Tea Party Wisconsin Governor Walker is attempting to kick heartland workers’ rights to the curb by stripping 200,000 state workers of their collective bargaining rights with one swoop of his unilateral pen. Ed Schultz of MSNBC calls this assault on the American worker and the resulting union member protests “Ground zero for American workers.”
Governor Walker, who is a government worker himself, doesn’t think the public worker unions who represent firefighters, nurses, teachers, and cops – you know, the Americans who hold this country together – should have any say in the bargaining process. The governor claims collective bargaining needs to be ripped from the hands of hard-working hearltanders because he’s concerned about the deficit, just weeks after he passed tax decreases to the corporate sector. But state legislators say that the bill that claims to address a deficit that doesn’t exist is really designed to gut collective bargaining rights — effectively aimed at gutting the middle class.
And so the unions banded together, even the unions that supported this Governor when he ran for office (Republicans can’t fathom this kind of loyalty apparently), in order to protest his power grab. Not only have Democratic members of the Wisconsin State Senate staged a walkout, denying the chamber a quorum needed to pass the anti-union legislation, but union members have turned out in huge numbers to protest the Governor’s attempted coup.
Last night on the Ed Show, Wisconsin Sate Senator Fred Risser said of Governor Walker, “He’s been governor for less than two months, and already he’s tried to take away a lot of the prerogatives of the legislator. In fact, earlier this week, he decided to take away rules making process, take it away from the legislature, now he’s attempting to take away from the legislature collective bargaining rights, but he’s also taking away from the elderly, Medicare programs, and he’s doing it by himself – I don’t know why some of his own party don’t slow him up.”
The Republicans aren’t walking Walker back because this is what they stormed the Government to do – to strip Americans of their rights, freedom and liberty by any means possible, even if it means violating the rules. This Tea Party “kill the worker” meme is not inherently conservative or Republican; this is the new conservative; the compassionless conservative, the chaos-driven conservative, the economic failure conservative.
The Republican public relations firm of Fox News are likening the protesters “Cairo” (one must remember that the conservatives are against the protesters in Cairo — it’s hard to keep up) as if standing up for your rights as a human being is anti-American. The conservatives are calling the workers “un-American” “freeloaders” and suggesting that the peaceful protesters are “about to get violent.” If anyone is a freeloader, it’s the Republican Tea Party governor, who is being paid by the very people he’s stepping on. Don’t tread on me, indeed.
Watch Ed Schultz from the February 17 edition of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” call out the conservative media on their hatred of heartlanders:
And yet, contrary to Fox’s claims that the school teachers of Wisconsin are “about to be violent,” the local police department said they wanted to thank the union protesters for their “decorum” and urged them to remain peaceful, which implies that they are currently being peaceful. And even more insulting than this desperate attempt to smear hard working Americans is the audacity of Fox News’ denouncement of unions as the very hosts likening union members to Cairo are, of course, union members themselves.
Unions protect themselves and their coworkers from economic and legal exploitation and they set the standard for all workers, including white-collar jobs, which means that Republicans are coming for the entire middle class, not just “labor”.
Ed explained so passionately last night why the workers’ cause is being supported by the Democrats in the state, “Liberals fight for workers, for Americans, by peaceful protests, not by taking money from two brothers who want to see this country go hard right – these are hard workers being wronged by Republican legislators….” Yes, it’s the liberals who are fighting for heartland Americans, contrary to all of the campaign rhetoric Republicans pull out to dazzle the voters into buying their lemons. Ed calls this assault on the American worker and the resulting union protests “Ground zero for American workers.” And sadly, it seems that this is an accurate assessment, given Republicans’ on-going war against Americans in the last month and a half including an attempt to repeal child labor laws.
Watch Ed Schultz interview Wisconsin State Senators Fred Risser and Mark Miller on the status of the anti-union bill and what today will bring:
State Senator Mark Miller explained to Ed, “We’re hard working, common-sense people. We come from solid working class stock, people who broke the sod and made Wisconsin what it is today. We’re not extraordinary except that we raise our families and work extraordinarily hard. We’re known for having worked out work place issues.” In other words, these aren’t your Joe-the-Plumber puppets who owe back taxes and lie about their status in the work force in order to denounce their supposed colleague’s rights. These folks are the real deal; the workers, the Americans that the Republican Party has declared war upon.
As for the Republican canard that unions are destroying this country and making it hard for the rich to get richer, any good businessperson can tell you that this is a load of modern day conservative human rights-raping hog wash. In fact, the morale of workers is a reliable indicator of a business’ long-term success, as proven by industrial and organizational psychologists in study after study. This, of course, only holds true if by “long term success” you don’t mean the ability of the top tier to rape the tax payer for jets, but rather you mean a self-sustaining, profitable business model that doesn’t rely upon cooked books (Enron et al) and publicly funded bail-outs that are never repaid in order to stay afloat. Modern day Republican definitions of a successful business rely upon the already proven false succubus of trickle down lies.
High employee engagement scores translate into millions of dollars for companies. Studies have statistically demonstrated that engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, and more customer-focused. Engaged employees even positively impact enterprise-level financial performance. The Hay Group found that the most striking finding is the almost 52% gaps in operating incomes between companies with highly engaged employees and companies whose employees have low-engagement scores.
So, contrary to the Republican belief that the middle class are lazy scum who want to suck them dry, the more engaged a worker is in their company the harder they work and this translates to a more efficient company and higher profits. While employee engagement relies upon more than simple pay and benefits, having a say –a stake– in the company is the first necessary ingredient. It’s simple common sense that a work force that is disempowered by not having a voice at the bargaining table will not be engaged.
Republicans who wave the American flag at every one of their events should be ashamed to turn their back on the American values of human rights for workers. But if this isn’t enough, they should be ashamed to stand for bad economic policies that do not lead to financial success, but rather perpetrate a culture of corporate greed and short-term thinking that breeds and rewards Enron-like corporate malfeasance. Republicans are quite simply no longer the party of personal responsibility, let alone corporate responsibility, and certainly ceded any notion of fiscal responsibility long ago.
If Americans thought they were electing “freedom fighting” “pro-liberty” “pro-Americans” when they elected Republican Tea Partiers to office, they were sadly mistaken. Americans bought into rhetoric that stands for the opposite of what it claimed; the Tea Party Republicans are not pro-American. If a Party is anti-workers, they are anti-Americans since most Americans are workers.
As Wisconsin Tea Party Republican Governor Walker is demonstrating, Republicans are trying to dismantle workers’ rights that were put together and fought for over the past 100 years and they are doing this with blatant power grabs and violations of the long-standing American rules put into place to check the very type of leaders they are proving to be. Ed Schultz was right; Wisconsin is ground zero for American workers.