Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wisconsin Unions Remind Us When Americans Used to Protest For Real

Remember when everyone covered Tea Party rallies? When they showed the classic spirit of America rising up to stand for something? Except, what did they stand for again? Originally they seemed to say "we stand for really, really low taxes," but they then also stood for solving the deficit. Because apparently it's possible to solve the deficit problem ENTIRELY by cutting spending. Most people with a brain know, that short of flat out ending Medicare and Social Security, that's impossible. I could go on and on about the lack of logic here. Or I could just say, hey that's the Tea Party. We want it and have no idea how to actually do it, except to say Barrack Obama, bad.

What I love even more is how the Tea Party protests became more conservative over time. Eventually they got angry about abortions and gay marriage, until they were simply having a protest that said, "we're conservative, and we lost the last election and we're angry." Great stand guys. Way to honor this country's history of protest. We only have the tradition of ending the Vietnam War and restoring Civil Rights via protest. No biggie.

And certain media, *cough* Fox news *cough* noticed these rather lame events and said the people are speaking, it should be the top story, And yet today, when 15,000 unionized workers of Wisconsin (unions were basically the originators of the US protest, they tend to do it well) gathered to fight against laws designed to "fix the budget" by taking away union rights to collective bargaining. I went to the Fox News website. They were more interested in governors "snubbing" Obama, and Scott Brown's upcoming biography.

Now of course I must admit my own bias in this matter. My sister has recently begun working for the ATU, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and she was in Wisconsin for this protest. (She's the only she in the picture) But the fact remains this is a huge deal. In this country Republicans have been allowed to demonize unions and blame them for budget problems. Are we really supposed to think that public employees are making too much money? That the city bus drivers or the garbage men, are living lives of luxury? These are people taking unwanted and necessary jobs. Without unions, today they wouldn't have a minimum wage to give them chance of a decent life. Government employees who unionize aren't corrupt bureaucrats. They are people who do real jobs just like anyone else and deserve real pay.

If this plan to eliminate collective bargaining passes in Wisconsin, other governors may follow suit. If so our country will truly have fallen backwards. Income inequality in this country has been rising. The gap between the top 1% and everyone else is as high as its been since just before the Great depression. The first time America faced this problem and closed this gap, it was through the growing union movement. Without the proliferation of unions, our country wouldn't have formed the American dream. It was through unions that someone could pick himself up by his bootstraps and make it. Unions are an important staple of our history. We can't afford to go back to a time when workers had no say in how things were done. We've simply come too far to allow some overzealous governor to set our country back 100 years. So let's support those 15,000 workers in Wisconsin who are standing strong for all of us.


Anonymous said...

So - teachers called in sick and dragged their clueless students to protest. Good job.

What the people hate about public sector unions is that they are a tool of the Democratic Party. The taxpayers pay their salaries, the unions take their cut, and then use it to fund Democrats who raise their pay and pensions so high that it bankrupts the county. Take away the right of public sector unions to make political contributions and the union organizers would have nothing to do with public employees.

Gordon Stanton said...

First off, how did teachers who called in sick also drag their students to protest.Since they didn't go to work they couldn't possibly do that. In fact their students cared enough to protest with them. But that doesn't fit your narrative does it?

"raise their pay and pensions so high it bankrupts the country"?
name which public union employees are being paid too much. Please.

And let's make something clear. The Democrats supported unions long before the unions gave them money. They would continue to support unions even if they didn't get any campaign contributions, because the working man should have a right to earn a decent living and have decent working conditions. That's a basic democratic belief.

Don't bullshit about the deficit either. WE are being bankrupted by THREE things that make up the vast majority of the budget. Medicare, Social Security, and Defense spending. You could cut every public sector employees salary COMPLETELY, and the other three things would keep us in debt.

The unions are willing to negotiate and take cuts. they have said as much to the Wisconsin governor. They understand that cuts and tough decisions need to be made. However he wants to COMPLETELY take away their collective bargaining rights forever. Thats not a compromise, that's not a negotiation. That's a strongarm tactic and its unfair.

Anonymous said...

Bill said...

Great idea, anonymous. Take away the right of public sector unions to make political contributions, while continuing to affirm the rights of corporations to do the same. One party rule would be awesome.