In Wisconsin there is a travesty currently taking place. The Governor, Scott Walker (R), asked the legislature to end the right of state and local workers to bargain for benefits and other non-salary compensation. The Governor will be effectively and brutally weakening unions if this bill passes. In the capitol city of Madison thousands of unionists have been demonstrating to show their hatred of this budget.
As reported on Democracy Now, unionists in some school districts in Wisconsin are informing teachers calling in sick that if their absence is connected to a labor movement they could face termination. But schools were closed in Madison on the 16th as 40% of the teachers called in sick anyway. Milwaukee Public Schools sent an e-mail to teachers warning them not to be absent without prior approval.
So as teachers, firemen, trade unionists and others gather to redress their grievances with this budget proposal, what does the Governor do? Gov. Walker put National Guard units on standby in order to possibly control trade unionists.
Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees. --Associated Press
Since the 1930’s there has been a more or less non-violent negotiation mentality on pretty much all U.S. union negotiations, the history before that is bloody and hard fought. I had hoped that this was a long behind us, but I guess not. Soon I am going to do a history of National Guard Vs. Unions in America. I will link it here.
There are those who say that the unions carry to much power and even abuse it. New York City’s school system pays $65 million a year to hold suspended teachers in limbo. The strict rules of the agreement between the NYC Department of Education and the teachers union make it extremely hard to dismiss anyone.
Why do they do this? Many teachers are accused with fictitious and vicious libel, the nature of the offense is not considered until their suspension hearing, which is what they are waiting for in these so called “rubber rooms”. This is not an abuse of power by unions as it is often framed, but rather the failure of the NYC administrations (since the 1990’s) to manage their own disciplinary oversight.
So what will the teachers and other unions do in Wisconsin?
"I'm not intimidated by the National Guard, I know my fellow teachers aren't either." . -- Wis. Middleton-Cross Plains district teacher Mark Voss.
Fight on Wisconsin we are with you.