So the unions took control of the Wisconsin State House last night. Video:
But just what are they rioting over? Do they work in a sweatshop type atmosphere like the Chinese workers that make all of the Apple products that teachers love? (see picture below)
Something tells me that working conditions in Wisconsin schools are a tad bit nicer. Here are three reports about teacher union contracts in Wisconsin.
First up is Viagra coverage. Full story here at ABC News:
Two years ago, the Milwaukee school district decided that it was more interested in enhancing teacher performance in the classroom than the bedroom.
Researchers found that using Viagra in combination with a cancer drug killed cancer cells in mice and protected their hearts at the same time.
Officials said too many teachers were using the expensive drugs for recreation, swelling their insurance rates. An estimated 1,000 of the 10,000 school's staff, which includes employees, dependents and retirees, were using the drugs.
Now, teachers are fighting to get the benefit back with a lawsuit. The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association (MTEA) argues that the new policy discriminates unfairly against men and "creates barriers" to receiving necessary medical treatment.
In recent years, several lawsuits have claimed that health plans discriminate against women by not providing contraceptives, but now medications like Viagra -- which can cost $20 a pill -- are being viewed as so-called "lifestyle" drugs.
Looks like Viagra can be an expensive habit if you have to pay for it yourself. So just what are some of the average teacher salaries in Wisconsin anyway? The Daily Caller has some data here:
“When people say that public sector employees live high off the hog, I’d like to share that for 13 of my 19-year teaching career I have held a part-time job either in the summer or teaching night class at the local technical college,”
Lechleiter-Luke told CNN. “In addition to tightening the belt even more and crossing our fingers that nothing breaks, I will need to find part-time work again.”
Lechleiter-Luke makes $54,928 in base salary and $32,213 in “fringe benefits,” which include health insurance, life insurance and retirement pay.
So her compensation package is worth $87,141 per year for only 9 months of work. Kudos for the summer job but if you do the math her compensation package is equivalent to $116,188 for the average person that works for a company the entire year. $116,000 per year is not to shabby for a Midwestern lifestyle.
What about other school employees like say the bus drivers perhaps? How are they scraping by in these hard economic times? Ann Coulter has a great bit on that one here:
MSNBC is covering the fight in Wisconsin as if it's the 9/11 attack -- and the Republicans are al-Qaida. Its entire prime-time schedule is dedicated to portraying self- interested government employees as if they're Marines taking on the Taliban. The network's Ed Schultz bellows that it is "morally wrong" to oppose the demands of government employees.
Yes, and I guess pornographers are noble when they launch a full-scale offensive against obscenity laws.
Public sector workers are pursuing their own narrow financial interests to the detriment of everyone else in their states. That's fine, but can we stop pretending it's virtuous?
Because of the insane union contracts in Wisconsin, one Madison bus driver, John E. Nelson, was able to make $159,000 in 2009 -- about $100,000 of which in overtime pay. Jackie Gleason didn't make that much playing bus driver Ralph Kramden on "The Honeymooners." Seven bus drivers took home more than $100,000 that year.
When asked about the outrageous overtime pay for bus drivers -- totaling $1.94 million in 2009 alone -- Transit and Parking Commission Chairman Gary Poulson said: "That's the contract."
It's ludicrous to suggest that these union contracts were fairly bargained. Only one side was at the negotiating table. Ordinary people with jobs were not at the meetings where public sector compensation was discussed.
Once again kudos to anyone that puts in the overtime to work hard for their family. Then again some quick math shows that driving a bus earns you at least $60,000 per year before overtime. Not to shabby at all for a job that does not require an advanced degree or skill beyond an extra test at the DMV.
Now those stories provided some useful salary data - but are those salary numbers real or just some numbers thrown out by political types to make headlines? Solid question. Michelle Malkin wrote her own piece on teacher salaries in Wisconsin here and provided not one but two links to the Wisconsin data bases that hold that type of information.
The research tools and numbers are all there for everyone to use and see. As it happens the results aren’t pretty for the unions. What’s that old phrase “If you can’t argue the facts then bang on the table” or in this case the Capital building.