Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum et Legem.

Translation:
The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta

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|Prudence Potpourri | The Left

Flashback: WI Teacher Union Outraged Over No Viagra Benefits (UPDATED x2)

[Updates at end!…but be sure to check out the new logo that SooperMexican designed for the Wisconsin “public service” union knuckleheads: click here.]

Last August, the Milwaulkee school district’s teacher’s union was all up in arms—insisting they get their Viagra pills put back into their relatively free health insurance plans.

In an article titled “Despite Budget Cuts, Layoff Fears, Milwaukee Teachers Fight for Taxpayer-Funded Viagra,” Fox News reported:

At least one lawmaker questioned why the union is fighting for Viagra while teachers are losing their jobs. A consultant for the school board has estimated that reinstating the drug benefit would cost $786,000 per year — the cost to keep perhaps a dozen first-year teachers employed.

For the math challenged, that works out to a first-year teacher earning $65,500. Sign me up!

The article also said:

The union has argued the costs are tiny compared to the $1.3 billion annual budget. But the school board says they are “particularly burdensome” when it is under pressure to reduce benefit costs.

That the pills — which can cost $20 apiece without insurance — were included in the first place is somewhat unusual. Health insurer Aetna Inc., which provides one of the district’s two plans, says its standard pharmacy plans exclude Viagra and other “drugs for lifestyle enhancement or performance.”

Note that the teachers pay little if anything at all for their health plans. Yet:

Board and union negotiators reached a deal in 2002 to cover six tablets per month for erectile dysfunction drugs in health plans that insure 10,000 employees, dependents and retirees. They quickly became popular.

By 2004, the number of claimants receiving prescriptions skyrocketed to more than 1,000 per year, costing the district $207,000. During negotiations in 2005, the board proposed eliminating the benefit and an arbitrator adopted the plan.

A gender discrimination suit has apparently held up the removal of Viagra from the health plans.

And now these teachers have flooded the halls of the Madison capitol building complaining that they shouldn’t have to contribute anything to cover their health care—among other whines.

I could make a bad off-color joke here about how this Viagra protest was a perfect example of how the teacher unions can’t even screw the public on their own but instead demand the public pay them to do it…but I won’t.

UPDATE:

Several bloggers have done an excellent job in summarizing the events of the Wisconsin union agitations this week:

Jimmie Bise, aka @JimmieBJR, at The Sundries Shack says “This Is the Week That Should End Public Sector Unions” and I could not agree more.

Public sector unions are, as I have said before, a blight on our states and nation. We should do everything in our power to rid ourselves of them entirely and make sure, by law if necessary, that they can never come back again. It would make me very happy if Governor Walker fired every single teacher who called out sick over the past two days. They let down the taxpayers of Wisconsin and, more importantly, taught their students that it’s okay to lie, cheat, and steal in order to get what you want.

What’s more, government “bargaining” agreements with public employees is are no bargain for taxpayers who are essentially unrepresented in any “negotiations.” It’s not the bureaucrat’s money on the line that he gives away without much concern for the fiscal consequences down the line.

Dan Collins, aka @vermontaigne,  of Piece Of Work In Progress says he can’t write much today because of other work and then proceeds to put together an amazing collection of links pertaining to the extortion protests going on in Wisconsin—including creating a new verse to the The Who’s “Magic Bus” which he renames “Union Bus.”

Dan, a former Wisonsin native, wrote at POWIP.com:

What I’d like to see is someone go out and video reactions when they tell the kids that these apparent holidays now will mean make-up days in June. Think any of their teachers taking them to rally have told them that? I seem to recall that Wisconsin has laws regarding truancy, too, or at least so I was told with regard to Senior Skip Day when I was in school.

And then there’s @diggrbiii of The Right Sphere, who writes in his post titled “OFA (Obama’s Re-Election Campaign) Organizes Civil Unrest”:

This entire situation is a case study in corruption. As Jenny Erikson explains, Public Sector unions are inherently corrupt because when they protest, they don’t just impact a company or an industry, they impact the whole society. The PUBLIC. In this case, school districts get shut down. A couple of months ago, people died because a Public Sector Union in New York City decided they were going to send a message to the city leadership.  Public Sector Unions can hold the public hostage. How is that fair to everyone else? Where’s the equality there?

He concludes his post with an update saying the DNC is now claiming they haven’t helped the WI hoopla all that much. I’ve been collecting a bit of evidence on that. Let’s see if I find time to “organize” it and get it posted.

Update #2

Nope, sorry, didn’t get it all organized in time. Still plan to give a few links, but in the meantime I highly recommend checking out two items at SooperMexican’s site:

  1. A union teacher forgets to close the flap on her union suit before she calls into the Tim Conway Jr. radio show because she sure shows her bare bottom, and
  2. The Wisconsin public service unions get a new logo.

Also have you heard about the debacle into which the unions have plunged the Detroit schools? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/21/national/main20034397.shtml

State education officials have ordered the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools to immediately implement a plan that balances the district’s books by closing half its schools.

The Detroit News says the financial restructuring plan will increase high school class sizes to 60 students and consolidate operations.

Hear that? Sixty students per class.  I have substitute taught in high schools before. I can’t imagine how you could ever sufficiently instruct each of those 60 students, let alone even know who they are. A class period would allot for less than one minute of attention per student. Most classrooms barely hold 30 students. How will they pack 60 into one class?

Perhaps Detroit should look at eliminating the administration and the unions and focus on teaching children. Or just give in already and give the money to the private schools to take over the entire system. It would really be for the best.

Oh! and welcome to POWIP readers. Dan Collins has done some fantastic commentary and reporting on the Wisconsin union pity parade (including this post on the shenanigans the Wisconsin Democrats tried to pull in a special lame duck session before the Republicans took over)….AND on the Detroit closing (I can’t stay ahead of that guy)… and the sorry state of the Milwaukee public schools and the interesting reason why they are struggling. I could link to practically all of his recent posts for you. But instead, I suggest just going there and perusing all the posts yourself. I’m sure you’ll find something of interest.

3 comments to Flashback: WI Teacher Union Outraged Over No Viagra Benefits (UPDATED x2)

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TJSWIFT, Thomas Ewing, Kristina Lynne, Kimberly Morin, Prudence Paine and others. Prudence Paine said: NEW Post ==> Flashback: WI Teacher Union Outraged Over No Viagra Benefits http://bit.ly/en3kOQ #tcot #tlot #hhrs #rsrh #WIunion #WI […]

  • bill

    For Detroit, your claim of a union cause rings hollow and untrue; just empty rhetoric. Detroit has lost a great deal or its populace, its property value, and thusly, its monetary source for it s school system (and other public services). This is not caused by unions. If the city “gives the money to private schools” the schools receiving the money are not “private schools” but rather for-profit schools receiving state (tax) money.

    For collective bargaining: you argue that is not really “bargaining” because the taxpayer has no voice at the table. I guess elected officials no longer serve as the voice of the people (as is the entire system of government set forth in the constitution).

    For Wisconsin: the starting salary of a Wisconsin teacher is about $35,000 http://www.wasb.org/images/stories/PDFs/collective_bargaining_data/1011%20Teacher%20Benchmark%20Salary%20Rankings.pdf (yes, that’s the collective bargaining data from the Wisconsin government, NOT a quip from an unsourced and mathematically-challenged FOX news report). Go ahead and sign up for a teaching job (like my mother) and see how you like the paycheck.

    • Prudence

      1. Your defense of unions is just empty semantics.

      2. Having officials who receive donations from the people with whom they are “bargaining” is no bargain for the taxpayers. Just look at the outrageous crushing weight of public pensions that are going to bankrupt states all around the country. It’s a shell game.

      3. Your starting salary of $35,000 is pretty cushy when you add in all of the benefits, for which unions squeal if they have to pitch in a dime to cover, and considering you only work 9 months of the year. And that’s STARTING salary. In the real work world out here, you don’t enter the workforce at an executive level salary. You start at the bottom. You prove yourself. Demonstrate you can produce quality results. For that, you get to keep your job. And if you do extra well, you get a raise.

      Get off teat of America. Treat teaching like any other real-world job.

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