Mary Bell, the President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, just announced that teachers across the state will return to work on Monday, instead joining protests at night in their communities. Teachers, and in many cases their students, have been at the forefront of the protests in the state capital, Madison. Local school districts have been shut for up to three days as teachers demonstrated against a measure to strip their collective bargaining rights. The entire statement is at the end of this piece.

Bell reiterated that the employees she represents have agreed to Governor Walker’s cutbacks in pension and health care benefits. Those are the only actual fiscal issues affecting state workers in the budget repair bill. But public employees refuse to accept the loss of their rights as workers. Here’s the key excerpt:

Tomorrow they begin again in their schools and classrooms. Their voices will remain strong – and they will continue to be heard wherever and whenever they can. To educators whose contracts do not recognize Presidents’ Day, we call on them to return to duty by day – and find ways to be vocal and visible after their workday is done. To those whose contracts recognize Presidents’ Day as a holiday, we call on them to return to Madison. We send this message to Wisconsin’s educators and parents as a show of good faith.

Protests were small today, possibly because of snowy Madison weather. But while teachers and