Teachers Union Lays Off 40 Percent of Staff
By Erin Toner
August 16, 2011 | WUWM | Milwaukee, WI
The state’s largest teachers union sent layoff notices to 40 percent of its workforce on Monday. Union leaders say the cuts are the result of what it calls Gov. Walker’s “union-busting bill.” As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, his collective bargaining bill eliminated negotiating rights for most public unions, and left them without an automatic means of enrolling members and collecting dues.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, represents more than 80,000 public school teachers and support staff. Executive Director Dan Burkhalter says after the collective bargaining law took effect, a record number of members retired over fear their benefits could be cut. He says union membership will take another hit because schools are scaling back because of state budget cuts.
“Across the state school districts are eliminating positions either through layoffs or by not hiring staff to replace the record number of teacher retirements in the wake of Act 10 and the devastating cuts to school districts in the state budget. Fewer school employees means a loss of revenue for WEAC that represents them,” Burkhalter says.