Workers of Wisconsin, Unite

February 20th, 2011

A follow-up to Mad in Madison, inspired by 12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin (Alternet 2/19/11) and Wisconsin’s Workers are Fighting for All of Us (Huffington Post 2/20/11). 

“That workers can still negotiate from a position of strength somewhere in the US is simply unacceptable to the right, and that’s what this is about… The Right has made great political progress getting Americans to ask the question: ‘How come that guy’s getting what I don’t have?’ It’s the crux of the politics of grievance. Progressives need to get Americans to ask a different question: ‘What’s keeping me from getting what that guy has?’ At least part of the answer is the Right’s decades-long assault on private sector workers’ ability to organize, and the latest battle is being waged in Wisconsin.” — Alternet 2/19/11
 
“When I was out at manufacturing plants talking to blue collar workers across the state earlier this week, it reinforced to me that in many of those cases they’re paying anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of their healthcare costs. Most of them don’t have pensions and those that have 401Ks, many of them have seen that the contributions from their employer has been suspended in the last year or two as the economy has made it difficult in order to preserve jobs.” – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (In other words: “We’ve already succeeded in taking your pay increases, benefits, and rights away. So why should ‘they’ get to keep theirs?”)


Non-unionized private sector

Wages and benefits stink.

Will those workers stick by their union brothers?

You’d think.


In actual fact,

The opposite is true,

Because the GOP has succeeded

In turning me against you.


In times of economic stress

The opposite is true,

Because if I’m hurting,

I want you to hurt too.


It upsets me to see your

“Special privileges” on display

When mine have been unfairly

Taken away.


Because unions have been crippled

In the private sector,

Should workers support the destruction of

Public workers’ protector?


When people feel bad,

We lash out.

That’s what the protests in Wisconsin

Are all about.


But for those of you who’ve been wooed

To the GOP/Big Business side

Please think whose interests with your own

Really coincide.


Whether private or public,

Union employees make more,

A fact that Big Business and

It’s political lackeys abhor.


The problem’s not that public workers

Have benefits you don’t.

The problem is that they have unions

And you don’t.


But one part of Walker’s

“Divide and conquer” plan didn’t succeed:

The police, state trooper, and firefighter unions

With Walker’s plan disagreed.


That’s in spite of the bribery

That Walker had attempted

By allowing those unions

From his plan to be exempted.


Coincidentally, those unions supported

Walker’s gubernatorial bid.

I guess Walker’s a pro

At providing political quid.


Non-union workers should join cops and firefighters

To protect other workers’ rights.

It’s high time that labor

Again

reunites.

***

Here’s your theme music, the union classic Which Side Are You On by Pete Seeger.

 

Here’s The Last Word’s 2/18/11 report (Gov. Walker’s comment is at the beginning). As Lawrence points out, Gov. Walker’s press statement completely ducked the question about why he’s still pushing to bust the unions since they’ve agreed to his budgetary demands.
 

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Here’s Rachel’s 2/18/11 comment (making a repeat performance from Mad in Madison) on what all American workers (union and non-union alike) owe Wisconsin and the union movement.

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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