Special thanks to Kenosha's public sector union protesters

Phil Boehmke

With the “Recall Wirch” petition drive nearing a victorious conclusion, I was happy to join my fellow patriots in Southeast Wisconsin manning a “drive-through” location on Hwy 50 in Kenosha Saturday morning.  After helping to place the signs and open the site, my fellow volunteers and I were ready to welcome the good people of Kenosha.  Unlike my two previous “drive-through” experiences there seemed to be a genuine lack of interest in our cause.  The first hour we collected only one signature and were wondering if this location had been played out and would no longer yield any results.

 

As we were waving to passers-by and trying to keep our spirits up on the raw spring day, a bookish lady walked over from across the street, began to take pictures of our signs and then started placing calls on her cell phone.  Within a matter of a few minutes her comrades started to arrive to stage their protest.  Soon our group of three volunteers found ourselves outnumbered by a pack of twelve sign-waving public sector union supporters.  Among the signs were several which read “Recall Walker,” “We Love Wirch” and two which read “Honk for workers’ rights.”

 

My fellow volunteers and I welcomed each of the protesters to our “drive-through” location and thanked them for joining us.  This of course was met with a large degree of incredulity on their part.  With our new friends picketing our location and blocking our signs, the traffic on the highway took notice of the activity and it wasn’t long before people started to breach the picket line and ask to sign the recall petition. 

 

The majority of the good folks who drove into our site said that they noticed our new union friends and were inspired to sign the recall petition to help remove long-time union puppet and State Senator Bob Wirch.  Most of the patriotic citizens who joined us Saturday morning were enraged over the selfish antics of their public servants and were very pleased with Governor Walker and his efforts to save their state from fiscal ruin.  More than a few friendly folks dropped in just to chat and irritate the protesters since they had already signed the petition.  One person, one vote, unlike Chicago.

 

In between collecting signatures I spoke with a number of the protesters, which was nothing if not a source of amusement.  My personal favorite among the protesters was a tall, unkempt, forty-something U.S. Postal Worker who initially boasted that they were there to “shut us down.”  It was hard to maintain a conversation with Mr. Postman due to the stream of petition traffic, but he was worth the extra effort.  At one point my new friend asked me how much we were being paid for each signature, he simply couldn’t believe that we were volunteers couched as he is in the A.C.O.R.N. method of collecting signatures.

 

The day’s talking point for the well-organized protesters was the “selfish greed” of the Republicans and by extension ourselves.  Half of the “unionistas” I encountered asked me why we were so selfish that we wanted to take money away from them, but none among them could explain why we were selfish for volunteering to help our fellow citizens and future generations to avoid fiscal ruin while they were protesting to for their own self- interest.  Failing to win the battle of logic the public school teachers in the motley crew of protesters fell back on the “we are so overworked and underpaid”  rhetoric that is a staple of their profession and always good for a hearty laugh.

 

One rather large woman who claimed to be an English teacher angrily told me that as a single mother her child would be hurt if she had to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits and I should think about that.  Our conversation ended rather abruptly when I asked her why single mothers in the private sector should be forced to help pay for her benefits when they couldn’t afford to provide such lavish plans for themselves and their children.

 

The morning and early afternoon passed by quickly and before we knew it the afternoon volunteers had joined us and were eager to begin their shift.  I handed over my completed petition forms and clipboard and then spent a few minutes among the protesters.  In particular I wanted to shake hands with my new friend the postman and thank him for helping our cause.  He had a decent sense of humor and had to admit that their protest had backfired.  Not only was his stated goal of shutting us down not accomplished, but their picketing really helped draw attention to our recall site much to his chagrin. 

 

There have been numerous reports of threats and aggressive behavior on the part of the public sector unions during the recall petition drive, but I am pleased to report that other than a futile attempt to block our signs and form a gauntlet at the main entrance, the protesters at our location on Saturday were generally well behaved and respectful. 

 

April 4, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com

 

With the “Recall Wirch” petition drive nearing a victorious conclusion, I was happy to join my fellow patriots in Southeast Wisconsin manning a “drive-through” location on Hwy 50 in Kenosha Saturday morning.  After helping to place the signs and open the site, my fellow volunteers and I were ready to welcome the good people of Kenosha.  Unlike my two previous “drive-through” experiences there seemed to be a genuine lack of interest in our cause.  The first hour we collected only one signature and were wondering if this location had been played out and would no longer yield any results.

 

As we were waving to passers-by and trying to keep our spirits up on the raw spring day, a bookish lady walked over from across the street, began to take pictures of our signs and then started placing calls on her cell phone.  Within a matter of a few minutes her comrades started to arrive to stage their protest.  Soon our group of three volunteers found ourselves outnumbered by a pack of twelve sign-waving public sector union supporters.  Among the signs were several which read “Recall Walker,” “We Love Wirch” and two which read “Honk for workers’ rights.”

 

My fellow volunteers and I welcomed each of the protesters to our “drive-through” location and thanked them for joining us.  This of course was met with a large degree of incredulity on their part.  With our new friends picketing our location and blocking our signs, the traffic on the highway took notice of the activity and it wasn’t long before people started to breach the picket line and ask to sign the recall petition. 

 

The majority of the good folks who drove into our site said that they noticed our new union friends and were inspired to sign the recall petition to help remove long-time union puppet and State Senator Bob Wirch.  Most of the patriotic citizens who joined us Saturday morning were enraged over the selfish antics of their public servants and were very pleased with Governor Walker and his efforts to save their state from fiscal ruin.  More than a few friendly folks dropped in just to chat and irritate the protesters since they had already signed the petition.  One person, one vote, unlike Chicago.

 

In between collecting signatures I spoke with a number of the protesters, which was nothing if not a source of amusement.  My personal favorite among the protesters was a tall, unkempt, forty-something U.S. Postal Worker who initially boasted that they were there to “shut us down.”  It was hard to maintain a conversation with Mr. Postman due to the stream of petition traffic, but he was worth the extra effort.  At one point my new friend asked me how much we were being paid for each signature, he simply couldn’t believe that we were volunteers couched as he is in the A.C.O.R.N. method of collecting signatures.

 

The day’s talking point for the well-organized protesters was the “selfish greed” of the Republicans and by extension ourselves.  Half of the “unionistas” I encountered asked me why we were so selfish that we wanted to take money away from them, but none among them could explain why we were selfish for volunteering to help our fellow citizens and future generations to avoid fiscal ruin while they were protesting to for their own self- interest.  Failing to win the battle of logic the public school teachers in the motley crew of protesters fell back on the “we are so overworked and underpaid”  rhetoric that is a staple of their profession and always good for a hearty laugh.

 

One rather large woman who claimed to be an English teacher angrily told me that as a single mother her child would be hurt if she had to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits and I should think about that.  Our conversation ended rather abruptly when I asked her why single mothers in the private sector should be forced to help pay for her benefits when they couldn’t afford to provide such lavish plans for themselves and their children.

 

The morning and early afternoon passed by quickly and before we knew it the afternoon volunteers had joined us and were eager to begin their shift.  I handed over my completed petition forms and clipboard and then spent a few minutes among the protesters.  In particular I wanted to shake hands with my new friend the postman and thank him for helping our cause.  He had a decent sense of humor and had to admit that their protest had backfired.  Not only was his stated goal of shutting us down not accomplished, but their picketing really helped draw attention to our recall site much to his chagrin. 

 

There have been numerous reports of threats and aggressive behavior on the part of the public sector unions during the recall petition drive, but I am pleased to report that other than a futile attempt to block our signs and form a gauntlet at the main entrance, the protesters at our location on Saturday were generally well behaved and respectful. 

 

April 4, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com