Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wisconsin wakes up

First, the new Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, began a process to strip public-sector workers in the state of their basic collective bargaining rights. Then, he added insult to injury by threatening to call out the National Guard if these plans met with any organized resistance. Right now many Wisconsin voters who stayed home on election day are realizing what a costly mistake they made. The good news is that the Governor's outrageous behavior has prompted the people of Wisconsin, including the world champion Green Bay Packers, to rise up against this tyranny. Here's an excerpt from Scott Bauer's story:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Thousands of teachers, students and prison guards descended on the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday to fight a move to strip government workers of union rights in the first state to grant them more than a half-century ago.

The Statehouse filled with as many as 10,000 demonstrators who chanted, sang the national anthem and beat drums for hours. The noise in the rotunda rose to the level of a chainsaw, and many Madison teachers joined the protest by calling in sick in such numbers that the district - the state's second-largest - had to cancel classes....

In addition to eliminating collective bargaining rights, the legislation would also make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage - increases that Walker calls "modest" compared with those in the private sector.

More than 13,000 protesters gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday for a 17-hour public hearing on the measure. Thousands more came Wednesday.

"I'm fighting for my home and my career," said Virginia Welle, a 30-year-old teacher at Chippewa Falls High School. She said she and her husband, who is also a teacher, each stand to lose $5,000 a year in higher pension and health care contributions.

Welle said she could never get that money back since the unions would be unable to bargain over benefits under Walker's plan.

The protests have been larger and more sustained than any in Madison in decades. Dozens of protesters spent the night in sleeping bags on the floor of the Rotunda. A noise monitor in the Rotunda registered 105 decibels at midday Wednesday - about as loud as a power mower or chainsaw.

Beyond the Statehouse, more than 40 percent of the 2,600 union-covered teachers and school staff in Madison called in sick. No widespread sickouts were reported at any other school.

Here's an opportunity for us to not repeat the mistake we made when Saint Ronnie Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers. People decried the dictatorial action, yet they didn't stage major demonstrations in solidarity. I encourage everyone to find out what you can do to resist this outrage. Most Americans already suffer for not having union representation. If the last few unions left standing are destroyed, we will have absolutely no one left on our side.


hectorp said...

Gov. Walker is just pushing to an extreme the union busting program followed by many other Republican governors. If we don't push back hard we're all going to pay the price!

Cletis L. Stump said...

Ulysses, far too often past is prologue. It's way past time to honor our heritage. From Kentucky's greatest export, Merle Travis. Two songs with photos. It will break your heart then boil your blood. There came a time when even Jesus had had enough of the fucking money lenders.