By Courtney King, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MADISON, Wis. (WCCO) — More than 24,500 students had classes canceled in Madison, Wis. Wednesday and about 40 percent of teachers, assistants, and social workers in the city called in sick, according to a report from CNN.

The news network reports that more than 10,000 employees and supporters rallied in opposition to legislation supported by Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker is asking legislators to pass his “Budget Repair Bill” to help fight a $137 million shortfall through June 30. The legislation would require collective bargaining units to conduct annual votes to maintain certification.

Unions would lose the right to have dues deducted from worker paychecks and collective bargaining can only cover wages.

CBS reporter Dustin Weis said today is the fourth straight day of protest in the capitol and the 48th straight hour protestors have occupied the state rotunda.

With so many people at the state capitol Weis said that the Wisconsin National Guard has been briefed about the situation.

“If they are needed to be called up in the role to fill for prison guards in the event of a much broader worker strike than we have seen already,” Weis explained, “Now today the state’s larger teacher union is calling on all 96,000 of its members to get to the state capitol if they can.”

In a press briefing Wednesday, Walker brought up campaign literature that the unions had distributed about him saying that this isn’t something that should come as a surprise to people.

Weis said that Walker was pretty vague about how he would deal with unions.

“He never outlined directly the fact that he would want to take away their ability to negotiate with the state over hours, conditions they work in, or over their benefits and pensions.”

Not only are the protests affecting teachers, but students and parents as well.

“Most of the parents are pretty upset with the fact that their kids for the second day in a row now don’t have any school’s to go to,” Weis explained. “They are left scrambling to find some kind of daycare or just to stay home with their kids.”

WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews CBS Reporter Dustin Weis

Comments (47)
  1. Lance says:

    Its time for a Reagon moment when he fired all the air traffic controllers.

    1. Ginger Shepla says:

      I can’t believe they can get away with not holding school, the tax payers are payting them to protest instead of teaching their kids. I hope their govenor does not cave. Maybe Minnesota can learn something???

      1. YES! says:

        Right on Ginger! Dock their pay for not showing up and give the money to the foodshelves in town!

    2. Papa K says:

      REAGAN … it’s spelled REAGAN …

      Maybe Wisconsin should pay your teachers a FAIR wage and learn how to spell.

      Sorry I couldn’t resist …

      1. Irishgirl says:

        Wisconsin can’t pay teachers anything because it is a state not a person. It can also not spell anything.

  2. YES! says:

    Gotta LOVE Gov Walker!! Unions are the height of mediocrity and the reason the US is getting their lunch eaten by other countries. Pay for performance NOT tenure!!! Down with the unions – Yeahhhhh!! GO Wisconsin!!!

  3. Ignorance is dangerous says:

    I used to dislike unions and was vocal about it until somebody suggested that I had no clue about why unions exist. When I looked into that I discovered that my ignorance was used by union busters against me. I now support unions as a good thing, not bad.And I suggest to those who say “Down with the unions – Yeahhhh!” and “Maybe Minnesota can learn something” would learn something themselves.

    1. Lance says:

      Oh please share your wisdom about unions enlightened one.

    2. saved1003 says:

      Union history, their original purpose, is long gone. They have fallen far from their original purpose and have been from the inside out for a long time. Just as our country was founded on the basic principles of it’s founders and that has slid away over the last 235+ years so have the unions. Just because history says doesn’t mean that it still is.

    3. Tom says:

      Ignorance is dangerous

      I agree with you 100%! It’s usually conservatives who make comments about the unions in that way. And yes the ones who have said “down with the unions – yeahhh and “maybe minnesota can learn something” makes me laugh

    4. John says:

      You tell me how unions getting BUBBA ( Who can’t spell BUBBA ) and Dropped out of school in 10 th grade a wage of more than2X higher than a lot of people with college Degree’s is a good. think. Unions were formed bases on Poor working conditions. Please explain to me the Poor working conditions of Auto Workers, Airline workers , or teachers. My guess is your change of views was due to the fact that you are one of the many OVERPAID and UNDERWORKED union workers!!!!

  4. Lori says:

    Im not a teacher. But I support every move they are doing. Every Middle Class job is on the line. This is the first step. The glow we see in MN is not the Full Moon, but the burning of Wisc to the ground. First the light this. This is what happens when people do not educate themselves before they vote. How Horrible. Im afraid there is much much much more of this to come.

    1. YES! says:

      I sure hope there’s more to come! Well overdue. Let the people who want to work for a living survive and those who want to cower behind the unions and complain go away!

  5. Governor supporter says:

    If the teachers really cared about the kids like they say they do they would show up to teach those kids!

    way to go Gov., it is about time someone stood up to the unions and their outrageous demands and contracts! Unions had their place at one time but that time has come and gone!

    1. Jake says:

      I agree. It really shows where the crux of this lies – self-interest. Remember when teachers made what average folks made? We gave them all kinds of respect and honor because they were educated and took on an important job because of their concern for the next generation. Oh yeah, they also have summers (and weeks for holidays and “preparation”) off, lifetime employment, and a pension system that doesn’t exist in the private sector. Seemed like a pretty good deal.

      Somewhere along the line public teachers (as a whole, anyway) started dictating a lot about how the community’s kids are taught as well as other “conditions” of employment. And salaries for senior teachers have become luxurious compared to the average private sector employee who ultimately ponies up to pay for public schools.

      Now, as soon as this hegemony is challenged, the teachers walk out on the kids, sticking it to the parents who now must find care for their children or miss work themselves. This is selfish and outrageous, and shows that the profession (as a whole) may no longer be worthy of the respect we have been taught to believe it deserves.

      Shame on the teachers. Rather than making a good argument (which they might not have, frankly) and an honest appeal to the public in a fair setting, they choose to bully their communities, squeeze the parents of young children, and neglect the education of those they supposedly live to educate.

  6. Melissa says:

    The big elephant is about to be toppled! Teachers should have the right to opt out of paying union dues that fund political campaigns!

  7. BritMan says:

    here are some facts for you right to work idiots!
    keep aligning yourselves w/ those Tea Baggers, they’ll have you all flipping burgers for min wage! Good Luck!

    In 1988, the income of an average American taxpayer was $33,400, adjusted for inflation. Fast forward 20 years, and not much had changed: The average income was still just $33,000 in 2008, according to IRS data.
    Meanwhile, the richest 1% of Americans — those making $380,000 or more — have seen their incomes grow 33% over the last 20 years, leaving average Americans in the dust. Experts point to some of the usual suspects — like technology and globalization — to explain the widening gap between the haves and have-nots.
    But there’s more to the story.
    A real drag on the middle class
    One major pull on the working man was the decline of unions and other labor protections, said Bill Rodgers, a former chief economist for the Labor Department, now a professor at Rutgers University.
    Because of deals struck through collective bargaining, union workers have traditionally earned 15% to 20% more than their non-union counterparts, Rodgers said.
    But union membership has declined rapidly over the past 30 years. In 1983, union workers made up about 20% of the workforce. In 2010, they represented less than 12%.
    “The erosion of collective bargaining is a key factor to explain why low-wage workers and middle income workers have seen their wages not stay up with inflation,” Rodgers said.
    Without collective bargaining pushing up wages, especially for blue-collar work — average incomes have stagnated.

    1. Jake says:


      Your points, assuming them valid, have nothing to do with the teacher issue. The “working man” as you describe it is the one who is paying for this union’s members’ exceptional compensation. In the private sector, a union negotiates for a greater share of the profits of their labor. Teacher and public unions use political muscle to compel elected officials to give them money that doesn’t even belong to the elected official who gives them what they want. Then they use that additional government-provided money to become even more influential with the elected officials to get even more. And the cycle continues.

      If you want to make a meaningful point, direct your comments to facts that are relevant to the matter at hand.

  8. @Britman says:

    You forgot to add a few things, let me help you. Unions are great to bargain with, look at Detroit and what they did to help that city, unemployment at 18%. The Unions are growing in the government work force by 20%. They are dieing out in the public sector because we are sick of them wanting more and more for the same work. Why you ask? Well Healthcare costs for public union members are paid for 85% by the public, try that stunt in the public field. The Unions are on their way out the door.

  9. End The Insanity says:

    Down with unions,
    I can not believe these teachers. They should be fired for non sanctioned union activity. I think unions had a time and a place. and that time and place ended in the early 1980’s.
    We now have OSHA, Minimum Wages, Family Medical Leave Act, Equal Oppertunity employement and many more government mandated work benifits. Unions no longer serve a purpose. In particlar when they are unionized against the tax payer. Shame on those teachers. They should be ready to stand be the quality of thier work.

  10. Recall 2012 says:

    Fire them all, then pass the bill and have a bunch more walk off the job. Then have a nice long government shut down, while you try to fill the positions with people who do not know the jobs. That should save some money…
    I mean who needs the middle class? Walker can just put all those positions at minimum wage and hire illegals immigrates on the cheap to work for the state.
    You can always start a recall campaign after Walker has been in office for a year, if you do not like him.

  11. saved1003 says:

    Where your heart is, is where you will stand. Those teachers who showed up in their classrooms vs. those who ditched it to protest – shows where their interest lays. The unions in general have become political like so much else that they have lost sight of where their roots are planted. They are choking themselves off from what they were founded on, by the blood and sweat of the American worker, and have corrupted themselves.

  12. Fire Them Now says:

    I am tired of the teachers complaining they dont make enough money, They chose that career waaaaaaaaaaa get over it. I dont trust the unions all I hear is give me give me!

  13. John says:

    Scott Walker would get my vote here in Minnesota – There is no doubt that Unions have aided in Many of the states budget shortfalls. I hate unions. The will aid in the fall of this country for sure.!!!!

    1. Give me a fact says:

      What! Where did you get that? Seems all we need today is some misinformed slice of “something to say” that somebody said and then make it sound like some sort of fact. Unions have NOT added much of our states budget shortfalls in any streach of the imagination. Give me a break.

      1. WAAAAAAA says:

        I like how you say that unions have not added MUCH! Go do your homework!

      2. Tom says:

        Give me a fact

        I agree with you! Conservatives love too blame the unions for everything!

  14. di says:

    As a retired teacher (after 37 yrs) I find it both sad and scary to read the anti-teacher negative comments posted above. The misperceptions and “judgments” are born out of misinformation and malcontent. The sad and scary part is that it spreads its virus as “fact” instead of “opinion” and “fiction.”

    1. Jake says:


      Here is your opportunity to enlighten people with the facts.

      I also think I might have missed the “anti-teacher” comments. The fact that someone disagrees with the union’s tactics doesn’t mean they are anti-teacher. The fact that people believe this approach is shameful also doesn’t mean they are anti-teacher. On the contrary, it could indicate that people see the profession as critical to our success as a society, and a demonstration that a large number of teachers place their personal interests ahead of the interests of the kids is offensive to people who are decidedly “pro-teacher” in the first place.

      Again, here is an opportunity to educate us with the facts. My hunch is that the facts related to teacher compensation won’t gain a whole lot of support for the union’s cause from the large number of people who earn far, far less.

    2. Bakoff says:

      Hows that Gold plated retirement package the rest of us non-union workers are paying for working out for you? This type of package for all retired and yet to retire public workers is NOT sustainable! The sooner something is done to change it the better!

    3. Tom says:


      Yes it is true that the teacher is one getting all the blame for this. But It is not just the teacher who is responsibilty too make sure the kids do well it is also the parents.

  15. max says:

    I support the striking teachers. Protests are useless if they don’t inconvenience anyone.

  16. Bob says:

    It is not just about the teachers it is about all union jobs. Now I ask you if it was your job on the line and you had over 30 years vested in “the Union” and are a couple years short of retirement, and you were going to loose it all, pension, sick. etc.etc just what would you do??
    It seems to me that the ones that are doing all the union bashing on here would like to work for a boss that would tell you how many horus a day you had to work and for how much. Thus for the first 3 hours you make this amount and the next five or 6 you will make that amount .Plus no Bennifits.
    Yes there is a shortfall but doing away with a persons job is not the way to make it up. Impeach the Gov.

  17. Jeffrey says:

    The unions certainly had a place in their time. Now, protections such as abuse, racism, unfair preference, work hours, safety concerns, etc, are covered and enforced by the government. Why not let the teachers earn more being market and accomplishment driven, save their union money, and provide for their own futures like the rest of us working class people? They should have the advantage being the educated ones right? They know what the salary rates are going in, don’t like it, do something else! And lets help them out by giving them more power to instill discipline in the schools and not be afraid of the sluffing parents and their disruptive childrens threats so they can succeed as teachers and earn at a higher level.
    According to the Pew report produced for the state of MN and presented by the state to Gov. Pawlenty back in 2005, illegal immigrant children cost the school system in MN between 118 and 159 million dollars. And that was back in the 2004 school year, it has grown incredibly more expensive since. An incredible strain on teachers and financial resources, where does the union stand on that?? We all know the answer.

  18. So long Unions says:

    So long Unions we don’t need you you sold out this Country with your support for illegal workers

  19. Greygower says:

    That’s right boneheads! Let’s get rid of unions; they’ve served their purpose. Now that we have, generally, 8 hour workdays, weekends off, bathroom breaks, injury compensation, sick-leave, maternity leave and a couple of weeks vacation, everything is hunky dory.
    Let’s dump the unions now, because we know that without them, corporations and big business will do a much better job of protecting the workers, who are, after all, like family.
    Teachers are the canaries in the coal mine. Bust their union and next it’ll be Firemen, Cops and Nurses. Eventually, with no union presence, everybody that works for some else will be affected. Then we’ll have to fight for rights all over again.

  20. kyle says:

    I would like to ask the tens of thousands of people at the capitol if they voted in the last election. What did you expect with a republican controlled government? Clearly, the rich will get richer. Any argument otherwise would be ignorant probably due to watching Fox News.

  21. jj says:

    @jeffrey I read that report too! It’s so unfair that illegals should cost the taxpayers that much just for a school year. Unions had their time and place. I get negotiating on work conditions, pay, and health insurance. Work conditions should be safe. pay should be based on performance. If health insurance is too high to pay with one insurance company well then they should have the right to find a better insurance company that the premiums are affordable. As for retirement, why not do a matching contribution up to a certain percentage. Unions were a way for not only poor working conditions but for the mob to make money to. I am sure it’s still the same. Not much ever changes criminals just get smarter.

  22. pat says:

    Yea!!!! hope this happens in MN as well. These overpaid idiots. Teaching is the easiest degree to get and boy does it show, look at our educational system and what it produces. Children can’t even put a clear sentence together. If you are a parent whose child is one of the 50% that can read thank your lucky stars, if not your child is doomed to either being in the service industry or a teacher.

    1. Jake says:

      O.k., so Pat appears to be a bit anti-teacher. I withdraw my earlier comment @di.

  23. Kevin says:

    Fire them all! And bring in non union teachers!

  24. Matt says:

    Why are all union employees so afraid to be paid based on the merit of their work ethic and performance instead of a blanket system that rewards people for being nothing more than average.

    Unions have lost their place in the modern world and even the socialist FDR said that governments shouldn’t be unionized because government is a legal monopoly. This is a no brainier change and kudos to Scott Walker for taking a stand against big government.

  25. Tom says:

    It is pretty amazing on here how some of the people on this page are bad mouthing unions and blaming the union for everything. But those who are againest unions should ask themselves this what if your employer came up to you and said that I need too cut your pay, I need you pay more toward your health care, etc. Now are you just going too stand there and say to your boss ” no problem boss i understand i am willing too make sacrafices too keep the company afloat. I will put the companies interests before my own? But yet on the other hand if you were union your union would fight keep those for you.

    1. Matt says:

      Tom a LOT of people have had to do that over the past 3 years, that’s why everyone is so upset that the union is throwing a fit when they have to do the same thing.

      My health insurance premiums, which are pretty good compared to my wife, went up about 40% this year. My wife’s were up about 25%. Personally I didn’t have to take a pay cut, but many people did?

      And to answer your question, I did exactly what you said. No problem boss, it’s a hard time and I am happy to keep my job. If they would have went to far I would have found a new job. That’s why it’s called right to work, if you don’t like it leave.

    2. jj says:

      Maybe you should try being laid off for 16 months,apply for jobs that can’t even be bought . Then start work again and you would be willing to make those sacrifices, just to have a job. We all have bills to pay. Everyone’s health insurance is going up. We all have to save for retirement. They should too. If the taxpayers can no longer afford it then they have to contribute more. 12.6% isn’t that much compared to someone paying 40% or more. And I disagree with being forced to join a union. If you can’t afford to pay dues or you just don’t want to join period you shouldn’t be forced at all and the unions should respect that. Besides it’s just more hightech organized crime anyways. I would like to know what the union in WI is doing with all that money from dues being paid in anyways that’s close to 50million. Sounds like union workers are getting duped!

    3. Ali says:

      Yes, It is called “employment at will” and it should be that way for everyone. We should not have the select few who are willing to have had their vote bought by a party who then pays them off by supporting their Union. Time to get with the real world. Why did only government job pay and numbers go up during the down turn in the economy? You produce nothig. All money and productivity comes only from the privat sector.

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