Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Green Party Stands With Public Workers

The Wisconsin Green Party salutes the state’s public workers, and stands in solidarity with their fight to retain full collective bargaining rights with their employers.

The budget crisis facing the state was not brought on by public workers, and if there is to be a recovery, workers, public and private, must be the primary beneficiaries.

Scott Walker’s attempt to “repair the budget” on the backs of public workers is not about money, it’s about power. State workers earn less than their counterparts in the private sector, and often go years without a wage increase. Walker wants to permanently take away the ability of these workers to have a say in their health insurance and pensions.

While Walker attempts to divide workers into “haves” and “have-nots,” he continually pleads the case for the real “haves.” At a time when profit margins at the S&P 500 companies are at an all-time high, taxes for these corporations are approaching all-time lows.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Walker’s “laser focus on jobs, jobs, jobs” is really about increasing the wealth of his financial backers. His pledge to create 250,000 jobs in the next four years leaves out an important detail: each one of these jobs will be at minimum wage—at least until he can end the minimum wage.

Of course, state workers have borne the brunt of economic crises before. Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle came into office eight years ago promising to cut 10,000 state jobs in his first term. Walker’s just building on that legacy.

We urge legislators to turn back on this course of attacking public workers. Hosni Mubarak thought he could ride out the outcry, but the sleeping giant, once awakened, proved unbeatable.

Mike McCallister, 5th Congressional District Representative to the WIGP Coordinating Council

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