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Greenfield Teachers Ask District For Voice on Contract Decisions

Union president says he hopes for continued labor peace.

The effects of Governor Scott Walker's has begun to take shape in the Greenfield School District, leading teachers to request a seat at the table for decisions once negotiated by their union.

During Monday's school board meeting, , publicly requested teachers have a voice in decisions pertaining to various employment issues and policies. 

They include the district's grievance procedure, the employee handbook, the school calendar and health insurance, Perry indicated during Monday's School Board meeting that was was attended by dozens of teachers and community members.

"We realize that you don't have to include us anymore. We get that," Perry told the board. "But we think to continue on the labor peace that we have had for the years that I have been here … I think it is important to involve the people that are the frontline, in the classrooms everyday."

The district has had labor peace for more than two decades, according to Perry. 

"We've had some disagreements and some contracts that have expired and things like that, but we have always been able to come to some sort of agreement," he said.  

Board members did not comment on Perry's remarks because they were not part of the agenda. 

This spring, Walker and the Republican-led Legislature passed a budget repair measure that effectively . Walker and Republicans in Madison have claimed public employee unions are partly to blame for the financial problems of local school districts and municipalities. 

Resident Bob Heule called on the board to do everything in its power to keep labor peace in the district. 

"The one tool that he gave local government is the chain saw and that is what's going to happen to people if you use that," said Heule, referring to Walker's claim the he gave school districts and local municipalities tools to balance budgets. 

"If you use a chain saw, you don't start at the bottom, you (start) from the top," Heule added. "My advice to you is that if you are going to cut something, cut the fat on the administrative staff and leave the employees alone."

Kelly Patel July 26, 2011 at 08:53 AM
Starting this year your child (or children) cannot be denied coverage simply because they have a pre-existing health condition. If you don't have insurance for you and your children search "Penny Health" online they are the best.
Mary Donovan July 26, 2011 at 01:22 PM
I do not believe that the teachers should have a say in the contract. It is time that the school board be an advocate to the taxpayers. There is no reason that the teachers and public service employees should not pay for their health care and their own "pension". A pension is just a saving account for their future needs. Most of the taxpayers do not have a pension. Most of the taxpayers if they have health care, pay at least 35 - 40% of the cost. It has been said that all of the tax increases have "been for the children". If that is the case, how about helping the district, and the children by paying their fair share. We can minimize cuts, keep teachers and possibly reinstate some of the previous cuts. I hope that the school board implements the percentages that has been recommended by the Governor
robert heule July 26, 2011 at 02:27 PM
I call on all public employees including teachers to join me in using any legal means to frustrate the actions of Walker and the GOP controlled Legislature. This includes taking them to court(federal because of the Prosser factor). In addition to the collective bargaining law, the picture I.D voting law will be taken to court. The details will be explained in future comments.
Ben Hogan July 26, 2011 at 02:34 PM
I here by call on Robert Heule to double his property taxes and pay for all the excessive spending he continues to promote
Ben Hogan July 26, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Thank You to the Greefield school board for waiting until Act 10 was passed and NOT negotiating with the teachers union. You did the right thing for our children and our community. All we need to do is look at the situation in MPS and see that the union could care less about our childrens education. They would rather let hundreds of teachers loose their jobs then contribute 5.8 percent towards their own pension. I remember these same teachers marching in Madison only a few short months ago claiming it wasnt about the money and they would gladly pay towards their pension. YEAH RIGHT!!!!!!!
mark July 26, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Thank you Greenfield for waiting also, i am a taxpayer and the only reason the teacher union says they have had labor peace the past 2 decades is becuase they have got EVERTHING they strong armed from us taxpayers. Its about time they pay their just dues and pay thier own way just like everyone else does, it has NOTHING to do with as they say " its all about the kids" thats a bunch of B.S. they know it s all about them!! Please DO NOT include them in decisions pertaining to employment issues and policies, if they want a voice use it in the classroom and eduacte the kids they claim to worry so much about, i am a union member and agree 100% with what Govenor Walker is doing and i hope you dont show your weakness and buckle to these teachers union heads who are nothing but a bunch of thugs!!! Wake up and look out for the taxpayers and not these greedy union teachers. Thank you...... Oh yes and Robert quit crying and threatening lawsuits and boycotts, it doesnt and wont work, were fed up with you thugs!!!
The Big Cat July 26, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Mr. Perry, your days of dictating to the taxpayers are over. Finished. You should not have a seat on any decision making. Now you are an employee just like the rest of us in the private sector and the bosses (ie taxpers) make the rules. You follow them.
robert heule July 27, 2011 at 01:00 AM
The big problem with some Greenfield folks is that they breath the rancid vapor from AM Talk Radio
Ben Hogan July 27, 2011 at 02:47 AM
The problem with some folks in Greenfield is that they have been a union sheep their entire lives. They feel they deserve something simply for existing. Time to suck it up like the rest of us in the private sector. We could only dream of the days when we had a zero dollar health insurance deductible. By the way you could always QUIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sure the several hundred teachers that were laid off from MPS would be more than happy to step in. By the way did you ever notice how Robert can never respond to any facts regarding actual benefits. He simply goes off on some tangent about talk radio. Who is even talking about talk radio? We are responding to the article. Mr. Heule was on the school board for many years. DO YOU THINK HE ACTUALLY GAVE ANY CONSIDERATION TO THE TAXPAYERS OF GREEFIELD? HE IS PART OF THE REASON WE ARE IN THIS MESS NOW!!!!!! BENEFITS THAT FAR EXCEED ARE ABILITY TO PAY.
Ben Hogan July 27, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Mr Heule won't even respond to the situation in MPS that I stated earlier. Why won't the teachers agree to contribute towards their pensions and save hundreds of teaching positions?
mark July 27, 2011 at 03:56 AM
Hey Robert Huele, your time is done!!!! Walker and the common sense taxpayers are running this state, not you thug crybaby union idiots!!! Im an ironworker in local union #8 here in milwaukee, and were tired of your strong arm tactics, why dont you try to make an honest living. Were tired of paying your way while you suck the blood out of the taxpayers. Cya your time as a extortionist unon is up!!!
Andrew July 27, 2011 at 04:15 AM
It is obvious from reading the comments that most of you do not have a clue regarding how the level of compensation and benefits are derived for public workers. You all seem to be fixated on making teachers pay for certain benefits because your employer happily exploits you and chooses not to extend benefits to you. This is nothing more than teacher envy--"if I don't get benefits than you do not deserve them either". T'is a bit childish, don't you think?
Andrew July 27, 2011 at 04:19 AM
The comments referring to teachers as "greedy" are simply ignorant of the facts. You all seem to continually compare teachers to those who work in the private sector. Great! In doing so, you will find out that teachers are grossly undercompensated when comparing total compensation--wages and benefits to that of their counterparts in the private sector. First off, you need to know that teachers are a whole bunch more educated than private sector workers. Only 22.6% of all private sector workers have attained a 4-year college degree. Now compare that to teachers where 100% of them have college degrees. But to be more fair to your arguments, let's compare apples to apples. Of the private sector workers with college degrees, their total compensation is roughly 10% higher than that of teachers and that does not take into account that the majority of private sector workers with college degrees only have a B.A. degree, where as roughly 2/3 of teachers have a Masters degree and enough additional credits to have earned Doctoral degrees. Your arguments are without merit and have no basis. But, if we are to support your positions, then we as taxpayers should be gladly opening our wallets and paying teachers what they deserve. Teachers are our most important public servants, they are not indentured servants to you.
mark July 27, 2011 at 02:52 PM
That is the biggest joke i have heard Andrew, for one, i do get very good benefits and think all public union employees should pay more of thier own money towards their benefits since i have to pay for mine, why should they get a free taxpayer ride for life, for working a part time job!! I wish i got paid the pay they get and have the entire summer off as well as several weeks during the school year for Christmas break, spring break, in service days, snow days oh and yes lets not forget the madison "sick days" to march and protest like a bunch of lunatics. I have 5 cousins who are teachers and i know what they get paid and how rough they have it working about 6 hours a day actually teaching lol.All you public unions can start to pay up and its obvious the taxpayers said that loud and clear during the 2010 vote!! I pay my benefits through my total package and i pay $8.87 per hour towards my health insurance (2010 contract) not to mention it went up this year and thats just my health insurance,plus my pension and annuity i pay out of my total package,, figure it out what that comes out to per year, i am thinking its just a weeeee bit more than what you actaully pay for your gold plated plan, paid for by the taxpayers, and i used to be the union organizer for ironworkers local 8 and have 2 college degrees, so ive seen both sides of the coin and its time the public unions chip in and quit raping the taxpayers.
Andrew July 27, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Mark, your comment about teachers getting a free tax payer ride for life is off the the mark. Once a teacher in Greenfield retires, taxpayers no longer contribute anything toward their financial well being. The pension money they receive is an accumulation of the contributions made while they were employed by the school district. You may whine about what you perceive as an easy work schedule; however that just shows a lack of understanding of the scope of a teachers job. It doesn't matter that you may pay more for a certain benefit than a teacher does; if it makes you feel good to have teachers pay more for a benefit, so be it, their compensation will be adjusted in other ways accordingly. It's not about teachers being greedy, it is what the free market dictates about the worth and value of a particular career. You get what you pay for and I would suggest to you that all things considered, the tax payers of Greenfield are getting a heck of a bargain for the services rendered by the teachers.
Ben Hogan July 27, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Andrew you could not be more wrong than your previous comment. When a teacher retires at 57 they get health insurance paid for 7 years. A family plan costs greenfield over 23 grand per teacher. It's called post employment benefits
Andrew July 27, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Ben, seven years of health insurance may seem like a sweet deal for the teachers; however it is actually a significant savings to the tax payers of our community. Don't think for a second that the teachers were served this benefit on a silver platter because they have some kind a union muscle. The only reason teachers have this benefit is because they chose to forgoe significant salary increases over the course of many contracts to have this benefit. It is a pay em now or pay later principle, but the fact is that they will be paid. As such, it works to the District's advantage to offer a benefit that doesn't have to be paid until well into the future verses paying larger salaries now. Future health benefit costs are cost accounted for now but not paid till later, which is a savings to the tax payers. Further savings are obtained because the District does not actually pay for 7 full years of insurance for most retirees; many of them die before they even are retired for seven years. And contrary to your belief, most teachers do not retire at 57 because they can't afford to because of their low salaries. Also, for any retirement after age 57, the District only pays the full benefit till age 65 (medicare eligible) and pays a minimal amount as a supplement to medicare until the employee has been retired for seven years. Once again, this is great for us tax payers and can be deemed as no better than acceptable for the teachers.
mark July 27, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Check your data Andrew, i believe Ben is correct, im not going to bicker back and forth anymore, the taxpayers of Wisconsin have spoken, and things are changing for the better!! the days of Doyle and the freebies are done for all the lazy teachers and public unions, have a great day, i know i am..... WALKER FOREVER!!!!
Ben Hogan July 27, 2011 at 06:52 PM
Andrew health insurance for retirees costs the Greenfield school district close to 1 million dollars annually. How can you plan for the future when we have no idea how fast or high health benefits costs will rise? Andrew most people in general do not retire at 57 not just teachers. Your assumption that most teachers die before collecting on the full seven years is absolutely not factual. Could you give me a percentage of teachers who die before reaching 65?
Ben Hogan July 27, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Andrew do you also realize that our janitors are receiving the same benefits as the teachers? They get the same tremendous health insurance plan as well as the retirement benefits. Is it your claim that they also had to forgoe significant salary increases in order to get this benefit? If your claim is that teachers are underpaid based on the amount of education they have how do you then justify our janitors gettting similar benefits without having obtained the same amount of schooling?
Ben Hogan July 27, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Also Andrew how can you possibly justify anyone having a zero dollar deductible health insurance plan such as the plan enjoyed by our teachers and janitors? This is simply not affordable in today's world. Could we at least ask our teachers to have a deductible close to the national average for all employees?
robert heule July 27, 2011 at 07:53 PM
Hey Ben Hogan, Roses are red, violets are blue, public employees pay taxes too.
Ben Hogan July 27, 2011 at 08:53 PM
Hey Lyle Roses are red Violets are blue it sure would be nice if public employees had a health insurance deductible like the rest of us too!!!!!
robert heule July 27, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Mark: Personal attacks and name calling are generally reserved by the losing side. Please stick to the issues.
mark July 28, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Hey Robert and Andrew your views are so skewed to what you want people to hear and believe, but Ben seems to know more about the facts than either of you do!! Youre time is up, join the ranks of us who have to pay for our benefits instead of screwing the taxpayers. Good job Ben have a great day!!

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