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Nevermind layoffs, Milwaukee teachers union sues over male members' right to erection help

August 13, 2010 |  3:48 am

After his Florida vacation this weekend and before his next vacation in Massachusetts, President Obama will visit WiscMilwaukee City Hall erected in 1895 and still standing tallonsin next week.

There, he'll try again to convince folks that although the economy remains pretty bad and looks like it could worsen again, all because of somebody else's failures, the economy isn't really as bad as it would have been had he and the large Democratic majorities in Congress not passed and signed 17 months ago the $787-billion stimulus bill, which could kick in any summer recovery day now.

Also, of course, this being a presidential trip in a midterm election year, Obama will raise millions more for his party on the journey, which includes collections in Washington state, California, Ohio and Florida.

This dough, including a chunk from Milwaukee, is to help protect Democrats from what now appears to be a developing political storm front moving in Nov. 2.

But even as he flies over the country and Congress' Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and obedient party colleagues pass yet more billions in spending to bail out struggling states, there's an amazing healthcare confrontation underway in Milwaukee. Jenny Erikson, one of the most regularly refreshing reads online, calls it to our attention.

There, the fight is not over whether healthcare is a right. It's a fight over whether a sustained male erection is a right.

No, really.

The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Assn. has gone to court asking a judge to order the financially strapped school board to reinstate coverage for Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and other erectile dysfunction drugs in union members' healthcare plans. The union claims that excluding such coverage discriminates against the male gender.

In clearly less important news, facing growing benefit costs and shrinking revenues, the board in June had to lay off about 400 classroom teachers, the first such cuts there in decades.

At this time of stubborn national unemployment for millions, some silly people might question the wisdom of a labor union representing people with actual jobs launching legal action over a $20 pill to improve the functioning of a member of a member.

"You've got to be kidding me," said state Rep. Jason Fields.

The school board claims the famous little starter pills are recreational, not medically necessary, and would cost the city $787,000 a year. Offhand, that seems like a lot of educators' erections, but it's also enough money to employ 12 full-time teachers of either gender.

A state labor commission recently ruled against the teachers' sexual discrimination complaint, stating in part that the union had failed to identify by name the specific discriminated members who need the erectile dysfunction drug.

Stand by for that.

The Ticket vows to vigilantly watch for any Milwaukee teachers union members who come forward and identify themselves as requiring Viagra.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Milwaukee City Hall, still standing 115 years after its erection (National Historic Preservation Trust).

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