The war on workers continues to ravage Wisconsin as Gov. Scott Walker (R), after permanently stripping collective bargaining rights from public employees with the exception of emergency response, has indicated his wish to continue and expand that legislation. In a recent town hall meeting, he indicated his willingness to expand that union-busting legislature to firefighters and police officers as well, although he insisted he isn’t pushing for an expansion.
Back in 2011, although their bargaining rights weren’t in danger, fireman joined the protests against the union-busting efforts, and were a source of high spirits for many in attendance.
From Huffington Post at the time:
“We just couldn’t stand by and let this happen to our brothers and sisters,” Mahlon Mitchell, State President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin (PFFW), said. “We are firefighters, we respond to emergencies, and we are responding to an emergency of the middle class,”
This type of emergency will require more patience then fighting flames, however, as David Sass, a Kenosha firefighter noted. Sass said that he and his peers are ready to wait until Walker is willing to negotiate. “Scott Walker has never dealt with the determination of firefighters,” he said, almost as a warning.
And so the firefighters have become known as morale boosters. Wearing gear, playing bagpipes for cheering crowds, and waving signs that read “Firefighters for Labor,” throngs of protesters respond immediately with hoots and hollers whenever firefighters turn.
Apparently, that warning was not heeded. Although Walker has said he doesn’t intend, at this time, to expand the legislation, statements like that mean little in the face of past behavior — which would indicate the opposite:
State Democratic spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff says Walker saying he isn’t pushing for something means little.
“There were a lot of things Scott Walker said he wasn’t going to push when he ran for governor in 2010,” “He didn’t run on a plan to end collective bargaining rights for public workers, and that’s what he did.”
Baldauff says Walker may be trying to court the far right wing of the Republican Party as he considers a run for president and is trying to stay on par with other possible GOP presidential candidates who have attacked all unions. (Wisconsin Public Radio)
Make no mistake — the financial elites in this country will not rest until public industry is privatized and workers’ rights are stripped. All they think of is profit, and the Republican anti-government mindset is being manipulated to strip away regulations that protect consumers and workers. Unfortunately, not all unions are opposed to Walker’s reelection:
Although Democrats have tried to portray Walker as an enemy of unions, he has received support from a handful of guilds throughout the state, most prominently the Milwaukee Police Association. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the association’s president, Mike Crivello, indicated the union might throw its support behind Walker again when he runs for re-election next year.
Another police association leader, Jim Palmer of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, was less pleased with Walker’s remarks. (Source)
The only way to stop ideology like this from hurting the American people? Vote.
Reposted from Occupy Democrats with permission.
- Wisconsin’s Walker targets collective bargaining — again (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Police and fire unions next for Walker? (wiscnews.com)
- Gov Scott Walker ready to throw firefighters, police under the anti-union bus (freakoutnation.com)