What’s up Wisconsin?


180837_10150104479519461_88048989460_6159150_7892280_nBehind some silver-linings, there is some rain, lol. The nice weather has brought about an early bout with spring allergies this season, and I’ve been fighting off getting a secondary infection as part of my holiday “revels”.

With all the education and labor issues this week brought to us by the state of Wisconsin (go Badgers!), I’ve spent more time on Twitter and Facebook, trying to keep up, than on blogging. I see three problems with what is being proposed:

  • Governor Walker and his supporters are being disingenuous about what they are doing. They insist this is about budget concessions. The unions have agreed to discuss the cuts, what the unions and opponents are objecting to are provisions to strip government workers of their right to bargain collectively. Supporters have refused to address this issue.
    (for more on this, 12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin from AlterNet, and as always Larry Ferlazzo has a great list of resources at The Best Resources For Learning About Attacks On Teachers & Other Public Sector Workers In Wisconsin
  • Since a large number of state workers are teachers and most of us are female, there are some obvious implications for women in the workplace and unions. I wasn’t the only one to notice this. Here is a piece from Dana Goldstein, The Wisconsin Labor Fight: An Attack on Women, Too. [added — big thanks to the Wisconsin firefighters who showed up in support at the protest yesterday, even though they are exempt from the collective bargaining ban]
  • Many of the arguments from those in favor of this legislation (or at least not opposed to it) seem to argue for a race to the bottom. “All of us are suffering, I don’t have a union, you all have great benefits and working conditions,” is the commonly heard refrain.  First, almost all of us in the public sector have “given” something back in the last few years. We live in reality. We know our communities are suffering in addition to our budgets.
    You don’t have to take that argument very far to see that it leads to all of us living harder more miserable lives. I’m not seeing how we get from making a government job lower-paying and miserable to creating better jobs in some other sector. The private sector has been making working conditions worse and lowered real wages and benefits, and the only folks doing better seem to be those at the top.

I wanted to let readers know about some upcoming events where they can show support for teachers and government workers in Wisconsin. My state, California, and many others are planning solidarity vigils on Tuesday evening. If you are in the Sacramento area, or can get there, we will be meeting at the west steps of the Capitol at 5:30 pm. Other states, and other parts of the state, will be holding similar events. I suggest you check with your local NEA/AFT/AFSME. Here is the Facebook page for CTA, where some groups are indicating other meetings places.

We are one…

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