Let’s face it! Republicans are at war with the American People. First of all they try to bankrupt and destroy the American governments at federal, state and local levels. Republicans stop the checks on corporate power. Republicans support policies that export jobs to foreign countries. Buried in the Republican Governor Walkers budget is the plan to sell heating, cooling, and energy plants for “no bid” which translates into bargain rates. And then there is attack on workers’ rights. The corporate media obviously reports only the view of corporations. Yet there are a few heroes speaking out!
Heres how it’s playing out: The Republicans are taking a real problem, a serious problem, that of the budget deficits and long-term debt in this country, and they are assigning it to a fake cause. Under the guise of cutting deficits, they say the working people’s union rights and workplace protections must be eliminated.
In fact, this attack against working people is designed to remove the vital check on special interest corporate power from overrunning our democracy. This is an extreme agenda that they have always pursued, but they are now using their newfound political power to relaunch the attacks to attack the guarantee to a decent wage, to attack the rights to ensure a safe workplace so when the workers leave home in the morning, they know they will return safely at night. They attack the right to have access to affordable health care and secure retirement. And, yes, they are even attacking the rights of working people to join together and to bargain for a better life and better conditions in the workplace.
So, at the same time that the governors of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey are demanding more and public-private union employee sacrifices, the Republicans in Washington are using the budget fight to roll back the rights and protections of American workers. Their spending priorities and so-called continuing resolution of last week showed their hand.
They (Republicans) voted to take away the workers’ ability to repeal unjust and unfair and illegal actions in the workplace by getting rid of the national labor relations board. They voted to undermine the wages of construction workers. They voted to rollback workplace and safety protections guarantee by federal law. All of this while protecting the corporate interest they have sought to cut education funding and critical support for workers and the need for job training, and, yes, even kids in Head Start.
These rights and services help to build and sustain our nation’s middle class in the last century, making the United States the greatest economic power in the history of the world.
We have the greatest workers in the world because of these rights, but now the rights and economic strength of Americas middle class is at risk. Its under systematic assault in the statehouse is controlled by Republican legislatures and Republican governors and in this House of Representatives controlled by the Republicans – a systematic assault that goes beyond after the unions, after the workers, have agreed to give back furlough days, to give back health care benefits, pension benefits, they want more. They (Republicans) want their union, they want their rights in the workplace to be terminated. Its un-American.
There’s a reason we have collective bargaining in this country because we know that workers have a right — should have a right — to bond together to improve the workplace, to improve the working conditions, and when they do, those rights flow to the rest of middle class working families in this country and even the nonunion workplaces, those rights are there. Thats how we achieved an eight-hour day. Thats how we achieved vacation time. Thats how we achieved health care. Thats how we achieved overtime whether in the union or not. Now they want to take away the rights of unions to organize in the workplace, the rights of workers to organize.
But, the Republicans have asked for no sacrifices in all these cuts. They have asked for no sacrifices of the well-off and the well-connected. In fact, these cuts are being made in the name of the well-off and the well-connected so that they’ll be able to push for lower wages, for lower benefits, for lower health care for our workers, for lower take-home pay. What does it do for our economy? It makes America poor.
How do you build a strong middle class community on the back of lower-wage workers? You can’t do it. Many years ago in America we wanted to add a strong, vibrant middle class and we did that by forming the union and giving people the right to have a say at work. Study after study where workers have a say in the workplace, they work harder, more productive, more open to new ideas.
But what do we say to workers with the governors of Wisconsin and Ohio and Indiana? Do what we tell you to do, do it for less pay, do it for less benefit, and do it because we told you so. That doesn’t sound like America to me. It doesn’t sound like a powerful country that has the best and most productive workers in the history of the world. That sounds like something that we are not familiar with in this country.
That sounds like an autocratic system that just demands and takes but never gives.”