As part of Walker’s “dropped bomb”, otherwise known as Act 10, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission has issued a new policy, regarding “base wages” essentially taking aim at teachers and other professionals whose salaries are gauged by higher college education levels and post-graduate credits earned. Instead of getting a cost-of-living raise based on the current accrued salary, the new policy bases the salary on the lowest level in the salary table. It is essentially a very direct hit in taking away collective bargaining rights that were part of Wisconsin’s working fabric.
The governor is often accused by critics of waging a “war on women” or a “war on workers.” But when the women are workers — as is disproportionately the case with public school teachers — the governor is doubly extreme.
When the governor and his legislative allies scrapped collective bargaining rights with Act 10 last year, they capped future pay raises for state employees at the rate of inflation. Now, however, Walker is going after the base wages of public school teachers.
The governor has crafted an administrative rule change — essentially an executive order — that allows for the redefinition of the pay schedule for experienced teachers. Specifically, the rule change gives school districts the option to eliminate some “add ons,” such as advanced degrees, which can increase a teacher’s salary.
What this means is that teachers who have remained committed to public education, and who have displayed that commitment by continuing their own education and earning masters degrees and even doctoral degrees, might now be penalized.
Some teachers could lose as much as 30 percent of their current salary.
The obvious purpose of Walker’s Act 10 laws are to eventually corporatize and diminish public school education and make getting great teachers who keep up with new trends with post-graduate education seek opportunities elsewhere. Walker, being a college dropout, doesn’t appear to value education as an asset to Wisconsin’s future success.