I spent last Friday night with the Canadian Industrial Relations Association. They were holding their 48th annual meeting in Fredericton and asked me to be part of a panel about the attack on public sector unions. It was clear to me that given the recent elections in Canada, that these professional HR practitioners, labor leaders, and academics see Wisconsin as the “canary in the mineshaft”. It gives them hope, I think, to see that the people of Wisconsin aren’t giving in. It must also be giving the Walker administration and his cronies heartburn to see that the protests haven’t stopped. In fact, this week, they are escalating with the official establishment of Walkerville ringing the State Capitol.
Over 20,000 recently showed up at the Capitol to protest the next budget which includes attacks on Wisconsin micro-breweries (at the behest of Miller/Coors), attacks on Credit Unions (at the behest the banks who donated heavily to Walker) and further attacks of private sector unions. The last one is interesting, if unsurprising. Throughout the protests in February, right-wing hacks kept claiming that they had “no problem” with private sector unions but even “FDR didn’t think public workers should unionize.” So, why take away the prevailing wage language? Why not continue a time-honored practice of requiring those who contract with the state to pay the prevailing wage?
This has turned into a battle with many fronts. The Governor continues to be followed by a truth squad which even managed to show up at an annual fishing trip:
In addition to the marches, protests and Walkerville, people have also brought the civil disobedience back to the capitol. Meanwhile, the Republicans got caught on tape discussing how to run a fake democrat in a recall race!
Wisconsin Workers aren’t sheepishly going back to work. They continue to stand up for their rights. They news trucks may have gone away (especially since they realized that we aren’t going to throw rocks at the People’s House), but Wisconsinites still stand against the corporatist take-over of the State. July 12th is coming. The sad part is how much damage this group of kleptocrats will do before the day of reckoning.
Wisconsin, know that the world is still watching.