Lots of news came out of Wisconsin today, all of it bad for union activists. First, as a momentary end to the drama in Wausau, the Marathon County Labor Council has reversed its decision to ban Republicans from the local Labor Day parade:
WSAW-TV says [council president Randy] Radtke released a statement Wednesday which said the Labor Council didn’t want community groups and school bands affected, so Republicans will be allowed in the parade.
Well, they didn’t want to foot the bill for the parade, as Mayor Jim Tipple warned would happen yesterday if the MCLC turned it into a partisan event. It’s only a temporary end to the controversy, though. If Republicans like Rep. Sean Duffy do take part in the parade, you can bet your bottom dollar that protesters will disrupt it with high-profile hijinks in order to get on the local news. Stay tuned on Monday for more on this story.
Meanwhile, WLUK reports again on the fact that Wisconsin taxpayers are saving millions of dollars this year, thanks to the law that prompted the ban in Wausau. In fact, the competition has not only saved money for taxpayers, it actually forced the union’s insurance company to reduce its prices to compete:
Months after the massive protests in Madison ended; school districts are starting to take advantage of their new found flexibility specifically when it comes to health care.
In the past, school boards and unions would have to agree on any changes in benefits. But now that public employee unions can no longer bargain on benefits, schools districts are changing their health insurance plans and saving taxpayers millions. …
The Appleton Area School District is staying with WEA Trust but is saving $3.1 million dollars.
I asked Superintendent Lee Allinger if that was something the district could have achieved without the changes or if the savings were a result of the changes.
“I think it’s a combination,” Allinger replied. “I think the marketplace has certainly become more competitive with bidding out the health care plan. It’s become more competitive. In our case, WEA Trust did not want to lose us as a client and they came in with a very competitive bid that was below the other bids we received.”
Isn’t it amazing what competition can do? Funny how the WEA Trust never bothered to compete for clients when the union had school districts and governments in headlocks during negotiations.
Speaking of competition with the unions, Hot Air readers found themselves aghast by a video shot at Messmer Preparatory Catholic School last week when Walker paid a visit to the children, especially with one particular union protester. Media Trackers decided to find the man who berated the female principal of the school with this thinly-veiled threat:
“I’m ashamed to have you in my neighborhood. I’m ashamed. Where do you live, by the way? Do you live here? Do you live in this neighborhood? Do you live in the suburbs and drive here for work? You don’t even live here, do you? I’ve got some advice for you: stay where you came from. We don’t want you here.”
They conclude that the man in question is, not surprisingly, a well-known left-wing activist:
Media Trackers is very confident that the individual seen threatening the principal of Messmer School in the MacIver Institute video is Brian Rothgery, a communications coordinator for the left-wing organization Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Rothgery is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Masters in Rhetoric from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. According to his LinkedIn profile, Rothgery has worked for Citizen Action of Wisconsin since 2008 and previously worked as an organizer for the SEIU and the Graduates Assistant Association.
Last week, Rothgery was featured on a panel at the left-wing Democracy Convention in Madison where he spoke on the topic of “Messaging For the Movement to Maintain Public Education.”
It’s not the first controversy for Citizen Action of Wisconsin this month. The state GOP filed a complaint alleging that CAW illegally coordinated with the campaign of a candidate in the recall elections:
Earlier on Monday, the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the GAB alleging illegal coordination between Citizen Action of Wisconsin and the campaign of Sandy Pasch (D-Millwaukee), Darling’s challenger.
The RPW complaint comes on the revelation by Media Trackers that Pasch sits on the board of directors of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. The Republican Party asked the Government Accountability Board to conduct investigation into whether Sandy Pasch’s membership on the Board of Directors for Citizen Action of Wisconsin violated Section 11.06(7) of the Wisconsin statutes concerning illegal coordination between candidates and independent expenditure organizations.
CAW has been active in organizing for the recalls and get out the vote efforts across the state and has been making independent expenditures in support of Pasch and against Darling in recent days.
In what could be another indication of coordination between the various groups, theMacIver News Service discovered that the address and phone number for Wisconsin Jobs Now! and Citizen Action of Wisconsin are the same. Matthew Brusky is listed as the treasurer of Wisconsin Jobs Now. A Matthew Brusky is also listed as the political director at Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Isn’t it interesting how all the same players seem to be protecting unions from competition in all areas of Wisconsin?