APWU:The Battle in Wisconsin: ‘Are We Next?’

An Urgent Video Message  From APWU President Cliff Guffey

“I want to make sure that every APWU member understands the importance of what is happening in Wisconsin,” says union President Cliff Guffey in a video message. The nurses, teachers, firefighters and police of Wisconsin are fighting for the fundamental right to have a voice at work…“for the American values of freedom, fairness, and the right to speak, organize, and negotiate for a better life.”

“If Gov. Walker succeeds in taking away the rights of middle-class working people, other states will follow his lead — and attacks on our right to negotiate will not be far behind,” Guffey says.

Take Action

He asks: “If we fail in Wisconsin, who’s next? Are we next?”

APWU members across the country are showing solidarity with embattled public workers in Wisconsin, attending rallies and declaring, “Stop the War on Workers.” Members are encouraged to attend events in their area.

Click here for information about rallies on Feb. 26. Click here for a list of rallies on subsequent days. Please send high-resolution photos or video clips from local demonstrations to Sally Davidow, APWU Communications Department Senior Manager, at sdavidow@apwu.org.


21 thoughts on “APWU:The Battle in Wisconsin: ‘Are We Next?’

  1. DAVID: Fair enough, and yeah we definately see things differently. But hey, this whole debacle is like looking through a freekin collideascope. At the end of the day, we all could be a little bit right! Chow

  2. Zack, we don’t agree, but I do want to say that I admire that you can disagree with me without resorting to name calling. I think that basic democracy, for the taxpayers to choose their government is relevant here. Simply put, the voters of Wisconsin put Governor Walker in the position of Governor after he had said simply and clearly he was going to rein in the union. You might be surprised to know that a president who did not want public employee unions was none other than FDR. I don’t think public employee unions are the same as ours, nor are the same as purely private sector unions. Public employee unions are in the unique position to use money and influence to determine who actually sits on the opposite side of the negotiating table. Does the APWU have any say as to who we bargain against?How many CEO’s are elected by the people?None, except in the case of public employee unions. This is why pub emp unions are unique. My original point remains. We should stick to our knitting. We are in the middle of contract negotiations, and THAT is enough for us to worry about. I can give you example after example where unions had opposing interests. There was always a loser there. And it is potentially a public relations nightmare for unions in general with daily pictures of the state house in WI being overrun, and thus the peoples’ business not being allowed to be conducted. Wisconsin voters spoke, and most of them want lower, not higher, taxes.

  3. DAVID: I agree that Union’s will fight amongst themselves if need be to protect their own best interests; However, it’s quite foolish nonetheless, and typical of Humans. The Air Traffic controlers were easily replaced with military Air Trafffic Controllers until a new replacement workforce could be put in place. It would have been much harder to replace all Controllers, Pilots, Mechanics, etcetera, had they all struck in support of one another. Perhaps the WI Police and Fire Dept. Unions realize that they will be next in line somewhere down the road. Surely, it would not be wise for the WI Governor to go after all Union’s at the same time. Strength is in numbers, so picking each Union apart one at a time has a better chance for success. Sure the Controllers may have broken the law when they went on strike, but so is the Governor of WI when he stripes collective bargaining away from the workforce. It violates the NLRA. I support everyone’s right to collectively bargain with their employer, just as I support your right to express how you feel, despite our disagreement. We are supposed to be a “Free” society. Whether or not the state of WI entered into terrible contracts with the Union’s is not my concern. I do not live in WI. I simply support everyone’s right to collectively bargain with their employer.
    I don’t think it is right, nor American, to strip that away simply because the current Governor and/or taxpayers do not like the contracts entered into by previous Admistrations. That being said, I respect your right to believe whatever you chose to believe, I merely hope that you can appreciate my point of view as well.

  4. Wow, you folks should say what you really feel, quit being so shy. Let’s see, what should I address first?I’ll start with Goober. I’m no scab, as I pay my dues to the union. I’m also not a hypocrite, as I have no problem with our union fighting for us, I just don’t think that the Wisconsin problem is our problem, as we are not paid by taxpayers. Having said all that, i’ll stoop to name calling here, as I’ve been assaulted by such. “Goober” is a good name for you, because it’s a synonym for idiot. Now, addressing Zacks’ post is different, because he does make a very reasoned argument. He did leave out one salient fact:The PATCO controllers signed a contract saying they would not strike. We have the same agreement, and if we struck, we’d be fired as well. If unions are all in solidarity, ask yourself why James P. Hoffa was on Capitol Hill, arguing for the removal of the USPS’ monopoly?Simple, he represent UPS employees, and getting rid of our monopoly would benefit UPS and his members, so the hell with us, right?Do NOT be fooled: If a union different from our own will benefit from our losing ground, then under the bus we will go. Mailhandlers are in my facility, and they recently took our work from us. So, please, spare me the “Workers of the world, unite” garbage. I know better. Wisconsins’ fight is NOT our fight! STICK TO TAKING CARE OF US, APWU!

  5. The APWU would be fools to NOT support any and all Union’s right’s to collectively bargain. Perhaps many of you are not aware of, or have forgotten your Union history. Remember the Air Traffic Controler’s strike (PATCO) in the early 1980’s; when President Regan fired them all. The Pilots Union, Mechanics Union, etcetera, did not stick together to support one another. The Air Traffic Controllers would have had the FAA by the go-nads had the Pilots and Mechanics joined in. Instead, they let the Air Traffic Controllers go down, and eventually the FAA came after the other Union’s at a later time. They divided and conquered. That’s what will happen to us if we don’t all stick together.
    Just saying!

  6. Scab. You’re a f**king hypocrite moron throwing around your labels. Get out of here if you don’t need unions and are so brilliant on your own. It’s no coincidence that the first large middle class in world history came along at the same time as the unionization movements. A&&hole.

  7. Oh, yeah, and Bob?Yes, I did know. And if I could afford to pay for arbitrators with what I make, I wouldn’t belong. So, clearly, I had little choice. So, let’s be clear: I don’t say that unions have no purpose, nor do I say that they are in and of themselves a bad thing. What IS a bad thing is that a strong work ethic means nothing. What IS a bad thing is the public perception that union workers are often apathetic. So, here’s my idea: You don’t know my life, nor my situation. I can assure you that without a union, I would make considerably MORE than I do now, because my effort would count. Do I know this?No, I don’t. But you are talking to a man who moved cross country to a state he didn’t know, confident that he would be able to make a living for his wife and 2 year old. And I did. I worked retail (management) till I passed the USPS test, which I passed on the first try. I started out at only $12.77. I would thrive, privatized or not. So, don’t believe you know me. I know my capability, and given a structure that rewards ability,effort and merit, vice simple longevity, I would shine.

  8. For the record, I apologize for nothing at all. I’m not sorry for what I said. Our union should simply mind it’s own business. It is in the midst of a contract negotiation, Wisconsins’ problems are not our problem. I’m no scab, i’m a dues paying member in good standing. And considering that less than 12% of workers are in unions nationwide, I can assure you that most people aren’t union, and considering that, we aren’t in the majority. As far as the rest of the responses to my post, read the first sentence. Apparently, thinking outside the liberal box results in name calling. But, hey, I expect that. This is my main problem with the APWU. It’s always supposed to be about one type of thought. I live very close to Detroit. Just in case you believe that the socialist model works, i’d suggest you drop by. But then, since I don’t agree with you, I must be scum.

  9. Pander,
    Our dues do not go to support Obama.Union members contribute to COPA which supports the people who are willing to help us.If the union goes under don’t think for a minute we won’t get privatized.See how you like working for 9 dollars an hour with no benefits.Your republican buddies won’t give you the time of day then.They only PANDER to the rich.

  10. John

    I support the Republic…..and that does not include the OBama agenda or our unions political agenda…….I believe in having a union but at what cost. I would rather have a job and no union verses a union and no job.

  11. The Rubicon of Wisconsin – Charles Krauthammer

    “It began with economic issues. When Gov. Scott Walker proposed that state workers contribute more to their pension and health-care benefits, he started a revolution. Teachers called in sick. Schools closed. Demonstrators massed at the capitol. Democratic senators fled the state to paralyze the legislature.

    Unfortunately for them, that telegenic faux-Cairo scene drew national attention to the dispute — and to the sweetheart deals the public-sector unions had negotiated for themselves for years. They were contributing a fifth of a penny on a dollar of wages to their pensions and one-fourth what private-sector workers pay for health insurance.

    The unions quickly understood that the more than 85 percent of Wisconsin not part of this privileged special-interest group would not take kindly to “public servants” resisting adjustments that still leave them paying less for benefits than private-sector workers. They immediately capitulated and claimed they were only protesting the other part of the bill, the part about collective-bargaining rights.

    Indeed. Walker understands that a one-time giveback means little. The state’s financial straits — a $3.6 billion budget shortfall over the next two years — did not come out of nowhere. They came largely from a half-century power imbalance between the unions and the politicians with whom they collectively bargain.

    In the private sector, the capitalist knows that when he negotiates with the union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt. In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largesse in the next election. It’s the perfect cozy setup.

    To redress these perverse incentives that benefit both negotiating parties at the expense of the taxpayer, Walker’s bill would restrict future government-union negotiations to wages only. Excluded from negotiations would be benefits, the more easily hidden sweeteners that come due long after the politicians who negotiated them have left. The bill would also require that unions be recertified every year and that dues be voluntary.

    Recognizing this threat to union power, the Democratic party is pouring money and fury into the fight. Private unions have shrunk to less than 7 percent of the working population. The Democrats’ strength lies in government workers, who now constitute a majority of union members and provide massive support to the party. For them, Wisconsin represents a dangerous contagion.”


  12. PANDER
    So you don’t want to help support “Obama and his progressive agenda”….who do you support then, or want to support? If you value your job at all, please don’t say “the other party”…….they are not the answer either, not even close.

  13. Let me tell you the APWU doesn’t speak for me either….Our local spends more time fighting each other than fighting for the workers. It also appears they have made alot of their friends union stewards so they won’t be excessed since they have super senority. On our national office…..don’t spend my dues supporting Obama and his progressive agenda……

  14. Maybe I’m missing something here but I thought collective bargaining is a negotiating process. Both parties agree to an outcome or go to binding arbitration by neutral parties. Why would the outcome be damaging to either side? Seems to me that only the side that has control to harm the other would want to end collective bargaining. The outcome would eventually lead to an end to the middle class and to the majority of people that can buy those houses, cars, etc. that the wealthy have profited so much on selling us. Aren’t the government agencies in financial trouble because of lost tax revenue because of so many foreclosures and high un/under employment? Is the answer really to reduce the middle class income/benefits and force even more homes, etc. to be lost in the process? The knee jerk reaction by anyone that is losing money is to cut cost, but if that only makes the lost income worse then maybe the correct approach would be to increase income. That can not be done by cutting off the hand that feeds you. What good business model sees it as a good idea to reduce your revenue base? Can the wealthy really maintain the wealth without a middle class? Be careful of what you union bashers wish for or you might get it with no middle class and just a poor voting majority that need even more social government benefits to survive. If you work for someone else as a wage earner and are not in need of any welfare benefits, you can directly thank collective bargaining. Do not fool yourself into thinking you get paid enough to make a living because your employer is such a nice guy! Even companies that are not union, pay what they pay to keep unions out. Without unions what would they pay?

  15. All we hear from the extreme right is the word socialism. I wonder how many people who repeat that know what it means. There is another word that should be used in places like Wisconsin, and that word is fascism. Secret police spying on the citizens, extreme nationalism, identifying an enemy of the state as the cause of all the ills of society. Sound familiar? This happened before in a place called Nazi Germany. The same words were used, Communist , Socialist, trade unions and then everyone one else were targeted. ‘If your not with us, your against us. ” Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it . I dont support the extreme or the extreme right, but the fact is fascism is just as danderous as socialism, and this is nothing more than class warfare.

  16. The WI governor is violating the National Labor Relations Act.& will lose his case on appeal to Supreme Court for dominating a labor union. It’s good that Republicans are concerned about the budget, but they are failing to negotiate towards that end, making their approach immoral, and gives the appearance that their priority is to advance an unspoken political agenda. Sarah Palin would be better off if she would just refrain from speaking in this matter. Churches have no business siding up with the protestors, but should instead lead prayers inside their temple for the resolution of this crisis. Teachers have made a grave mistake in encouraging students to participate in the protests as students will make all this into a civil insurrection. What concerns me the most is those Red Flag protestors who might be living in the wrong country. And why was the AFL-CIO involved in the Egypt uprising? It is a violation of the LMRDA to act like a communist and hold high office in a national or INTL union. Wisconsin teachers, nurses, firefighters, & police are not socialists. However, there does appear to be a few disaffected outside socialists trying to stir the pot toward an IWW agenda. The Wisconsin governor is disturbing the peace by cancelling collective bargaining rights. Nazi’s belong in Germany, yet Germany now owns the NY stock exchange. What the hell is going on in this country? APWU better worry about postal employees first because time is running out. The USPS wouldn’t be dragging its feet unless they thought we could be thrown down into some canyon while they consolidate the network & line up their Republican henchmen in Congress. February 28th comes & no agreement – better head for arbitration on March 1st. Prior to solidarity with some other unions problems, we better figure out what the hell is going on in this country politically.

  17. Fortunately, for both our Union and for America, people like “David” are not in the
    MAJORITY in this great land. People like him, around the country have been voting
    against their best interest for years….for whatever reason, these folks are suckered
    into the Conservative “solutions” that are put out there by “bought and paid for”
    “Walkerite” politicians who owe their allegiance to the “Capital Class”(eg. Koch
    “David” is an apologist.
    I’m sorry that I make so much money, he says. I’m sorry that the health care options
    for my family are so good, he says. I’m sorry that I make so much money, he says,
    and would gladly volunteer to work for whatever “the company” would offer, even if
    it’s against his, AND HIS UNION BROTHERS AND SISTERS best interest to accept
    a much lower wage…..to help TRIM THE FEDERAL DEFICIT or some other SPECIOUS CONSERVATIVE EXPLANATION for attacking the common working man’s wages and benefits to further CORPORATE GREED AND CONTROL.

    “David” and all of his conservative friends DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME OR ANY OF
    “David” does not understand that he is being PLAYED FOR A FOOL…
    give it away.
    Sad that people like that want to destroy unions and all the good they
    have brought to the common working men and women of America.

  18. David,You Knew the Postal Service was unionized when you went to work for them, So explain to you son why you choose the Postal Service as a place of employment knowing that senority was a condition of employment, NC state teachers are non – union as well as all other state, County and local goverment employees, so please explain to me why NC faces a 3 billion dollar shortfall…Why are all the Republicans congressman backing away from the Wisconsin Governor ???

  19. You don’t speak for me. The Wisconsin governor was elected with the states’ voters having complete knowledge that he would rein in the power of state workers’ unions. Don’t compare the APWU to the Wisconsin state workers’ unions, either. The postal service, as the APWU has correctly pointed out, doesn’t take tax dollars. The governor of Wisconsin has a state budget hole to fill that is in the billions. This is in contrast to our employer, which has missplaced billions in CSRS. This incompetence created shortfall alone could have made the service profitable. This is NOT the case in Wisconsin. Just so you know, Mr. President, not all of your members are liberal Democrats. Not all of us voted for the Socialist in chief. And, I do not buy the slippery slope argument that you present, either. Mind your own business. Worry about why I may have to explain to my autistic son why daddy has to go work elsewhere because he got hired later than other people. Worry that he likely won’t understand. I doubt seriously that you will. Meanwhile, ignore Wisconsin, AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN MEMBERS!

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