If you’re a member of a public workers, teacher, police, fire or any organized labor group and you voted Republican, I have a question for you. With Republicans across the country moving heaven and earth to break, bust and destroy unions are you happy now???
New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie created the template as a budget hawk by balancing his budget by going after the unions. Now newcomers John Kasich and Scott Walker in Wisconsin are playing follow the leader by ending collective bargaining, stripping state unions of the right to strike and cutting wages and benefits.
State governors have to do what they can to resolve their budget deficits, many of which run into the billions. But doing it by breaking labor unions is reprehensible. The right to enter collective bargaining with one’s employer is not a right that once taken away will be easily given back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good, so I have no problem with state workers in Wisconsin raising hell and standing up.
Several former members of the Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers released a statement in support of their fellow Wisconsin union brothers and sisters:
“We know that it is teamwork on and off the field that makes the Packers and Wisconsin great. As a publicly owned team we wouldn’t have been able to win the Super Bowl without the support of our fans.
“It is the same dedication of our public workers every day that makes Wisconsin run. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. But now in an unprecedented political attack Governor Walker is trying to take away their right to have a voice and bargain at work.”
“The right to negotiate wages and benefits is a fundamental underpinning of our middle class. When workers join together it serves as a check on corporate power and helps ALL workers by raising community standards. Wisconsin’s long standing tradition of allowing public sector workers to have a voice on the job has worked for the state since the 1930s. It has created greater consistency in the relationship between labor and management and a shared approach to public work.
“These public workers are Wisconsin’s champions every single day and we urge the Governor and the State Legislature to not take away their rights.”
The NFLPA, now involved in negotiations with the NFL owners who may lock them out March 4 if a new collective bargaining agreement isn’t reached issued a statement in support of the Wisconsin workforce, “The NFL Players Association will always support efforts protecting a worker’s right to join a union and collectively bargain. Today, the NFLPA stands in solidarity with its organized labor brothers and sisters in Wisconsin,”
President Obama cut to the chase saying, “Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems like more of an assault on unions.”
The American media–the supposed “liberal” American media–ignores and ridicules the labor movement. Think about it: there are plenty of programs devoted to business leaders and their perspectives. Who speaks for the working men and women?
It’s not the GOP. Locally, both the Republican governor and Republican candidates for city council are declaring war against public employees.
Joseph Healy, an endorsed Republican who is a remodeling contractor, said he would go further, seeking cuts of up to 20 percent in wages and benefits from the city’s unions, including police and fire. City leaders should threaten to cut 10 percent of the jobs unless the unions agree to pay cuts, he said.
“I’d go right to the jugular and challenge the unions,” he said.
“Right to the jugular?” Nice. Is there any doubt Republicans see organized labor as a blood enemy? Here in Ohio almost two thousand public employees dressed in red t-shirts, descended on the Ohio Statehouse to oppose Senate Bill 5. The bill, supported by Governor Kasich and the Republican-controlled House and Senate would strip state employees of the right to collective bargaining and punish those whom go out on strike.
Unions have a mixed record, but so does business. When I worked for the state of Ohio I had to pay union dues though I wasn’t a full-time employee with benefits. I wasn’t crazy about having to pay into a union that didn’t fully look out for me. However, the Republicans have declared war upon unions and the more they do the more I see the necessity of unions. The default position of many whom are not in a union or dislike them is to write off the state employees as being selfish and unwilling to compromise in a time of economic hardship. What Kasich, Walker and other GOP governors are doing isn’t about creating new jobs or a better economic environment. Their aim is to destroy unions. You don’t help the middle class by attempting to bust a group of workers whom are middle class. The logic of destroying jobs to create jobs is ridiculous.
The Republican Party: the friend of the working man. Yeah, right. Those two hands you feel on your shoulders and that slight, but growing pressure at your rear? That’s not your physician giving you an examination.
Workers in Wisconsin and Ohio have met the enemy and the enemy are Republican governors who eagerly and gleefully are pursuing a goal to break unions, privatize state agencies, slash social services and eliminate any health, environmental and workplace regulation that might impede with businesses wanting to do as they damn well please. For the American labor movement this is their Egypt moment. They can either stand up and protest, organize and make the Republicans pay dearly in the 2012 elections or they can do nothing and be steamrolled by right-wing governors pursing an aggressive union-busting agenda.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. ~ “V” for Vendetta