Friday, June 28, 2024

Act 10 Has Been Very, Very Good To Me - But It Can Go Away Now

Act 10, Scott Walker's legacy legislation attacking public sector unions is being challenged again in the court system.  There's a very good chance that that unconstitutional law will finally be put out of our misery, especially now that justicehas been brought back to Wisconsin with the election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz.  

Right wingers, knowing that a major key to their reign of terror is about to end, are in a panic.  Their propagandists are spewing their thoroughly debunked numbers of how much money Act 10 allegedly saved, although Scott Walker testified, under oath, that Act 10 had no fiscal ramifications whatsoever.  

But, having been a Milwaukee County employee for over 24 years, I have a slightly different perspective than my fellow union members or from the right wing nut jobs.

Milwaukee County has a policy called the Rule of 75, which means that when a person's age and years of experience totaled to 75, they were eligible to retire with full benefits.  However, the Rule of 75 did not pertain to union members represented by AFSCME.  

When Walker and his fellow Republicons rammed through Act 10, the Milwaukee County Executive Chris "Walker-Lite" Abele immediately turned around and said Milwaukee County was no longer recognizing AFSCME and that considered its members to be non-represented employees.  

But by virtue of doing so, he automatically made 1,100 workers, including myself, eligible for the Rule of 75.  

Abele and the county board tried to deny this simple fact, which led to eight years of court battles between AFSCME and Milwaukee County.  Ultimately, the state supreme court sided with AFSCME, in a decision written by Rebecca Bradley - yes, THAT Rebecca Bradley!

Thus, five years ago today, I punched out for the last time, seven years ahead of when I was supposed to be eligible for retirement, as a Milwaukee County employee and have been enjoying my retirement ever since, along with our three dogs.

But that said, Act 10 has done a lot more damage than good.  Two very recent examples include the multiple inmate deaths at Waupun prison and the murder of a youth worker in Lincoln Hills.  And that's doesn't even include the Scottholes all over our roads, the soaring overtime costs in almost every department, the decrease in services that people depend on, and - well, this list is almost endless.

So, all in all, while Act 10 helped me and some of my coworkers out, it's long past time to finally get rid of that law that should never have been in the first place.

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