Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week. With all of the amazing news this week, we need to fight against Evers’ anti-education agenda so that our kids are smart enough to read and understand SCOTUS’ opinions for themselves.
Governor Tony Evers is famously opposed to using emails, having once told a reporter, “if I do one email a day, that’s an extraordinary day.” His staff, however, is not as uncomfortable with the newfangled 20th-century technology. Empower Wisconsin, a Wisconsin conservative news hub, recently acquired 256 pages of emails between Evers’ staff and the leaders of WEAC, the state teachers union. The emails reveal a familial relationship that confirms much of what we already knew, but also portends some of the disastrous policies that Evers may push if he is reelected.
What we have always known is that Tony Evers is a puppet of WEAC. Evers is a creature of the state’s government education bureaucracy and WEAC has been a major rhetorical and financial supporter of the governor for his entire political career. The emails confirm WEAC’s continued ownership of the governor. The emails are from the period in late 2020 when the Evers administration was bungling their way through the state government’s response to the pandemic. Several times, the emails show that Evers was making sure to keep WEAC involved and informed of the policy negotiations. WEAC’s president was invited by Evers to a live phone call to discuss policy matters. Given Evers’ continued stubborn averseness to even pick up the phone and call the Republicans in the Legislature, it is telling that Evers is willing to engage detailed policy discussions with the president of the teachers union. One wonders if Evers recorded that conversation as he did when he spoke with Republicans several years ago.
Evers also gave WEAC preemptive information long before he told the public. He gave WEAC a heads-up about vetoes before announcing them. When Evers was negotiating public policy with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Evers forwarded the draft legislation to WEAC to get their input.
It is clear that Governor Evers is a wholly owned subsidiary of WEAC who does not make a move without their input and direction, but the emails also tell us something about WEAC.
In late 2020, WEAC strongly pushed then Secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services Andrea Palm and Governor Evers to use state power to close all government schools. WEAC was flabbergasted that, “School districts across the state are caving to community pressure to remain open.” WEAC cannot stand by while local school boards listen to their constituents.
By this time in the pandemic, we already knew that the virus is a minimal risk to children and could already see the terrible impact school closures were having on our children’s education and mental health, but WEAC pushed for it anyway. Their concerns were, and are, not for the children. Their concerns are for money and power.
Given that WEAC’s motives are sordid, and they own Governor Evers, it is worth looking at WEAC’s top priorities that Evers may advance in a second term. Conveniently, Evers asked WEAC for their top five policy priorities. WEAC responded with their top four priorities. Even WEAC is failing at math and following directions.
WEAC’s first priority is to “remove all restriction related to compensation issues.” Currently, Act 10 limits compensation negotiations to the rate of inflation. Given that we are seeing over 8% inflation in Biden’s economy, WEAC would push for even more spending with which to burden the taxpayers of Wisconsin.
WEAC’s second priority is to place all government employees in the state health plan. In theory, this could be positive, but the emails also show that WEA Trust, the corrupt health insurance company owned by the teachers union, was an insurer for the state plan. Prior to Act 10, unions would negotiate into their contracts that the district was required to use WEA Trust. Then WEA Trust would charge above market rates. The union owns WEA Trust and forced school districts to use them at inflated rates. WEAC’s priority was to funnel more taxpayer money into WEAC via WEA Trust. Thankfully, Republicans in the Legislature would not support such a mandate and WEA Trust, unable to compete on a level playing field, has since exited the health insurance market.
WEAC’s third priority is to put a “just cause” provision in state law for government employees. Under current law, Wisconsin is an “at will” state where employers can end someone’s employment for any reason, or no reason, as long as it is not discriminatory. WEAC wants school districts to only be able to terminate teachers with just cause in order to prevent the “possibility of employee layoffs tied to budget shortfalls.” In other words, in an era of declining enrollment and people moving their kids out of government schools that failed them during the pandemic, WEAC wants to prevent school districts from reducing staff to be in line with lower enrollments. WEAC wants taxpayers to continue paying for government employees when there is not enough work to justify their jobs.
WEAC’s fourth priority is to eliminate the annual recertification requirement. This was a requirement from Act 10 that requires the employees of a government school district to recertify the union every year. Before Act 10, a local teachers union was perpetual even if the employees of that district had never voted for it. Under Act 10, the employees of a district must vote to have a union every year. The law holds unions accountable to ensure that they are serving their members. WEAC would rather that local unions be more accountable to WEAC than their constituent members.
WEAC’s Wisconsin is one of higher spending, less accountability, and more taxpayer money being funneled into WEAC to fuel their leftist activism and Tony Evers shares WEAC’s vision for Wisconsin. Wisconsin cannot afford another term of Tony Evers.