Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wisco on fire as workers mobilize

Tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters behind the Cheese Curtain got to work yesterday opposing Gov. Scott Walker's insane budget that would strip public workers of their bargaining rights.

Our own Danny McGowan, Teamsters state legislative liaison, appeared on television to denounce the bill, and hundreds of Univesity of Wisconsin students and teachers jammed the Statehouse in protest. Reports popdecay:

Chanting “kill this bill” and brandishing signs reading “From Cairo to Madison Workers Unite.” students, teachers and others filled the corridor leading to Walker’s Capitol office. Labor unions also mobilized, with their leaders issuing a statement Monday that Walker’s proposed bill amounted to an all out declaration of war on the working-class and unions. “Make no mistake about it, war has been declared on unions in Wisconsin,” said Teamsters representative Danny McGowan. “The attack on public sector bargaining is viewed as an attack on labor, no matter what the sector.”
We also learned that:
  • 8000 people signed an on-line petition
  • Students walked out in at least 2 area high schools in solidarity
  • Two students organized a sign party that grew into an 800 person march that will head to the rally today
  • 22 town halls and ed board visits have been set up in Senate districts for today and tomorrow
  • 1600 doors were hit yesterday in one Senate district alone
There will be rallies today and tomorrow. OneWisconsinNow will be liveblogging the rally at 1 p.m. EST.

Meanwhile, The Cap Times reported that Walker's budget would actually cost the state $1.1 billion in economic activity and 9,000 jobs, according to a new study by the Institute for Wisconsin's Future. In other words, hurting Wisconsin's union workers hurts the state's entire middle class. Reports the Cap Times:
"This decrease in consumer spending and the subsequent loss of jobs in Wisconsin is the last thing we need as the recession grinds on," says report author Jack Norman, IWF Research Director....Norman says the Walker budget repair plan is based on a flawed belief that public sector employment is "somehow different" from employment in the private sector. He notes that when any worker loses income they cannot afford to spend as much at the grocery store, furniture outlet or local car dealer.

"Under Walker's view, cuts to public employees are painless to the rest of the state's residents," he says. "In fact, reducing compensation for state and local employees carries a large and hidden cost."