Given MTI’s leadership during last year’s protests over Governor Walker stealing public employees’ rights and negating 46 years of MTI’s gains through collective bargaining, and because of MTI members’ leadership in the recall campaigns of anti-public employee Senators and the Governor, the Union has received and continues to receive requests for guidance.
Currently MTI President Peggy Coyne (Black Hawk) and MTI Faculty Representative & Recall Committee member Kathryn Burns (Shorewood) are in Osaka, Japan, where they will be presenters at a meeting of 200 to prepare for the Osaka Social Forum to be held in September. The public employees in Osaka City advise that they are facing the same kind of attacks by the new Mayor of Osaka City, who was formerly the Governor of Osaka Prefecture. The theme of this fall’s conference is how to organize resistence to the harsh attacks on union rights and public education.
In April, MTI Board of Directors’ Secretary Liz Wingert (Elvehjem) will travel to Edmonton, Alberta, where she will engage in a very similar meeting to that described above in Osaka, Japan. Similar to Wisconsin, Koch Industries registered last spring as lobbyists in Alberta. Their subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources, is among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. Koch Industries‘ [open secrets 2008 Senate Democrat contributions, including Obama, 2008 Republicans] Flint Hills Resources operates a crude oil terminal in Hardisty, and has offices in Calgary. Charles and David Koch are reportedly the 24th richest people in the world, with holdings worth $17.5 billion. It was David Koch who Governor Walker thought he was talking with last spring, only to have the caller being an impersonator. The New York Times reported that the Koch brothers were among Walker’s largest contributors. The Capital Times reported last Monday that David Koch said, “What Scott Walker is doing with public employee unions in Wisconsin is critically important.” The Koch brothers “Americans for Prosperity” has bought about $700,000 in TV ads in support of Governor Walker.
In Alberta, like Wisconsin, conservative legislators argue that public sector collective bargaining should be curtailed and that alternate means of delivering public services should be enabled. Alberta conservatives call it “privatization” and “managed competition”, where the lowest price gets the contract.