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Picket This!

February 16, 2011

Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, wants to create his own Taft-Hartley by putting an end to “collective bargaining for nearly all public employees.” And it looks like he’s going to get a little help from the National Guard. You can read about what is happening here, here and here.

Governor Walker doesn’t know why people are surprised by his move because “Unless you were in a coma for the last two years, it was clear where I was headed.”

Hold on though. John Nichols from The Nation magazine begs to differ.

Well, Governor Walker took office in January, after a campaign in which he really ran as a feel-good Republican. He did not talk about gutting public employee contracts. He didn’t talk about getting rid of collective bargaining. He didn’t talk about perhaps imposing a sweeping right-to-work law that took away not just collective bargaining rights for public employees but for employees in the private sector. None of this came up. But in January, after taking office, he began to move very quietly behind the scenes to implement this plan. What’s fascinating is that while it does, as you note, attempt to take away collective bargaining rights for teachers, also for state, county and municipal employees, there is a special protection written in for police unions and firefighter unions that happened to support him in the last election.

Walker claims “the state’s broke” and that local governments “don’t have anything to offer.”

John Nichols has a rebuttle for that claim though.

The Fiscal Bureau of Wisconsin just said in January that it will end this year with a $123 million surplus. So the fact of the matter is that this is not being done because of a lack of money. This is being done because political forces, conservative political forces, would like to disempower public employee unions and remove that voice for a strong public sector.

There are two concerns here.

First, there is the attack on weakening the working class by taking away their option to opt for collective bargaining.

Second, it could lead to a domino effect–should Walker’s plan be successful–that John Nichols mentions during the Democracy Now! segment. It’s not the good type of domino effect we saw in the Middle East that started with Tunisia and spread like a wildfire to surrounding regions. It’s the bad type of domino effect that could spread to other states across the U.S. and weaken their working class by taking away their option to bargain collectively.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne R. Key permalink
    February 16, 2011 2:23 pm

    Is this guy fucking stupid! Why do you think what happened in the middle east happened. Because the government built an outhouse on top of the working classes, after the shit was high enough, they climbed up and threw the house off. I hope Wisconsin goes into a state of emergency, I hope the public employees strike, or simply just walk off the job. Then we see what this dumb ass has really accomplished. I think they should not stop protesting until Walker leaves the country, treat him like the utter scumbag he is!

  2. PublicSectorPete permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:59 am

    This attack on collective bargaining is happening in many states with Republican Governors (Iowa/Nebraska/Tennessee-I believe are just a few examples). Iowa’s governor has also taken a budget surplus and advertised it as a deficit in order to include his own desired corporate tax breaks. This is an organized, concerted effort to undermine workers’ rights, subvert the voice of the middle class, and ultimately catalyze the demise of the GOP opposition by attacking a major source of funding for Democrats (unions, and people that currently earn enough money to buy both food for themselves and manage to have enough leftover to possibly donate spare change to their political candidates). These are very scary times for the working class. The impacts of the potential success for these types of bills are boundless. What the GOP has organized is a movement that attempts to recreate systems of slavery. The slave class they desire to recreate will be composed of today’s middle class workers. It is a grand scheme that will further stratify the division of income in this country, systematically converting the USA into a true third world country. A quick glance at history will summarize what is at stake: On May 2, 1933 Adolph Hitler banned trade unions. This was one of his first major steps towards attaining his forceful grip over Germany and ultimately over the region.

  3. Brianna Holmes permalink
    February 18, 2011 8:11 am

    People from all over the country are going to Madison to protest this weekend and 40% of teachers called in sick last week and they had to shut the schools down…

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41624142/ns/politics-more_politics/

    • Trung permalink
      February 18, 2011 8:40 am

      wow, thanks so much for the information! solidarity!

  4. Oliver permalink
    February 18, 2011 4:29 pm

    5 comments , this could be a record!!!!!
    yes two are from me, but one is under an alias

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