Wisconsin has a jobs problem and an employment crisis!

We do have a jobs problem, and it is because we have a leadership problem.

The two candidates vying for Governor met on the debate stage for the first time last week. Televised political debates are largely opportunities for candidates to recite prepared talking points and their campaign stump speeches, but there was one moment where Scott Walker went off script and accidently showed us his true colors.

Click here to read more.

Private lenders refuse to help students despite $100 billion bailout:

Private student lenders are not doing enough to help struggling borrowers avoid default, according to a reportreleased Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

That finding is part of the consumer bureau’s annual analysis of the complaints it received from the public about private student loans. The bureau reported a 38 percent increase in such complaints over the past year.

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susan Happ gets it

Happ Campaign:
Happ lays out plan to deal with for-profit college scams

Jefferson — Attorney General candidate Susan Happ will crack down on the growing number of for-profit colleges that prey on Wisconsin students and veterans, she said Friday. 

“Unscrupulous for-profit colleges are luring students with promises they can’t keep, leaving many of them with no degrees of little value or no degrees at all, but mountains of debt,” Happ said. “As Attorney General, I will investigate, prosecute and seek hefty penalties for deceptive practices, and work to see that students are made whole,” she said. 

Click here to read more.

Hit Doors for Burke

MATC faculty and students rally against student debt:


MILWAUKEE-Local student Saul Newton is watching with keen interest a new award winning documentary about student loan debt called "Ivory Tower."

He wants to enlighten people who think joining the military means free education.

"I joined the army because I could no longer afford my education," Newton told CBS 58 News, "And while I was in Kandahar do daily patrols, I was also making payments on my students loans."  

Click here to read more and view video.

PolitiFact: Testing claim
on Scott Walker and cuts
to school funding

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s rates as true the claim that Walker slashed public school funding more than any other Governor.

Click here to read more.

Watch the video:
Scott Walker cut public school funding more than any other Governor!

Why Do Americans Love to
Blame Teachers?

Healthcare has its critics, but few of them are calling for doctors to be replaced. Education is different—and as a new book reveals, it has been throughout U.S. history. 

Click here to read more.

Scott Walker cut school funding more per student than any governor in America



American Federation of Teachers Local 212, the union representing 1400 faculty, academic staff, counselors and advisors at Milwaukee Area Technical College today criticized Governor Scott Walker's announcement of grants to technical colleges as "inadequately small and limited in duration."

Walker appeared at the MATC campus and will be making stops at other technical colleges in the state to make similar announcements.

Dr. Michael Rosen, Economics Professor at MATC and President of Local 212. called Walker's appearance, "a campaign stunt dredged in hypocrisy."

"Walker's 'Blueprint for Prosperity' would more accurately be titled 'Footprint of Hypocrisy,'" Rosen said.

"While any additional funds help us serve more students and get more skilled workers, technicians and entrepreneurs into good jobs," Rosen said, "we shouldn't forget that in 2011 Walker slashed tech college funding by $70 million or 30% of state funding."

Rosen explained that those cuts caused the colleges to reduce class sections and increased waiting lists at the very time that citizens laid off due to the recession needed more sections.

"It's an election year, so Walker wants to pose like he's a friend of technical colleges, but Walker permanently cut $14 million from MATC's budget in 2011-12. Now he he's bragging about giving us back $2.5 million on a one-time basis, but the reality is, that's only 18% of what he's already slashed."

Rosen said that Walker's previous cuts reduced state aid to technical colleges to 1980's levels.

"Technical colleges are a great investment for taxpayers and benefit the community as a whole," Rosen said. He pointed out that for every tax dollar invested in MATC, $5 are returned to the local economy. Fully 88% of MATC grads are employed or pursuing education within six months of graduation, and more than 90% live and work in Wisconsin.

"This media event can't disguise Walker's record of slashing technical college funding and presiding over the worst job growth in the Midwest and one of the weakest records on jobs in the entire nation," Rosen emphasized.

"Working people needs jobs and education, not photo ops for hypocritical career politicians," Rosen said.

Gov. Scott Walker to blame
for poor job growth

The definitive national jobs report that came out recently confirmed how badly Wisconsin's economy continues to sputter under the stewardship of Gov. Scott Walker.

In 2013, as in every year since Walker became governor, job growth in Wisconsin significantly trailed the national average and Wisconsin ranked just 37th among U.S. states in the rate of employment growth. Taking all three years (so far) of Walker's tenure as a whole, employment in Wisconsin grew at just 59% of the national rate.

Click here to read more.

AFT President Rhandi Weingarten responds to
Harris v Quinn Supreme
Court Decision.

WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the Harris v. Quinn decision. Today's Harris v. Quinn decision upholds the right of public sector unions to represent public employees, including their right to collectively bargain, but the Supreme Court refused to extend the right for a union to collect fair share fees for that purpose from Illinois home healthcare workers who are not members.

Click here to read more (PDF).

Vicki Martin appointed President of MATC

Milwaukee Area Technical College will seat a new president Wednesday — less than two weeks after the current president gave notice that he's leaving for a job in California.

"It would be irresponsible if we had just done a search for window dressing when we knew we already had the person we wanted," MATC Board Chairman Bobbie Webber said Friday of the immediate selection of Vicki Martin as MATC's next president.

Click here to read more.

Making it easier to fire teachers won't get you better ones.

Last week while teachers across California got up, went to their schools and dedicated their day to helping their students learn and grow, a judge in Los Angeles declared that for students to win, teachers have to lose. In a landmark and controversial decision, California Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled tenure unconstitutional.

Faculty and professional staff at MATC should be concerned. While the focus of this decision was on K-12 educators' tenure rights and layoff provisions, anti-teacher advocates will undoubtedly try to spread this to higher education as well.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten and California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt have strongly criticized the June 10 court decision in Vergara v. California.

AFT agrees that no one should tolerate bad teachers. But making it easier to fire teachers won't get schools better ones or attract people to the profession.

Weingarten and Pechthalt argue persuasively that the focus on tenure and seniority rights ignores the more significant issues such as full and fair funding of schools, the impact of poverty on the lives of our students and access for all students to classes like music, art and physical education and other needed opportunities.

The American Federation of Teachers is fighting back against these attacks on educators. For President Weingarten's full statement see the attachment. http://www.aft.org/newspubs/news/2014/061514vergara.cfm

Click here to read more.


The Good That Community Colleges Do, Part 2

We seem to constantly have to defend ourselves
to people who have no idea what we do
or how we do it

A comment that followed the first essay in this two-part series sums up nicely the reason I'm writing it: "I find it a bit irritating," wrote one reader, "that there is such little understanding of the value and opportunity provided … by community colleges."

Indeed. And yet that deficiency appears common among higher-education professionals and, especially, policy makers. Community colleges, it seems, are constantly having to defend themselves to people who have no idea what those colleges do or how they do it, and who often evaluate their worth using criteria designed to assess four-year campuses.

Click here to read more.

Forest Home Elementary School

Local 212 distributes
bilingual books at Forest Home
Elementary School

On Monday May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, AFT Local 212, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, and the Milwaukee Area Technical College Latino Student Organization contributed more than 1000 bilingual books to the Forest Home Elementary School, a bilingual Milwaukee Public School with 835 children, as part of the Reclaiming the Promise campaign..

Local 212's Luz Sosa, a part-time economics instructor and naturalized citizen from Paraguay, spearheaded the fund drive that was matched dollar for dollar by the White House.

School Board member Tatiana Joseph and State Representative Mandela Barnes participated in the book distribution.

The books will be part of the Forest Homes Library available to all of the school's children, most of whom are Latino, until the end of the school year when all children attending Forest Holmes will be given one of the books to help build their home libraries.

Forest Home Elementary School

For-profits lobby against regulations

As the Obama administration weighs public comment on its second proposal to more tightly regulate for-profit colleges, the industry is once again fighting in earnest to fend off the regulations.

But this time the debate over the "gainful employment" rules is playing out across a different landscape.

The for-profit sector has been hit hard by years of slumping enrollments and revenue. Even so, industry advocates are pushing back hard on the proposed regulations with lobbying, grassroots campaigns and an expected legal challenge. But they face a White House that appears unlikely to back down, and has the strong support of a network of consumer advocates and unions.

Click here to read more:

Sue Silverstein

Welding instructor and
Local 212 Executive Board member
Sue Silverstein, profiled by
Women in Manufacturing.

Sue Silverstein stands 5 feet tall and weighs in at an a slight 95 lbs.  She studied ballet for 9 years.  She is also a welder. 

“You don’t have to be masculine to excel in manufacturing,” she says, laughing.  “I’m a welder and I wear makeup!”

After graduating from high school at age sixteen, Sue wasn’t sure where to turn next.  Waiting tables in Milwaukee, Wisconsin felt like a dead end.  So when she got an opportunity to take a job on an assembly line at a local factory, she jumped at the chance.

Click here to read more.

The Lack of Public Intellectuals at Community Colleges

Fear and disrespect keep faculty members from speaking out on major issues

Our public debates over educational issues like assessment, college readiness, the Common Core, online learning, student loans, corporatization, adjunctification, state funding, guns on campus, and tenure must include more faculty voices from community colleges. Those colleges are where, if you’ll forgive the cliché, the rubber meets the road. We serve students who most need financial aid, who are least likely to complete a degree, who work the most hours, who need tutoring services the most, who have the least family support, and who have suffered most from poor secondary education.” 

Click here to read more.

My hard lessons teaching
community college

The majority of my students will have a hard time "making it." Sometimes I wonder: Should they be in school at all?


"Stand up if you have ever been told that you weren't college material," the school president booms during the commencement ceremony.

It's a familiar shtick, the engaging audience-participation-enhanced introduction to the congratulatory speech he will make about our community college: the school where success begins. Where no matter what you have been told about your academic fitness, no matter whether you grew up in the ghetto or in the suburbs, no matter whether you are fresh out of high school or returning to college after raising your own children, you can make it! Cheers. Wild applause. Air horns.

Click here to read more.





early voting

Early voting begins at your City Clerk’s office at 8:00 a.m. Monday, October 20th and will run until 7:00 p.m. on Friday,
October 31st
 (no weekends). 

If you live in the city of Milwaukee you can vote early
at the Zeidler Municipal Building, at 841 N. Broadway.

Registered voters, please enter on Market Street.
If you need to register, please enter on Broadway.
Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

You must have a voter ID.

Additional Information in PDF format.

The James Shay Stear Swinford video:

upcoming events

Welcome Back Reception
Thursday, September 18th
3:30 – 7:00 p.m., South Campus

General Membership
Wednesday, September 17th
4:15 p.m., Downtown, M616

Executive Board
Thursday,October 9tt
4:15 p.m., Union Office

General Membership
Wednesday, October 15th
12:00 p.m., Downtown, M605

Executive Board
Wednesday, November 12th
4:15 p.m., Union Office

General Membership
Thursday, November 20th
12:00 p.m., South, Lec. Hall A

Executive Board
Tuesday, December 2nd
4:15 p.m., Union Office

Local 212 Holiday Party
Wednesday, December 3rd - TBD

General Membership
Tuesday, December 9th
4:15 p.m., Downtown, M616

AFT Scholarships announced

The Robert G. Porter scholarship is now accepting applications. It offers four 4-year, $8,000 post-secondary scholarships to students who are dependents of AFT members, as well as 10 one-time $1,000 grants to AFT members to assist with their continuing education.

Scholarship Eligibility

  • The AFT Robert G. Porter Scholars Program for high school students is open to graduating high school seniors.
  • Applicants must have at least one parent or legal guardian who is an AFT member.
  • The AFT member whose child or legal dependent applies for a scholarship must be a member in good standing for at least one year.
  • Children or legal dependents of AFT national, state or local union staff are not eligible for this scholarship opportunity.

For more information go to:

The Union Plus Credit Card program is one of 40 Union Plus benefits designed to meet the needs of hard-working union members like you.

  • Earn unlimited, no-hassle, 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
  • Hardship assistance grants1
  • Competitive rates

Learn more at: UnionCardApply.com
or call 1-800-522-4000

Certain restrictions, limitations, and qualifications apply to these grants. Additional information and eligibility criteria can be obtained at UnionPlus.org/Assistance.

Another card option is available. Credit approval required. Terms & Conditions apply. Union Plus Credit Cards Issues by Capital One, N.A. The MasterCard Brand Mark is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated.

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The emails just keep coming to the 212 office because never before has MATC opened with facilities in such dire disarray and disorganization.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Local 212 Executive Board Meeting
Monday, February 3, 2014
Union office @ 4:15p.m.

Local 212 General Membership Meeting
Thrusday, January 30, 2014
West Campus, Room 117 @ 4:15 p.m

Local 212 Social Solidarity Event:
Milwaukee Admirals
vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

Saturday February 1, 2014
BMO Harris Bradley Center @ 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $16 for adults and $13 for children

Featuring the UW Badger Band playing throughout the game and then a "show" on the ice afterwards.

Deadline to purchase: Wednesday, January 29th
Form more information, please call the Union office (414)765-0901
Click here for order form.

Labor Day Union Rights March 2013

More than 100 AFT Local 212 members and their families march for living wages, citizenship and union rights on Labor Day, September 2, 2013.