Feb. 23, 2011 – The crowds in Wisconsin and elsewhere continued to swell over the President’s Day weekend as SEIU members joined tens of thousands of their brothers and sisters standing up for the middle class. They are fighting a cynical and dishonest attempt to deprive union workers of their right to collective bargaining – a move that has nothing to do with the state budget.
“While the collective bargaining rights of our members are at stake, it’s important to note that the conversation taking place is about more than that alone,” said Henry in an email message to SEIU members. “When Scott Walker manufactured this crisis by giving tax cuts to corporations and his special interest friends last month, it escalated a state legislative debate into a struggle for economic justice with large corporations not paying their fair share to get Americans back to work.”
Watch SEIU member and RN Angela Aldous describe how having a voice in the workplace keeps her patients safe here.
View messages from SEIU members across the country to Wisconsin here.
Read a message from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry here.
Read an article in the Daily Beast on the attacks on worker rights by SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern here.
Solidarity action with other local unions in Sacramento on Feb. 22:
And read what outsiders are saying about Gov. Walker’s lies:
- Ezra Klein at the Washington Post: “Let’s be clear: Whatever fiscal problems Wisconsin is — or is not — facing at the moment, they’re not caused by labor unions. That’s also true for New Jersey, for Ohio and for the other states.”
- Paul Krugman at the New York Times: “Mainly, however, [Walker] has made it clear that rather than bargaining with workers, he wants to end workers’ ability to bargain.”
- Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post: “Walker is not interested in talking to anyone. He simply wants to crush the public-service employee unions.”
My grandmother Lydia Marie Antoinette Hoff arrived at Ellis Island from Norway in 1904 as a teenager. She lived with a family in Whitehall and perfected her English while attending school, first in the 4th grade and gradually moving up every few months as her English improved. So my ties and fond feelings go back to Wisconsin for the good start in life she received.
I am crying as I write this message of sadness and desperation for the people of Wisconsin and perhaps the people of the rest of the country. The Governor must be stopped. In particular I am concerned about the possible loss of bargaining rights for state workers. As a union member and an active member of my COPE here in San Jose, California, I know that the most powerful voice and body to stand up for the poor and the middle class is actually the union movement. I fear for the state without a strong union movement.
In 1914 my grandmother and her new husband started a small bank in Minnesota. During the Depression they were able to keep their bank open and serving the community because there were people who fought for important protections for the farmers and other working families. The Bank Holiday and the other progressive reforms saved this country in some of its darkest economic days. We need visionary people to take the lessons of the past and apply them today, not wipe out the middle class to protect the wealthy.In solidarity,
Karen Lindquist Lemes
Watch this expose of anti-worker talking points: Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC
On Monday, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry joined our brothers and sisters in Madison to help preserve basic protections for working families and urged them to continue fighting. Watch below: