LETTER: Letter writer shares misinformationTo the Telegram: Robert White is misinformed about several points. In a letter to the editor published Feb. 22, White made several misinformed statements, or blatant lies, only he knows which case is accurate.
To the Telegram:
Robert White is misinformed about several points. In a letter to the editor published Feb. 22, White made several misinformed statements, or blatant lies, only he knows which case is accurate.
I am a teacher in the School District of Superior, so I can only address issues he raised regarding us in his label of “public employees.” He stated, “… that while taxpayers made significant contributions toward their health care and retirement, public workers contributed nothing toward their own pension plans and most of them contributed nothing toward their health care insurance.”
First of all, public employees are taxpayers. Secondly, for many years we teachers negotiated with our employers to forego raises in salary to keep our benefit package (health and retirement) intact. This also helped save the school district money. This is known as “deferred compensation.”
So, while people in the private sector enjoyed raises in salaries and paid to their health and retirement, we redirected the funds to health and retirement, and declined raises in salaries. Translation: We have been paying for our health and retirement, just in a different manner.
Next, Mr. White made the statement: “They also learned how WEAC, the teacher’s union, set up an insurance company, and then forced local school districts to purchase their health care insurance from this company and then drastically inflated the cost of this insurance.”
Not all teachers in Wisconsin belong to WEAC. We in Superior belong to SFT. For years, we have worked hand-in-hand with the school board to find the most cost effective insurance plans that meet the needs of the employees, while also helping give all the taxpayers (teachers included) the best “bang for their buck.” Again, we are taxpayers and members of our local community. Lastly, he stated, “When public workers learned the governor’s budget was going to change this and put public worker benefits more in line with average taxpayers, they saw these same public workers vandalize the state capital building, disrupt public events including one that honored participants in the Special Olympics. They saw doctors writing fraudulent medical excuses, teachers abandoning their students, death threats to the governor and other Republicans and the intimidation of individuals and businesses that don’t openly support them.”
Teachers from Superior joined other public employees across the state in agreeing to take a wage decrease to help our state’s budget concerns. We grew upset when it became apparent that Walker was more interested in abolishing collective bargaining rights than getting wage/benefit concessions to address fiscal issues. (His agenda appeared to be a part of a nationwide Republican scheme to bust unions to attack the Democratic Party and ultimately turn the country into a one-party system. When we protested in Madison, we did not “abandon students.” We used personal leave and weekends to voice our concerns over a non-democratic process that was being pushed through. We did not over burden our school district or our students by doing this on a large scale; we did it in small controlled groups. There was no vandalism or death threat by anyone I am familiar with.
Mr. White’s letter appears to me to be nothing more than extreme right wing propaganda and misinformation.