Freeze Debts to Banks, Not Workers' Wages
Workers, youth, families, anti-war and community organizers, religious groups and many others stood together across the country demanding an end to the anti-worker, anti-social attacks taking place nationwide. Workers from all sectors, public and private, teachers and steelworkers, firefighters and teamsters, hospital workers and autoworkers, stood to say enough is enough! Demonstrations took place at state capitals in all 50 states alongside a dozen other cities. As one, the actions affirmed Wisconsin’s Fight is Our Fight! All for One and One for All. Through their chants, banners and many signs, protesters rejected the claims of federal and state governments that public workers are a burden on society or a “special interest” out for themselves. Instead, public workers were saluted as a vital force in defending society. Attacking the rights of public workers, including their rights to organize and defend working conditions, is an attack on the public as a whole. Working conditions for teachers are learning conditions for students. Working conditions for hospital workers directly impact conditions for patients and indeed rotten conditions can endanger their lives.
Governments demanding "flexibility" to do as they please to public sector workers are governments targeting the very public they claim to serve. Everywhere the significance of this battle to stand firm against these anti-social attacks was felt. And on the minds of many was not only stopping these attacks, but also fighting for a democracy of our own making, a democracy where we the people govern and decide. As the workers are concluding, rule by the rich is not democracy.
We post below a sampling of some of the actions.
Los Angeles, California
St. Paul, Minnesota
Buffalo, New York
Charleston, West Virginia & Raleigh, North Carolina
Boston, Massachusetts & Bangor, Maine
The administration of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is breaking state law by failing to negotiate in good faith with state workers, according to charges filed February 28 with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission by the Wisconsin State Employees Union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, ASCME Council 24.
The union brought out that since taking office in January, Walker has made no attempt to bargain with state employees as required by law. Even before taking office, Walker worked to scuttle a tentative agreement between the state and union members.
While Walker is trying to change the law, brutally attacking workers’ rights and attempting to put in place conditions of constant uncertainty, he is still obligated to uphold the law. The fact that he is brazenly breaking existing law indicates that the old social contract between government, labor and the monopolies has been eliminated. The new law Walker is trying to put in place represents an effort to institutionalize new arrangements that provide for the open dictate of the monopolies and their right to plunder the public treasury and further exploit all workers. The bill not only targets collective bargaining, including excluding working conditions and pensions from negotiations, but also requires that contracts be only 1-year long and that recertification votes for the unions be held every year. These are conditions of constant uncertainty for the workers and the public. They are an effort to guarantee the dictate of monopoly right against public right.
As the continuing demonstrations and occupation of the Capitol building make clear, the workers and youth are having none of it! The court of public opinion has spoken and it is standing firm for the rights of workers.