Mary Burke and Marty Beil agree on a few things

Over at Cognitive Dissidence, Jeff Simpson is on the offensive against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke on the issue of the restoration of collective bargaining rights for public employees.

At the root of Simpson’s attack is Burke’s response when asked about Act 10, Gov. Walker’s union-busting, collective bargaining-eliminating legislation by Judith Davidoff of the Isthmus|Daily Page.

Davidoff: So you’d look to repeal Act 10?
Burke:I think there is a difference, and what I’d look at is restoring collective bargaining.

Davidoff: Are there any parts of ACT 10 that you agree with?
Burke: Yes, I do believe [state employees] paying a fair share of health care and pension costs is something we needed in order to be able to balance the budget.

Simpson takes great umbrage with Burke’s answer, going so far as to direct readers to check out Scott Walker’s reelection campaign website if they want to learn more about Mary Burke’s campaign platform.

But here’s the problem with Jeff Simpson’s attack on Mary Burke: what she has said about Act 10 – specifically that collective bargaining should be restored but public employees should contribute more to health insurance and pension costs is exactly the same position taken in 2011 by Marty Beil, the Executive Director of AFSCME Council 24, the Wisconsin State Employees Union (emphasis added).

Earlier Friday, Marty Beil, head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, said his members would agree to pay more of their pension contributions and health insurance benefits as Walker is demanding. But Beil said his union would never agree to give up decades-old bargaining rights.

Beil’s union is part of AFSCME, the largest state and local employee union in Wisconsin, which represents 68,000 workers for the state, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and other municipalities. An AFSCME spokesman said Beil was speaking for all the group’s union locals in the state.

“We are prepared to implement the financial concessions proposed to help bring our state’s budget into balance, but we will not be denied our God-given right to join a real union . . .  we will not – I repeat we will not – be denied our rights to collectively bargain,” Beil said in a statement.

The answer Mary Burke gave when asked about Act 10 by Judith Davidoff is the same answer Burke gave me when I asked her about Act 10 during our interview, and it’s an answer that’s wholly consistent with the position taken by Marty Beil and AFSCME since the fight over Act 10 began.

On a sidenote, I’ve been as critical of Mary Burke as the next person, but directing folks to check out Scott Walker’s reelection website to “know more of the Mary Burke/ Dem party platform for the coming election” is not only sophomoric, but it does absolutely nothing to help defeat Scott Walker in 2014, and that should be our ultimate goal.


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12 thoughts on “Mary Burke and Marty Beil agree on a few things

  1. Thanks Zach for the topic, because I may stray a bit from it.

    Using Jeff and Chris’s post and the comments (@ Cog Dis) as a base to continue the discussion, I won’t argue the detail of your post, but I will echo the stated unfortuante theme of the deleterious ambiguity of the comments made by Ms Burke and her campaign toward the goal of building the enthusiasm, strength, and alliances needed to see Walker ousted.

    Burke is being passed off as the official DPW label and thus far there is NO garment woven to affix the label to. Barely even a thread on the loom. Fancy endorsements, PU, Emily’s List, DPW former staffer, Brickerman, now zero for the last two elections, Zellner and let’s not forget the biggest, potential national foot on the necks of Wisconsin citizens in the campaign Burke campaign oversight through someone like lobbyist Tanya Bjork, who Purple Rayne exhalts as having, “progressive policy creds,” (using just one example) for Bjork’s having worked as a Senior Advisor to Protect Your Care – a national organization promoting Obomba’s ACA. Anyone with half a brain knows now the ACA is nothing more than a bailout of the HEALTH INSURANCE CARTEL. Progressive indeed.

    Blogger John Peterson asks the proper questions here if anyone is insisting that their unquestioned Democratic party loyalty is the direction to trust to oust the Walker regime:

    Needed in a partnership or alliance yes, trusted to be in charge, hardly.

  2. Moving limp noodle Democrats is one reason Republicans spend the big bucks in the corporate media. I, for one, am hopeful we will have two worthy Democratic Wisconsin gubernatorial candidates. Thanks for keeping up the common sense side, Zach.

  3. As it is anybody’s guess what a “limp noodle,” Democrat might mean to you Cat, maybe you could elucidate for the us on a fuller meaning of the term.

    I would apply that terminology to Sen Tammy Baldwin on this morning’s Joy Cardin show following Ron Johnson and pretty much appearing to agree with him on the pending House budget bill coming before the US Senate today or tomorrow. Capitulation to Ryan’s so called compromise for the the sole purpose of appearing to be a better functioning bipartisan “governing,” body. She appears to be acting on the proven misguided presumption that the Republicans will reciprocate with a piece of legislation favoring we the people, somewhere in the near future, something like for instance, extension of emergency unemployment benefits. Baldwin appears fully in Barry’s court for the grandest of bargains.

    I would say also that Barry Obomba has failed to even have earned the adjective “Democrat,” (using your terminology). But what say you?

    Further reading for those interested as this is a tiny bit off the topic of Burke.

    1. I may not be “gung ho” on Senator Balwin, but she came out of relative obscurity to beat a popular former Wisconsin Republican governor. Maybe you could have done better, Windmill?

      1. My reference to Sen Baldwin’s comments came out of offering a perfect example to describe my PERCEPTION of a, “limp noodle Democrat,” (historically a DINO) the term you introduced and have yet to further define, even though I politely asked you to expand on your definition of what it was that you meant in your introduction and use of the term. I’ll mostly ignore, for now, your expressions of your private animosity toward me and my comments.

        Happy holidays.

  4. Zach, I agree that hyperbole about Walker’s webpage is ridiculous. It is also unnecessary because I think when you look at Burke’s positions and platforms on her own page, that is damning enough. Saying that Burke and Beil agree is a stretch at best. Beil said that as a desperate attempt to change the conversation before Walker stripped all collective bargaining. Looking at the WRS before and after that budget there was never any need to take money from employee paychecks to support the fully funded pension system and I believe that Burke, by playing into the message that taking money away from public employees was justified, is giving credence to Walker’s absolutely false claims that he saved the WRS and the state budget. Claims that are repeated on conservative television by people like Joe Scarborough as fact.

  5. The issue is the use of the phrase “fair share.” That’s ugly, Republican language and says that public employees were somehow cheating everyone before.

    Also, saying that Beil position is ridiculous. He had a gun to his head and said that as last ditch effort to save the unions.

    1. Jud, Beil had made concessions on health insurance and pension costs for his members BEFORE that statement, so it’s not a statement that was inconsistent with past actions on his part, actions that came about when there was no gun to his head.

  6. Already we’re forgetting that U.S. pension plans on the whole lost over a TRILLION dollars in 2009, and if you were lucky enough to be on one, you were likely being asked to contribute more to the plan.

    The 2010 Republican takeover was due in no small part to the overall perception that the public sector unions were not feeling this pain and should be. When unions have refused to share the pain in recessions, they become easy targets for the corporate oligarchy. We are still fighting this deeply ingrained public perception of all unions and Burke knows it. As long as negotiation is a given, as things get better, benefits will get better. It is tough, however to keep me-first progressives with their eyes on the future prize.

  7. Cat,

    That is ridiculous. The Wisconsin pension has provisions that change pay outs when returns decrease. The WRS also had lower losses due to professional management and rational apolitical lo g term strategies. The fact that public perceptions were misinformed does not mean those of us objecting to unearned cuts are “me first progressives”. It means we are asking for a politician with the courage and integrity to govern based on facts and honest data and to campaign that way as well.

    1. The fact that public perceptions were misinformed does not mean those of us objecting to unearned cuts are “me first progressives”.

      Perception is reality; in politics it’s Gospel. Your point is well taken, Paul, And it’s important to speak out when perception is skewed. Just consider that in politics, ones first duty is to get elected and contention always slows one down. The letter of the law destroys but the spirit gives life. Ms. Burke’s heart seems to be in the right place. If it turns out she’s our only gubernatorial candidate and she wins, with union renegotiation rights reestablished and the economy on the upswing, your point will be readily accepted.

      1. The perception being discussed in the OP is not that of the public’s perception of unions, it is the electorate’s perception of Ms Burke’s REAL stance in HER regard toward unions and labor, Cat, running as a, “Democratic,” candidate.

        Contention within a political party reveals the truth of a candidate’s actual stance on any issue and that contention is only resolved (or not) with satisfactory answers clearly delivered to the electorate from which a candidate seeks support.

        If Burke is our only gubernatorial candidate and she fails to resolve contention in the electorate’s perception of her stance(s), clearly, her chance of winning begins to diminish.

        Obviously, I agree that perceptions are critical in politics, but sorry, your platitudes and conjecture past your first two sentences make no actual point regarding Paul’s comment.

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