On Wisconsin: Otter decries unions' 'outdated and costly demands'

Public employee unions have virtually held elected officials "hostage" for too long, Gov. Butch Otter says, voicing his support for fellow GOP Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Otter has weighed in on the issue at a Republican Governors Association-sponsored website. Walker is pushing a bill to limit collective-bargaining rights of many public employees — a bill that has drawn the ire of unions, and has caused Democratic lawmakers to leave the state in an attempt to delay a vote and force negotiations.

Here's what Otter had to say:

"For too long, elected leaders like Governor Walker, who are responsible and accountable to our citizens, have been virtually held hostage by the outdated and costly demands of public employees' unions. We live in a republic, and there is room for all voices to be heard — within the context of an open public process, not in the context of entitlement-driven protests, work stoppages and disruption of the people's business."

(Hat tip and more reading: Brad Iverson-Long, IdahoReporter.com)

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Responsible to our citizens?

You mean Walker is responsible to someone other than the Koch brothers? I think someone should tell him that. He obviously didn't get the memo.


Otter and the Republicans are attacking unions while sucking up to the wealthy. For too long the political process has been hostage to those who have the most money and power. That is the very essence of a plutocracy.

What A Load!

The tax payers are fed up to the gills of union whiners, liars, thieves, killers, vandals and all around bums and you two morons are bad mouthing us? What makes a union hide more valuable than anyone else's? The tax payers are so sick of you union clowns that the more you say the worse you make it for yourselves.

Funny, JLF, that you are in the minority.

I support unions whole heartedly and yet I do not belong to one. Same with about 50 people I know.
Oh, and the same with most Americans. Imagine that, you are the minority. Even according to FauxNews.


daily kos?


But JLF is NOT in the minority. Unions time has come and gone. Taxpayers are tired of paying for public employees outrageous unionized demands, as well as bailing out the union drained companies.

google the video

Google the video if you don't like the Daily Kos link. The Fox news show video is all over the internet I saw it elsewhere. Just because the clip is on Daily Kos doesn't make it less real.

JLF Clown

You just described Otter and his whiners, liars, thieves, killers, vandals and all around bums.


Thats right, this is the new deal. Didnt Otter decry class war when folks were a little riled because all these guys can think of is how to tax the middle class, (yeah, in Idaho tht's folks making 9.00 per hour) and the lower middle class. (making minimum wage) paying all those corporate subsidies and exemptions for farms. Raising registrations, taxes on cigs and alcohol and sales tax. Greedy GOP is going to squeeze every last cent from the regular folk, but in Idaho, those folks will think they were getting kissed, not sc*d

Union are self-defeating

The unions are really missing out on an opportunity here.

Instead of crying and trying to make Luna look like a bad guy by balancing the budget, they should be make it CLEAR about the advantages of teacher unions and offering examples of where they are working well to promote better education for the children and improving working conditions for teachers. Show examples where teacher unions are good....

Like what

What is the IEA doing to promote better education? IEA is about helping the teachers. The only proposals I ever hear coming from the IEA are about paying teachers more and getting the teachers a better deal.

Let's get something straight. Unions are about working for their members, and students aren't members of the IEA. The interests of students and teachers are often conflicting, and in those cases the IEA will side with the teacher 100% of the time. Teachers constantly harp about the needs of students in this debate, but they're really talking about their own needs. Student's don't need teachers with tenure; they need teachers who are held accountable. Students don't need the status quo; they need a better educational system.

And working conditions for teachers? You make it sound like teachers are working in coal mines. They work in schools. They get prep periods and recesses. They work 180 days a year. They're given a ton of independence wiht minimal supervisoin. What better conditions do they need?

An answer for everything

What proposals have you seen that the IEA has submitted requesting more money and a better deal? In fact teachers/IEA are on board with the pay for performance plan, they only had questions with it's implementation. And you misspoke. Teachers are paid for 180 days a year, they work many more than that. Teachers biggest complaint in regards to Luna's plans are the increase in cla** sizes. I volunteer and have yet to go into a classroom that had less than 25. Currently my kids have 30+ students in their cla** and you think increasing that is going to increase their quality of education? I wonder why you make the a**umption that anyone who is against Luna's plan is against reform in general. Do we need reform? Of course. Do we need Luna's reform? Absolutely not.

The head of the IEA has..

called for an increase of 17% in the state sales tax to cover the problems of Idaho education.


The IEA wants 17% for more money for teachers?

A 1% sales tax increase has

A 1% sales tax increase has been listed as one of many options since the GOP irresponsibly cut out land tax from school funding.
A more responsible balancing would instead include slashing a bit of the $1,800,000,000 in corporate welfare that Idaho gives away each year. Education provides far more ROI than that tax break.

17% increase


Domer - Please cite.

I do not believe this statement.

Domer is obscuring the proposal

When he says a 17% increase, he's talking about increasing the sales tax from 6% to 7%. 7/6 = 1.17, approximately, so that could be considered a 17% increase. I personally would call it a 1% increase, but whatever. The other thing he's obscuring is that the IEA is proposing it. Not true. Sue Chew (representative from Boise) is the one proposing it.

No Clue

If you can't buy a clue, at least come of with something closer to the truth.

One cannot separate teaching from the teachers.


Unions already have...

in states like MD, MA, WA, etc...why else is the rw freak fringe so freaked out and resorting to thuggery to make their point? And why have IN & other rw guvs pulled their anti union legislation?


Costly? They've agreed to all but one provision, the bargaining. Sounds like it's Governor Walker that is outdated and costing the state of Wisconsin a lot of money. Keep fighting the good fight people of Wisconsin, don't let them win. I wish we had more people with backbones in this state. But instead we have a collective group of legislators that do whatever Butch thinks is a good idea.

SEIU is vulnerable

SEIU knows they are vulnerable which is why they are agreeing now with the hopes of a reprieve. Next time, if they are not at a disadvantage, they will take advantage of the system like they always do.

Public employee unions are a bit of a mystery. Collective bargaining is ridiculous. What ever happened to paying people what they are worth.

Like we do in...

Foriegn countries? Are you saying the average american worker is only worth pennies a day? A few dollars a day? Should we be working 14-18 hour days like they did about a hundred years ago? In factories that are not safe? Should children be allowed to work in these places again? Yes you are right, collective bargaining is ridiculous. All hail our corporate masters, how dare we ask to be treated fairly and have a voice in our jobs. We will go straight to the whipping room, or the scalding water room, or whatever punishment they feel neccessary to give to us room for looking out for our families instead of theirs.

At least we know who you carry water for.

You may enjoy being a waterboy for the ultra wealthy, many of us are not so inclined.

Name calling? Really?

Your seventh grade teacher just called. She said to remember to finish your homework.

Please cite name calling

on my part.
I only described actual facts. Not my fault that you are your moniker.
Keep carrying water for the ultra wealthy.
They need you to hustle - no slacking now...


You're a funny dude. Hope you finished your homework.

I happen to make a living in water related technologies - on the private side. Most of the country lives in the free market and we do just fine without price fixing amongst large groups (i.e., collective bargaining). Yes, I work more than 40 hours without overtime pay but my compensation follows my actual value. Entitlement kids like yourself probably have a tough time getting your heads around that idea.

Unions were initially established to protect workers from the private overlords. There was a time and place. Now the government does a great deal for worker rights. The idea of having a union for government workers is beyond ridiculous and is a relatively new concept.

The world needs ditch-diggers too...

As someone who is not and never has been a union member, and never will be, in my opinion the education system in Idaho is already devastated by no child left behind. People who are championing paying teachers based on results are missing the point of an education, which is to learn to learn and enjoy learning more, and to learn the broadest range of subjects to be a rounded individual.

As a parent of three currently in school, no child left behind has been the exact opposite of a liberal arts education, that the founding fathers themselves had, so I guess it would be best to be called a conservative education, in which the kids have 30 answers to get right on a test, and the teacher works only to drill the correct answers into the kids heads so they pass the test and the teacher appears to have succeeded. If they can enable kids to pass a test to comply with your logic of performance-teaching, it really does not matter if the kids learn anything or not, so long as they pass the test.

I would gladly pay 3 cents more on the dollar for sales tax if Idaho would champion itself as the national leader in education reform, and do things to make it better, rather than destroying teacher morale and giving up on the next generation by gutting their education. No wonder we spend more on prisons than education. The kids deserve a chance, and we are not giving it to them in Idaho and our children's education is at the bottom of the pile in the world.

Why can't we make Education of our future Americans a priority, rather than acting like it is a tax Albatross around our necks?

It Goes Further

Also in Scott Walkers rush to "fiscal responsibility" is:

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

In other words, Governor Walker can sell Koch Industries power plants and/or contracts to operate same with no bid AND, to sweeten such a deal, can fire all union employees prior to purchase. And what is the Koch brothers primary business? Government contracts related to power generation.

Welcome to Citizens United.

Web foot;

Nice shot - good research big guy/gal/other as required.

Excellent post. Now if

Excellent post. Now if people would actually wake up and consider facts...

Web, but you have to admit it will be quite amusing

to see all of the political ads which will be running against Walker in the next election from his prank phone call!!! I personally look forward to those...plus Walker will have to answer to his tax cuts for the wealthy and not being focused on job creation! He's got it coming!

The next election is too

The next election is too little too late...

It is never too late to right wrongs.

Especially when the will of the people is involved.

I agree TWall!

GO WI!!!

More smoke and mirrors...

WASHINGTON -- Budget referees and transportation officials in Wisconsin have informed Gov. Scott Walker (R) that if he were to pass his controversial anti-union legislation into law, he could be forfeiting tens of millions of dollars in federal funds for transportation.

Under an obscure provision of federal labor law, states risk losing federal funds should they eliminate "collective bargaining rights" that existed at the time when federal assistance was first granted.


Did anyone else hear his fake conversation with one of the "Koch Brothers"? That tells us a lot...

Walker is the

water boy for the Koch brothers. Otter and the other Republicans look on with pious faces and utter lies about who is benefiting from their shenanigans. The group that will benefit the least is the children for generations to come.

Citizens United SC Ruling

With that ruling, Corporations and unions had unrestricted election donations.

Now the Corporate-bought-off politicians are trying their hardest to silence the voices of the working group (unions).
The corporations want only 2 groups, the very rich and powerful, and the underpaid and voiceless working class.

We're in a very sad shape. Our kids and grandkids will be the ones who really suffer.

Campaign money

That's a pretty hollow argument when unions spent over $100 million dollars in campaign contributions in the 2010 election, with almost 100% of that going to Democrats. And when the union money is coming from public employee unions its so nice to know that this is taxpayer-originating money.

That's a bit of a stretch

Union dues come out of paychecks to public employees, who also pay taxes. So by your argument public employees partially do their work for free.

That's asinine.

Next thing you'll say is that public employees shouldn't pay taxes. Go ahead. You know you believe it.

You can state your lame opinions,

but the previous poster said no such thing.
In fact, I can find no evidence any public employee said any such thing in WI or ID.
Cite evidence that is what any public employee is advocating for.

The fact is, the previous poster was correct that union dues come out of their paycheck. Period.
So what?

Just $100m? How does that

Just $100m? How does that compare to the BILLIONS that corporations and the rich spent buying elections?


They're not holding just the officials hostage, they are holding the rest of the citizens as hostage too!

If you are not "one of them"- getting the benefits of their demands then- you are automatically one of the taxpayers PAYING for their demands.

Do you read the articles and most comments?

Sure doesn't seem like it. Maybe if you turned off FoxNews for a while and think for yourself, you can see what's going on.

Well said

Public employee unions are a blight on a democracy, and a vicious cycle of corruption. Taxpayers pay the public workers, who then, through their union dues, pay the unions, who pay off the Democrat lawmakers, who in turn give the public employees higher pay and plush benefits using taxpayer money. And with that higher pay the public employees pay higher dues, which gives the unions more money to pay off the Democratic majority, who in turn takes care of the public employee unions.

This is why the public unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and other states are scared to death, and it's also why the Demcorats in those states are running away--literally--from doing their jobs. The cycle of corruption is coming to a necessary end.


The depth & breadth of ignorance in this post is well, breath taking. It is truly hard to believe that you believe what you have written. Corporations spend billions on legalized bribes of lawmakers Rs & Ds both who then pass laws inimical to organized labor yet its unions who are corrupt? Public employees as a group get paid less then equivalent private sector employees. Public employees have seen their pay and benefits tumbling in the last few years. As unions have lost ground wages for all workers have decreased. Pay for working people has been essentially flat since the '70s while corporate profits and executive compensation are at record highs. How do explain all this?????

Absolutely wrong

Your public v. private sector comparison is totally wrong. USA Today published an article recently that said that federal employees are paid almost twice as much as their counterparts in the private sector. There are countless studies that show that state public sector union members earn significantly more than their non-unionized counterparts in other states as well as comparable positions in the private sector. Public employee spending increased dramatically from the early 1960s when Kennedy allowed CBAs for public employees until the crash of 2008.

And union employees aren't corporate executives. There is no reasonable comparison between the two. Union employees don't do corporate executive work and corporate executives are paid what the corporate shareholders vote to pay them. This isn't a socialist society where we put everyone's pay in a collective pot and then divy it out equally. Public union workers don't work for private corporations; they work for and are paid by the taxpayer. And yet their compensation and especially their benefits are have been much, much better than those who pay them.

You said it - unionized pays

You said it - unionized pays better than non-union. Wouldn't you want to be in a union in that case?

Federal pays more than state. Also, where you live has a huge impact on how far money goes.

BTW, share holders have NO SAY in how much execs get paid. Execs do. Any complaint you have about politicians paying themselves also goes for execs.

If you dislike unions then go after the ones at utility companies. Take a look.

The USA Today article did not do a complete analysis.

Your claims are false, when you compare actual jobs and education levels expected by the Federal government versus private sector. You also must consider who is setting pay/benefits and benefitting from those schedules - the lawmakers themselves (you know, like the ones you vote for with an R next to their name). When you spout articles, it is always a good idea to comprehend what you are reading.
Unless, of course, your goal to make inane arguments.