By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — After its faculty representatives got caught pushing an apparently illegal work stoppage, Madison Teachers Inc. did what comes naturally to unions: It issued threats.
As Empower Wisconsin and conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna first reported last week, Madison public school teachers were planning a “sick-out” to protest against Madison Metropolitan School District’s plan to resume in-person learning after nearly a year of failed virtual education.
The work action appeared to have the tacit, if not official, approval of the teachers union.
An email from MTI faculty representatives urged teachers to report to the district before 8 a.m. last Thursday that they had COVID-19 symptoms.
“I’m sure we all feel exhausted, or have consistent headaches, not really feeling our usual energetic selves. Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?” the email states.
“We need them (MMSD) to get thousands of responses on the google forms. Flood them. We are encouraging you and your staff to join us all in solidarity to show the district that we do not believe it is safe yet,” the union reps’ message implored.
A source with inside information said some teachers had a change of heart following publication of Empower Wisconsin’s story and organizers spoke of shifting the protest to Monday. Sources say the teachers will now use other means to try to get their message across.
Two public interest law firms — the Liberty Justice Center and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty notified the union on Friday that if the teachers went through with their plan they would be breaking state law and could face a lawsuit.
“An organized sick out is a form of strike and illegal in the State of Wisconsin and we are prepared to file a lawsuit to stop this illegal action. Madison students need to be in school, not used as pawns in a publicity stunt,” said Daniel Suhr, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center.
The union quickly punched back, threatening the law firms and, apparently, Empower Wisconsin.
“Our attorneys will be contacting the authors of the website to request that they take down this false and defamatory information and identify the media sources they refer to, so that we can send a similar takedown request to this media,” MTI Executive Director Edward A. Sadlowski wrote in a text message Friday evening to Empower Wisconsin, unaware, it seems, that Empower Wisconsin broke the story.
The teachers union’s “takedown” also targeted any media outlet that might have the temerity to publish a story citing the email.
Sadlowski told Empower Wisconsin that he and his fellow union thugs were sure the company would “refrain from amplifying this fake news.” He appreciated Empower Wisconsin bringing this matter to the union’s attention.
Except, it’s not “fake news.”
The email to teachers from MTI faculty representatives clearly states their intentions. While Sadlowski in another email obtained by Empower Wisconsin advised MMSD employees to “be honest when answering any health screener,” he quickly added.
“We understand that some may feel pressured to answer ‘No’ to all the questions presented on the District’s health screener when one should answer ‘Yes’. You do not have to, and should not, work when demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms.”
Certainly not if they “feel exhausted, or have consistent headaches,” or if they’r not really feeling their usual energetic selves.
If you’re picking up what the teachers are putting down?