Like other union leaders, WEAC President Mary Bell can see some “labor unrest” among her members if they’re targeted by the incoming Walker administration.
But she can’t see them taking an extreme step like going on strike, something they’re prevented from doing under Wisconsin law.
“My members care so desperately about the work they do that it would be extremely difficult to envision them leaving their classrooms, leaving their kids,” Bell said in a new WisPolitics interview. “We have that history in Wisconsin, but it’s been 30 years since those things took place.”
With Scott Walker set to occupy the governor’s office next week and Republicans poised to take over both houses of the Legislature, Bell and WEAC executive director Dan Burkhalter said their members are feeling apprehensive and somewhat targeted. Still, Bell pointed out they’ve felt targeted since the early 1990s, when the state imposed the qualified economic offer.
In the last budget, Dems and Gov. Jim Doyle lifted the QEO, which allowed districts to avoid arbitration so long as they offered teachers a bump in pay and benefits of at least 3.8 percent.