Gov. Walker Met With Protesters In Hudson

HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — Gov. Scott Walker ran into about 175 protesters at a stop in Hudson Tuesday, while touring the state to say the new law is a “progressive” and “innovative change.”

But the protesters in front of the small manufacturing company weren’t hearing any of it. They stood in the rain chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker’s got to go.”

Missy Kowalchyk is a fourth grade teacher in Hager City who says Walker’s actions are no good for her family.

“I’m a laid-off teacher,” said Kowalchyk, “I’ve taught for almost eight years in my school district and I most likely will not have a job in the fall.”

Walker said he’s confident that won’t happen.

“The reforms that I signed into law on Friday actually are the very tools that will protect her from not being laid off,” he said.

The governor is talking about how the new law will raise the percentage public employees pay for health and pension benefits.  It also takes away the ability for unions to bargain for pay raises and eliminates automatic dues payments from paychecks.

Walker told the employees at Empire Bucket, a small company that makes excavating equipment, that he’s protecting the middle class during tough economic times. He also discussed his 2011-13 biennial budget and talked about his plans to help the private sector create 250,000 new jobs.

“The sacrifices we’re asking for public workers in this state are much less than employees at companies like this and others across the state,” Walker said. “That’s what reform is all about that I signed into law. Not  what you hear about in Madison, not what you hear about in the national press. It was simply about saying all of us who work in the government should share in the sacrifice that people all across the state have been making for years.”

Still, some are worried about how deep those sacrifices will go.

“It’s going to affect our family like greatly,” said Kennedy Kowalchyk. “My dad doesn’t make as much as my mom.”

Her parents are both teachers, but her dad works in Minnesota.  Fifteen-year-old Kennedy is worried about the bigger picture.

“(Walker) doesn’t realize how many people it’s going to affect,” she said. “It’s not just us, it’s everybody.”

Walker addressed the protesters saying, “Their voices should not crowd out the voices of the middle class in the state and that’s exactly who we’re fighting for.”

Joan Gilbertson, Producer
Contact Joan

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports

  • HowItIs

    Why can’t the protesters produce any facts and figures? More people will keep their jobs with this law, nobody can dispute that. Yes they will have to pay more for their benefits, but they will be on par with most other state’s workers and still far ahead of the private sector. The previous Dem Gov, house and senate left the tax payers a mess.

    • BeEducated

      Actually we can. Every school district will HAVE TO cut jobs because of his budget, REGARDLESS of his “Repair Bill.” Right now Public workers are compensated 4.2% less than comparable private workers. The comparable is comparing education. We should all agree someone with a Masters degree should be making much more than a 19 year old stock boy at your local grocery. No one made this mess. This mess was created by the recession which reduced state revenues… Learn something, I guess that would be hard now with education in Wisconsin going down the crapper.

    • Joseph Anderson

      Riiiight. So we should be leveling the playing field then? That’s a good one there commie.

    • Ralph

      What facts and figures are there to support or deny the removal of bargaining rights for working conditions? Other articles had stated they had given wage concessions. Where are your facts and figures that back your claims? Wisconsin is in far better shape then what Pawlenty left.

      • Richard Hagen

        Ralph and others,
        These are the facts. Over 100 districts in Wisconsin including some big ones like Madison, Racine, and Janesville have already settled. They all gave Scott the concessions he wanted through collective bargaining.
        I have witnessed teacher union bargaining for over 50 years and it works! No more strikes and it has attracted and kept some of the best and most dedicated teachers in the country. The evidence and facts is that Wisconsin ranks at the top in student achievement in almost every category.
        If you have been successful, that a Wisconsin teacher.
        I’m a retired school principal with over 30 years in education and can attest to the fact that collective bargaining for teacher works.

  • Mark from Minnesota Tax Wate

    Great job Walker!! Keep it up!!

    • jimmy

      Mark you do know that this is not the Texas Ranger you watch on TV tight.

      • Liz

        Good one, Jimmy. mark is a jerk.

    • Liz

      Be quiet, Mark. You are on here every day, get a life. You spout the same garbage every single day.

  • Tom

    Good reporting! Interview a 15 year old girl that has 2 teachers as parents. I’m sure she has a clear view of what’s going on. Wow. What garbage. GO WALKER!

  • Paul

    I agree with Tom, great reporting. More proof that journalism is dead. Have yet to figure out how this affects the middle class. OHH I know, me not having to pay for thier benefits and pay raises when the state is already broke, make perfect sense. More evidence of the entitlement crowd. Not fair that they have to live like the rest of us, sorry that you now have to pay for benefits.

  • Matt

    I love the teacher complaining about the law even though the law would potentially allow her to keep her job if she is truly an effective teacher instead of being terminated purely based on tenure. Maybe she should learn the facts before talking to the news.
    Not to mention the complains about the fact that they are going to have to contribute to their retirement. Don’t they realize that the union sold that down the river LONG before losing out on collective bargaining? Those who trust the unions shouldn’t be trusted themselves.

  • wick

    What is funny about the story is the 15 year olds parents are both teachers and mom who teaches in Wisconsin makes more than dad who teaches in Minnesota, if both are teachers Walker made the right decision.

  • Martha

    This is bunk! Teachers deserve every penny that they make. None of the are RICH!! What about the folks who work for corporate america who contribute 000 towards pensions and retirement and have golden parachutes and Minnesota wants to give them a tax CUT? A reasonable pension is compensation for low wages and dealing with our challenging youth and trying to produce the leaders of tomorrow. This whole thing is crazy making!

  • Kochpublicans

    Taking away collective bargaining rights from union workers does nothing to cut the budget. The unions had already offered up substantial pay cuts and higher payments for health insurance, but that did not satisfy Walker and the Wisconsin GOP. It was NEVER about cutting the budget and all you knuckleheads who believe it was are suckers and the upcoming wage decreases and unsafe work conditions will be your mark in history.
    Chances are high that you would not be making a livable wage at your non-union jobs had it not been for unions to set the standards for which all workers are paid.

    • Matt

      UNSAFE working conditions? This will single handedly lead to the end of all public employees because working conditions are no longer sage? Come on, this isn’t exactly coal mining.

  • As If...

    Hudson’s estimated budget cuts are over $3.8 Million. Making teachers pay more pension/health insurance will only save the district $1.4 Million. That means they still have to cut over $2.4 Million. They also already pay part of their health insurance… Pretty sure Hager City’s school district is going to take big hits like that too…She probably WILL lose her job…or will be offered a position at a much lower pay – now having to pay more for insurance & pension. Just what Walker wanted… no unions, no voices, no jobs. Watch out MN, you’re next!

  • Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies

    Amen! Of course, from the looks of these Minnesotans’ comments – people who use the word “turd” and “nuttin”; and the appalling lack of civility – thinking that a 15 year old who is worried sick about both of her parents facing severe pay cuts is “funny”, I hope Minnesota’s budget for lessons in tolerance isn’t cut too severely.

    • High-Class Minnesotan

      These Wisconsin shenanigans are the definition of funny, teachers are the laziest turds on earth, just below welfare recipients…These sloths don’t do any real work…and now they are scrambling as they see their free ride drawing to a close. I enjoy this all very much from my ivory tower as I am a go-getter, a self-made millionaire, I am tired of subsidizing their squandering.

      • Joseph Anderson


      • Walker

        Please take your medications, or is your millions in Peso? Or is it so easy to make a million that you are proof anyone can do it.

      • Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies

        You keep making my point for me with every word you type.

      • dphilips

        Its people like you that are the problem

      • dphilips

        Its people llike high class Minnesotan that are the problem .Wonder how many he has scammed?

  • M B

    What the Republicans want is a slave labor force composed of underpaid and overworked employees. In short, they are jealous of the insane profits made in China. They want that here. They want employees to have to work 12-14 hour days with little to no benefits. They want their serfs to give up their families and lives so their own pockets can be lined.

    Do you think this is total bull? Then tell me what you REALLY think the American worker should be. Without the unions, the American Worker would be what I just said. I’ve already heard people (obvious business owners) here state that American workers are spoiled, lazy, leeches and extortionists. Rather lets you know what they think of their fellow humans, doesn’t it? Rather lets you know what kind of boss they are, doesn’t it?

    So many are ignorant of the degrees needed to get a public job. I’m not talking about plow drivers. I’m talking about teachers, engineers, highly specialized people. All of those require at least 4 year degrees. How many of you have one and how much did you spend getting it?

    This whole argument was never about the wages and benefits. The unions AGREED early on to accept the changes in the benefits. It astounds me how so many people just stuffed their fingers in their ears and yelled, believing that if they did so, that fact would go away and this could be all about the benefits again instead of the step by step disassembly of the American Middle Class. Because once the unions agreed to the cuts, that is what it became. There was no reason for the collective bargaining castration other than a vendetta against the unions.

  • A MN IN WI

    People, read the bills first. This isn’t all about the unions. If you don’t know what Walker is cutting, don’t just assume what you hear is all there is to it. He cut 900 million to education, cities and counties are losing budget. Medicaid, child care, the environment. School districts will not be allowed to raise taxes. This is not a republican vs democart thing. Not a conservative vs liberal thing. This is big corporations vs the middle class and lower classes. Walker is a puppet for the Koch Brothers. Why do you think that all the GOP governors are all going the major drastic cutting route. Check out what the nutcase governor in Michigan is doing.They are all taking away from the middle class, and until all of the middle class in America figures this out, they will continue to do this. I am not a union member, nor in education, just a private hard working middle class citizen, who is protesting this all. Wake up or big business will own the government.

  • Wesly

    It is obvious from the posts that either American history is not a subject that is taught very well, or a lot of people choose not to remember.

  • L Carlson

    I see a lot of very stupid people. Hateful people that support Walker, they are pathetic.

  • Liz

    If you Repubs think this idea is going to be so great, why don’t you look at southern states that have had the so-called right-to-work policy for years. I don’t see anything productive coming out of it at all. It will certainly dumb down the level of teachers. Is that good policy? Hardly.

  • Peter

    For those who think teaching is not a hazardous job, Chek the US Bureau of Labor Statistics at Teaching in an urban environment is the most stressful career in the country today. High stress over time is a killer in a number of different ways.
    In my opinion the Republican attack on unions has two goals: 1. to weaken the oppossition politcally; 2. to lower wages of all working Americans. To working Americans in favor of the Republican attack, look out, your turn to be the target will come.

    • Wesly

      The working people against other working people are shortsighted people who cannot see anything beyond themselves. They are bitter that someone has something they don’t. Lastly, for some strange reason they think teaching should be a minimal wage job.

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