AFSCME’s Battleground Bulletin 2.17.11

By admin / On / In Local 88

President McEntee: Gagging Workers is Un-American

In a recent blog post picked up by the Huffington Post, President McEntee shames the governors and state legislators who are attempting to silence the voice of working families in America.  In contrasting these efforts to gag workers at home with the success of protesters in gaining new freedoms in Egypt, McEntee writes:

“In Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and in other states across the country, legislators are moving rapidly to pass new laws to cut education, health care and public safety programs while imposing new rules to gag workers and make it more difficult for them to organize for better wages, benefits and working conditions.”

President McEntee’s post comes on the heels of his appearance at a massive two-day rally at the State Capitol in Madison, where he added (loudly enough for the legislators inside the building to hear), “We are not going to be silent when politicians tell us that silence is the only option and that negotiations are a thing of the past!.”  A day later the crowds were keeping true to that statement, as thousands were heard yesterday singing Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It!” in perfect harmony.

President Obama Defends Public Service Workers in TV Interview

In an interview yesterday with a Milwaukee television station, President Obama said the “budget repair bill” under consideration in the Wisconsin State Legislature “seems like more of an assault on unions.”  While he acknowledged that states face challenges as they work to close budget gaps, Obama made it clear that he believes that it is important to recognize that “public employees make a lot of sacrifices and make a big  contribution.”  The President also stressed that public service workers are “our neighbors and our friends” and that it is not fair to vilify them or blame public employees for our budget problems.

A link to the video is here.

Quote of the Day

“The erosion of collective bargaining is a key factor to explain why low-wage workers and middle income workers have seen their wages not stay up with inflation,” said Bill Rodgers, a former chief economist for the Labor Department, now a professor at Rutgers University.

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