Wisconsin, like many other states in America, is in a lot of debt. This means that they spend more money than they have. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, proposed a new budget, or plan, to make up for this excess spending last week.
Gov. Walker wants the state to cut costs in order to save money. His plan for cutting costs, however, has not been well received.
He plan is to eliminate a majority of the collective bargaining rights of public employees. Collective Bargaining is a process that allows employers and worker unions (groups that workers join to protect their rights) to reach agreements about working conditions such as wages, hours, and health and safety, among others.
President Obama spoke on the matter and said the plan seems like an “assault on unions.” Unions are a very important part of our work structure in the United States and make sure that individuals are protected and treated fairly.
How does this affect you? Teachers at public schools are state employees and will be included in this elimination of rights! Teachers will lose their say in their own work life and conditions will most likely suffer.
The changes would also limit pay increases, allow districts to fire teachers with more than three days of unexcused absences and set longer school days and years.
In response to the proposal, about 100 Stoughton High School students walked out of class on February 15th. Theron Luhn, a junior who helped organize the protest said:
“Let’s show Gov. Walker that we care about learning, and the teachers are worth every cent that we pay to them.”
The students walked across the street to the parking lot of Stoughton United Methodist Church, where they signed a petition and listened to protest leaders give speeches.
This was the most dramatic of protests by students but it wasn’t the only demonstration. About 10 students at Sun Prairie High School held a “walk-in” to show their support for teachers. Zack Henderson explained that as faculty came walking in the doors the students welcomed and cheered for them to show their appreciation.
What do you think might happen if teachers lose the ability to negotiate their working conditions?
How do you feel about student involvement in the Collective Bargaining protests?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
New Moon Intern