see where this county is going ..... we are going back to the dark days of the Bush era.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  2. Me

    Let’s pause a minute here. The debate shouldn’t be on whether public employees getting pay too much or not. The government just wanted to divert our angers at a specify group rather than looking at the real problems here; public employees are just scapegoat. The question we should all ask ourselves is how did this great country get to this point? Our national deficit equals to the entire country’s economy. Our government is on a survival mode right now: scrounging money from the poorest of the poorest. Public employees are not the one who brought our countries to its knees; it was Wall Street, bankers, corporate greed, corrupted government and republicans’ one size fits all ideology; they were naïve to believe that competitions and self-regulation would keep the big corporates on their best behaviors. When the corporates misbehave, we all suffer (losing jobs, 401ks, etc.) Let’s not get sidetracked on the big issue. Public employees are not our enemies. Greedy corporates and corrupted government are the real issues here. Those who are responsible for our economic melt down are still in power and earning big bugs. We always brat about our freedom whenever we compared ourselves to the rest of the world. Are we that free after all? Our lives are dictated by the decisions and actions made by big corps. We need to stop putting the blame on the innocents and figure a way to bring this country back on its feet.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  3. charlotte

    This is about breaking unions. Wisconsin did not have a budget problem until Walker created one by giving to special interests that helped him be elected. This bill allows him to give away power plants without bids to another of his campaign contributors. The workers will negotiate, and are willing to give up most of the monetary issues. They are NOT willing to give up total control, and they should not! We need our educators to run the schools, not an inept governor with his own agenda.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  4. Barbara

    I am a fan of teachers but believe that because of Unions they live in a fantasy world. Here in California many make over $100K and still complain. My friends with similar education backgrounds and experience in the private sector haven't been able to GET jobs. I see teachers spending time at their desks eating walking out while students are in class, using powerpoints and reading them without student interaction – just BAD teachers making the same as the good teachers. The last in first out allows those teachers who are poor performers to stay while the better teachers are let go. It is NOT about students. Take a look – a REAL look at teachers pay and performance. Take a LOOK at pensions.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  5. ronvan

    CHILDREN, CHILDREN: First it is the KIDS that are loosing over this!
    How/when/where are the missed days going to be made up? And then how will it affect parents who have to pay additional monies for day care? 2nd: Spoiled teachers, they also are not concerned about their students. They are interested in money in thier pockets. 3rd: It is the unions that have created this mess! The fact that "sub standard" teachers, who have tenure, cannot be fired, "union rules", and that the union is only concerned about money in their pockets, shows where the importance is! MONEY!! And for those "elected children", Dems or Repubs, whoever, left the state, you are cowards, and totally irresponsible! FIRE the teachers who do not return to teach! FIRE those elected children who left the state! LIMIT the power of the unions!

    February 21, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  6. Rob

    Seems to me, Paul, is that they're trying to AVOID laying off teachers. As for politicians putting thier money where their mouth is... now that I can get behind.

    February 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  7. Paul

    I don't care if you are left or right in politics, Americans feel education is priority now more than ever to maintain a future for America. How is laying off teachers when they are already short in supply (children to teacher ratio) benifical? Fairness means politicians should also take a pay cut (I heard they gave themselves a pay raise during the recession), and have to fork up money for their own retirement just like all Americans. I bet you no one looked into this. Americans everywhere are taking paycuts/benifit loss, politicians should too.

    February 18, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  8. Wisconsin Dan

    Teachers – quit being patsies for the union fat cats.

    The new bill does not even affect teacher salaries, as they are not state employees. The only effect is limiting their bargaining power to salaries only (not class size, benefits, etc.)

    The union is just terrified because presently, even if an employee chooses not to join the union, they still have to pay the dues. The new bill would eliminate that, so the union would be losing money.

    This whole protest is a farce.

    February 18, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  9. LibertyFirst1776

    Brave for fleeing? More like afraid to be told "No!". Typical militant leftists. PUBLIC WORKERS work for us, not the other way around.

    If this doesn't clearly demonstrate the corrupt relationship between the overly-powerful unions and the Democrats, nothing will. It really looks like a bunch of crack addicts being told they are going to have to go cold turkey. Fire them all.

    February 18, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  10. Joy

    This proves that the root cause of the problems, with America's educational system, is the teachers unions. The unions are all about the teachers and not the students. These teachers need to be fired NOW.

    February 18, 2011 at 8:00 am |