In February of last year, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker tried to pull a fast one on the people of his state. Three days before the vote, he presented a bill to his 19-14 republican majority senate that would strip Wisconsin laborers of their right to collectively bargain.
Read that again. Strip them of their right to come together as workers and bargain for better conditions, treatment or compensation. The state constitution granted them this right in 1959, just five years after the phrase “Under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance.
Collective bargaining in history is the reason we have things like weekends, overtime pay and employee benefits today. If they are stripped of their right to collectively affect change for workers in today’s America, how can any working class American believe that things will get better, let alone maintain the status quo?
When the democratic minority of 14 senators fled to Rockford, IL to delay the vote and bring national attention to Walker’s draconian tactics -they lit the fuse on what would eventually lead to tomorrow’s recall election. Just about everybody has something to win or lose in this situation, and I’m not just talking about the residents of the Badger state.
This isn’t just about a governor who’s reviled by the working class and idolized by the conservative agenda. If Walker wins tomorrow, he will only drive harder towards his goal of taking down unions. All of them. He isn’t targeting them so that non-union employees can save that extra fee they pay for enjoying the rights won by union bargaining without joining. He’s attacking the only source of campaing funding that can provide significant competition for corporations and lobbyists. The only voice the working class has ever had in the election of our country’s leaders.
If his bill to take away workers rights was such a great proposition, why did he spring it on his senate three days before the vote instead of giving them time to go over it and discuss it with their constituents? We elect officials to make these decisions for us with the understanding that they are going to be looking after our (that’s we the people) best interests. Attempting to slip a bill under the radar is not the action of a representative with transparent intentions. Whether you are for or against unions in general, Walker’s behavior lacks integrity and smacks of corruption.
When the senators who objected to this bill fled the state, Walker’s reaction was to send out the state police to find him even just one democrat to be present so that his minions could go through with the successful vote. The people of Wisconsin deserve better. They deserve to know all of the information, and to be fully aware of the impact this agenda will have on their lives, before elected officials push through a vote that begins a domino effect for the rest of working class Americans. Ask yourself this: without the media frenzy that followed the democratic exodus to Illinois, would this conversation even have taken place?
If you are a resident of the great state of Wisconsin, please go out tomorrow and rock the vote. Either way, this is your one shot to be part of a historic recall election that will have an unprecedented impact on the future of the middle class in the United States. Don’t go party line, and don’t just pick a name you recognize.
Be informed and vote for what you believe in. Vote for all of us.