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National news coverage of Scott Walker's war on the UW System

National media are paying close attention to Scott Walker's outrageous attacks on the University of Wisconsin System.  Walker is facing close scrutiny as he attempts to pay for tax breaks for his wealthy donors by cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from the UW System, with in-depth articles in both the New York Times and the Washington Post in recent days.

Wisconsin Labor History High School Essay Contest

The Wisconsin Labor History Society is currently accepting essays for its 2014-15 Labor History Essay Contest, open to all Wisconsin high school students in grades 9-12.  Up to eight prizes between $100 and $500 will be awarded to outstanding essays of up to 750 words on the topic "Unions have been important to my family and my community because..."  Essays must be postmarked by February 13 for consideration.  Please distribute this contest flyer or share the contest website with any interested high school students and with your fellow union members to spread the word!

2014 AFT-Wisconsin Scholarship Winners

AFT-Wisconsin members highly value and honor education. As part of our values, we offer scholarships for children and grandchildren of current or retired AFT-Wisconsin members who will be attending technical colleges or universities. This year a $1,000 university scholarship and a $500 technical college scholarship were awarded.

2015 AFT-Wisconsin Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

AFT-Wisconsin has a long tradition of offering educational scholarships to support dependents of members in good standing who wish to pursue higher education at a technical college or university. Currently, AFT-Wisconsin offers one $1,000 university scholarship and one $500 technical college scholarship. The application period for 2015-2016 scholarships is now open; applications are due to AFT-Wisconsin by March 15, 2015, and winners will be notified by May 1, 2015.

A Call to Action

Yesterday’s election results were disappointing, to say the least. With Scott Walker’s reelection, we’re going to have some tough fights on our hands in the coming months. We must remain vigilant against many threats that are likely to come our way, including forced public school privatization, outsourcing of state positions, further cuts to higher education, and centralization of power in the state technical college system. But while the political environment in the Capitol will continue to present us with challenges, remember—AFT-Wisconsin members are resilient.

Legal Update from AFT-Wisconsin: MTI v. Walker

This morning, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its ruling in Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Walker, in which the Court’s conservative majority overturned Judge Juan Colas’s 2012 decision that found most of Act 10 unconstitutional for municipal employees.  The decision did not affect our state employee and UW System unions, which have been operating under Act 10 since 2011.  As expected, a majority of the Court upheld the law, which is no surprise—the conservative ideologues that make up the Court’s majority have reliably sided with Scott Walker and big-money special interests in nearly every major case over the past few years. This decision is aptly summarized by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, in her dissent, which states that "the majority's failure to address the actual issues presented in this case allows it to reach results that countenance the needless diminution of multiple constitutional rights." While I (and our legal counsel) strongly disagree with the Court’s opinion, today’s decision closes the books on the major legal challenges to Act 10.

AFT-Wisconsin President Kim Kohlhaas Responds to Harris v. Quinn

Like many of you, I have been anxiously awaiting the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn, a case which threatened to eliminate fundamental workers’ rights across the entire public sector. In this case, an extreme right-wing anti-union organization, the Right to Work Legal Foundation, used a dispute over a recently formed union for home health care workers in Illinois to attempt to outlaw fair share fees and even the right to exclusive union representation in the entire public sector of the United States. While the Court’s conservative majority sided with right-wing special interests in their decision, dealing a substantial blow to our sister and brother home health care workers in Illinois and elsewhere, the decision did not, as feared, impact the right to exclusive union representation in the public sector or the ability to require all public employees to pay their fair share of the cost of their representation. This, at least, is something to be grateful for.

An Update on Merger

I’m writing to let you know about an important development in the proposed merger of AFT-Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). As you know, a vote on merger was originally scheduled to take place in April at both the WEAC and AFT-Wisconsin conventions. Last Saturday, WEAC’s Board of Directors voted to postpone a full merger vote.

LFT asks Jindal to intervene in Pastorek feud

(Baton Rouge – August 10, 2009) The state’s largest education organization is asking Governor Bobby Jindal to step in and mediate the ongoing dispute between State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek and some advocates for public education.

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