Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kenosha Taxpayer's double whammy

It was bad enough hearing the news on Friday morning, that the strongest amendment to cap state and local spending did not pass, but that very same morning, Kenosha taxpayers got slammed twice as hard.

On the front page of the Kenosha News on Friday morning, the Kenosha taxpayers were given notice that the teacher's union had turned down the new insurance proposal. Instead the teacher's union had decided to throw away at least $6.7 million a year. Phew! $6.7 million right out the window!

To those of you unfamiliar with the proposal, Kenosha teachers were being offered an new insurance carrier, UnitedHealthcare, to replace WEA Insurance. The insurance plans were identical, the teachers would have sacrificed absolutely nothing in insurance coverage if they chose the new plan. The only difference was that the UnitedHealthcare plan was at least $6.7 million less expensive.

Instead of completely flipping out on Friday, I thought it best to take a couple of days to settle down. The first thing I wanted to here was the excuses given by the teachers as to why they did this. There were a few excuses, but apparently, the teachers were a little too embarrassed to actually talk to the Kenosha News and give their excuses.

According to the Kenosha News, Sat, April 29:

"None of the 24 teachers approached by reporters Friday said they cast a ballot for the UnitedHealthcare in this week's vote.
Tom Lockhart, in his fifth year teaching math at Bradford High School and one of just two teachers willing to give their names to a reporter, changed his mind shortly before voting for an insurer on Tuesday."

Only two of 24 teachers interviewed would give their names? Yep- I should say these teachers were pretty embarrassed. They should be embarrassed!

Now for those lousy excuses that teacher's gave for wasting $6.7 million-

- Other customers have complained about UnitedHealthcare (Hello, they are an insurance company, right? Every insurance company has complaints filed against them! Welcome to the real world.)

- UnitedHealthcare did not do a good enough job in selling themselves. One teacher was quoted as saying to the Kenosha News-"Supposedly they were identical. My wife looked at the comparisons and she came to that conclusion. But it didn't come across in person." (Hello again! Usually a $6.7 million saving sells itself! They wanted a sales pitch???)

- and last but not least, another teacher was quoted as saying to the Kenosha News- "In the '90s teachers fought hard to keep their good insurance. We gave up three years with no pay raises. We even gave back money one year so we could have good insurance." (Hello! Hello! Hello! Nobody is trying to take away your good insurance! As a previous quote from one of your fellow teachers says- they were identical!)

Since all of these excuses were so bad, perhaps we can help our teachers come up with a few better excuses, such as-

- The teachers forgot to bring their "thinking caps" with them when they were heading off to vote. You know when teachers tell the kids- "Don't forget your thinking caps!" - perhaps the teachers should have remembered their thinking caps also?

- Perhaps the teachers are in the hip pockets of WEAC and the insurance company- WEA Insurance. You know how people call Bush supporters "Bushbots", perhaps too many of our teachers are "WEABOTS"? Maybe the teachers just cannot help themselves- they are trained to do exactly what WEAC tells them too. No thinking for themselves, let the union think for them? Just a thought.

- Of course we can never forget the standard excuse that surpasses all other excuses- "It's Bush's fault!". 'Cause we all know that Bush is to blame for everything. Perhaps that evil George Bush was in the room with them and telling them- "Just throw away that money, the taxpayers won't mind."

All I can say is perhaps the teachers will remember this day when they are up for raises again. They need to remember the day that they threw away $6.7 million worth of taxpayer money.

That money could have saved some teacher's jobs this year who will be laid off.

That money could have gone to pay down the $9 million worth of debt that the school district has acquired.

And most importantly, that money should have gone to the kids attending school in Kenosha. It could have meant new books, new lab equipment, new sports equipment or even some new desks and chairs.

These teachers talk a big game about just wanting to "help the kids". Well, some of Kenosha's finest teachers proved how much they actually care about the kids and their needs when they decided to throw $6.7 million of taxpayer money out of the window.

Just to be fair, not every teacher voted for WEA, but a huge majority did. Also to be fair, this was only the teachers that did this to Kenosha's kids and Kenosha's taxpayers. The administrators, secretaries, service employees, carpenters and painters did vote for the new insurance. They should be commended.

PS. Just as a side note- WEA Insurance has had their own share of complaints. WEAC's website even makes this claim. "the Trust's health plan has the fewest number of complaints...." The fewest number of complaints? I am guessing there are still complaints anyway, right? Perhaps WEA should add that to their company letterhead? I am sure it will instill confidence. It would be kinda like a major airline claiming- "We have the fewest number of crashes resulting in deaths" Huh?


jeff said...

It's time for the School District to change its negotiating procedures. Coverages should be negotiated with the unions not providers. The union and the District should only agree to the level of health care coverage with the District being the one to decide which provider to use based on Requests For Proposals(RFPs).

BBG said...

In a nut shell. WEAC the insurance part makes huge money (way bigger profits than the oil compnays) from insuring it's own members and OVER changing them.

NOTE: THEM as in US the taxpayers

Just another source of money to fund the moon bat left adgenda.

More PROOF it's all about the TEACHERS and NOT about the kids.

K. Carpenter said...

Great idea Jeff. I am thinking that the union may never let that happen.

jeff said...

What's the worst they can do if the District holds out for the change? Strike?? That wouldnt be the worst thing in the world. Work to the contract?? For some teachers, that would mean an increase in the amount of work they do.

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