On Wisconsin

A blizzard hit Wisconsin.  Yes there is weather. But the storm we have been seeing in the capital there is a different kind of blizzard. And it should send a chill down the spine of every American.   The Tea Party faithful there and throughout the country and corporate interests that fuel the GOP are looking to bust up every Union in the country.  And the chill in Wisconsin is but one round.  It is one thing to try to re-negotiate benefits.  It is another to say that Unions should not be at the table and should not do the negotiations or bargaining.

Jewish tradition is very clear about workers’ rights and the employers obligations to pay the day laborer fairly and fully at the end of the day.  The employer may not hold the laborers’ coat as a pledge. The employer has an obligation to the employee.  It reminds us to do so because we were slaves in Egypt to Pharaoh.  We are to remember the harshness and oppression and the archetypal moment in our spiritual past when we had no voice.

Gov. Scott Walker is trying to suppress workers .  He wants them to have no voice.  To take away the unions ability to engage in collective bargaining on behalf of workers is to silence the voice of the working class.  In a country when we have seen jobs dry up, jobs get outsourced, pay slashed and economic turmoil boil everywhere the situation in Wisconsin (and about to be unleashed in other states) that would silence the voice of employees and stifle their ability to have someone speak for them is outrageous.

No wonder workers have turned out in droves to protest.  Working people are you and I.  You may not belong to a Union but in today’s world of super corporations where decisions are made not at the local level but in some far away hi-rise distanced from the community, Unions are more necessary than ever.  How can a hotel maid go up against the International corporate structure to ask for a small raise from her general manager?  She can’t because the general manager of the hotel doesn’t make the decision any more. So too with other workers whether they are  nurses,or autoworkers. It is  hard for civil employees to negotiate with elected officials because as you and I both know the elected officials will sell out or hold up bargaining based upon something other than fairness–and that is votes.  Walker’s bill is aimed squarely at public service unions.

Shame on Wisconsin.  At the core of Walker’s legislation is an attack on the Unions that will prevent them from negotiating benefits and even from collecting dues. This will destroy their position and they won’t be able to offer anything to their members. Ironically he has exempted the very Unions that offered his campaign support.  Hmmmm. Let me understand that.  Those Unions that elected him are exempt?

Walker and the people of Wisconsin shame on you.  Don’t confuse the budget deficit with silencing the voices of the Unions. It is an  obfuscation of the truth.

5 thoughts on “On Wisconsin

  1. Total rubbish Rabbi… The Unions are corrupt as sin… Glad to see you are towing the line for the Unions…err, I mean the DNC and spewing their talking points. I would love to get from my employer the bene’s that the unions get.

    Chauncy

    1. Sorry you don’t understand what is really going on. I am no mouthpiece for the DNC or Unions. Butthe silencing of important voices that this bill would do is outrageous and UnAmerican.
      More importantly the Unions have made very serious concession to help restore balance in Wisconsin. Including doubling the percentages of contributions to their own health care–and pensions to alleviate the state of some of the burdens. But employers do have an obligation to employees even in difficult economic times. Sadly, the GOP and Tea Party want to demonize the Unions. But they arent the problem. The GOP and Tea Party have held America hostage to the interests of corporate America at the expense of workers. The Unions represent middle and working class people against the oligarchic politicians and corporate executives.
      Perhaps you need to understand the important role Unions play today and always have in fighting for fair and safe working conditions for workers.

      1. Sounds as though you need a tin foil hat. Sorry, but you seems to bot have read the bill or truly know what damage the unions are doing in the country.

      2. Sorry you do not understand freedom and liberty! The ability to organize, assemble and speak with a unified voice is part of the American way.
        Unions haven’t damaged this country. Corporate greed and political expediency have damaged this country. Are Unions perfect? Absolutely not.
        But they still represent working people. There is no voice for working people. And to take away the rights of working people to create a collective voice under the guise of budget deficits is political expediency and a power grab and part of the GOP and Tea Party play book. Now Kasich of Ohio is doing the same thing. Get real. This is a ploy. Not a fix for budget woes.

  2. Amen! As a proud union member – Musicians Union – Local 47 – I am appalled at the Governor of Wisconsin and his followers – saw him on GMA this morning not answering George Stephanopolis’ questions and spout his rhetoric – I proudly stand with the union supporters!

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