Thousands Rally in Sacramento


Sacramento Rally

by Duane Campbell Updated 2/23.

Over 2500 union members and supporters rallied at the State Capitol in Sacramento  on Feb. 22,2011, in a candle light vigil to support the working people in Wisconsin in their struggle to defend their  union rights. The financial crisis that began  2007  is an assault on organized  labor, working people, and our democracy.  To date the corporate class is winning.

While Wall Street has recovered and returned to profitability, working people continue to suffer  15 million unemployed with at least 10 million more under employed.   It is more than a crisis – the reality is that the financial class has looted the U.S. economy.  The Oligarchs  took 13 trillion dollars  out of the economy and caused 4 million people to lose their homes and  another 4.5 million to fall into foreclosure.   Now they want you and I to pay for their greed by forcing budget cuts on the states.

In 2010-2011 the crisis is hitting state and local governments hard.  The AFL-CIO is tracking this assault at    Responding the  messaging of the Right many liberals stayed home on election day. Republicans and the Tea Party  won a majority in the House, took control of several state houses, elected governors, and now dominate the main steam media with their messages.  Conservative forces, the Republicans, the Tea Party, and others use the crisis in the states to launch aggressive campaigns against public sector unions and the salaries and pensions of public sector workers.

The Sacramento response, like rallies in other states condemned the anti union campaigns of Republican governors and legislators.  In Wisconsin Governor Walker’s immediate attack is aimed directly at some 200,000 public workers in Wisconsin.

As Rose Ann DeMoro Executive Director,  California Nurses Association said in a well distributed letter,

“Working people did not create the recession or the budgetary crisis facing federal, state and local governments, and there can be no more concessions, period.

It should be apparent that the right wants to scapegoat workers and their unions, and is trying to exploit the economic crisis for an all-out assault on unions, public employees, and all working people in a campaign that is funded by right-wing, corporate billionaires like the Koch brothers.

Who caused the economic crisis? Banks, Wall Street speculators, mortgage lenders, global corporations shifting jobs from the U.S. overseas. Continue reading

The Wisconsin Uprising

by Mark Engler

Step one: Create your own budget crisis by giving out tax cuts to the privileged.

Step two: “Solve” your crisis by attacking teachers and other public servants.

That’s how Republicans do it these days, folks. Certainly, that’s the play being called by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose attempts to push forward sweeping anti-union legislation in his state have become infamous in the past week.

The single most important idea to keep in mind about the situation is that this is not about balancing budgets. It is a power grab.

Walker’s move is part of a calculated effort to undermine what’s left of the most significant institutional counterbalance to the ever-weightier power of corporations: organized labor. Other newly minted Republican governors are making similar moves, with at least a half dozen attempting to pass so-called “right to work” legislation. But I don’t think any have been quite as audacious or disingenuous as Walker.


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Fix Economic Crisis: Tax the Rich!

By Paul Krehbiel

Paul Krehbiel

The US government budget deficit is now $1.5 trillion, and most states are running out of money too. Political leaders are wringing their hands and crying in unison: “There’s just no money.” Led by Republicans, the only solution, they say, is to cut, cut, cut. They’re on a slash and burn rampage, pushing draconian cuts in education, health care, pensions, public workers, Social Security, Medicare and nearly every other needed social program and social service job.

Currently, Republicans have launched an all-out attack on unions – the one social group that has had the clout to achieve and protect these social programs. Wisconsin public workers are on the front lines in this battle. Scott Walker, recently elected Republican and Tea Party Governor, is out to crush public sector unions in Wisconsin, claiming their pensions are breaking the bank. Workers’ pensions are not the cause of the economic crisis hitting Wisconsin, nor are they in 44 other states.

Fortunately, Wisconsin’s unions and the public have responded with huge demonstrations at the state capitol in Madison, and Democratic lawmakers have left the state as of this writing to prevent the anti-people legislation from being voted on. But this is just the beginning. Republicans in Ohio, New Jersey and a host of other states are readying similar anti-labor legislation for their state houses.

How can there not be enough money in the richest country in the world for needed social services when practically every other industrialized country funds them? Actually, there’s tons of money. Billions and trillions of dollars. The problem is that it isn’t in government bank accounts because the giant corporations and the rich have taken it. The sales pitch from the Republicans and their financiers have turned this reality upside-down.

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The Class War in “Progressive” Wisconsin

by Don Taylor

Don Taylor

As I write this, we are in our fourth day of demonstrations against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget repair” bill and its’ provisions to effectively eliminate public sector collective bargaining. Today, the Democrats in the senate have fled the state, leaving the Republicans one vote short of a quorum to pass the bill. The Democrats say they will not return until the anti-union provisions are off the table.

Disguised as a bill to fix a shortfall in the current budget, this bill would:

  • Abolish public sector collective bargaining on all topics except wages. There would be no more negotiating leaves of absence, health and safety, discipline for just cause, or anything else. Negotiated wage increases would be capped at CPI; in other words, no real negotiation could occur.
  • Prohibit public employers from deducting union dues via payroll deduction. This measure is one of several that demonstrate the bill’s true intent, because it represents no savings whatsoever for the taxpayer.
  • Require all unionized units to hold annual decertification elections. Again, this relates to the budget in no way whatsoever, and is the most blatant example of the ideological agenda behind this bill.
  • Impose higher employee costs for health care and pensions for state employees.
  • Institute “right to work” for public employees.

In other words, an existing unionized unit would have to collect hand dues, would be unable to collect payment from free riders, and would be prohibited from negotiating anything except wages at some level below the rate of inflation. Then, as employee discontent grows over a perception that “the union can’t do anything,” along would come the state-mandated annual decertification vote.

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Thousands protest Wisconsin Governor’s proposals

More than 15,000 people, including public employees, union activists and community supporters, jammed into the Capitol Square in Madison, Wis., yesterday to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) plan to strip away state workers’ rights and decimate family-supporting middle-class jobs. Some 3,000 massed inside the Capitol building where a hearing on the bill was under way.

Many of those at yesterday’s rally camped overnight and are continuing their vigil today.

Public workers and their allies held other protests around Wisconsin. Some 1,000 people gathered outside Walker’s suburban Milwaukee home carrying signs that read “Stop the Attack on Workers’ Rights.”

AFSCME President Gerald McEntee told the cheering crowd in Madison:

For 75 years, we’ve fought to make our voices heard, and we’re not going to be silenced today. We’re not going to let this happen, We won’t let him break the back of the middle class of Wisconsinites. We are strong. We are united.

Walker vows that he will not negotiate any changes to his plan and if the state legislature doesn’t pass it, he will force massive layoffs, crippling state services and costing thousands of jobs.
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Join the Wisconsin Campaign for justice

Public employees and their allies are taking action to fight Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) proposals to cut pay and benefits and take away nearly all collective bargaining rights for state workers. Walker has alerted the National Guard in case state workers strike or rise in protest. Help fight this outrage.

* Join a Facebook campaign here:

* Sign a Twitter petition here.

* If you’re in Wisconsin, find out about rallies here.


Labor History in the Schools

Labor History in Schools Bill Becomes Law!
Calls for labor history to be state standard in Wisconsin

Governor Jim Doyle made it official Thursday, Dec. 10: He signed into law AB 172, the Wisconsin Labor History in the Schools bill, culminating 12 years of efforts by key legislators, workers, unions and others to pass legislation to assure the teaching of labor history and collective bargaining.

“Once again Wisconsin leads the way in progressive labor legislation,” commented Steve Cupery, president of the Wisconsin Labor History Society. “As far as we can tell, Wisconsin is the first state to have enacted such a law. We expect others will follow our example.”

More here.

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