My mom and dad were both public employee union teachers.  They worked hard all their lives teaching kids and young adults.  My brother is a union plumber.  In honor of my parents, my brother and Wisconsin and other state union workers who are fighting for their rights, I am closing my law firm early on Friday and I urge law firms all across the country to do the same.  It is a small gesture, but we all owe a debt to people like my parents, my brother and all union workers.

wisconsin_protest_poster-p228433274217300829trma_400.jpgGet off the sidelines – even in this very small way.

  • Dog Doctor

    Bill, I applaud your actions. For those employees who can’t strike, there are several things they can do to show your support.
    1) Take time to write your representatives and express your views on the issue to Local, State, and Federal representatives
    2) Work to the rule (Union term) meaning follow your position description to the letter. Legal way to do a work slow down
    3) Vote with your pocket book, you can
    a. Google boycott the Koch brothers and find out how to do that. There are several sites providing information
    4) Demand made in USA that really made in the US not the territories.
    5) Find out how to recall your representative if they are supporting this activity.
    6) Become active in organizations that support your cause.
    a. For example Google “US Uncut America“ which points out that if we close tax loop holes and collect uncollected taxes from the top 1% of businesses and people who have seen their assets and salaries jump over 281% while middle class has 97% over the last 10 years.
    7) Make sure you have registered to vote, remember to vote
    8) Giving away my age, look for the Union label.

  • deborah

    Thank you so much. Last week my daughter decided NOT to be a teacher after all. She says she never wanted to make a lot of money but she did hope for some recognition and support for the work that she did. Wisconsin, the spreading teacher firings and the national mood have broken her heart. My daughter would have made a fine teacher.

  • Thank you. In addition the bill eliminates health benefits for families of 4 earning over $29,726.
    How is this not a budget matter requiring a quorum of 20 Senators? The Governor has lost the cover of claiming the bill was needed to balance the budget. His true intentions became crystal clear last night.

  • I just re-posted this on Facebook with this comment:
    My father and his sister (Aunt Rita) were public school teachers all their lives. In honor of them and the entire union-backed, middle-class work force of America, this is the least we can do.

  • Sam

    Welcome comrades, to the new world order!
    After the ruling class has sucked every last drop of blood from the proletariat class, where will they turn to feed their greed?
    I fear for all future generations who will be uneducated, unhealthy, and living in poverty. The American dream is dead; no longer can we expect our children to live better than their parents.
    Oh yeah, and where the HELL is our President (you know, Barack W. Bush)? Is he too busy planning trials at Gitmo to stand up for the working citizenry of this country? AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG, I am FURIOUS!!!!!!!! Time for me to turn off the computer before I blow a valve…

  • Minkpuppy

    As a federal meat inspector, I don’t have the right to strike but as an AFGE member I think what happened in Wisconsin is appalling. No one should ever lose their bargaining rights. AFGE has fought the federal govt for years in order to protect federal employees. If we didn’t have our bargaining rights, we’d be nothing but glorified slave labor, believe me.
    The current Republican Congress would like to take away our rights and benefits as well because of a misquided belief that all federal employees make over $100 grand a year. It’s simply not true. Even if I worked 80 hrs a week, I wouldn’t make that much!

  • Paul Nunes

    My mother worked in the classroom until she was 70, deferring her retirement (and pension payments) because she felt a school could always use a quality teacher with experience. (True that. And she was.) In fact, she was recruited to return to the classroom when she was 74. She inspired my sisters to become teachers. I took all the courses to ready myself for a career in teaching but took “a wrong turn” and went to law school. But I digress.
    Mom is now 81 and is heartbroken that the profession she loves is so disrespected by the public. We all know that the battle in Wisconsin is not about the budget. It’s about breaking the union.
    I stand with you and all who support a worker’s right to collectively bargain.

  • Daniel

    The Governor is not trying to ban or end unions…. just limiting some of their powers. The real problem that people don’t understand is that the Government shouldn’t be able to force you to join a union or pay dues. If someone wants to freely join a union and have someone represent them, then that is their right in a free society. This is a big political issues because these unions take membership dues and spend them on campaign contributions (mostly to liberal democrats…. See Barack Obama from last election). Free Unions yes….. Forced Unions NO!

  • Daniel

    @Deborah. Your daughter could teach at a private school. Government run education is not the solution to our education problems in this country and neither is spending money. Spending on education increased through the 80’s and 90’s and the test scores stayed flat or decreased. We have lousy parents in this country. Lousy parents lead to lousy, uninterested children. The teachers have no chance with so many of these kids who don’t want to learn and who’s parents don’t care.

  • Tim Lukens

    Hi Bill,
    Your passion is admirable, but I believe misdirected. The majority of the citizens of Wisconsin elected their legislature to reduce spending. This is a government labor issue, NOT an private sector anti union labor issue. These folks are, and should be accountable to the taxpayers. I borrowed a post from another comment, from the PI that I feel explains things pretty well.
    #12264Posted by ratrat4563 at 3/10/2011 1:41 p.m.
    Bottom Line:
    Private sector employers are subject to the federal labor law – NLRA, state/local government sector employees are NOT. States give or take bargaining priviledges in ways that are best for TAXPAYERS, not for employees
    How the union folks are acting on this matter, in my observation is at best childish. If this nation is going to heal up economically, everyone , I repeat, everyone is going to need to cooperate. And be willing to sacrifice. We currently have a president that says these things, but doesn’t do it himself or feel that any government workers, need to be involved in any reduction of any kind. Who do you think pays those salaries? The private sector does. Get back the jobs that have been shipped overseas, rebuild our manufacturing base, with solid union jobs. But no, our government has seen fit to create taxation environment that encourages manufacturing to go overseas. Our nation is broke Bill, spending has to be cut.

  • Bill Anderson

    We may not agree on all food related issues, but we certainly agree on this Bill.
    I am in the heart of this struggle, living less than a mile from the capital in Madison, WI. I witnessed today as state troopers blockaded the capital building from the general public during the assembly’s debate, in direct violation of Wisconsin’s constitution and open meetings laws.
    The city of Madison police and Dane County Sheriff have refused to be “palace guards” for Governor Walker. The Capital Police have also refused to remove the protesters. He had to call in state troopers to do the job of dragging the remaining protesters out of the capital building.
    Saturday is a farmer-labor “tractorcade.” Small & organic farmers from all over the state of Wisconsin are descending on the capital square in support of our public sector unions. They will be driving their tractors around, and there are rumors that Willie Nelson may be making a surprise appearance.
    On another note, the UN just release a report showing how small scale sustainble farming could double the world’s food production:
    So much for the lies of big ag, Monsanto, Cargill, etc… and their “green revolution.” This is a PEOPLE’S REVOLUTION!

  • Dog Doctor

    Mr. Lukens, you don’t understand and have accepted the GOP material. It is not about taxes but laws that allow corporations to export jobs. In the US we have lowest effective corporate tax rate in the world. Bank of America paid less than 1% of 40 billion in profit in taxes last year see . After the 2012 election if the GOP continues to win which may happen if the unions are taken down, the only people contributing to campaigns will be the billionaires like Carl Rove’s group, you will see an effort to repeal minium wage and child labor laws and the US will be a third world country where people will be paid dollars a day and to vote you have to own property like it was at the start of the nation. The American dream will be dead and we will be USA Inc run by corporations for corporations being told everything is great by corporate run media and that if anyone objects they are bad people.

  • Minkpuppy


    No one forced me to join AFGE but I’m sincerely glad I did. I doubt it is the case that the Govt forced anyone to join the union in Wisconsin either. I know plenty of inspectors that aren’t in the federal union and we sure don’t threaten them that they’d better join or else.

    As the crank call to Gov. Walker showed, the man is hell-bent on busting unions, Period. No one, not even a government employee, should have to put up with abusive work situations that the unions formed to correct. That being said, the unions in WI need to be a bit more reasonable in their demands. I have to admit that the WI benefits being discussed surprised the heck out of me. They have better benefits than I do and I’ve been contributing at least 5-10% of my salary to my retirement for as long as I can remember. It’s not that big a sacrifice. My health insurance isn’t nearly that good either.

    However, the WI situation cannot be entirely blamed on the unions. The state government made the concessions over a sustained period of time. Why are they not being held culpable as well?

  • Tony

    What is most appalling is the fact that the Democrats neglected their duty to vote, they just ran away. Is that the way we should proceed with Democracy, stand up and be men……let Democracy it’s work.

  • Erik B. Ellingson

    Bill: My office will close early today in support of those public sector employees who watched, in horror, as our newly-elected Governor pushed through his agenda to strip the unions of their power. As you know, I live in Wisconsin. I am saddened by what has transpired in my state over the course of the last three weeks or so. Just two months into office, Scott Walker has managed to alienate one segment of the working class (public sector) while at the same time garnering the support of the other (private sector). The result? A passionate and polarized citizenry that will now be so busy arguing with each other that they’ll hardly notice when Walker does his next “bold move” (as he describes it).

  • Maxine Halverson

    Thank you for showing your support for Wisconsin unions I’m a proud school secretary in Wisconsin.
    First everyone needs to pay their fair share. Secondly, the immigration issue needs to be taken care of. Thirdly, we need involved and caring parents. And last but not least we need to make it more expensive to import then to make items here in the USA.
    Yes, in Wisconsin if there’s a union you do pay dues, but you do not have to belong. Kind of sounds like Gov. Walker talking. I’m glad I do belong to the union otherwise the world would not see what is going on in Wisconsin. It’s the unions that learned of Walker’s plans and that is what I pay dues for. For them to keep abreast of politics, since I’d rather work with children then work with politicians. My sister lives in Iowa and they have the right to work state where you do not have to pay union dues or join a union. But it was the union that employers talked to regarding pay and benefits. So the union members fought for the raises and everyone got the raises. I would not feel right working along side someone who paid dues and fought for pay raises and I’d benefit with no financial investment in the process. It would make for an awkward work environment. People, beware, you can only get something free for so long before you pay one way or another.
    What is also in the bill is there will be ‘no open bidding’ for projects. So who’s going to get those jobs? Gov. Walker also wants to sell of our assets. I wonder who has the money to buy our assets? No more recycling, so don’t come to Wisconsin for vacation. It will be a pretty messy state. Gov. Walker wants to do away with wetlands. Gov Walker wants to do away with EPA mandates, so don’t drink our water or breath our air.
    I’m proud the 14 Democrats went to Illinois. They got us all of the couch and gave us the time to let Gov Walker know how we felt. We’d become submissive and we accepted being one of the highest taxed states in the USA. I’ll let you know if my taxes go down. I’m not holding my breath. January 2012 will come and we will take back what is left of Wisconsin and we will rebuild .
    Maxine Halverson

  • Bill Anderson

    Wow, this is an incredible speech from Saturday’s rally!!