Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that strips public workers of their rights to collectively bargain after the Republican-controlled legislature rushed through the legislation. The bill also authorizes state officials to fire any state employee who joins a strike, walk-out, sit-in or coordinated effort to call in sick. While Walker maintains that the bill is necessary to solve the budget crisis, this move was purely a power grab by the GOP and its pro-corporate allies.
Two weeks ago, a blogger posing as oil billionaire and Tea Party/Republican mega-donor David Koch recorded a phone conversation with Gov. Walker. Throughout the course of the call Walker talked about various dirty tricks he and his allies had considered, from luring the Democratic Senators back to Madison with false promises of negotiation to infiltrating the mass protests with troublemakers. The Governor even seemed to indulge fantasies about busting public employee unions following President Reagan‘s example of firing more than 11,000 air traffic controllers in 1981.
The Wisconsin GOP’s attempt to pay for massive corporate giveaways that expanded the deficit on the backs of hard working people is not unique to that state. We see it in several other states and, perhaps most visibly, in the current federal budget battle going on in Congress.
We must do everything we can to defend the American Dream, to defend the middle class and to defend fundamental rights all across the United States … that struggle is embodied as clearly as it can be in the current events transpiring in Wisconsin. And that’s why Wisconsin is a battle we as Americans cannot afford to lose. That means unseating by recall election the GOP state senators who are eligible for it now and working to repeal the union-bashing law and hold Gov. Walker accountable going forward.
The response from PFAW members and activists across the country has been truly tremendous. THANK YOU to all of you who have taken action and donated. We need your help to keep the great momentum going, so please continue to spread the word and contribute what you can.
We have our work cut out for us, but with your continued support, together we will help vote out the eight Republican Wisconsin state senators eligible for recall. We’ll help reshape the state government so that this heinous attack on fundamental rights and the American Way can be overturned … and we’ll send a message to right-wing, anti-worker elected officials everywhere, as well as their corporate cronies, that Americans’ basic rights are not on the table and that there are consequences for these attacks.
Thank you for all your support at this historic moment in our nation’s story.
Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager
P.S. Republican State Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald told Fox News that the bill was passed in order to dramatically weaken the clout of unions who could support President Obama’s reelection campaign in the swing state: “If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.”
Randy Hopper, a Republican State Senator who could be recalled by voters this year, also said in an interview with Fox News, “I think there’s absolutely no question that this is an issue for 2012.”
As Republicans admit that the union-busting bill is all about punishing progressive groups and rewarding corporate backers, it is clear that the GOP’s rhetoric on “fiscal conservatism” should not be taken seriously.
P.P.S. Today, the 14 Democratic Wisconsin Senators, who showed America such a great example of progressive strength and unity, are returning to Madison in a “homecoming march” on the capitol. The move is meant to demonstrate that their return to the state is not an acknowledgement of defeat. These Senators continue to have our deepest gratitude and support.