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Board shakeup protest postponed

MATC BOARD PREVAILS!

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 17:11

board protest

Priest Johnson

Faculty, staff, students,reitrees rallied before boarding a bus outside Local 212 office to protest Bill 353.

Well, maybe! It was a cold early morning March 6 at the MATC union office but the atmosphere was both warm and hopeful. The office was packed with both educators and students alike.

They are all here with one purpose to fight against Assembly Bill 353, the bill designed to eliminate the MATC Board and replace it with one that is not representative of the make up of the MATC community. Dr. Rosen the President of Local 212, which represents the educators and employees of MATC, appeared to be energized and ready to take the fight to them.

They started to clap and cheer when they heard news that possible two Republican have decided to switch their vote, but Dr. Rosen stops them and says “that the intelligence is unconfirmed at the moment but to keep the faith.” Fidel Garcia, the President of the Latino Student Group is asking the question “why?” “Why are they attempting to destroy our school and the board? What have we done to cause this attack on us?” No one answers, for no one really understands.

But the group of students and educators appear ready to for the long fight that may lie ahead. As they all talk among themselves, you can hear the question that Fidel Garcia has asked being repeated by others, some are saying “what is the real reason this is happening?”, others are asking “is it because MATC works?” and still others are asking “is it because we have a strong union?” What has become clear is that there are more question than answers.

The bill which is authored by Representative Mark Honadel and cosponsored by State Senator Grothman, would replace the MATC board effective 2014 with individuals that are chosen exclusively from the business community – what business community that would be is unknown at this time and is a question that is being asked by union members and students alike.

What is clear though is that AB353 would redefine who is allowed to sit on the board. Currently section 38.08 of the Wisconsin statutes states that: “the MATC Board shall be composed of 9 members who are residents of the district”. The statutes go’s on to further define and break down who and from where those 9 members shall come from.

Currently, the board consists of 2 employer, 2 employees, 3 business members, a school district administrator and one elected official. Under the proposed new rules, the board would be radically changed. It would eliminate the position for the 2 employees’ representative, redefined what an employer is, by saying that a non-profit organization is not a business, and that only employers that have a minim of 45 employees working for them can be board members.

As they are all boarding the bus, the smiles on their faces start to get wider and bigger now that they know what they are fighting for in their own hearts and minds. The atmosphere has noticeably changed from one of hope to one of we will prevail.

As the bus enters into Dane County, Dr. Rosen stands up and says “the committee vote has been canceled”, the bus erupts into cheers of victory. Dr. Rosen stops them and says “we have only one the victor for today, there is more work to be done and we must be vigilant”.

Everyone seems to agree and a happy by somber move comes over the bus.

Everyone is tried and hungry and as the bus turns around, and heads to a local dinner, questions remain, what will happen next, what will be the next move of the Republicans, is this over? No one knows. But these questions appear to be a question for another day.

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