Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Smoking Gun Audio: Wisconsin Teacher Protest a Coordinated Sick Out

I don't think anyone really considered the actions of the Wisconsin Teachers Union and their members in last months protest of the Wisconsin budget battle as anything other than a sick out. The only thing lacking was proof, but in an odd quirk of fate that is exactly what fell into the lap or voicemail of concerned citizen.

Blaska's Blogs has the sordid details including an audio recording of a pre-meditated, union authorized job action consisting of a phone tree with teachers calling other teachers for the express purpose of closing down schools.

This type of action is prohibited by union contract and illegal under Wisconsin Statute Chapter 111.84(2)(e):(e) To engage in, induce or encourage any employees to engage in a strike, or a concerted refusal to work or perform their duties as employees.

A message received by Vicki McKenna last week started it all.
-----Original Message-----

Sent: Fri 4/8/2011 7:04 PM
To: McKenna, Vicki
Subject: Madison teachers coordinating sick out

Hi Vicki,

My name is Matt [redacted]. (I prefer you not use my name on the air.) I live in Madison. Someone left a voicemail in error on my home phone back in February during the Madison school "sick out". At the time I didn't pay much attention to the message, but I didn't delete it. I just went back to listen to it today. Based on the names mentioned in the voicemail, it sounds like a teacher at Falk Elementary accidentally called my number and left a message that was intended for another teacher at Falk. She talks about calling other teachers, meeting at Falk at 7:30, and then meeting MTI on MLK Blvd for a rally at 9:00.

She says that "MTI recommends calling in sick again." Based on the names she mentions, I looked up the staff at Falk and found all of the names:

Amy Covey (she is the one who left the message)
James W. Wilson (This is who she was calling. I looked up his phone number and found it is one digit off from mine, so it makes sense she accidentally called me instead.)
Anne Bauman
Elizabeth Soules
Mathew E. Thompson

I realize that if they had doctors' excuses, there may not be much that can be or will be done to them, but isn't coordinating their absences like this

illegal? I was going to send a note to a couple of school board members asking them about it, but I'm not sure this is the best thing to do.



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