Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ohio police, firefighters decry bargaining limits

Steve "Big Loom" Loomis, President Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association

"In northeast Ohio, fear that a loss of bargaining will result in layoffs and further cutbacks is rippling through the law enforcement community.

One of the biggest worries is one-man patrol cars, said Steve Loomis, president of the city's local police union. Under the current contract, Cleveland police officers are required to have at least two officers in a patrol car when driving through certain neighborhoods, Loomis said.

Democrats have 90 days after Kasich signs the bill to gather more than 230,000 valid signatures to get it on the fall ballot. Loomis believes that if Senate Bill 5 goes unchallenged, the two-man rule will be the first thing to go.

'They're going to give up our safety for the illusion that there's more police on the street,' Loomis said. 'That's horrifying. Guys get killed.'

And equipment that police officers say is vital but that the city says is too expensive — like computers in patrol cars, a rarity in Cleveland — will be harder to get without the complete bargaining process, Loomis said.

State lawmakers did make last-minute changes to the measure in the House that allow police and fire officials to bargain for vests, shields and other safety gear."

John Kasich signs Senate Bill 5 as supporters and opponents gear up for huge referendum |


"COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. John Kasich signed a controversial collective-bargaining overhaul into law Thursday evening, setting off a statewide election campaign that promises to be one of the biggest ballot battles in recent memory.
With the bill officially on the books, opponents of Senate Bill 5 -- which dramatically reduces the power of unionized state workers, including firefighters and teachers -- moved quickly with plans to put the issue before voters by launching a campaign organization called 'We Are Ohio.'"

Kasich Signs Collective Bargaining Bill | NBC 4i

COLUMBUS, Ohio --Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed Senate Bill 5 into law, which would deal a significant blow to public workers and the unions that represent them.

Labor unions already are planning to put the bill up for a statewide referendum in November. Teaming with the Ohio Democratic Party, union members will market their campaign as 'We are Ohio' in order to stop the pending limitations on collective bargaining"

Keeping The Peace On The Cuyahoga


CLEVELAND - Tonight, the populace lays its head on their pillows, certain of tomorrow.  One-by-one, the lights go out in houses on the shores of Lake Erie.  Children are tucked in their beds.  The down and out find refuge in the nooks along Superior Street.  The young and reckless are consuming the narcotic that relieves the pain they suffer inside, not knowing if tonight is the night that their luck and lives runs out.

Trying to make sense of this incongruent collision of behavior are two police officers in a simple black and white automobile.  The thoughts of their own mortality crosses their minds, but only for a fleeting moment, for there is more pressing problems.  "211 in progress - Code 3 - Back up is ten minutes from you."  Tomorrow, there are those alive at this minute, who will be cold and blue when the sun rises over the river.  The names of the deceased will be partly determined by the actions of these two young police officers and their nocturnal peers.

In a staid and orderly house rests Mike McGrath, the police chief of Cleveland. As he lays on his pillow, thoughts of all the things that could go wrong tonight creep into his semi-awake mind.  Soon he will be rising for the day to review the carnage of tonight.

A few miles away, another Cleveland police officer is on the cell phone fielding an issue with a police officer on duty.  Steve Loomis is the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association.  To most people, he is "Big Loom."  About 3:00 A.M. he will get out of bed to go the bathroom.  In the distance, a wailing siren will be faintly heard.  He will wonder if his phone will be ringing soon.  The same siren will briefly interrupt the chief's sleep.  He will try hard to go back to sleep, but the memories of his life as a young street cop prey on his thoughts.  The demands of tomorrow will require all they have to offer.

One thing that the citizens and police officers can rely on tomorrow morning - Chief McGrath and Big Loom will be on the job doing their best to make this thing we call society function.  Their duties may have them going after each other, but each understands the system and each will do his duty.

Down South in Columbus, Governor John Kasich will arise all refreshed and eager to get to the day's business.  This will be a very special day for him.  He will sign Senate Bill 5, stripping collective bargaining rights from Cleveland police officers.  Along with other "tough love" politicians, he will rejoice in his victory over a group of young people who would give their lives to protect his.  Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Chief McGrath, Big Loom, and Cleveland Police Officers will continue to protect the citizens of Cleveland, even those who sanctimoniously condemn their pay.

Some may call them Welfare Queens.  I call them heroes - you should also.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ohio House, Senate approve Senate Bill 5

Today in Columbus, Ohio

"COLUMBUS — The fight over Senate Bill 5 now will likely shift from the General Assembly to the courts and the polls, as public union leaders push a statewide referendum on the collective bargaining law.

A Nov. 8 ballot issue would seek to repeal Senate Bill 5, legislation affecting 360,000 unionized public workers.

Gov. John Kasich, who said he will sign the bill into law, said his $55.5 billion state budget counts on unspecified savings from lifting union protections to plug an $8 billion hole, $1 billion in proposed cuts to local governments and $3 billion to public schools."

New Houston contract holds off base salary raises for 2 years

Gary Blankinship, President HPOU

"The Houston City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a five-year police contract that holds off base salary increases for two years, requires a fitness test and offers patrol officers an incentive to stay on their beats instead of seeking promotions that would take them off the streets.
Under the agreement, officers will get a raise of more than 10 percent in their base pay from 2013 through 2015. Those now on the force also keep 20 annual personal fitness and training days, which often are used for training and continuing education, but can be used at officers' discretion with supervisors' approval."

"It's certainly not anything I ever wanted to have to do, but it's just reality," Houston Police Officers Union President Gary Blankinship said of forgoing the raises. "The membership is very well- educated in what the economic situation is and, clearly, they got it. I think everybody realizes it's tough times."

Ohio House votes to curb labor rights

William Batchelor, Speaker of the House

Republicans in the Ohio House on Wednesday approved a bill that would restrict collective bargaining rights for the state’s public sector unions.

The bill passed 53 to 44; no Democrats voted in favor the bill, while 5 Republicans voted against it. The legislation has already passed the state Senate once and would need just one more expected approval before heading to Republican Gov. John Kasich’s desk, perhaps before the end of the day."

Controversial Ohio collective bargaining bill heads toward final approval


"COLUMBUS, Ohio — A controversial Republican-backed bill that would weaken public workers' collective bargaining rights is on the verge of clearing its final legislative hurdle.
The Ohio House of Representatives today is expected to approve Senate Bill 5, which now contains several changes GOP members unveiled Tuesday, including an option for public workers to avoid paying union dues and a mechanism for voters to resolve labor disputes between workers and management."

Ohio - Collective Bargaining To Be Put To Death Today

Collective-bargaining vote could come today | Columbus Dispatch Politics:


"Democrats and union leaders blasted the latest Republican changes to Senate Bill 5, including those that would allow public workers to decline to pay union dues and make it easier for workers to decertify a public union.

'They've clearly made a horrible bill even worse,' said William Leibensperger, vice president of the Ohio Education Association."

"It will allow ... the people to have a say in what goes on with the parties," said Rep. Joe Uecker, R-Loveland. Republicans said the referendum likely would be used rarely.
"It makes no sense," said Jay McDonald, president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio. "If you put anybody's pay on the ballot, it invites a class dispute and a debate over worth that is troublesome."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Harold Schaitberger For President

Harold Schaitberger and The IAFF Take On The Enemy

Monday, March 21, 2011

Divided, Unprepared, Ineffective


In less than three months, there has been a complete sea change in the perception that government leaders have of public employee unions.  Much of it has to do with REPUBLICAN's victories last fall for governors.

There is a critical mass of REPUBLICAN governor's preaching a Jethro Bodine version of economics as they attempt to destroy public employee unions.  In their simplistic economic theory, aggregation of labor (labor unions) is evil socialism, but aggregation of capital (corporations) is God endorsed, Adam Smith capitalism.  They are wrong on both.  While we are at it, we might as well cover the other two elements of production - aggregation of land (Exxon-Mobil, Weyerhaeuser, Archer Daniels Midland) and aggregation of entrepreneurship (Microsoft, Google).  Both of these aggregations are held in high esteem by our enlightened governors.  Only the disorganized, under financed organizations of employees are vile and evil.

Standing at point in this evil consortium are the police and fire unions - the protectors of the real fat cat, welfare queens.  The irony of all this REPUBLICAN rage is that most of these self-appointed assayers of economic morals earn considerably more than the ones who they have such disdain.  It would appear that it should be easy to knock off these REPUBLICAN zealots, but it is not.

The image of police and fire unions presented in editorials is comical - highly organized, well financed, and run by cigar smoking, mean as hell, union thugs that have a secret playbook that would make the Green Bay Packers jealous.  What a joke.  Organized labor? They can't even spell organized.  Union thugs?  Ha - nothing but a bunch of lovable Teddy Bears, good people that you would like for your next door neighbor.  Well financed?  Are you kidding?  There is barely enough in the treasury to pay for a 4th of July fireworks show.  These political neophytes are so inept that they actually care about their customers.  What an obsolete concept.

So, here we stand.  Ready to face the enemy - Scott The Hun, Chris The Terrible, and John The Crusader.  Let's examine our battle readiness.

Organizational Unity - Splintered and weak.  Of the police departments in the ten largest cities, 6 are affiliated with NAPO, 2 with FOP, and 2 are on their own. We are talking about the organizations that are "driving the bus in their city" - only the bargaining agent. Of the top 50, NAPO has 15, FOP has 15. IBPO has 1, IUPA has 1, and 19 are going it alone or do not bargain (Boston is both NAPO and IUPA).  All of the top 10 and most of the top 50 are autonomous for collective bargaining purposes.  Affiliation with smaller departments is mostly lip service.  Several states have an organization that has the loyalty of most of its police unions - PORAC in California, CLEAT in Texas, and Council 15 in Connecticut.  In addition, The Teamsters own the state of Iowa and there is an assortment of state PBAs.

Political Influence - Almost non-existent. Of the three major police organizations, none have their national offices in Washington, DC (bag men do not count).  NAPO is in Virginia - close.  FOP is in Tennessee.  IUPA is in Florida.  Police union influence in D.C. is zilch.  You do not need a lobbyist to get mom, apple pie, and baseball through Congress.  If we are so effective, why have we not gotten the National Collective Bargaining Law through Congress and signed by the President.  It is nothing but a benign, toothless, feel good law, but even it is beyond our influence.  We were not able to get it through Congress when the Democrats were in charge.  If we could have gotten it to President Obama's desk, he would have signed it.  George W. Bush would have vetoed it. Now, the REPUBLICANS run the house, making the bill D.O.A.

Our influence in the state legislatures is even worse.  It obvious that we have little stroke in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Idaho.  Too much energy is wasted castigating each other - FOP vs NAPO vs IUPA.

Game Plan - None now and none on the horizon - just the same old ad hoc, amateurish approach.  It's impossible to get all the players together.  Collaboration is impossible.  Each national union wants the spotlight on them alone.  Monitoring closely, and keeping a close eye on is baloney.  It is going to require active participation.

Fire-In-The- Belly - We don't see much, except those who are about to lose their collective bargaining rights and even many of those are wimpy.  Maybe this editorial will ignite some more people.  Hopefully, all of their ire will not be spent on us for writing this article.

Financing - Money is the oil that keeps the political engine running.  You need to decide whether you want to take these guys out or have low dues.  Is there anyone out there willing to spend $1,000 per year to preserve $10,000 per year?

The Great State of Denial - REPUBLICANS are not the enemy.  Too many police officers have the battered wife syndrome when it comes to Republican politicians.  We know - the Democrats have the pot smoking hippies and the zealot ACLU haters, but they are not the one's trying to burn down our house.  It is the narcissistic conservatives that herald under the Republican banner.  Unless this love affair with these schizophrenic abusers (they love the police department and hate the police union) is severed, the police union will be reduced to a social club. 

These guys are sitting ducks.  They are lying through their teeth, especially about the economy and the state of their government's finance.  The Scott Walkers are as surprised as you that the public is dutifully drinking the Kool Aid.  I can see Walker in his office watching television and saying to himself "I can't believe they are buying this line of crap.  Old P.T. was right.  Thank God for suckers.  I'm sure glad I am not one of them."

Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and John Kasich will not determine your future.  You will, either by knocking these guys out of the box or heeling to their demands.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

President of Madison Firefighters after Senate Vote in Wisconsin

The Uptake


Editorial: Another black mark for Wisconsin


The shell game Gov. Scott Walker has played the last two weeks is pathetic. Say one thing, and then do another.

First, Walker says he will absolutely not negotiate on his budget repair bill, which he declared all points were fiscal in nature. Next, he does a 180-degree and says he has been negotiating all along in an effort to bring AWOL Democrats back to Madison.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Oklahoma - Another Republican Collective Bargaining "Fairness" Bill Passes State Senate

Republicans pushed through the Oklahoma Senate a bill that will effectively destroy interest arbitration.  Oh, they claim it won't.  Yeah, sure.  The Democrats presented a good defense of the current law during the debate.  The best argument the Republicans presented was by the bill's sponsor - "It's my birthday."  It reminded me of the crazy televangelist during the Vietnam War and his slogan - "Kill a commie for Christ."  The bill now goes to the House where it is a fait accompli.

In the background.  the Oklahoma Municipal League (Oklahoma's ground zero for hate and contempt) is smirking and just waiting for the governor to sign the bill.  As soon as she does, they will immediately have a guy (who also has nothing but contempt for public safety) put on seminars for cities -  "How To Screw Your Police Officers and Firefighters Using Nothing But A Pencil."  They act shocked that anyone would accuse them of being vindictive.

The Oklahoma Municipal League has been a dishonest adversary from the beginning.  Forty years ago, when we were writing and lobbying for the original collective bargaining bill the OML played us big time.  They pretended to be our friend and wanted to "help us" draft a bill.  They were lying and we were sucked in.    The OML had a strategy - The Trojan Horse Play.  The plan was to get the bill as weak as possible and then lobby against the final bill when it reached the Legislature.  You should have seen the looks on our faces when the OML turned on us. There was just one flaw in the OML cannard.  They got the bill so watered down that we actually could get enough votes to get it through the Legislature.

When this was all happening during the late sixties and early seventies, I was a firefighter working 72 hours per week and making $400 per month.  Even then, the OML saw us "union thugs" as welfare queens.

What those of you in public safety today have was achieve by many struggles by those who came before you.  I will never forget those days long ago.  Thank God for Dick Boyd, Pete Stavros, John Hubbard, Tom Riddle, Ray Catlin and Andy Miller.

"She say she don't and you know she do"  Chuck Berry

Footnote:  One of our biggest opponent back then was Jim Inhofe - now Republican United States Senator.  The first year (1970) we got the bill through the Legislature, only to have it vetoed by Republican Governor Dewey Bartlett - father of Tulsa's current Republican mayor.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Maryland - Another Scott Walker Wanna Be Surfaces

Leopold uses line-item veto to strip binding arbitration bill of several amendments: "By: David Kosin
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold has made changes to a bill that effectively eliminated binding arbitration for police and firefighters unions.

The bill passed the county council Monday night by a unanimous vote, but it included several amendments by council members that required Leopold to include the recommendations of an arbitrator in his budget. On Wednesday, Leopold used a line-item veto to remove those amendments, effectively restoring the bill to its original form--and totally relieving both his office and the county concil of any obligation to pay for the decision of an arbitrator."

TODAY - Walker Wins - Walker Wins - Walker Wins

Walker Only Wins If You Let Him Win

Workers of all stripes have to rise up and crush the Scott Walkers, Chris Christies and John Kasichs.  They represent all of what is wrong with power.  Normally, I preach against anger, but these are not normal times.  Until you get to the point of "I am mad as hell and I am not taking it any more." the Scott Walkers will rub your face in the mud.  Don't just sit there, get on a plane for Madison and Columbus.  Take Scott Walker and John Kasich out.

I ain't never gonna be scared no more. I was, though. For a while it looked as though we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn't have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kinda bad and scared too, like we was lost and nobody cared.... Rich fellas come up and they die, and their kids ain't no good and they die out, but we keep on coming. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out, they can't lick us. We'll go on forever, Pa, cos we're the people.
Ma Joad - From The Grapes of Wrath


When Are You Guys Going To Wise Up?

The Enemy Is The Republican Party

If the last two months have not convinced you that the Republicans are not our friends, you are a hopeless case.  The Republicans are nothing but a bunch of underhanded, lying back stabbers - no integrity, zilch.  They actually see Scott Walker as a role model.  Two months ago, I was a Democrat.  After the likes of Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Scott Walker, I am a "Yellow Dog" Democrat.  I will never vote for a Republican again as long as I live.  I don't care if it is my grandmother on the Republican ticket. 

The Republicans operate with a hidden agenda, while gladly taking your money and support.  Stop giving them money and endorsements.  Quit voting for them.  If you have endorsed Republicans within the last year, publicly withdraw those endorsements.  It does not matter what level of government they are in, federal, state, county, or local - even the dog catcher.  Republicans cannot be trusted.  Extricate yourself from them.  And whatever you do, do not associate with the Tea Party.  They are nothing but brain washed zealots.  The modern incarnation of the Hitler Youth.

If you are a registered Republican, go to the election board the first thing tomorrow morning and change your registration to Democrat.  Encourage all of your family members , friends, and fellow employees to do the same.  I know, you are concerned about the left winged fruitcakes in the Democrat Party.  Take control of the local Democrat party and marginalize the pot smoking hippies and other assorted freaks.  They can join the Socialist Party or Ralph Nader's bunch of rag tags - yeah, man.  This tiny group of social misfits have been the Republican's best promoter.  They stink up the Democrat party, causing good people to go to the Republican party.  Run the bums off and take back control of the Democrat party.  Leave the Republican party to the materialistic, narcissistic fat cats.  There is not enough of them to ever gain control. 

Grand Old Party?  Ha, nothing but a bunch of ruthless ____________________ (you fill in the blank)

Sayonara Newt!

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

Idaho Takes A Bullet - Legislature Votes In Bill Limiting Collective Bargaining


As Wisconsin politicians stay locked in a stalemate over a proposed law governing public employees’ unions, Idaho’s legislature on Tuesday passed a bill restricting collective bargaining rights for the state’s unionized teachers.

Under the bill, which is expected to be signed into law by the state’s Republican governor, collective bargaining for the state’s 12,000 unionized teachers would be limited to salary and benefits only, and could not be used to negotiate course loads, class sizes and other working conditions."

Wisconsin Assembly Set to Approve Limits on Union Bargaining -

Wisconsin Assembly Set to Approve Limits on Union Bargaining - "MADISON, Wis. — As thousands of demonstrators converged on the Capitol, the police cut off access to the building on Thursday, creating a taut atmosphere in which Republican State Assembly members were seeking to maintain order long enough to vote on a bill that sharply curtails bargaining rights for government workers."

Is Wisconsin the Real Republican Waterloo? - E.D. Kain - American Times - Forbes

Is Wisconsin the Real Republican Waterloo? - E.D. Kain - American Times - Forbes: "After the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, conservative writer David Frum called the passage of the bill the GOP’s “Waterloo” referencing Napoleon Bonaparte’s crushing defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington. This earned him the ire of his fellow conservatives and pushed him further outside the conservative movement."

Wisconsin State Assembly takes up divisive union bill -

Wisconsin State Assembly takes up divisive union bill - "Madison, Wisconsin (CNN) -- Thousands of protesters began filling up the Wisconsin state Capitol building Thursday as the state Assembly prepared to vote on a new version of a bill that takes away collective bargaining powers from most state workers.
The Assembly will convene at 11 a.m. (12 p.m. ET) to vote on the revised measure, which was left only with provisions taking away collective bargaining powers and increasing health insurance and pension fund contributions.
The Assembly is expected to pass the bill, which could then reach Gov. Scott Walker's desk as early as Thursday for final approval."

The Death of Truth

Today, collective bargaining by government employees is under attack all across our country.  A lot of damage has been done.  Much more will come.  However, this will eventually resolve itself.  While the current confrontation is ugly, what's ahead is much uglier.  Once employees have their gut full of Tea Party despots like Walker, Kasich and Christie, today's skirmish will escalate into all out warfare.

Soon, we will be back to 1966 - the year of the New York Transit strike.  As a result of that strike, which paralyzed New York City, Governor Nelson Rockefeller appointed George W. Taylor, a professor at Pennsylvania's Wharton School, to write a collective bargaining law.  It was signed into law in 1967 - The Taylor Law.  Other states passed laws that were similar to New York's.  I know that is what we did in Oklahoma in 1969.  It truly was a "cut and paste" job - Bill Gates was still in school.  These laws have given us 45 years of relative peace.

But today it is "Back To The Future."  There will be strikes, lawsuits, and other expressions by employees.  There will lashing back by employers - firings, rent-a-cops, consolidation, and elimination.  I like to think that we are masters of our own destiny, but we are not.  There is a dynamic that is more powerful than all of the participants combined - they need us - we need them.  To satisfy those needs, we (us and the employers) will find a way out of this jungle.  Peace will return, but the integrity of truth will not survive.

Even as we discuss the mortality of truth, it is too late.  The integrity of truth is already on a cold slab down at the morgue.  Truth has become a protocol we can no longer afford to observe.  The need for results and expediency has made the truth an impediment to "victory."  I am not talking about some lofty truth.  I am talking about simple truth - 4 plus 2 equals 6, the sun rose in the East this morning.  The lie, especially the big lie, is now the rage in political discourse.  Just repeat it loud enough and long enough and it will become "the truth."

The moral stigma on lying has been lifted for qualifying lies - lies being told to support a morally superior position.  If your position is noble (not yet defined) then you may use whatever means you need to advance this noble position.  After all, sacrifices have to be made in war, and this is truly war, even if it is a cold war.  The truth - R.I.P.

What I have been hearing lately is a parade of lies - big lies.  To make things even worse, the lies are told with sanctimony.  Once a person embraces the infallibilty of his own point of view he has passed the point of no return where lying is easy and conscience is silent.  There is no going back, the innocence of youth is gone - forever.

NOVEMBER 22, 1963

Mary McGrory: "We'll never laugh again." 

Patrick Moynihan: "Mary, we'll laugh again, but we'll never be young again."  

The Nation: 'Shame, Shame' On Wisconsin Senate : NPR

The Nation: 'Shame, Shame' On Wisconsin Senate : NPR: "Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan, the former co-chair of the legislature's powerful Joint Finance Committee, says he is starting to feel as if he lives in a 'third world junta.'

Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch, a senior Democrat, says that what he is witnessing feels like 'a coup.'

Marty Beil, the head of the AFSCME Council 24, the state's largest public employee union, said Wisconsin had been turned into 'a banana republic.'"

They Used To Love You, But It's All Over Now.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and His Allies Drop All Pretenses - Robert Schlesinger (

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and His Allies Drop All Pretenses - Robert Schlesinger ( "There’s a sports saying that comes up whenever a player signs a huge, multimillion dollar megadeal: When they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money. A similar principle holds true in politics. When a politician says that something is just about the budget and not about grinding ideological axes, it’s really grinding ideological axes. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his allies on the right made that abundantly clear on Wednesday when the state legislature passed Walker’s “budget-repair bill” stripped of its budgetary pretenses leaving only its union-busting ideological nub."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

So, It Shall Be War Between Us!


Wisconsin, unions, collective bargaining, budget repair bill: GOP gambit pushes anti-union bill forward -

Wisconsin, unions, collective bargaining, budget repair bill: GOP gambit pushes anti-union bill forward - "Senate Republicans in Wisconsin used a surprise legislative maneuver to advance a bill that would strip collective bargaining rights from most public sector workers, a move accomplished without the presence of 14 Democratic senators who fled the state to stall the measure.

Republicans voted 18 to 1 Wednesday night to pass the non-fiscal provisions of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, including those that would eliminate or severely limit collective bargaining rights for most public employees."

Thousands storm the Capitol as state reacts to budget votes in Legislature

Thousands storm the Capitol as state reacts to budget votes in Legislature: "Thousands of protesters rushed to the state Capitol Wednesday night as word spread of the hastily called votes that sent Gov. Scott Walker's controversial bill limiting collective bargaining rights for public workers speeding through the Legislature.
Shortly after 8 p.m., hundreds of protesters gathered outside the locked King Street entrance to the Capitol, chanting 'Break down the door!' and 'General strike!'"

Did Wisconsin Senate choose nuclear option in collective-bargaining fight? -

Did Wisconsin Senate choose nuclear option in collective-bargaining fight? - "By Mark Trumbull, Staff writer / March 9, 2011

The Wisconsin Senate on Wednesday took decisive and controversial action in its weeks-long battle with Democrats and the labor unions for which they have been fighting. In an 18-to-1 vote, Senate Republicans moved to strip many state workers of their collective-bargaining rights."

Wisconsin governor a polarizer, not a compromiser | Reuters

Wisconsin governor a polarizer, not a compromiser | Reuters: "By James B. Kelleher
MADISON, Wisconsin | Wed Mar 9, 2011 9:24pm EST
(Reuters) - When Scott Walker, Wisconsin's new Republican governor, kicked off his campaign for the job nearly two years ago, he vowed to take this state, with its long progressive history, in 'a new direction.'

Eight weeks into his term, Walker has definitely kept his promise -- though negative opinion polls and mass protests suggest many people do not like where he is headed.

Critics, especially in the labor movement, fear Walker's policies are taking Wisconsin, whose official motto is 'Forward,' -- backward."

Walker and The Republicans Go Ballistic

GOP's shenanigans in Wisconsin ensure the fight will only escalate

The Plum Line - GOP's shenanigans in Wisconsin ensure the fight will only escalate: "By Greg Sargent
Here's what Wisconsin Republicans accomplished tonight: In a situation where they had repeated opportunities to resolve this standoff and plausibly declare victory for themselves, they have now ensured that this battle is only going to escalate.

This evening, Wisconsin Repubicans took the drastic step of breaking up the budget repair bill and passing only a measure rolling back the collective bargaining rights of public employees. A committee removed some parts of the bill, allowing Republicans to pass it by a simple majority, without missing Dems, and it's expected to pass the Assembly tomorrow."

Study Examines Public-Sector Pay -

Study Examines Public-Sector Pay - "BY MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL

The average full-time government worker in New York City earns 17% less than the average private, for-profit employee, a study released Wednesday by the city comptroller's office revealed.

The study—aimed at debunking public sentiment that public-sector workers are benefiting from taxpayer largesse—thrusts City Comptroller John Liu squarely into the heated local and national debate over government employee compensation."

Wisconsin Senate leader admits union-busting bill is about defeating Obama | The Raw Story

Wisconsin Senate leader admits union-busting bill is about defeating Obama | The Raw Story: "State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R), the Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader, must have forgotten his talking points while appearing on Megyn Kelly's Fox News show. This afternoon he admitted on-air what many liberals have long-suspected: rescinding collective bargaining rights from state workers is Wisconsin is as much about the 2012 presidential election as Wisconsin's 2011 budget shortage."

PolitiFact Wisconsin | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he campaigned on his budget repair plan, including curtailing collective bargaining

PolitiFact Wisconsin | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he campaigned on his budget repair plan, including curtailing collective bargaining: "In the turbulent wake of his controversial plan to sharply curtail collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has faced criticism that he gave no warning of such a dramatic plan during the long 2010 governor’s race.

Walker has forcefully challenged that contention, most bluntly at a Feb. 21, 2011 news conference. A reporter asked if the move to limit union power was payback for pro-union moves made by Democrats in the past."

Wisconsin gov. releases e-mails on union negotiations - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Wisconsin gov. releases e-mails on union negotiations - Political Hotsheet - CBS News: "As the dispute over union rights drags on in Wisconsin, lawmakers from both the left and the right are seeking media attention to prove their side is actively seeking a compromise. At the same time, both sides are pointing fingers, calling the other party out for grandstanding in front of the press.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker yesterday evening released a series of e-mails to prove he's tried to negotiate over union rights with 'reasonable' Democratic state senators, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported. One of those 'reasonable' senators, however, was quick to denounce the public release of the e-mails, suggesting it undermined their talks."

Madison - A Calm Video By The Uptake

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

E-mails: Wisconsin governor offers concessions on budget bill -


(CNN) -- An e-mail exchange released by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's office on Tuesday has revealed a series of potential Republican concessions to a three-week standoff over a budget bill that would restrict the collective bargaining rights of most public workers.
The e-mails show a discussion between Walker's deputy chief of staff, Eric Schutt, and Democratic state Sens. Tim Cullen and Bob Jauch in a correspondence that reveals offers and counter-offers between two sides who have remained at an impasse since mid-February."

Annapolis - Council Unanimously Approves Anti-Binding Arbitration Bill - Crofton, MD Patch


ANNAPOLIS—On a night when droves of police officers and firefighters once again voiced their opposition to Bill 4-11, the County Council decided to pass it.

The bill, which significantly alters the arbitration process between public sector employees and the county, passed unanimously after being altered in an effort to carve out a compromise among council members."

Cincinnati - Police merger called off


"Talks toward some form of joint Cincinnati/Hamilton County police force are over and the city soon will resume its search for a new police chief.

Sheriff Simon Leis called City Manager Milton Dohoney on Tuesday to say that without enough support for the idea on City Council, there was no reason for city and county officials to continue negotiating, said Meg Olberding, Dohoney’s spokeswoman."

Anne Arundel Council OKs change to arbitration for public safety workers - Baltimore Sun


"The Anne Arundel County Council approved a measure Monday night that gives the body final say in labor disputes between the county and its public safety employees, a system that union leaders say deteriorates binding arbitration.

Despite overwhelming union opposition, the council voted unanimously to approve the legislation, which alters the county's binding arbitration agreement with about 1,500 public safety employees.

Councilman Jerry Walker introduced two key amendments, which garnered support among his colleagues, who were previously divided on the bill. The amendments require the county to include the arbitrator's findings in budget proposals and cut a provision that would have removed binding arbitration if the findings were challenged successfully in court."

Milwaukee Police union goes public


"Amid a high-stakes battle over the future of other public employee unions statewide, Milwaukee's city government and public safety unions remain divided over wages, benefits and staffing.

The police officers union laid out its case in a half-page ad in Monday's Journal Sentinel, contending that city negotiators have 'repeatedly rejected' proposals that the union claims would save millions of dollars. That came three days after Mayor Tom Barrett called on both the police and firefighters unions to voluntarily accept pension and health care concessions that Gov. Scott Walker wants to force on other public-sector unions."

Monday, March 07, 2011

Wisconsin gov hurts state’s future - Chicago Sun-Times

Wisconsin gov hurts state’s future - Chicago Sun-Times: "While the conflict over basic labor rights continues in Madison, sparking support from across the country, we shouldn’t lose sight of the other side of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda: slashing investment in the state’s future.

Walker will literally break a covenant — the Covenant Program that promises financial aid for college for middle school students who pledge to get good grades and stay out of trouble. Reward for performance: One would have thought this a conservative program. But it does not survive the sledgehammer Walker would take to education at every level.

The most vulnerable take the greatest hit — and that means Milwaukee’s kids. Milwaukee isn’t Madison. The former industrial city ranked as the fourth most impoverished city, according to 2009 U.S. Census Bureau figures. Its poverty rate reached 27 percent. This poverty is concentrated among African Americans, almost half of whom live in highly impoverished, largely segregated areas of the city. In Milwaukee County, more than one-third of all young adults are unemployed."

It Is Not Just Walker - It Is Walker And 19 Co-Conspiritors

Most of the wrath of the demonstrators in Madison has been toward Governor Scott Walker and he deserves all of it.  Walker is a selfish tyrant who only believes in the right of association and affiliation for the wealthy Republicans he counts as his peers and friends.

He finds associations of employees to be anathema to a free market system, but sees nothing wrong with another element of production having exactly the same thing - investors bargaining collectively with the market place through corporations.  In Walker's market utopia, labor unions would be ban, but corporations, the chamber of commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers would not only be allowed, they would be encouraged and heralded as pillars of the community.

I too believe that corporations, the chamber of commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers are good for our economy.  I am a member of the chamber of commerce.  However, I do not believe that association and collective efforts should only be available to one segment of the economy.  Unfortunately, wealthy Republicans see their contributions to the economy to be more noble than that of workers.  In interest of fairness, there are many employees that have a similar bias in favor of workers.  Both of these groups are wrong.

I am sometimes uncomfortable with the things said by leaders of labor organizations who carry on like a holy roller speaking in tongues.  I often hear the same thing from management people I negotiate with.  I do not like zealotry from anyone on any topic.  The fanaticism that comes with zealotry is repugnant.  Scott Walker is a fanatical zealot of the highest degree.  He is dishonest and deceitful, but that would not matter if he was running a one man band.  He isn't.  He can only commit his extortion scheme if he has 17 accomplices in the Wisconsin Senate.  He has that number plus two to spare - all Republicans.  Several of them, especially Fitzgerald appear to be more fanatical than Walker.

Everyone is focusing on making a deal with Walker.  Forget about that.  Walker is as rigid as Herr Hitler.  He only understands power.  If you expect compromise from Walker to accomplish your goal, you are a fool.  To win with Walker you will have to destroy him.  Forget about Walker.  Focus on the Republican senators.  Don't waste your time on Fitzgerald.  He is intellectuality brain dead.  He is ready to drink the "Jim Jones" kool aid when his Fuhrer tells him to drink it.

It takes only three Republican senators to switch sides to make Walker impotent.  Senator Miller and employees, quit talking to Walker and Fitzgerald and put the heat on the Republicans.  Surely, there are three Republicans with a functioning brain and a heart that is not entirely hardened by Republican dogma.

I hope none of you Democrat senators are left winged socialist.  Where I live, we have heard a lot horror stories about Madison and left wingers.  Tyrants and fanatics do not just reside on the right.  The far left has its lunatics too.  Both extremes are thugs that would steal your freedom.  One wears a swastika and the other a hammer and cycle - tyrants both of them.  Don't just be the left wing contra of Walker.

There are reasons that circumstances brought Wisconsin to this crisis - some of them are legitimate.  Be honest with yourself and identify the irritants that mobilized the Republicans to attack you.  Address and rectify the issues you can.  Walker and Fitzgerald are not the source of this animosity.  They are only ruthless opportunist that are exploiting the dissatisfaction of citizens in Wisconsin.

Try to keep a sense of humor.  Humor will keep you from becoming like Walker and Fitzgerald.  I would rather lose than become bitter and vindictive like them.  If you find yourself consumed with anger and hate, remove yourself from the fight.  If not, whistle a tune and go get three of those Republicans.       

Police Force Nearly Halved, Camden Feels Impact -

Police Force Nearly Halved, Camden Feels Impact - "CAMDEN, N.J. — Since the city laid off nearly half its police force in January, the mayor and police chief have tried to stay positive, with the police chief even suggesting that his leaner force will be a model for others facing similar circumstances."

Are State and Local Government Employees Paid Too Much? - Graphic -

POLICEPAY COMMENT -  This is a long article with charts and tables.  It worth your time to read it.

"Public workers make more …
Surveys by the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that public workers’ annual compensation — salary plus benefits — is higher on average than private sector workers, and they suggest that the gap is growing."

San Jose - After firefighters agree to slash pay and benefits, other San Jose unions more willing to talk cuts - San Jose Mercury News


"If police agree to the 10 percent cuts, it would save about 100 of their jobs, about a third of those that could be on the chopping block.
George Beattie, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, said officers aren't necessarily opposed to some concessions, but are 'still in the preliminary stages' of developing a proposal. But he said officers are incensed that even if they agree to the 10 percent cuts, their department will probably still have layoffs. The POA has launched a campaign criticizing the potential staff cuts -- a campaign that Beattie said is unrelated to concessions.  'Our guys and gals have been making concessions for three years now,' Beattie said. 'Even if we give the 10 percent, you still can't afford to cut police officers.'"

WUWM: News - Recall Fever: Historic Recalls in Wisconsin

WUWM: News - Recall Fever: Historic Recalls in Wisconsin: "More than 1/3 of Wisconsin’s state senators could be fighting for their political future because of voter outrage over the governor’s budget repair bill.

A number of recall attempts have been launched against the Democrats who’ve left the state to delay a vote, as well as Republicans who support Gov. Walker’s divisive proposal.

The state has never faced so many recalls at one time. There have been a few high-profile cases, however, in which voters have worked to unseat elected officials. Ann-Elise Henzl has the first story in our series on recall fever."

Monroe, Louisiana - Police pensions perplex cities


Even though Bastrop is nearly four times smaller than its neighbor Monroe, both cities have a major problem in common.

Both cities, like nearly all other municipalities across the state, are facing major increases in their required contributions to police pension funds.

According to a letter sent in February to police departments across the state, the current police pension rate of 25 percent will increase to 28 percent effective July 1, one percent higher than originally predicted by the Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System (MPERS)." - State House leaders promise 'extensive hearings' on SB 5

By Marc Kovac | Capital Bureau Chief

Columbus -- Republicans in the Ohio House say they'll have 'extensive hearings' on controversial legislation changing the state's collective bargaining laws -- despite rumors that final action on Senate Bill 5 could come as soon as next week.

Caucus spokesman Mike Dittoe said Speaker Bill Batchelder and GOP leadership plan to take the time necessary to review the legislation as passed this week by the Ohio Senate.

'Given that there were substantive changes to the bill in the last 48-72 hours, I think that the Speaker wants a chance to sit down with everyone and discuss what those changes were,' Dittoe said, adding, 'I think it will be a very thoughtful process.'"

Capitol Chaos: Senators Rebuke Report of Standoff's End | Today's TMJ4 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Weather, Sports, WTMJ | Local News

Capitol Chaos: Senators Rebuke Report of Standoff's End | Today's TMJ4 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Weather, Sports, WTMJ | Local News: "MADISON - On the 21st day of the political standoff in Madison over Governor Scott Walker's budget plans, one report said that part of the standoff could be ending.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the 14 Democratic state senators who left Wisconsin to stop a quorum on Walker's budget repair bill from happening could be preparing to return to Wisconsin."

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Wisconsin's Democrats to End Union Standoff -

Wisconsin's Democrats to End Union Standoff - "By KRIS MAHER And AMY MERRICK

Playing a game of political chicken, Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin to stymie restrictions on public-employee unions said Sunday they planned to come back from exile soon, betting that even though their return will allow the bill to pass, the curbs are so unpopular they'll taint the state's Republican governor and legislators."

Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return | TPMDC

Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return | TPMDC: "Wisconsin state Senate Democrats, who have fled the state in order to block budget quorum on Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union proposals, are walking back reports in the Wall Street Journal that they plan to return to the state.

'We are now looking at returning to the state capitol and requiring the senators to take a vote and have them declare who they're with -- the workers or the governor,' Minority Leader Mark Miller told the Journal"

Wall Street Journal - Wisconsin Democrat Senators Preparing To Return Home - Rick Ungar - The Policy Page - Forbes

Wisconsin Democrat Senators Preparing To Return Home - Rick Ungar - The Policy Page - Forbes: "Democratic Senator Mark Miller, leader of the 14 Wisconsin state senators who left the state last month to block Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to break the state employee unions, has told the Wall Street Journal that his group will return to Wisconsin “in the relatively near future.”

As it has become clear that the Wisconsin governor has no intention of negotiating -despite strong public disapproval with his position -the senators have determined that they’ve scored a significant political win against the GOP majority even if the repair budget including the severe limits on collective bargaining is likely to succeed."

Madison - The Big Lie Continues

The biggest lie is "the recession that we are in."  The truth?  We are not in a recession.  Real Gross Domestic Product for 2010 was a new record high.

The Wisconsin lie is "the state is broke."  The truth.  Wisconsin governmental revenue for the year ended June 30, 2010 was at a record high.

Come on Scott, if your position is so morally superior you do not need a lie to justify it.  All we want is the truth.

Walker: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has limitations. And those limitations have to be guarded by men with guts. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Senator Hansen? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for public employees and you curse me. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that the death of public employee unions, while tragic, probably saved many jobs. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves jobs...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me in this office. You need me in this office.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very wealth I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a registration form and stand for office. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Union Employee: Did you cause the current deficit?
Walker: You're damn right I did!!

Apologies to Aaron Sorkin

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Live Feed Wisconsin Capitol

New Governors May Outshine Potential White House Hopefuls


New Governors May Outshine Potential White House Hopefuls: "WASHINGTON — What's wrong with this picture? While half a dozen current and former Republican governors weigh bids to challenge President Barack Obama, the party's lightning and thunder are coming from a different handful of governors, who threaten to overshadow those potential candidates."

Richard Trumka: Today's Heroes: The Wisconsin 14


For anyone who still thinks the inspiring actions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are just about public employees in those states, here's a moving dose of reality.

People in every walk of life and every part of the country -- even other countries -- are expressing heartfelt gratitude to the 14 Democratic state senators who left Wisconsin Feb. 17 rather than allow Gov. Scott Walker to pass a sham budget bill taking from state and local workers the right to bargain for good middle-class jobs.

Gov. Walker and state Republicans may be sending them $100-a-day fines and arrest warrants, but take a look at some Facebook and phone messages real people are sending the brave Wisconsin 14:"

Mary Bottari: Scott Walker Down the Rat Hole With the Palace Guard


The Wisconsin State Capitol has erupted in a torrent of lawlessness this week that schoolchildren will be reading about for years. No, I don't mean rowdy protests resulting in mass arrests. Even though some 300,000 people have visited the capitol in the last two weeks, the crowds have been peaceful and fun; no arrests have been reported. I mean the convulsion of lawlessness that has seized Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the republican leadership -- a track record that would make Richard Nixon proud."

Dateline Wisconsin - Friday March 4, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Warns of Layoffs -


Unions and Democratic activists in Wisconsin and Ohio are opening new fronts in their opposition to state bills that would limit public employees' collective-bargaining rights.

In Wisconsin, committees have registered to target the eight Republican state senators eligible for recall this year, out of 19 Republicans in that chamber. State Democrats, liberal group and the Service Employees International Union are raising money and soliciting help gathering signatures."

Friday, March 04, 2011

911 Emergency Phone Transcript

911:  This is 911.  What is your emergency?

Caller: Hurry!  Send help! We are under attack!

911:  What is your name sir?

Caller:  America's finest.

911:  Who is attacking you sir?

Caller:  A bunch of crazy people?  They're nuts!

911:  Can you describe them?

Caller:  Yes, but hurry!  They are all driving BMWs and Mercedes and wearing Gucci shoes!

911:  Do they have any kind of identifying labels or marks?

Caller:  They all have a patch with an elephant on it.

911:  Are they the Oakland Athletics?

Caller:  No!  A different kind of elephant.

911:  Can you describe your attackers?

Caller:  I'll try.  The one doing most of talking is some young guy with black hair.  He is shouting and strutting.  They all seem to be listening to him.  Then there is this fat guy.  He kinda sounds like a mob person.  Boy, he really is angry.  There is another guy that smiles all the time.  Hurry! He's taking my car right now.

911:  Sir, I am going to put you on hold for just a minute.

911:  Sir, I spoke with my supervisor.  He says those are not criminals.  They are "pillars of your community" - The Republicans.

Caller:  The Republicans?  It doesn't matter, just come and arrest them.

911:  Sorry sir!  They are within their legal rights to attack you and steal everything you have.  Furthermore, didn't you endorse, support, and vote for them last November?  In fact, we show you registered as a Republican.

Caller:  Yeah, but I didn't think they would do this?

911:  Sir, haven't you been listening - to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck?

Caller:  Yeah, every day, but I didn't think they meant it.  Is there anyone who can help me?

911:  I have number you can try.  Ask for Jimmy.

Dial Tone

Unidentified:  Yeah! What do you want?

Caller:  I was told to call this number and ask for Jimmy.

Unidentified: Anyone seen Jimmy?  Some guy is calling.

Jimmy:  This is Jimmy.

Caller:  Jimmy, we are being attacked by the Republicans.  Can you help?

Jimmy:  I didn't catch your name.

Caller:  America's Finest

Jimmy:  So, it's Mr. Goody Two Shoes.  You want my help do you?

Caller: Can you help us?

Jimmy: It depends.  Do you really want to be helped?

Caller:  We are desperate.  Just what exactly do you do?

Jimmy: Let's just say I am a guy who gets things done.

Caller:  What do we have to do?

Jimmy:  Have you ever read Faust?


Scott, Chris, and John - are you listening you lunkheads?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Madison - Senate orders arrest of missing Democrats

Update: Senate orders arrest of missing Democrats

4:00 PM today ultimatum.

Wisconsin unions targeted | budget, koch, governor - Letter - Appeal-Democrat

Letter: Wisconsin unions targeted

In response to the letter to the editor headlined "Union actions appalling," I would like to be one voice as a resident living in Madison, Wis.
What is happening in Wisconsin right now is not about a budget. The union workers have agreed to the GOP's demands on wages and benefits, in exchange for Republicans dropping the provision that strips them of the right to negotiate in the future.
Service rollbacks, furloughs and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money make sense to everyone. But rolling back workers' bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own.
The state of Wisconsin started the year on track to have a budget surplus; now, there is, in fact, a $137 million budget shortfall. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, coincidentally, has given away $140 million worth of business tax breaks since he came into office. That is exactly the size of the shortfall.
If anyone reading this thinks this is coincidental I advise you to do your homework and to Google Koch Industries and their affiliation with our governor. Walker is a puppet and the Koch brothers are the puppet masters. The public unions are among the biggest, most reliable donors to Democrats. The Koch brothers, and others, were organized to bust labor, it's what big business wants to do. They gave a large amount of money to the governor's campaign.
The governor's campaign is over. They are going to try to bust unions apart: this is political and everyone in the middle is a pawn.
Robyn Burgess
Madison, Wis.

Wilmington police union OK contract


Wilmington officials and its police union have agreed to a contract that increases officers' shifts to 12 hours and places up to seven additional officers on patrol each hour of the day, officials said Wednesday.

The one-year agreement also increases personal monetary contributions to health and dental coverage, and, according to Wilmington Chief of Staff William Montgomery, the new contract will cost the city more than $700,000 in a two-year period: $573,000 for the current budget and $143,000 the following budget which starts July 1."

Tallahassee PBA OK contract


Tallahassee police officers will see pay raises over the next three years if they and the City Commission agree on a new three-year contract.

Tallahassee officers, represented by the Big Bend Police Benevolent Association, agreed to the contract Tuesday. All officers will receive across-the-board raises of .5 percent in the first and second years and a 1.57-percent raise in the third year.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wisconsin Protesters Ambush Republican Lawmaker Amid Standoff Over Budget Cuts -


"Republican Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman was chased around the state Capitol on Tuesday evening by dozens of pro-union protesters yelling “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as the two-week-long protests turned ugly amid attempts to clear the area."

Columbus - Senate Bill 5 passes, heads to Ohio House

Mark Hicks from Glouster
Columbus, Ohio Today

The Ohio Senate voted 17-16 today to pass a major overhaul of Ohio's 27-year-old collective bargaining law that supporters say will give governments more flexibility but public unions see as an attack on the working class.

Six Republicians joined all Senate Democrats in opposition, but it wasn't enough to stop the bill. The measure now heads to the GOP-dominated Ohio House, where Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, is planning an aggressive committee schedule designed to bring a vote by March 15."

The Plum Line - Breaking: Wisconsin Dems throw their weight behind drive to recall GOP Senators


The Wisconsin Democratic Party has decided to throw its weight behind a nascent grassroots drive to recall a number of GOP state senators, a move that will considerably increase the pressure on them to break with Governor Scott Walker, the Dem party chair confirms to me.

'The proposals and the policies that Republicans are pushing right now are not what they campaigned on, and they're extreme,' the party chair, Mike Tate, said in an interview. 'Something needs to be done about it now. We're happy to stand with citizens who are filling papers to recall these senators.'"

Blind Ambition - 2012

Madison - Budget Repair Bill Not Passed - Sun Still Rises Over The Capitol This Morning


The sun did rise in Madison this morning.

Live Cam Madison, Wisconsin

Columbus - How Ohio’s Budget Battle Could Decide Who Wins the White House - Newsweek

Ohio Governor John Kasich

There’s a chill in the air as Ohio Gov. John Kasich ambles down the steps of a white propeller plane and dips his athletic frame into the black car waiting on the tarmac of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. Originally, the cab was supposed to convey the former Republican congressman and Lehman Brothers managing director to a posh Italian eatery a few miles away in Howland, where he would regale the local chamber of commerce with details about his plan to bring jobs back to the Buckeye State. But at the last minute, Kasich’s people relocated the luncheon to the airport itself."

Detroit - 'This is not Wisconsin,' Gov. Snyder tells building trades group

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

LANSING -- Gov. Rick Snyder reaffirmed Tuesday that he'll work with unions to solve Michigan's financial problems, but did not back down from a budget plan critics say is too business-friendly.

Snyder drew applause from the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council when he said Michigan's economy would bounce back with a positive, non-combative approach and 'by stepping back to say this is not Wisconsin.'"

New Orleans - Overhaul of NOPD's upper ranks gets Civil Service Commission approval

New Orleans Police Superintendent (Chief) Ronal Serpas

The New Orleans Civil Service Commission on Tuesday approved a proposal to create a new pay plan for high-ranking police commanders, allowing for an overhaul of the agency's upper ranks.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas will be allowed to unilaterally promote officers, ranging in rank from lieutenant to major, to the new position, meaning more than 100 officers are eligible on paper.
The five-member commissioned unanimously voted on a revised pitch by NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas allowing for a new compensation structure for 16 'police commander' positions in the NOPD."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Columbus - At least 8,500 protest over collective bargaining | The Columbus Dispatch


Binding arbitration for safety forces would be replaced by a procedure giving ultimate authority over contracts to elected officials, according to a key provision of a massive amendment to a bill that would sharply curtail collective bargaining rights.

The 99-page amendment, outlined today at hearing of the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee, also removes the right to strike for all public employees and establishes stiff fines for public workers who defy the no-strike ban."

Worthington, Ohio firefighter Mark Lundy in Columbus, Ohio today

Capitol Chaos: Walker To Unveil 2011-13 Budget


4:00 PM CST

Catch Governor Scott Walker's budget address at 4:00 p.m. CST on TODAY'S TMJ4 with live streaming video here.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, quickly becoming a darling of Republicans across the country for his plan to take away most collective bargaining rights from public workers, will get another chance to bolster his national conservative credentials when he unveils the rest of his plan for dealing with the state's budget woes"

Ohio union plan like Wisconsin draws protests | Reuters

(Reuters) - More than 5,000 protesters converged on Ohio's state capital on Tuesday as state lawmakers considered a bill like one in Wisconsin to curtail collective bargaining rights for public workers and eliminate their right to strike.

Republican supporters of the Ohio proposal said the limits to public workers' ability to bargain are necessary to give local governments flexibility and help reduce the state's two-year budget deficit of about $8 billion."