As embattled state and local workers in Wisconsin protest legislation that would attack public employees’ rights to bargain collectively, the APWU urges members to stand in solidarity with those who would be affected by the bill.
“We know if they succeed in Wisconsin, we and other workers will be next,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “We must stand in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin.”
On Feb. 12, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) introduced legislation that is being called an “attack on basic rights” by labor leaders across the country. Walker’s legislation would destroy collective bargaining for state workers, undermine middle-class jobs by lowering wages, shrinking benefits, and weakening unions.
Among other assaults on the working class, Walker’s bill would block academic staff and faculty from being represented by a union in collective bargaining, and state employee unions would only be allowed to negotiate over wages. This would take away employees’ ability to file grievances and bargain over benefits such as health care, job security, and workplace protections.
Walker’s proposals sparked a massive uprising in the state capital of Madison starting on Feb. 14. Tens of thousands of employees and labor activists have flooded the Capitol in a demonstration of solidarity against the governor’s attack on public workers. Activists accuse Walker of using a phony budget crisis as an excuse to weaken unions and the middle class.
Similar legislation that would jeopardize collective bargaining for public employees has been introduced in other states, including Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana.
On Feb. 18, 14 Democratic representatives from Wisconsin departed the Capitol to deny the state Senate a quorum so action on the legislation could not go forward until public hearings are held.
The APWU has joined the AFL-CIO and other labor unions across the country in pledging solidarity with state employees in Wisconsin and Ohio in the “We Are One” campaign. Click here to visit the AFL-CIO’s campaign page and to add a “We Are One” graphic to your Facebook or Twitter account.
“We need to ask ourselves what would happen if Walker’s attacks were successful and unions did not exist,” Guffey said. “Unions are our best defense to stop the assault on the middle class and protect workers.”