During the long and bitter recall campaign against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, the Republicans insisted that their sole purpose was to cut wasteful spending and bring down government deficits. Most of the working families of Wisconsin knew that wasn’t true. Walker’s agenda was aimed squarely at collective bargaining rights that had been won over decades of hard fought negotiations. The result was a better quality of life for workers in the state, both in and out of unions.
In the past week, however, the veil has been lifted, and the anti-worker conservative’s motives are now being expressed openly and without the deceptive pretenses that characterized the pro-Walker campaign.
Immediately following the election results, the National Review’s Rich Lowry published an article with the provocative title, “All That’s ‘Left’ Is to Sound the Death Knell for Unions.” Lowry gleefully wrote of the defeat of the recall, disparagingly portraying the 1.16 million pro-recall voters as “hippie leftovers and lefty college students.” But the unadulterated focus of the article was on his notion that public sector unions were on the decline and should be abolished.
Today on Fox News Sunday, that sentiment was affirmed by Indiana mayor (and prospective Romney running mate) Mitch Daniels, who said that “I think, really, government works better without them.” That’s a little like having the CEO of General Motors express his preference for not having to deal with auto worker’s unions. Of course not. They would both prefer to be able to exploit workers and deny them reasonable benefits and working conditions without the interference of worker’s advocates.
The fact that the right is now openly declaring their intention to abolish unions indicates the confidence with which they believe they can pursue that goal. They have always wanted to go back to the days when corporations could set the rules and employees had to take it or leave it. But after the success of the movement for worker’s rights and union representation they pretended to moderate their stance and accommodate the unions. Now that facade has apparently been demolished and management factions of business and government are re-mobilizing to roll back the gains won through prior negotiations.
Lowry and Daniels, and the right-wing media that support them, had better be careful. The results of the recall in Wisconsin were not an affirmation of some general opposition to unions. And with 1.16 million voters supporting the recall (vs. 1.33 million for Walker), there is still abundant support for the rights of workers. And there is no evidence that anti-recall voters were anti-union.
Not discussed much since the election is the fact that the recall of another Republican state senator was successful, which flips the majority control of the senate to the Democrats. So clearly the hooting on behalf of giddy Republicans is premature. They are not as popular as they think they are. And now, Walker’s regressive policies will not be rubber-stamped by a GOP legislature.
But Democrats must not be complacent. The right has overtly declared war on unions. It is no longer a secret agenda hidden behind a disingenuously expressed sympathy for workers. It is out in the open and it must be countered effectively and vigorously. They have thrown down the gauntlet and it is up to the left to step up and challenge them. This is a battle we can win because, while they may have millions of dollars from vested special interests, we have the people on our side.
6 thoughts on “The Real Post-Wisconsin Right-Wing Agenda: Kill The Unions”
Love how Wallace tried to get him to answer his question about Indiana government workers ranking 46th in the nation in gross salary and public employees paying more for healthcare than they once did and Daniels claiming that they have the best health care plan anywhere because 90+% have health savings accounts (had one of those myself when I lived in Indiana, they keep costs down because you don’t go to the freakin’ doctor in order to get hold of that money at the end of the year, which is how it worked with us. those account are bulls**t). Also liked Daniels response to ranking 46th in gross salary, essentially I haven’t seen those numbers, don’t know where they come from, so they don’t exist in my world.
Actually it’s more specific to PUBLIC UNIONS – of course i’m speaking only for myself in making that leap from the article. For someone who is hell bent on getting the special interest money out of politics and in turn hopefully reducing corruption and cronyism, I’m surprised that you continue to support public unions. Is that because they agree with you? I’m totally supportive of people being free to unionize or not join a union (ie right to work) in the private sector – even though I’m not a big fan of them and they are more destructive than you would ever admit.
Unions in America began as an answer to a problem that existed in manufacturing and labor, and that was the fact that companies and corporations were not the benevolent stewards of the masses. But just like most things, Unions got mired down in corruption and placed unreasonable demands on business. It’s not a perfect world and neither side is the victim here as both have engaged on various and devious means to get the best of the other.
The answer is not to eliminate all Unions. I believe that this tactic would eventually lead back to the way things were in the industrial revolution days when pay was low, safety of non-existent, workers were mere chattel to be tossed at the first sign of weakness, and environmental concern was a joke.
The GOP would have us all believing that Unions are the spawn of Satan and only want to destroy American business. If you took an actual look at history you would easily see that this is not so.
Unions are uncompetitive in an increasingly competitive global market. German workers enjoy a stronger more business centric Union collaboration than we’ve ever had and they are still kicking our GDP butts. When the GOP talks competition, they always mean 3rd world countries or communist/socialist trading partners where workers, the environment, laws, and regulations are ignored in favor of profit.
Destroying Unions will decimate the already fragile middle class and reduce American productivity unheard of lows.
We need more unions not less. Everyone who works for a living should have a union representing their interest in the work place because management sees labor as a commodity to be exploited and nothing else. They don’t care about workers, their families or their health and wellbeing.
Yes, and that’s because we’re all too stupid to take care of ourselves. What a loser – you can’t even take care of yourself and need help in the form of a union. Some people in some companies need unions – no doubt, but most of us can make our way just fine and better without that oragnization dictating to us what we can and can’t do. Now I know how we ended up in this welfare state. WHAT A GIANT LOSER.
Ever worked for a really *large* company, Steve? I have.
Comments are closed.