Keep your hands off my unions, governor!
I’m a union gal. I come from a long line of hardworking, blue-collar union folks. Both of my grandfathers were sheet metal workers. As a little girl, I remember the song on the TV ad: “Look for the union label when you are buying that coat, dress, or blouse…” And I remember my grandmother putting back anything that said “Made in China.” My how times have changed.
The president said if we put the car in “R” we’re putting it in reverse. And when the people of Wisconsin voted for Scott Walker for governor, they did just that.
Perhaps Walker and the people who advocate what he is trying to do to unions, to public/state workers, and to the people of Wisconsin need a history lesson. [Read stories about unemployment.]
Unions were established to protect the workers. To protect the worker against the greed of employers combined with market competition, which resulted in people who worked longer, for less. Sound familiar? Ask an illegal immigrant, or someone in Bangalore, India, and they’re doing just that. At the time unions were formed, people were working 80 hours a week or more in filthy, unsafe environments. Many of those workers were children, regardless of their age.
The argument put forth by Walker is that he has to get his budget in line. But Walker is lying. Statistically, whether it be Wisconsin, Ohio, Nevada, or New Jersey, union workers make on the average 6 percent less than their private sector counterparts. Also statistically, if you look at the budget of Wisconsin, the biggest savings have nothing to do with state workers or collective bargaining; by Walker’s own admission, he could save $165 million just restructuring the current debt. And we know this isn’t about money or savings to the state of Wisconsin or its citizens, it’s politics. The governor takes the time to put the National Guard on alert, but can’t take the time to sit down with the unions for even five minutes?!!! And we know he has exempted the police and firefighters, for those groups supported him and his run for office. Deficit my butt. [See a slide show of top cities to find a job.]
Let’s talk about the National Guard for a moment. Even National Guard members feel it’s wrong to be asked to stand up to workers who are within their rights to strike. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is only half as bad; he is threatening to fire employees who strike. No call to the National Guard there. The last time the National Guard was called in to Wisconsin was 1886 (talk about going backward). Oh, and did I mention over five people died? Maybe we should cover the fire hydrants looking back at what those protesting for civil rights endured.
Unions have been a part of our country not just since the 1820s, but some argue since the 1600s. There are theories now that even the men who built the pyramids were part of a union (and yes, even they had healthcare).
The saddest part of all of this is this hurts the people of Wisconsin. If the governor is victorious, many will leave the state. And union members aren’t all Democrats, so the governor is hurting his own constituents in his own party. This is a pure example of eliminating the middle class; ask Marie Antoinette where that got her. [Check out a roundup of this month's best political cartoons.]
So I ask you America, lift up your voices. Whether it be on the steps of the capitol in Madison or on the phone to the governor of Wisconsin or to your congressional representative. Stop this madness!
Do you work an eight hour work day? You can thank the unions. Are you working in a clean and safe environment? You can thank the unions. Are you treated justly by your employer? You can thank the unions. There was a film called A Day Without A Mexican. In Wisconsin, they will regret a “day without the unions.” [Take the U.S. News poll: Should the government fund high-speed rail?]
Unions make sure the economy works for all Americans. If you drive on a road or a bridge, wash your hands under a faucet, or get your heat through a pipe, a union worker made that possible. And ironically, in Wisconsin, it was the unions that built those rich people’s homes around Whitefish Bay. Shame on them.