Brothers and Sisters,
We are witnessing a pivotal and ignominious event in the history of American labor relations. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and his Republican allies in the State Legislature are intent on an unprecedented political power grab at the expense of hundreds of thousands of workers and their families. With no mandate, but from far-right, anti-union ideologues, they have begun to ram legislation through that is designed for one main purpose: bust the public employee unions.
Governor Walker’s goal is to strip the freedom to collectively bargain from public sector employees in Wisconsin. He wants to eliminate any talk of pensions, health care, sick days, and virtually anything else. The unions would only be able to discuss pay raises, which would be capped. All of these major labor policy changes under the guise of a “budget” bill. These are unreasonable constraints to place on workers struggling in today’s economy and as young workers, with many years left in the workforce, Governor Walker is intend on leaving us with bleak prospects for our future and our dreams. Governor Walker expected working families to lie down and take these massive concessions without him even so much as meeting with them to negotiate.
However, the working men and women of Wisconsin would not stand idly by and allow this to happen. They came out to Madison in droves, to the tune of thousands of union members and their families…and they’re not leaving. They have brought their protest signs, their sleeping bags, and their indomitable spirits to the fight. Solidarity does not sleep.
Make no mistake about it: Governor Walker’s goal is to bust the public employee union for reasons more political than budgetary. Wisconsin is a test case for the far-right, anti-union ideologues in other states. If Governor Walker succeeds with his power grab in Wisconsin, then they will follow suit with assaults on working men and women in their states, as well.
I urge all Young Democrats across the country to be vigilant and watch these events as they unfold. If you have family or friends in Wisconsin, tell them to call their state legislators and express support for the workers and tell them to stop Governor Walker’s attempt to take away freedom from working families. The number is 1-(877) 753-5578 and talking points are available from AFSCME-Wisconsin. If we stand together for justice today, together we will build a better tomorrow.
Labor Caucus Chair
Young Democrats of America