MTEA members vote down 2.6% contribution

The email just came through from MTEA: ” With a total of 3,931 members voting, 1,635 voted in favor of the measure and 2,296 voted against it.”

In other words, Milwaukee’s teachers have voted not to accept a cut in pay in exchange for promised cuts in class size and retention of specialist teachers, like gym and music.

I don’t know how much the news will be lost tomorrow in the news around the election, local and presidential. But be assured that this vote will come back to haunt MTEA in the coming recall election. Had the vote gone the other way, it would have protected teachers from the obvious criticism. Now? Incoming.

This is a personal and professional disappointment. Professionally, because it will affect the classroom. It may not affect my classroom specifically next year, but this vote will reverberate through the district in a major way. 2012-2013 will be the third year in a row of sizable layoffs, and there’s no way to make that sound good.

And personally because I campaigned hard in school and online for this measure, and felt that this was the last, best opportunity for the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association to build goodwill in the community. Had teachers followed through, along with the promises already received from members of the community to give a week of their own salary, the city and the state will have rallied around Milwaukee’s children for once. Whether that kind of rally for Milwaukee’s kids ever happens now is doubtful. I am not optimistic.

Update:  Read the letter from MTEA President Bob Peterson in full here (pdf).  Further update:  Read Superintendent Thornton’s response, too.


  • dukefame says:

    Nope Jay you are spot on. The vast majority of teachers who either refused to vote (more than 1/2 not even casting ballots) or voted no failed to realize the opportunity to “turn the message around” as it relates to public education.

    The political ramifications will be evident soon and whatever goodwill would have been afforded teachers is now null and void.

  • dukefame says:

    My correction, about 3900 out of 4900 teachers voted.

  • Sachin Chheda says:

    UN. BELIEV. ABLE. I am so angry, disappointed, frustrated…. This was OUR chance. Progressives, teachers, students, parents, Milwaukee — to take the initiative, to drive the narrative, to LEAD. To USE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. AUGHHHHH!

  • Joshua says:

    does this shock anybody? this is MTEA. i now work in CA and things here are very different. the very things MTEA is going crazy over have been standard here and people are happy! i contribute $300 a month to healthcare and 4% to my pension and am happy to do it.

    things in MKE will not change anymore than things will change in LA or detroit. too many people see the other side as evil rather than trying to find compromise they can both accept.

    even in my district here in CA the union forced our healthcare to be purchased via CalPERS and they charge nearly 2.3x as much for the exact same healthcare plan than other equivilent districts. Why? Isn’t the purpose of the union to get us the “best deal” possible instead of feeding the coffers? Why are we forced to join the NEA for over $300 a year when other union-based occupations can elect to on an individual basis.

    So, now, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that the MTEA voted this way. It is exactly what most teacher unions have been doing for years. how can we possibly expect the general public to continue supporting us and listening to us when this is what we turn around and do all across the country????

    • dukefame says:


      It was surprising that leaders of the MTEA (at least the President and many of the non-professional staff) supported this and had actively encouraged the members to vote yes.

  • Jenni Hofschulte says:

    Just, wow.
    So much for the hearts and minds battle.

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