‘This is not over, we will win at ballot box’
NALC President Fredric Rolando decried the actions of the governor of Wisconsin and his allies in the Wisconsin state senate in approving legislation to strip collective-bargaining rights from Wisconsin’s state and local government employees Wednesday night.
“Leaving aside the deceit and the bad faith bargaining displayed over the past several days, what the Wisconsin GOP and Governor Walker did last night was shameful,” Rolando said. “Using a state budget crisis caused by a great recession created on Wall Street to attack the fundamental rights of Wisconsin public employees to bargain for middle-class wages, benefits and working conditions is just plain wrong.”
After three weeks of calling the union-busting portion of the so-called budget repair bill “essential” to closing the state’s budget deficit, and after promising not to act on the legislation without the Democrats’ participation, Wisconsin’s Republicans violated the state’s open meetings law and used a parliamentary maneuver to force a rushed vote in favor of the measure while the Democratic caucus remained out of state in protest of the bill’s provisions. The legislation to strip state and local employees of their right to bargain collectively was approved by a vote of 18-1 by the GOP caucus in the state senate. The state assembly is expected to follow suit soon.
President Rolando is urging NALC members to prepare for a long struggle: “We may have lost this battle, but the fight has just begun. The attack on worker rights in Wisconsin has ignited the labor movement nationwide like nothing else in years. This is not over; the unions will fight this in the courts and at the ballot box. Our members in the state and around the country will do everything we can to fight back, beginning with recall elections that will seek to remove those politicians who have unfairly voted to strip Wisconsin’s public employees of their fundamental rights. As our colleagues in the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO have vowed, ‘this will not stand’.”