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Transcript of WEACinPrint April2011
volume 3 | issue 5weac.org Bringing attention to attacks on workers Page 2
Leading the charge
sTAnding uniTed. FighTing bAck.
You are everyday heroes raising your voice for Wisconsins future.
WEAC in Print (ISSN#1531-6831)
is published by the Wisconsin Education
Association Council, an affiliate of the
National Education Association, as a service
to members of its affiliates. WEAC in Print is
published in September, October, November,
December, April and May. Copyrighted 2011
by WEAC, 33 Nob Hill Rd., PO Box 8003,
Madison, WI, 53708-8003, 608-276-7711 or
All materials in this periodical may be
reproduced by members for distribution to
students or by WEAC affiliate associations
for their own publications. WEAC dues
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Mary Bell, PresidentBetsy Kippers, Vice PresidentDavid Harswick, Secretary-TreasurerDan Burkhalter, Executive DirectorKim Haas, Communications DirectorBill Hurley, EditorMatthew Call, Assistant EditorLaura DeVries, Graphic Design Specialist
Contributing writer: Bob Moeller e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 2011 | WEACinPrint2
As WEAC officers travelled the state to work with our members to respond to the attacks on public education, we have been awed yet not surprised by the strength and solidarity of our members. In joining with you to stand up for our values, I have had a lot of conversations about the impact of this loss of meaningful collective bargaining and what it means for the future of our union.
In response, I offer the following observations:
There is no time to mourn our losses right now. We continue to fight in the state budget battle, representing our profession and public education. The budget repair bill that stripped away our rights was only step one in an agenda to undermine public schools through underfunding and privatization. Governor Walkers biennial budget proposal will devastate Wisconsins public schools with a billion dollars in budget cuts. As educators, we know our schools cannot absorb further cuts reductions in funding that the DPI has said would be the most severe cuts to public education since the Great Depression. With so much at stake, we cant afford to sit back on the sidelines. The engagement we have seen in the defense of workers rights must continue as we explain to our fellow Wisconsinites the impact such cuts will have on our students, schools and communities.
Our union continues to support our members this commitment remains unchanged. Many districts have contracts settled through this year, through 2012 or through 2013. With these contracts intact, members have their same rights for union representation. Efforts continue wherever possible to work with
districts to enable them to reach a settlement or extension that would ensure some stability in our schools and give members some basic protections while we sort through the state of chaos Governor Walker and the Republicans in the Legislature have created.
Were partnering with other unions to broaden the base of Wisconsinites working together to oppose the governors power grab and extreme budget proposals. We need to realize that in the midst of the pain and anger that have come to us with the events of the last month, hundreds of thousands of people have become engaged in this debate to voice their support. Theres a movement building in our state over the kind of values we hold as Wisconsinites. Resolving these questions about specific policy and overall direction for our state will require community organizing, spirited yet informed debate and open forums for public input. Well be at hearings and town hall forums to discuss the impact
this budget will have, and sitting next to us will be the local firefighters, nurses, police, parents and other concerned citizens who have been united through a newly created We Are Wisconsin coalition.
Were continuing to reach out to our own, WEAC members. Its clear our union will evolve in
response to new legislation, but our commitment to advocate on behalf of our members and public education wont change. In fact, we must seize this opportunity born of crisis to strengthen our union by deepening the engagement of our members in their own organization. Over the last few weeks, I have heard so many comments from members who said I havent always been active in the union but now I realize why its so important for me to be involved. We cant allow this to happen to our profession. I couldnt agree more. Member engagement has been a priority of our organization and it assumes additional importance as this work continues, because it is in the power of our collective voice that we will move forward.
Staying strong. Staying united.
From President Mary Bell
Its clear our union will evolve in response to new legislation, but our commitment
to advocate on behalf of our members and public education wont change.
weac.org | April 2011 3
The numbers grew in Madison, from a few thousand to more than a hundred thousand. On highway overpasses, on town squares, at forum gatherings all over Wisconsin the everyday heroes who fill classrooms and schools raised their voices. And those actions continue to oppose the unprecedented attacks on educators and continue to build solidarity with people across the state.
Educators are raising their voices because they know the state is traveling backward under Governor Scott Walker and most of the Republicans in the state Legislature. Raising your voice and sharing your story is crucial to countering the attacks on your profession.
Take it from WEAC President Mary Bell, who led the charge not only in fighting back against Walkers attacks, but also in starting the discussion of what Walkers agenda will do to schools and the state. The emotion Bell and other members put forth in front of rally crowds, to the media, in letters to the editor and to their neighbors, put a face on the devastating effects Walker is having on workers and their families.
We deserve to be treated fairly, Bell said. The people of Wisconsin did not elect Governor Walker to undermine public education. But thats exactly what this attack on worker rights does. Hes about to hurt really good people kids and their families. His attacks on educators and the union that supports them directly harm the quality of our schools and the education that children receive. Taking away the unions role in support of teachers will mean teachers no longer have a voice in issues like curriculum, school quality and class size.
Governor Walker is taking aim at teachers and the teachers union, but in fact his direct hit is on children and schools, Bell added.
Bell wasnt the only Wisconsin educator sounding the alarm. Across the state teachers and support professionals were bringing attention to an agenda against workers and their say in their professions. Many members, such as Kim Hoffman, a middle school band director in Oconomowoc, raised their voices against attacks on education and those in the education profession. Hoffman, a 17-year veteran of the Wisconsin National Guard who joined the Army to pay for school, told people gathering at the state Capitol that Walkers agenda stands to take away her dream of teaching.
I will no longer be able to teach, Hoffman said, adding that educators like her are discouraged that they have sacrificed to become a teacher only to be told that my efforts are no longer worth rewarding.
Those stories and that action played out across the state, with rallies, forums, pickets and other events to build solidarity and show the opposition to Walkers agenda. And that work will continue.
Through more local events (listed at weac.org/activities), through the We Are Wisconsin coalition (see page 5 or wearewisconsin.org) and through your union, our collective strength will restore the rights of everyday heroes.
Make sure we have your home email for our e-newsletters and action drives. Update yours at weac.org/profile.
Educators raise their voices against attacks
To watch Mary Bell, Kim Hoffman and others share their stories, visit youtube.com/weacvideo.
WEAC President Mary Bell leads the charge in Madison.
Kim Hoffman shares her story at a rally in Madison.
Join the discussionTo keep up to date with
the latest news on the state budget and action to take back your rights as well as the chance to be part of the discussion follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
FacebookLike us on
Facebook at facebook.com/myweac to share your story and event details with members across the state. You can also find and share videos, pictures, news stories and more.
coverage, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/weac. We share news tips, event details and links to articles and blog entries.
In our fight to counter the attacks on
worker rights, our social media outlets will be a key component to keep you connected to your colleagues across the state.
For more ways to interact with your union online, visit weac.org/multimedia.
The greatest cut to education since the Great Depression
What does a billion dollars in cuts to education look like? You can see for yourself that what Governor Walker is proposing for public schools will have severe, lasting effects. In fact, State Superintendent Tony Evers said that a recent economic experts analysis of Walkers budget expos