You won’t find it on its front page section “Protests for Democracy”, but CNN is reporting that 15 more school districts will close today as teachers make their way to Madison, WI to join the protest against Gov. Walker’s anti union bill.
Wisconsin teachers call in sick
At least 15 school systems in Wisconsin canceled Thursday’s classes because teachers and other public employees will continue protests at the state Capitol over a bill that would strip them of most of their collective bargaining rights and increase their contributions for benefits.
Huh? Madison? What? I haven’t heard of anything. I go to google news – US – nothing. I have to type in “wisconsin” then it suggests “wisconsin protests” which shows me that while I’ve been puttering around, tens of thousands of teachers, parents, public workers, and students have been protesting in Madison against Governor Walker’ bill to completely do away with public teachers ability to engage in Collective Bargaining Agreements.
John Nichols (The Nation) says this is the start of a national campaign to undo unions through legislation. He points out that Walker is demanding that teachers take a 9% pay cut when WIsconsin has a budget surplus of $123 million.
“If Governor Walker pulls this off, if he succeeds in taking away collective bargaining rights from the union, AFSCME, which was founded in Wisconsin back in the 1930s, if he takes down…one of the strongest and most effective teachers’ unions, WEAC, in the country, then we really are going to see this sweep across the United States. There is simply no question of that,” he says.
It is already also happening in Ohio, and protests have started there too.
Over 1,000 people packed the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday to protest against a bill currently under consideration by the Senate that would eliminate collective bargaining for 40,000 state workers and reduce the bargaining power of firefighters and teachers, among others. Protesters filled the building’s galleys and assembly rooms, with only standing room left for those attending the hearings on Senate Bill 5 (SB5).
The unemployment problem can not be solved by reducing the wages on existing jobs and firing workers. It doesn’t matter if those are public or private sector jobs. The economy is down because not enough money is flowing. The USA still has that money, for the most part (minus our balance of trade bleed), it’s just that it’s being hoarded by the rich and the banks. So if you take the money away from public employees, where do you think it will go? Straight to the cronies. That’s what the lobbyists want: the beautiful merger of business and government.
Unions may have their faults, but it’s unions that led to the rise of the middle class, with their demands that workers be treated like humans. Chinese workers don’t have unions, and the corporate crony stooges in charge won’t be happy until we are all forced to work in 19th century conditions, locked into factories without breaks and pitifully grateful for the opportunity to make enough money to buy eat once a day.
Rolling update from the comments:
jjtacoma recommends this op-ed in WaPo, which is a great read, which contrasts the cheering for Egypt while suppressing news about our own protests.
SHV recommends www.wsws.org for news coverage of the protests that our corpomedia is ignoring.
Drama! (h/t jjmtacoma) the democrats in the statehouse have left town to prevent the republicans from voting (at least one democrat has to be present for the vote to happen). Get your popcorn!
Police officers were searching for Democratic state lawmakers who had not shown up for a vote on the sweeping legislation, and one Democratic lawmaker said he and his colleagues had left the state.