Scott Walker and the Fate of the Union

Scott Walker and the Fate of the Union

Above is a really interesting article that talks about Scott Walker’s largely successful campaign against unions in Wisconsin.  This is part of a larger right wing move to destroy unions in this country.  It is done under the guise of “right to work” by methods of divide and conquer.  A sample (The article starts out by following a union worker named Randy Bryce who takes a day off to have his voice heard at a debate in the state government.):

At 6 p.m., Bryce’s name finally appeared on the list of coming speakers. He paced the hallway outside the hearing room in anticipation. But 20 minutes later, Stephen Nass, the Republican senator who is the chairman of the Labor and Government Reform Committee, announced that there was a “credible threat of disruption” and that the hearing would be adjourned so the committee could vote to move the bill forward (it passed). A labor organizer, it turned out, had told The Milwaukee Journal ­Sentinel that some people planned to stand up in protest at 7 p.m., when testimony was to be cut off. (“I went through Act 10 — it was ugly,” Nass said earlier in the hearing, referring to the difficulty some senators experienced reaching various parts of the Capitol after the rotunda was occupied. “We had to go through a tunnel like rats. We don’t want to go through that again.”) About a hundred people were still in line to testify. A chant of “Let us speak” erupted. But Nass quickly took the committee members’ votes and was then escorted out, with his two Republican colleagues, by a phalanx of state troopers.

Bryce still wanted to speak. He had lost a day’s wages, and the committee’s two Democratic senators had remained to hear more testimony. State troopers were now blocking the door to the hearing room, though, so he decided to address a group of protesters in the hallway outside instead.

“My name is Randy Bryce,” he began in a loud voice. “I’ve been a member of Ironworkers Local 8 since 1997. I’ve had the privilege in that time to work on many of Wisconsin’s landmarks, private businesses and numerous other parts of our infrastructure.” As he spoke, the protesters began to quiet. Bryce described how he had wandered from job to job after he left the Army, how Local 8’s apprenticeship program had given him direction, a real career. Finally, he presented the case against what he called “a blatant political attack” on his union. “All of our representatives are elected,” he said. “All of the decisions that we make are voted on. The general membership is given monthly reports on how every dime is spent. Every dime spent is voted on. Unlike what is taking place this week, Ironworkers Local 8 is pure democracy. I am disappointed beyond words at not just what this bill contains, but how it is being passed.”

Two days later, just after the full Senate approved the bill that would make Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state, Scott Walker was in Maryland, attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual showcase for conservative activists and Republican presidential hopefuls. At a question-­and-­answer session, one attendee asked Walker how he, as president, would confront the threat from radical Islamist groups like ISIS. Walker’s answer was simple, and may in the end define his candidacy. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” he said, “I can do the same across the world.”

I can’t help but feel that anyone that knows the history of working people in this country should be outraged.

Although the song above is dated, it actually deals with Solidarity concerning workers in Poland during the 1980’s, I can’t help but feel that with a few minimal lyric changes, it works perfectly today.  Only this time the tyrant is more elusive.  Power is with those who exist largely in the shadows and hide behind the utopian myth of the miracle of the unfettered free market.  They use the language of hard work, religion, and patriotism to achieve their aims, although I know of no religion whose text celebrates endless greed, they shamelessly drain the livelihoods of many of those that work hardest, and they preach a kind of patriotism which leaves out a great deal of their fellow countrymen and women, which is no kind of patriotism at all.  Unions, like all things manmade, are imperfect, but they have played a great role in strengthening the working and middle class of this country.  People have literally died to gain the ability to earn a livable wage for an honest days work.  If you find yourself again unions, read the history of the coal towns or read about many early factory conditions.  Find out the things that the American worker has come to take for granted that exist because of unions.  We need strong unions now more than anytime since before the New Deal, when those like Walker stalk the corridors of power.

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