Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ratification of Two Year Contract


Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk issued the following statement after the Dane County Deputy Sheriff's Association and the Deputy Supervisors Association ratified a two year contract on Tuesday, December 29. The two year contract includes a 3% cut in pay for 2010 and eight additional days off.

"Today's ratification means all county employees - our sheriff's deputies, 911 dispatchers, snow plow operators, nurses, social workers, department heads and elected officials, including myself, have agreed to be part of the solution to address the worst economic recession our county has seen in decades," Falk said.

"Three out of every four dollars spent by county government go to public safety and protecting our most vulnerable citizens - our kids, families, seniors, and the disabled. Together county government is working together to help weather this economic storm and preserve public safety and human services when our citizens need them most." Falk said.

Local 60 is one of AFSCME Council 40's largest Locals and it is vital to our members and their families that they keep working. Kathleen Falk has done a great job maintaining positions for our members in Dane County.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wisconsin Legislative Website

Was voted to be the best State Legislative site . Minnesota and Washington also have good legislative websites. The worst three were Idaho, Colorado, and Vermont. On Wisconsin!

Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2009

How did our representatives vote check here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

AB 172 Signed into Law

For years our children's history books have never explored the important role that unions have played in the history of the great State of Wisconsin. With this bill signed the State Superintendant of Schools will have to add labor history to its' curriculum. Phil Neuenfeldt, AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer was available to witness Governor Doyle signing AB 172 into state law.
Would you like to read more? Click here

Falling on Deaf Ears

As Americans and as AFSCME members we deserve the best healthcare benefits available. We work hard for our benefits and have gladly given into wage concessions to keep our healthcare benefits which in most cases have seen increased deductibles and more insurance carrier micro-managing of essential care.

Why do we want this bill to pass that includes the following:
  • A new tax on high cost healthcare plans (our plans)
  • No Public Option
  • No Medicare buy-in for adults between the ages of 55-64
  • No requirement for employers to pay their fair share to ensure their employees are covered under a comprehensive healthcare plan

Spencer Coggs for Lieutenant Governor

This is Milwaukee's 6th District State Senator Spencer Coggs.
He started his career in Milwaukee County as a Health Inspector, Member of AFSCME Council 48. For twenty years he served in the State Assembly until 2003 when he ran and won his current Senate Seat. He will have to win the April primary to be on the ballot in November 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Newby to be on Fox and Friends

President Newby will be on Fox & Friends December 17th at 6:50AM talking about our "Labor History in the Schools" bill which Governor Doyle signed into law last Thursday.

In the Milwaukee area this would be Fox 6.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Barrett for Governor

WI AFL-CIO Endorses Tom Barrett see full story here

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Remembering a Member

To all,

Last night one of our retirees, a Correctional Officer from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Dept passed away. Howard Hagen was a union leader at the local level for his 9 year employment with us. Howard retired October 16, 2009 due to his deteriorating health conditions. Howard had fought a 2 year battle with cancer and succumbed to his illness on Saturday night. Before that Howard served the City of Chicago as a Police Officer for 34 years and was a leader in the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) Lodge 7. Before that, Howard served his country in the United States Marine Corps.

Howard started work for our department on a bet with his wife. She didn’t think that he could pass the test to work for our department. That is a bet that I am glad that he won. Howard did this because as an employee of Chicago, he would not have received Medicare, because they did not pay into Social Security. Howard is survived by his wife, children and grand children. He joins the partners he had one the streets in Chicago to now guard the streets of heaven.

Please keep his family and our local in your thoughts and prayers this season. Howard touched these members and united these officers more than any person that I have seen.

Mike Recklies

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Call to all DPW Members

Any member (men and women) in good standing with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin are invited to participate in the DPW Women's Caucus. Their second meeting was held today (December 10, 2009) in Madison and via conference call. They finished the Caucus' Constitution which will go before the Administrative Committee in January for final approval.

This Caucus has a five member Executive Committee including 2 Co-Chairs, an Associate Chair, Recording Secretary, and a Treasurer. The 2 Co-Chairs were appointed so that event planning can begin. Susan Van Sickland from Iowa County has been instrumental in getting this Caucus organized she will Co-Chair the Caucus with Penny Sharp from Racine County.

A call is being made for volunteers to fill an Associate Chair's seat, Secretary's seat, and Treasurer's seat. It is the Caucus' concensus that a cross state representation on the Executive Committee would be the best way to get input from the entire state. If you are interested in participating as a member at large or an Executive Committee appointment please contact Penny Sharp at (262) 878-3875.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SAFETEA-LU is due to Expire Dec 18th

The previous surface transportation authorization, SAFETEA-LU, expired September 30, 2009 and has been extended twice with short-term continuing resolutions. The current continuing resolution expires December 18th.

On August 10, 2005, the President signed into law the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). With guaranteed funding for highways, highway safety, and public transportation totaling $244.1 billion, SAFETEA-LU represents the largest surface transportation investment in our Nation's history. The two landmark bills that brought surface transportation into the 21st century—the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)—shaped the highway program to meet the Nation's changing transportation needs. SAFETEA-LU builds on this firm foundation, supplying the funds and refining the programmatic framework for investments needed to maintain and grow our vital transportation infrastructure. Click here to read further info about SAFETEA-LU

I am interested and will be following this

I find it rather interesting that Republicans destroyed transportation funding by reversing indexing here in Wisconsin and now there is a proposal at the Federal Level to debate this very issue. Read further......

LaHood Suggests Gas Tax Debate at a summit in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood suggested Congress debate next year whether to increase the federal gasoline tax to pay for a long-term transportation authorization bill. While the Obama Administration still opposes an increase in the gas tax at this time, the Secretary's call for a debate on funding options including indexing the federal gas tax is new. LaHood also pledged to work with Congress on passing a long-term reauthorization bill in 2010.

The secretary and the administration had previously pushed for postponing reauthorization until 2011 after the mid-term elections. However, House and Senate leadership have said they are determined to complete the bill next year. "The problem we have is, Congress wants to pass a very robust transportation bill in the neighborhood of $400 or $500 billion, and we know the highway trust fund is just deficient in its ability to fund those kinds of projects," LaHood said.

"The highway trust fund was substantial at one time, but now with people driving less, and driving more fuel-efficient cars, it has become deficient. To index the federal fuel tax, that's something Congress is going to have to decide."The previous surface transportation authorization, SAFETEA-LU, expired September 30, 2009 and has been extended twice with short-term continuing resolutions. The current continuing resolution expires December 18th.

Friday, December 4, 2009

AFSCME Retiree Jerry LaPoint Honored

Eau Claire Democratic Party Honors 3 of their own

On December 3rd Chippewa Valley Democratic Trailblazers were honored. Local labor political activist Jerry LaPoint, Democratic activists Ray and Lucille Wachs, former state legislator Frank Nikolay and former Congressman Al Baldus all have made substantial contributions to the progressive cause over the years. John Nichols was a featured guest and joined other party members to honor these special people.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Labor Today Radio Program Line-Up

Saturday, December 5th

Saturday, December 12th

Saturday, December 19th

Feingold on Afghanistan

I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on President Obama's plan for Afghanistan with you. I do not support the president’s decision to send additional troops to fight a war in Afghanistan that is no longer in our national security interest. It’s an expensive gamble to undertake armed nation-building on behalf of a corrupt government of questionable legitimacy. Sending more troops could further destabilize Afghanistan and, more importantly, Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state where al Qaeda is headquartered. While I appreciate that the president made clear we won’t be in Afghanistan forever, I am disappointed by his decision not to offer a timetable for ending our military presence there. I will work with members of both parties and both houses of Congress to push for a flexible timetable to reduce our troop levels in Afghanistan, as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat al Qaeda in the region and around the world.I will continue to speak out in favor of a flexible timetable for withdrawal, and I’m counting on you to help spread the word. If you haven't already done so, please take a moment and sign my petition supporting a flexible timetable for withdrawal. I’ll keep you updated on the next steps, and what you can do to make sure our message is heard.



Impartial Justice Law Signed

Governor Doyle Signs Impartial Justice Bill to Provide Full Public Financing of Supreme Court Campaigns
MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today signed into law legislation that will provide full public financing for Supreme Court campaigns. Senate Bill 40 creates a democracy trust fund that will provide publicly-funded grants for qualifying Supreme Court candidates who voluntarily agree to abide by a spending limit of $400,000.

“We have all seen how interest groups can sway the outcome of Wisconsin Supreme Court Cases,” Governor Doyle said. “This legislation is an important campaign finance reform that will ensure impartiality and public confidence in our state’s highest court. I have long championed this reform and I am proud to finally sign it into law today.”

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Kreitlow and Taylor, and Representatives Hintz and Hilgenberg for their work on the bill.

AFSCME Healthcare Call

Please pick up the phone right now and call 1-888-460-0813. This is AFSCME's special toll-free hotline to the U.S. Capitol switchboard. Ask to be connected to Senators Feingold and Kohl and use this script as a guide:

Hello, my name is ------ and I’m calling from -------.
I’d like to speak with the person in the office who works on health care reform.
I support real health care reform — but I want to see it done right.
I am asking Senator _____ to support a strong public option and employer mandate, and to get rid of the tax on middle-class health care benefits that’s in the Senate plan.

The goal of health care reform should be to make it more affordable and accessible.
We can do that through competition from a public option. Taxing the benefits of middle-class Americans is a terrible idea.
Can I count on Senator _______ to support a strong public option and oppose the tax on middle class health care plans?

Please make a call to Senators Feingold and Kohl this week and let them know how important Healthcare Reform is to the economy of the United States.

Monday, November 30, 2009

AFSCME Members are Tireless

AFSCME members and activists are tireless in our efforts to elect pro-worker candidates and shape public budgets to protect public workers and vital government services -- and to ward off legislative attacks on working families. Learn more about what's happening and what you can do in Madison and on Capitol Hill and in your community to help elect politicians and enact policies that are right for your family.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Health Care Reform - What Does it mean for Union Members?

Congress is on the verge of passing the most sweeping healthcare legislation in decades. In the current issue of AFSCME Works magazine, an article titled, "Health Care Reform: What's In It for Union Members and Families" lays out what it means for AFSCME members
(pp. 10-11 and also available at

Visit to read “Health Care Reform: What’s In It for Union Members and Families?" and sign up for one of these exclusive AFSCME Health Care Q & As! Sign up for an AFSCME Health Care Q&A at:

Find out at an AFSCME Health Care Q & A!

Still have questions? AFSCME’s health care experts are happy to answer them during one of our AFSCME Health Care Q & A sessions in early December.

Please visit to sign up for one of these Q&A conference calls.
Calls will be held at the following times (all times are Eastern):

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
3 – 4 p.m.
8 – 9 p.m.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Noon – 1 p.m.
3 – 4 p.m.
8 – 9 p.m.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Noon – 1 p.m.
3 – 4 p.m.
8 – 9 p.m.

Gubernatorial Interviews

AFSCME has scheduled a candidate interview/screening appointment with Mayor Tom Barrett, with details as follows:

Date: Tuesday, December 8
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee Area Labor Council
633 S. Hawley Road, Suite 110
Milwaukee, WI 53214
(Yatchek Hall West)

The interview will be conducted jointly with SEPAC, Council 24’s Political Action Committee. Invitations have been extended to candidates Scott Walker and Mark Neuwman for that afternoon as well.

Light refreshments will follow the interview process, prior to the annual holiday party held at Council 48 Headquarters. Council 48 has graciously invited all committee members to attend this annual event which begins at 5:00 p.m.

Please contact your respective Council office if you have any questions regarding overnight accommodations. And as always, please feel free to call with any questions or if you would need additional information.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Democrat Tom Barrett Makes Announcement

It is official both candidates for Governor of Wisconsin in 2010 will come out of Milwaukee County. This should be an interesting race - We know where Scott Walker stands with AFSCME members now we need to find out where Tom Barrett stands. In 2002 Barrett supported AFSCME members.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

AFSCME Members Share Responsibilty

In these hard economic times bargaining has been difficult for our Locals. This post is a positive approach to negotiations. Some counties would like to see our pay rates adjusted back to what they were in the 80's, include furlough days in their budgets, and contract out our jobs. In this article you will read where AFSCME members are once again leading the way to help maintain services for the community in which they work and live.

AFSCME Council 40: AFSCME members agree to pay cut to help Dane County maintain services 11/12/2009
Contact: Larry Rodenstein 608-836-4040

For the second time in less than six months, 1,500 Dane County employees represented by AFSCME have reached a negotiated agreement in an effort to help the county address a severe revenue shortfall due to the unprecedented national economic downturn. "This is the second time in recent months that AFSCME members in Dane County have stepped up and voluntarily agreed to pay reductions. These agreements are the product of respectful negotiation with both sides listening carefully to each other. We all want to help the county cope with these challenging times while preserving vital services that citizens expect and deserve," said Shannon Meier, president of AFSCME Council 40 Local 720.
In July of 2009, AFSCME members in Dane County agreed to reduce their pay by 5%, a negotiated agreement that saved the county $3.3 million. "The decision by AFSCME members to reach these agreements was painful. But in the end our members see this as the prudent and responsible path," Meier said. Council 40 Staff Representative Larry Rodenstein credits AFSCME members and County Executive Kathleen Falk with taking seriously a shared commitment to maintaining quality services. Such shared problem solving stands in sharp contrast to some other counties, he said.
"The pragmatic path of finding common ground and reaching negotiated settlements stands in sharp contrast to the autocratic political posturing of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker," Rodenstein said. "Walker's only instinct is to try to dictate terms and solve budget woes solely on the backs of front line workers. His open contempt for workers leads only to confrontation, not solutions. Dane County is fortunate to have leadership that puts getting results ahead of posturing," Rodenstein said.

What's Happening at Dept of Commerce

I have added a link under helpful websites to the Department of Commerce Safety & Building website. This is another valuable site to keep in touch with stimulus monies available and proposed legislation. Dept of Commerce

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Education Conference This Weekend

Council 40 will be holding an Education Conference in WI Rapids this weekend.

This is a combined workshop for Correctional Officers, Health & Safety, Health Care Workers, Street and Highway Workers, and the Women's Committee.

The Convention starts on Friday and will run through Monday until 3:00P.

The workshop I am co-hosting with John Grabel and John English is on Friday the 6th from 10:30A until 12:15P. Our topic is CDL's and Budgets. John English will also be presenting a workshop on Bargaining Protection for CDL Holders. Currently, in Local 67's contract we have contact language that protects our members. Hopefully, we can work on getting all Locals to get similar protection within their contracts.

With the help of Sister Arndt we secured a State Patrol officer as speaker for the Saturday session called "Rules of the Road."

After the PEOPLE Convention, I am happy to see Ron Kent will be doing a workshop on Parliamentary Procedures.

The Street & Highway Worker's Advisory Committee will be meeting at 6P on Thursday evening. An election for the Chair of this Committee will take place at this meeting. I wish to thank all members for their past, present, and future support.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Politician's Criticism of Vaccinating Prisoners

ACLU of Wisconsin:
Media hype and Politician’s criticism of H1N1 vaccine for prisoners harms public health 10/30/2009

Contact: Christopher Ahmuty, Executive Director, (414) 272-4032, ext. 13 Milwaukee, WI

On October 30, 2009 the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Executive Director, Christopher Ahmuty released the following statement in response to media stories and a media release from State Representative Brett Davis (R-Oregon) encouraging state health officials to put the health of prisoners, correctional officers and their communities in jeopardy by denying H1N1 vaccine to prisoners including pregnant women inmates:

State Representative Davis and others are wrong from both public health and civil liberties perspectives to complain that women prisoners have received H1N1 vaccine at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. In overcrowded jails and prisons, such as Taycheedah, the risk of H1N1 contagion spreading among prisoners and correctional officers and then to the officers’ families and communities must be addressed vigorously.

The Centers for Disease Control’s Interim Guidance for Correctional and Detention Facilities on Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus (May 24 2009) recognized that: “Correctional institutions pose special risks and considerations due to the nature of their unique environment. Inmates are in mandatory custody and options are limited for isolation and removal of ill persons from the environment. The workforce must be maintained and options are limited for work alternatives (e.g., work from home, reduced or alternate schedules, etc.).

In addition, many inmates and workforce may have medical conditions that increase their risk of influenza-related complications.”
See: ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director, reflecting on the CDC’s guidance, said today, “Taycheedah’s prisoners and guards are in just the kind of setting that needs aggressive preventive measures to avoid widespread infection. Suggesting that prisoners, who are in close contact with facility staff, are not a capable of catching and spreading the virus is ludicrous. To suggest that they should not receive vaccine because they are less important than the ‘law abiding citizens of our state,’ will only further the spread of H1N1 to everyone.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin in a May 1, 2009 media release urged public health officials “to implement a public health policy which is rational, effective and has the least intrusion possible on civil liberties.” Denying or delaying appropriate preventive actions, including vaccination, is neither rational nor effective.

Ahmuty reminded the public, “Prisoners are serving their debt to society, but being subjected to disease and death is not part of a just sentence in any civilized society.”

The ACLU of Wisconsin and its 8,500 dues paying members defend and promote the civil liberties and civil rights of all Wisconsin residents.

Scott says: Maybe before Representative Davis made such a public statement he should have spoken to AFSCME Correctional members or even their family members about how they would feel if they hadn't been given the opportunity to be vaccinated. Work Zone Safety doesn't just pertain to the road workers. AFSCME represents Healthcare Workers, Child Care Providers, Social Workers and Correctional Officers who are within the CDC guidelines of being vaccinated. We all support the CDC's guidelines regarding this pandemic. Write to Brent Davis at and notify him of your dissatisifaction with his public comment.

Why Scott Walker can't take a dose of his own medicine

Posted by Zach W on October 30, 2009

Remember when County Executive Scott Walker first ran for County Executive?
Remember how he promised to give back $60,000 annually during his time in office?
I remember, and I also remember Walker reneging on that promise last year.

Walker’s yearly salary is somewhere in the area of $119,611, and he collects every nickel of it, but given the fact that he bought a big new house in 2007, I’m not shocked that he’d break a promise to give back salary.

However, I find it galling that Scott Walker has no qualms about collecting his six-figure salary while he threatens to lay off almost 200 county employees because their union wouldn’t accept across-the-board pay cuts, especially given the fact that even if the unions agreed to the pay cut, Scott Walker would still retain the right to layoff or furlough employee in accordance with the labor contracts in place.

If Scott Walker were a real leader for Milwaukee County – as he likes to portray himself as – then he’d lead county workers by example and take exactly the same cut in pay and benefits that he’s demanding from unionized county workers. After all, why should one group (a group largely comprised of middle class folks) feel all the pain while Scott Walker continues to collect his fat six-figure salary? The fact that Scott Walker has been unwilling to share the pain he expects county workers to feel speaks volumes about the man and the extent of his hypocrisy.

Click on the links to see a picture of his home with a pool, but he wants to shut down county pools. He lives in a very nice home - no modesty in his gene pool.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Major League Baseball Stars Pitch The Employee Free Choice Act – 10/30/09

Submitted by Doug Cunningham on October 29, 2009 - 3:17pm

A dozen star baseball players are appearing in ads supporting the Employee Free Choice Act labor law reform. The players are all members of the Major League Baseball Association. And they say all workers should have the same opportunity they had to freely join a union and negotiate with their employer without being penalized. The major league baseball stars are urging that we all “hit this one out of the park” and pass the Employee Free Choice Act. AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka says baseball is a defining American tradition ad so is the freedom of workers to bargain together for a better future

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is Paul Ryan Out of Touch with his Constituents?

The Washington Post is tracking the voting records of Congressional members including the number of missed votes and how often they vote with their party. Paul Ryan continues to vote against the interests off his District with 93% of his votes following the GOP party line. This compares to the voting records of Representatives Petri at 89.6% and Sensenbrenner at 90.2%, who represent far “redder” districts than the 1st District. Ryan’s voting record is also a sharp contrast when viewed in light of the fact that his district went for Obama 51% to 48% according to Swing State Project. If the 2,600 residents of his district who signed a petition asking for a public option are a sample of what’s wanted there, he’s even more out of touch.
Given the recent Washington Post/ABC poll as reported by Chris Cilliza of the Fix “Less than one in five voters (19 percent) expressed confidence in Republicans’ ability to make the right decisions for America’s future while a whopping 79 percent lacked that confidence”, it is curious why Ryan continues to vote his party rather than his constituents.
My conclusion after doing some research, is that his votes are based on satisfying his contributors, on his personal ambitions and his beliefs rather than on serving his District and the State of Wisconsin. Let’s look into this a bit more.

So why does he continue to vote this way? It appears that Mr. Ryan feels that his giant war chest gives him the freedom to vote his way rather than to represent his district. In his quest for national fame and higher office as a conservative Republican, he votes against his district’s interests. His war chest and name recognition makes it difficult for relatively unknown and less-funded opponents from within or outside his party to gain traction in the 1st District.

According to Open Secrets he has an amazing $1.441 million in cash on hand, results that place him at the 21st highest ranking among congressional candidates (see Open Secrets rankings).
So where is Ryan collecting his seemingly impregnable war chest? In the 2008 election cycle, Mr Ryan collected $875,065 or 52.9% of his total contributions from Political Action Committees and $655,264 or 47.1% from individuals according to Campaign Money. Of these individual contributions, 77.8% came from within WI, although not necessarily in his District.

How about today? Larry Everhart, his Campaign Treasurer, filed his most recent report on October 2, 2009 according to the Federal Elections Commission. You can see a PDF of the 170 page filing here.

In the election cycle to date, he has reported net contributions of $829,770.81 according to the report. Of these contributions, $343,396 (41.2%) were from corporate PACS and $489,337 (58.8%) from individuals, both those itemized and un-itemized. I did not analyze the location of his donors, but in a Janesville Gazette article from July 15, 2009 following the prior period’s report, Paulette Garin, an unsuccessful 2008 Democratic opponent said that “Of the money contributed for the 2010 election cycle, 40.5 percent was itemized contributions from individuals, and only 12 percent came from within the 1st District” according to reporter Frank Schultz.

Open Secrets revealed that Paul Ryan’s major contributors (both PACs and Individuals) for this election cycle when categorized by industry were: Insurance, Health Professionals, Retired, Securities and Investments and Misc Finance.

How about his legislative record?According to Open Secrets, he ranks 272nd out of 441 as a sponsor of a bill, at 7 bills and 417th as a co-sponsor at 76th. It looks like he’s been too busy raising money and hobnobbing with his party’s leadership to get much done.
Meanwhile provides a means for you to see his votes for this year and for prior periods.

Given his 93% following of the GOP Party line, it isn’t too surprising to see that he was on the losing side of the vote in voting against a number of significant pieces of legislation that benefit his district including the following:

H.R. 2749 Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 – 283 yes, 142 no
H.R. 1622 R&D on Natural Gas Vehicles – 393 yes, 35 no
H.R. 1728 Mortgage Reform and Predatory Lending Act – 300 yes, 114 no
H.R. 1 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (Stimulus) – 244 yes, 188 no
H.R. 2657 Defense Authorization Act 281 yes, 146 no

(This act is the one that finally brings the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill into law once it is signed by the President. Paul Ryan voted against funding the military in an effort to assuage the right wing of his party’s hatred and fear of gays and lesbians.)

While I’m not a resident of the 1st District, I’d encourage informed voters to look behind his blow-dried good looks and articulate speaking style to the substance and implications of his votes when you decide who should represent your District. From all indications it isn’t Paul Ryan. I’d recommend that you retire him to K Street where he belongs.

Read full story here

Milwaukee County to lay off up to 200 Employees

Temporary job cuts to address budget shortfall, Walker says
By Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Oct. 28, 2009
Temporary layoffs of 150 to 200 Milwaukee County employees will be done to avoid a 2009 year-end shortfall now projected at $3 million, County Executive Scott Walker said Wednesday.

The layoff news came just before the County Board's budget committee recommended its version of a 2010 budget that called for creation of a new $20 motor vehicle registration fee, or "wheel tax," to pay for transit. That fee would raise nearly $9 million and would be in addition to state and City of Milwaukee registration fees.

The county budget approved by the committee also included a tax levy increase of $1.1 million, a rise of just 0.4%, to $258 million.

Walker proposed a tax levy freeze for 2010 at this year's $257 million level.

The layoffs will likely be spread across most county departments, Walker said. Notices could go out as soon as Friday, he said. Under union contracts, most employees must be given two weeks' notice before layoffs are done.

The layoffs became necessary after a new tally that showed sales tax receipts lower than anticipated over the summer and a lower-than-expected state Medicaid reimbursement, Walker said.

If the County Board had agreed to the 35-hour workweek he tried to impose on county workers in May to avoid a year-end deficit, the layoffs may have been avoided, Walker said.

The layoffs will likely last through the end of the year. "Merry Christmas from Scott Walker."

Most county employees must take four furlough days before the end of the year, saving an estimated $1.5 million. That still leaves this year's county budget with a $3 million hole, he said.
Walker said other steps were being taken to tighten county spending further, including purchasing restrictions.

The county also faces a potential $80 million shortfall for 2010 that Walker has proposed filling through employee concessions and outsourcing.These could be AFSCME jobs.

These are our brothers and sisters of Council 48. Is this the beginning of the end if Walker becomes our next Governor? We need to help save our jobs, so we will have to vote responsibly next November to protect all AFSCME jobs.

Parents' health insurance could cover children under 27

By Rick Romell and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Oct. 29, 2009 12:34 p.m.
Madison — Parents soon will be able to put adult children as old as 26 on their insurance plans, Gov. Jim Doyle announced Thursday.

The change places Wisconsin among a growing number of states that require insurers to offer parents the option of covering adult children in their 20s - a requirement decried in the industry as adding to already soaring costs.

Many insurance plans here allow some adult children to stay on their parents' plans if they are in school, but a provision in the state budget, passed in June, significantly extends the benefit.
Starting Jan.1, plans will have to allow most children under 27 to stay on their parents' coverage even if they aren't students. Doyle on Thursday announced an emergency rule from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner clarifying the new law.

The governor said the change was needed to help parents whose kids are unemployed, work at jobs that don't offer benefits or take a year off from school. Most parents won't pay more for insurance if they are on family plans because insurers usually offer a flat rate no matter how many children a couple have, Doyle said.

But James R. Mueller, a longtime insurance industry executive in the Milwaukee area, said the change would drive up rates, as have other state-mandated coverage requirements.

"Whenever you insure somebody whom you didn't insure before there's some additional risk," said Mueller, executive vice president of the Wisconsin unit of Willis Group Holdings Ltd., one of the world's largest insurance brokers. A state requirement that insurers cover autism and mental health has added 3% to the premium rates of employer-sponsored plans that renew on Jan. 1, when those mandates also take effect, Mueller said. Extending coverage is good, he said, but doesn't come free.

"The problem with all these good ideas is there's funding necessary," Mueller said.

About 20 states require insurers to offer parents coverage of adult children through what are sometimes called "slacker plans," according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, an advocacy group whose membership includes insurers, health-care providers, actuaries and insurance brokers. About 10 states have enacted such laws in the past few years, said J.P. Wieske, the organization's director of state affairs.

President Barack Obama also has proposed a federal requirement that children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through age 26.

Insurers haven't lobbied aggressively against the measures because young adults tend to be healthy and don't add heavy costs to the insurance companies, Wieske said.

But Mueller said that, while that's the commonly held view, young adults can be high risks for such things as car accidents and pregnancies. In any event, he said, employers who sponsor plans are increasingly frustrated about rising costs for coverage.

"Employers do not have the appetite right now or the means to take on additional risk, no matter how noble. . . . People are stretched to the max," Mueller said.

Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg said his agency has not yet analyzed how the changes would affect insurance rates.

Under the new rules, unmarried children under 27would be eligible to sign onto their parents' plans. Children who are eligible for insurance through an employer could sign onto their parents' plan if the cost of their employer's plan was more than the added premium of their parents' plan.
If the adult children are unmarried and have kids of their own, the youngsters also would be covered.

Parents who put children who are 25 or 26 onto their plans would pay about $1,600 more a year in income taxes because of federal tax rules, Dilweg said.

The new law will not apply to parents who work for private employers with self-funded insurance plans. It would apply to government workers who participate in self-funded plans, however.Rick Romell reported from Milwaukee and Patrick Marley in Madison.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wisconsin Senate approves bill to require teaching about unions in schools

MADISON — The state Senate has approved a bill that would require public schools to teach students about the history of labor unions and collective bargaining in the United States.

The bill passed the Senate in 1997 and again in 2001, but it never got through the full Legislature.

But Democrats now control both the Assembly and the Senate. The Assembly passed the measure in April. The Senate passed it 20-12 on Tuesday, October 27, 2009.

The bill now goes to Gov. Jim Doyle, who can sign it into law or veto it.

as reported on

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Council 40 Education Conference

This year's conference is scheduled to be held at the Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids November 6th thru the 9th.

I am a scheduled presenter along with John English (Council 48) and John Grabel (Council 11) at the first workshop on the 6th at 10:30A to discuss CDL'S and State/Federal Budgets. It would be great to see a good turn-out from the 1st CD!

Click here for the link for agenda and registration materials

Hope to see you in the Rapids!

(Don't worry about the deadline - they are still accepting registrations, any questions contact Council 40 in Madison)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Have Your Car Insurance Premiums Increased?

This is a letter to the Editor in a Shell Lake newspaper. I would like to know if you or someone you know has experienced an increase in car insurance premiums. Please e-mail with before and after premium prices because this is an issue we can take up with our representatives, if what this article states is truthful. Thanks for your help.

Letter to the Editor:

During the budget negotiations in June, the insurance industry warned state legislators about the dramatic premium increases that would be experienced by Wisconsin motorists if several proposed insurance mandates were enacted as part of the budget process (i.e. increased liability limits, stacking of policy liability limits, mandatory and increased uninsured motorists coverage and more). Insurance agents from across the state asked the Legislature to not adopt these proposed mandates that were sure to increase auto-insurance policy premiums.
Gov. Doyle and Democratic leaders in the state Legislature chose to instead to play politics by adopting these insurance mandates to placate the trial lawyer’s lobby, who strongly advocated for the mandates in order to allow higher damage awards for insurance claims. As a result, motorists across the state are now stuck with insurance premium increases upon renewal that are 10 to 20 percent higher than the previous year’s premium. The mandates included in the state budget bill are the sole cause of any insurance premium increases. Insurance companies are simply not to blame and had actively warned the Legislature about the forthcoming premium increases if the mandates were adopted. Motorists are upset and some are falsely placing the blame for premium increases on the insurance agents and companies.
We need to redirect our displeasure with the premium increases to the state Legislature. When making the call, motorists should provide specific examples of premium increases and ask the legislator to revisit the changes that were made to Wisconsin ’s insurance law in the state budget. Motorists can find information on how to contact their legislators at:

Dave Schraufnagel
Lake Insurance Agency
Shell Lake

Thursday, October 22, 2009

AFSCME Nurse on Labor Today

This Saturday morning, Oct. 24, on the Racine Labor Today radio program on WRJN, 1400 on the AM dial, at 9:30 a.m., the guest will be Registered Nurse Sue Conard, talking about the various types of flu, virus' and vaccines available. Listeners will have the opportunity to call in (634-WRJN) and ask the nurse questions about the H1N1 flu and vaccine availability and any other flu type questions.

If you would prefer to listen on your computer click this link at 9:30. Look in the righthand corner of the screen and click the link.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brother Hand Receives an Award

I've got pictures just have to get home tomorrow to post them. Brother Hand received a well deserved award for his 30+years of service to Council 40.

Brother Weeks

As many of you may remember Brian Weeks moved to Washington DC two years ago. He addressed the Delegates this morning - Great to see him back in Wisconsin. He is doing a great job in Washington supporting all of our jobs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lenny Hand Represented the 1st CD District with his usual Flair and Professionalism

Today, Brother Hand unanimously endorsed the Leadership of our 1st CD. He did an excellent job representing all of us today. Brother Vandenhooven was not nominated off the floor for 1st CD Chair so there will be no election in the 1st CD tomorrow. The CD Chair position stays in Racine County. 1st Vice-Chair is new to Racine County, Secretary and Member at Large stay in Kenosha.

Scott Sharp, 1st CD Chair (Local 67)
Ernie Schlegel 1st Vice-Chair (Local 67)
Ramona Dodge 1st CD Secretary (Local 1392)
Linda Ingram 1st CD Member at Large (1392)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

PEOPLE Convention Starts Friday

Looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend in Green Bay. Will report back to all of you next week on all of the activities and election results. If anyone is interested in handouts or materials that I collect - please let me know and I will scan and e-mail them to you.

For everyone driving have a safe trip.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Strategic Plan for the 1st CD in SE WI: "Finding the New Les Aspin" or "Peter Barca" We Know You Are Out There

Down memory lane here for a moment. Les Aspin was elected to Congress in 1971 he held this seat until 1993 when President Clinton appointed him to Secretary of Defense. Peter Barca from Kenosha was then our Congressman from 1993 to 1995. Les Aspin held this seat for twenty two years. So here is the score Democrats 24 years and Republicans the past twelve.

What have Mark Neuman and Paul Ryan really accomplished for the citizens of Southeastern Wisconsin over the past twelve years?

The new Les Aspin can run on the same platform from his first campaign in 1971. We need a Congressman who will promise to promote full employment, oppose the war, and support environmental positions. With one addition, "Work to promote full Healthcare Reform."

Here are some facts when Paul Ryan took office the unemployment numbers in our counties looked like this:

Racine and surrounding metropolitan areas:

1999 vs. July 2009
5.5% vs. 10.2%

Janesville and surrounding metropolitan areas:

1999 vs. July 2009
3.9% vs. 12.8%

This is factual data that can be researched through the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is time to find a new Congress Person who can make a difference for all the citizens who live in Southeastern Wisconsin. A good start would be to get our unemployment numbers back down to where they were when the Republican's took over Les Aspin and Peter Barca's seat.

If you would like to really take a walk down memory lane click on this link

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Democratic Leaders

In the 1st CD we currently have more Democratic Leaders representing us in Madison than I can recall in a very long time. This didn't happen without alot of work by all of us. We need to keep the momentum going strong and we need to continue to activate our members and Get Out the Vote! We can not rest until we send a Democrat to Washington as our next Congress Person. Our current congressman has been in office too long and continues to vote against working family values. We need Health Care Reform NOW! We need to get The Employee Free Choice Act passed and we need to help all families who are struggling during these hard times. The only way to get this done is to work for candidates who believe in and will vote for "Working Family Values."

2009 Candidate for PEOPLE Chair

Hello Brothers and Sisters of the 1st CD:

I am announcing my candidacy for the position of 1st CD Chair. This election will take place during the PEOPLE Convention in Green Bay October 16th and 17th.