Friday, February 18, 2011
Obama joins Wisconsin's budget battle, opposing Republican anti-union bill (Washington Post) - "President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin's broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals. Obama accused Scott Walker, the state's new Republican governor, of unleashing an "assault" on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers."
"Under Walker's plan, most public workers - excluding police, firefighters and state troopers - would have to pay half of their pension costs and at least 12 percent of their health-care costs. They would lose bargaining rights for anything other than pay... additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers. Some union activists predicted similar protests in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania."
Good for the President! Hope you can make a difference...
In 1994, when the Republicans came into power under Newt Gingrich it battled with Bill Clinton so staunchly over budget cuts and reductions in programs, it forced a government shutdown. And it the process, they were able to get Welfare Reform passed which did nothing but financially hurt the poorest of the poor, and increase the wealth gap amongst classes even further.
Today, the 2011 version want to make drastic cuts into Social Security, Medicare and other safety nets. They actually would prefer individual states to go bankrupt especially in union-strong states so it would allow state Governors to break existing Union contracts and force future concessions. State bankruptcy would also free Governors from existing pension obligations to millions of workers who've paid into the system for so many years. This is why the Fed will bail out banks but not states.
People forget there was a time in this nation's history prior to unions, when working conditions were appalling and extremely unsafe. If you were severely injured on the job, you were fired with no compensation. If you died on the job, your wife or next of kin would get $100. And if you miss a day of work and were replaceable, you were fired.
You worked 12-14 hour days in sometimes excessively cramped and unsanitary conditions that made people very sick and dramatically shortened the quality and duration of their lives. It was not uncommon to have whole families working together at a factory-- husband, wife and children even as young as 10 years old. You were paid next to nothing and treated like nothing.
We've become a sales and service sector society, as in "Would you like some fries with that?" and "Sorry we're out of the size 8 shoe.." Prices for everything go up- wages go down- and credit/debt fills the void. We're now a slave society where one doesn't work for a better future but to pay down existing debts while never fully able to get free from under.
If you care about the American worker.. if you care about yourself.. you will root for the unions in this battle vs the state governments.
Posted by Susquehanna at Friday, February 18, 2011