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P.O.W.E.R. is back! Inspired by our walk in March we are now riding bikes to Madison the weekend of November 19. Join us!

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People Organizing Wisconsin for Education and workers’ Rights

People Organizing Wisconsin for Education and workers’ Rights (P.O.W.E.R.) are Wisconsinites who support public education and collective bargaining rights for all workers. Inspired by the ideals of “Fighting Bob” La Follette, we are biking from Milwaukee to Madison to support the “Wisconsin Idea”. The century old “Wisconsin Idea” promotes equality by:

  • Building our collective economy
  • Advancing healthcare and medicine
  • Educating young and old and
  • Enhancing quality of life for all

 

The ride will begin on Friday, November 18 at 3:30 PM at Riverside University High School (1615 E Locust St) in Milwaukee. 

The ride will be divided into two shifts:

Friday-Milwaukee to a stop to be determined,

Saturday leaving at 8AM and arriving at the Capitol building around 2PM.

If you want to donate to POWER send us an email at power.wisconsin@gmail.com and tell us how much you want to donate and we will send you a request via PayPal.

56 Comments

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  1. Patricia Langlois / Mar 5 2011 4:44 am

    More POWER to you! That is a walk and I hope the press is there to video and document your convictions and determination. You have my vote!

  2. Jeanne Lepp / Mar 5 2011 4:45 am

    Please keep me informed of any planned activities. I’ll certainly help when I’m able.

  3. Angela McClain / Mar 5 2011 8:34 am

    I stand with you.

  4. Debra / Mar 5 2011 2:27 pm

    Beautiful idea. Keep me posted.

  5. Barbara Reinhart / Mar 5 2011 7:49 pm

    This is a wonderfully creative idea and I would love to be involved. I’m wondering if I can join in on the walk about mid-way since I’m a Waukesha County resident?

    • P.O.W.E.R. / Mar 7 2011 12:02 pm

      Join at any time, the route is on the website under “Route”.

      • Kate Harrod / Mar 13 2011 4:14 am

        I am married to a man who has taught for 42 years. I look forward to joining all of you in Deerfield tomorrow. Being in Madison today was really inspiring!

  6. Lew Krisberg / Mar 6 2011 2:09 am

    A few ‘quick’ comments:

    1. Collective bargaining is not a RIGHT. If it were, Federal workers, and numerous other state’s workers would also have it. Our President – who is the boss of millions of Federal workers – should not comment on this…. His hypocrisy is breath taking when he heads a government that specifically denies its workers this tool for precisely the same reasons Wisconsin must now remove it.
    2. Collective bargaining does not work in the “public sector.” Private-sector unions fight with management over an equitable distribution of profits. Public unions negotiate with friendly politicians over taxpayer money.

    In the private sector, there are checks and balances. The union recognizes that the private business must remain profitable for them to get what they need. The private business has personal ownership and incentive to protect its profits, while keeping its workforce happy. If either pushes their position too far, strikes and potential business shutdown is the ultimate check wherein BOTH lose. In the public sector, the elected boards and politicians are supported, and in many cases elected by the union. There is no personal stake on the public side to effectively represent the taxpayer – as if the money was their own. As a result, we have had 40 years of ever increasing wages and benefits and taxes to the point where we have no money left, and this corrupt CBA (Collective Bargaining Abuse) model is no longer sustainable.

    Average public sector wages and benefits are now significantly higher than their respective averages in the private sector. Not to mention the ridiculous early retirement models. The pension and healthcare costs are the just the symptom – collective bargaining is the disease that has caused this grotesque imbalance, and which MUST be cured.

    3. No unions are being BUSTED. The reality is the opposite – IT IS THE STATE THAT IS BEING BUSTED. All public workers will still be able to join the union, and pay their dues to them for as long as they desire. They just will not be forced to if they CHOOSE not to. For a “PRO-CHOICE” group of people, this cannot be an issue? Indeed, IF the union is a tremendous value to its members, there will be no problem sustaining, and growing its membership.
    4. No worker’s rights are being attacked. Again the opposite is true. Voters who voted for this new fiscal responsibility are the ones being attacked and denied equal representation. The normal and welcome dynamic of opposition and decent has turned into a concerted effort – backed by big union money and resources – to NULLIFY the November election. This is a clear attack on voter’s rights – which if turned around would not be tolerated by the unions. Just look at how indignant many are over just having to present basic identification to vote!
    5. Do not make the mistake and think that the November election was a fluke, or that the voters did not understand what they were doing. The silent majority of sick-and-tired taxpayers are just as committed now as in November. They do not show-up at rallies, because they have jobs. True, they are not in the Capital everyday beating drums, shouting slogans, destroying public property, and marching around. But, they are watching, they are just as committed as before, they know the truth about the issues, and they are much more numerous than you imagine – that’s why November happened!
    6. How is it that teachers construct and enforce zero-tolerance policies on bullying at their schools, but actively support and take part in bullying their opponents at the Capital?
    7. How is it that teachers and their union continually trumpet how they are all about the children – “for the children.”? Yet, they are perfectly willing to dropout of school at a moments notice – leave their students in limbo – to go and march on and bully their opponents at the Capital.
    8. Even more compelling, how is it that according to U.S Department of Education data (depending on which data-set you want to use) – for every dollar spent on “education spending” up to 92 cents of it goes to salaries and benefits? That means as little as 7 or 8 cents of every dollar spent on “education spending” goes to “the children.” Anyone want to start a business with that financial model – any takers? Oh yeah – the taxpayers will do it!

    We who have been silent and inactive for so many years are also interested in POWER, and we will act on it. The tide has turned – no free pass anymore. We may win some, and we may lose some, but the contest will not be left entirely to “your” special interests anymore.

    • LARRY KILLEEN / Mar 6 2011 4:13 pm

      A few ‘quick’ comments: looks to be a cut and paste to me. Who writes that kind of list at 2 a.m.?

    • Roger / Mar 6 2011 5:09 pm

      Buddy, Walker’s raising taxes.

      http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_e25ede58-b707-5876-9735-ecf0aa178e6d.html

      Don’t worry though, the head of your company’s getting a nice tax break. After all, it was teachers who bankrupted the country and reduced your salary, not him or Wall Street. Why don’t you relax with a nice glass of Brawndo? It has electrolytes!

    • Trevor G Berman / Mar 6 2011 5:35 pm

      Wow, awesome. An extended rant from someone who seemingly has no personal stake in this struggle but loves to argue with individuals who do by using, self-admittedly, highly flexible facts for entrenching us all further in the downward spiral of corporate/business funded party politics.

      Glad to see another person who doesn’t look at the issues any deeper than the smokescreen of superficial media talking points and then thinks parroting them back at those who are trying to save themselves from the chopping block might frighten or intimidate us from action.

      When the results of all these “headline” conflicts, in addition to all the myriad buried subtle sell-outs and add-ons of these budget bills finally make their way down Wisconsin’s socio-cultural (not to mention economic) pipeline, all too soon affecting you and those you care about, you just might understand how we’ve struggled and why we fight.

    • Jeremy Prach / Mar 6 2011 6:00 pm

      So, do we cancel the walk, folks? Lew brought up so many points we never thought about. I guess we can no longer mooch off the state. I was really looking forward to the walk.

      • Katy / Mar 9 2011 9:46 pm

        ( : Thanks, Jeremy, for lightening things up.

    • Robin / Mar 7 2011 12:03 am

      Hi,
      To respond to some of Lew’s comments:

      1. Collective bargaining is not a RIGHT. If it were, Federal workers, and numerous other state’s workers would also have it.

      You think Federal employees don’t have the ability to collective bargaining? So the National Treasury Employee Union (http://www.nteu.org/) and the National Federation of Federal Employees (http://www.nffe.org/) are just clubs?

      2. Average public sector wages and benefits are now significantly higher than their respective averages in the private sector. Not to mention the ridiculous early retirement models.

      There are a lot of different studies out there, but data indicates that state and local government employees in Wisconsin are not overpaid. http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/6759/
      I personally earn less than I could in the private sector, even taking benefits into account.

      3. No unions are being BUSTED. The reality is the opposite – IT IS THE STATE THAT IS BEING BUSTED. All public workers will still be able to join the union, and pay their dues to them for as long as they desire.

      Unions will not be able to bargain on anything except wages, and most agreed to a wage-freeze before the bill was even proposed. Furthermore, unions are busted: the bill will “eliminate the authority for a single collective bargaining unit for a certified or licensed day care provider” (Bill Sections: 146, 163 thru 171, 175, and 9355(1)(b)] and “Under the bill, all provisions relating to UW System faculty and academic staff collective bargaining would be repealed”.
      Have you read the bill?
      Additionally, the state is not busted, the financial crisis has been exaggerated. 1) According to this memo written on Jan. 31 by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau: “Our analysis indicates a general fund gross balance of $121.4 million and a net balance of $56.4 million.” This is $54.0 million above that of the administration’s reports.” (http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Misc/2011_01_31Vos&Darling.pdf)
      2) Walker gave businesses tax cuts just a few weeks before declaring a financial crisis, costing Wisconsin an estimated $33.5 million. These tax cuts were not aimed at small businesses. (http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/114287604.html; 3) The $3.4 billion shortfall that Walker refers to is explained by adding the money requested by these agencies to fund new initiatives to the existing services of WI agencies (just the cost to continue). He can, and likely will, say no to these initiatives and Wisconsin does have enough money to pay the cost to continue- and not have a deficit. See this for a better explanation: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/23/949035/-A-Primer-on-the-Wisconsin-State-Budget-Process

      5. Do not make the mistake and think that the November election was a fluke, or that the voters did not understand what they were doing. The silent majority of sick-and-tired taxpayers are just as committed now as in November.

      Walker got elected- fair and square. It was a very low voter turnout, and many Democrats who would have voted against Walker, unfortunately did not vote. But have you looked at the polls? There is a variety of data, but most show that the majority of Wisconsinites do NOT support Walker’s plans. I know people who voted for Walker, and now regret it due to his drastic and unnecessary proposals.

      6. How is it that teachers construct and enforce zero-tolerance policies on bullying at their schools, but actively support and take part in bullying their opponents at the Capital?

      WHO is doing the bullying? Maybe the ones who REFUSE to negotiate?

      I could say a whole lot more about the horrific consequences this bill & Walker’s budget will have on public education, heath care for the elderly and disabled, the environment…. but I’ll limit myself to responding to your comments.

    • jillserdo / Mar 8 2011 9:51 pm

      I like the perspective of this post. However, I have two questions: Do you propose we privatize public education? and What are your thoughts on making campaign contributions illegal? While Ross Perot may have been portrayed as a nut, his initiatives might be the answers this country needs.

    • lisa / Mar 11 2011 3:59 am

      Why do people keep repeating the lie that federal employees don’t have unions?
      The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union representing 600000 federal and D.C. government ..

  7. Chuck Goldman / Mar 6 2011 7:58 am

    I am glad you are doing this.

  8. Craig Kimball / Mar 6 2011 3:38 pm

    Great Idea! I will support you in any way I can! Stay strong everybody!

  9. LARRY KILLEEN / Mar 6 2011 4:10 pm

    I have cycled between Milwaukee and Madison many times. The route that has been posted is never far from “civilization”. Yes, there are hotels, restaurants, and convenience stores along the way. It’s a great idea.

  10. Stephen A. Haynes, MA. / Mar 6 2011 8:44 pm

    I am ALWAYS on the side of RIGHT, and this is a honorable cause! Many people believe this is a Democratic issue but how many Republicans work in the fields that will be affected by this bill? We must put our petty differences aside and do what is RIGHT! How do you beat a bully? You join forces with those whom he has bullied and force him to debate or resign!!!!!!!

    • Athena Haynes / Mar 7 2011 5:37 am

      DITTO, You have my full support.

  11. Julie Grimme / Mar 7 2011 12:28 am

    Wow. A 20 minute per mile walk. Wow. Tempted.

  12. Julie Bock / Mar 7 2011 1:39 am

    I support you!
    Even though I can’t walk with you this weekend, I am there in spirit.

  13. Jos / Mar 7 2011 5:22 am

    Question…. How are people going to get home from Madison? Will there be a bus back to Riverside?

    If many people participate.. its difficult to leave your car out on the street overnight in Milwaukee, espeically in the winter.. will people be able to park in a lot?

    • P.O.W.E.R. / Mar 7 2011 12:05 pm

      Jos,

      We are working on logistics. The transporation coordinator will update you.

      • mkxiong09 / Mar 8 2011 3:07 am

        Please me more info when you do know:D thanks!

    • Jeremy Prach / Mar 9 2011 2:23 am

      Bus home confirmed.

  14. Debbie Anders / Mar 7 2011 1:34 pm

    This intrigues me – I had other plans for this Saturday, but I may have to postpone them & do this walk instead.

    • jeremy prach / Mar 7 2011 10:19 pm

      DO IT!!

      • Debbie Anders / Mar 8 2011 1:57 pm

        OK :) :) :)

  15. Peter / Mar 7 2011 4:18 pm

    Why hasn’t any Wisconsin governor written a bill that automatically gives public workers health and retirement benefits and wage increases, as well as sets working conditions, thereby removing any need for union representatives to collectively bargain?

  16. Katelyn D. / Mar 9 2011 12:35 am

    I’m really interested in doing this, but I have a few questions.

    Firstly, are people walking going to have to pay for food, beverages, etc. during this walk? Possibly a dumb question but While I’d love to do this I’m also a jobless college student and thus completely broke, so I would very likely be going hungry unless I were to bring a backpack filled with snacks with me.

    Secondly, this may have already been addressed, but for people who are walking the entire way, where are they going to sleep during the night? Have people offered there homes for people to stay at, or will people have to pay for their own hotels/camp outside?

    • Jeremy Prach / Mar 9 2011 2:23 am

      We have not confirmed that churches will be opening thier doors, but I hope soon. Take some action to take care of your specific needs, and have trust that the rest will be provided.

  17. Jody / Mar 9 2011 3:52 am

    What are the route & estimated stop times? I’d like to be involved in this, but I’ll be working on Friday. Would love to catch up with the group along the way. I live in Oconomowoc. Please keep me posted.

    • P.O.W.E.R. / Mar 9 2011 4:13 am

      Take a look at the “route” page. There is a Google Map with the exact path. We also will be updating via facebook, twitter and this site.

  18. anette hansen / Mar 9 2011 3:38 pm

    If anyone wants to stay over Sunday to Monday, we have two extra beds in the basement.

  19. Debbie Anders / Mar 9 2011 7:30 pm

    Just a couple of questions so far:

    I’m bringing my sleeping-bag – will I be able to put that on one of the support vehicles while we are walking?

    And, if anyone has a hotel room & doesn’t mind a room-mate, I would be happy to share the cost if I can share the space :)

    Thanks,
    Debbie

    • Jeremy Prach / Mar 9 2011 8:09 pm

      We will take your sleeping stuff. Contact elenor Piper on facebook. She is looking for a roommate.

      • Debbie Anders / Mar 9 2011 9:22 pm

        Thanks – found your FB page & tracked Eleanor down from there, then posted for anyone to respond :)

      • Debbie Anders / Mar 10 2011 7:33 pm

        Unfortunately, FB wouldn’t let me message Eleanor, but I made a general plea on your FB page, & my plan is to bring my sleeping-bag & hope for the best.

        Debbie

  20. mkxiong09 / Mar 9 2011 10:58 pm

    Oh, i thought that we was going to sleep in church for the next 2 days, or am i’m worng? I’m lost help?!

    • mkxiong09 / Mar 9 2011 11:00 pm

      well, i mean, like, that a rest there then walk the next day.the rest at a other church the next time. but yeahi’m lost tell more. thanks.

    • Jeremy Prach / Mar 10 2011 3:28 pm

      Things are changing all the time. Churches have not yet been confirmed, most are too busy. However, have “faith” two will open for us.

  21. Laura / Mar 10 2011 3:52 am

    What a wonderful thing you are doing. I’m in the Oconomowoc Areavany idea what time frame you are talking? I would truly like my children to see and support the right choice and how people stand up for what they believe.

  22. Sasha M. / Mar 10 2011 4:54 am

    when will we know if church basements are a lodging option?

    • Jeremy Prach / Mar 10 2011 3:30 pm

      We may not know until the last minute. Help, by calling churches in the Oconocomoc to Deerfield area.

  23. Jessica / Mar 11 2011 4:13 am

    I am wondering how I can get in touch with the transportation coordinator.

  24. Kiki Anderson / Mar 11 2011 6:13 pm

    POWER to the people! I send you my support and best wishes.

  25. Carol Sorsoleil / Mar 11 2011 8:12 pm

    What a wonderful idea! “A Few quick comments” below hasn’t figured out that people just page past documents that long. Not worth the effort! But the effort you walkers are putting forth is very much worth it. We will recover our state. We just have to “walk” at it. Thank you all. I am a little too old for this or I would certainly join you!

  26. Michelle / Mar 11 2011 8:19 pm

    Great job everyone! We live in Cottage Grove, and it looks like you’ll be walking very near our home. If there’s enough of a crowd, and if roads are closed, our family of 4 will be joining you! (two toddlers in a stroller) Our 3 year old will be carrying his sign, “Walker needs a Time out”. Will be following you on FB and Twitter throughout the weekend. Just heard your WORT radio interview.

  27. Marivic Valencia / Mar 11 2011 11:51 pm

    For those interested/able, Walkerville got permits to camp! Limited number Sat night, and will be more Sun night, but it’s an option. (With tents, even!)

    Check with @legaleagle on Twitter, she’s got more info.

    Thank you, and welcome!

  28. Dennis Detlaff / Mar 12 2011 1:04 pm

    Thank you and I will be at the capital to welcome you.

  29. Neil Payne / Mar 12 2011 2:37 pm

    You all are an inspiration! Thanks for doing what you’re doing.

    Here’s a video from Day 1:
    https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150106018158067&oid=175886458122

    – Filmed by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, edited by USAction.

  30. Carol Graffius / Mar 12 2011 7:13 pm

    Naysayers, after those Union Busters are done killing all unions, they are coming after you by getting rid of minumum wages and overtime without having to pay you overtime. Those overlords will be able to take your weekends away from you. Power to the people and power to all unions.

  31. John Fitz / Mar 13 2011 4:15 pm

    I wanted to join you for the last leg this morning but I’m home sick instead. I’m proud of all of you. March on.

  32. DAVE Gill / Mar 13 2011 10:53 pm

    Thank you,I am a 3rd generation union worker and my son is also a corrections officer.I saw your story on the news and was very moved by what you have done,thank you.You truly show what Wisconsin is all about.My wife and I have been to the capitol at least every other day,she works for U.W hospital,and appreciate your sacrifice.

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