Madison, WI – The national veterans group, VoteVets.org, says that passage of the union-busting bill just passed by the Senate is grounds for a voter recall of those in the body who supported the bill. The group has made the point that the legislation hurts veterans in Wisconsin, many of whom are affected union members, and many more who rely on the state employees who work in veterans’ services.
The way which the majority passed the legislation with Governor Walker was underhanded and wrong. It undermines democracy, which many of us fought to protect, and is grounds for a recall,” said Mark Hamilton a VoteVets.org member from Milwaukee, who is an Army veteran, and a member of the AFT Local 212 union. “There are over two million veterans who are union members in the United States, and nearly a half-million veterans in Wisconsin who have always counted on the public employees who help run veterans’ homes, drive disabled veterans to their VA center for treatment, and help homeless veterans at transitional housing programs. They’ve all done an extraordinary job, under tough circumstances. This law punishes them – veterans and those who serve veterans.”
VoteVets.org is currently examining ways in which it could help support a recall effort against some of those Senators who voted for the law.
These are the facts about veterans and public employees in Wisconsin:
More Than 2 Million Union Members Are Veterans. According to the AFL-CIO, more than 2 million union members are veterans and “sixteen percent of veterans in the workforce are union members.” [aflcio.org, accessed 2/22/11]
Wisconsin Is Home To 428,000 Veterans. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 statistical abstract of the U.S., in 2009, 428,000 veterans lived in Wisconsin. [U.S. Census Bureau, 2011]
Wisconsin Veterans Are Eligible To Receive Free Transportation – By State Employees – For VA Medical Appointments. Wisconsin operates an $200,000 annual budget for two programs that transport veterans for free to their medical appointments. According to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs: “Wisconsin veterans may use one of two programs that assist veterans who need help getting to VA medical appointments. The Wisconsin Department of the Disabled American Veterans operates several vans around the state that normally stop at predetermined locations and then transport to the various medical centers. … Veterans can schedule a stop by contacting the DAV Transportation Coordinator listed with the schedule. These rides are free of charge and available to all veterans based on financial need — you do not have to be disabled or belong to the DAV to get a ride on this network. Veterans should contact the DAV for additional information. The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs provides an annual grant to the DAV to assist with this program.” [Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, 12/10/10; accessed 2/22/11]
Wisconsin State Employees Provide Critical Employment And Benefits Assistances To Veterans. Wisconsin operates County Veterans Service Offices (CVSO) that “provides information and assistance in obtaining state and federal veterans benefits, programs and services.” [Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, accessed 2/22/11]
Wisconsin State Employees Operate Transitional Housing For Homeless Veterans. The Wisconsin Veterans Assistance Program provides transitional housing for homeless veterans. Funding for the program is derived from federal and state appropriations. [Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, 12/10/10]
Veterans Serve In Wisconsin’s Public Schools. Through the federal Troops to Teachers program, retired veterans and members of Wisconsin’s National Guard may be eligible for a $5,000 stipend to pay for teacher certification and a $10,000 bonus to teach in underperforming school districts. The NEA has long supported this program. [Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, 12/10/10; NEA, 11/10/09]
Founded in 2006, and backed by over 100,000 members, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home. VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans’ interests in their day-to-day lives. VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world – with force when necessary – to protect America. While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.