The Right to Collectively Bargain

In a recent interview with JSonline, (they must have caught him when he was ACTUALLY in the state), he addressed the backlash of taking away collective bargaining rights this way:

“They defined it as a rights issue,” Walker said. “It’s not a rights issue. It’s an expensive entitlement.”

As Andy Kroll explains in Mother Jones, Walker, does not know his history:

Hmm. I’m pretty sure the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed by the UN after World War II (and drafted and adopted by the US), says that collective bargaining is in fact a human right. Oh, yes, there it is, in Article 23 of the Universal Declaration:

4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Then there’s the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) here in the US, which “explicitly grants employees the right to collectively bargain and join trade unions,” according to the scholars at Cornell University Law School. Or as the National Labor Relations Board’s website puts it, the NLRA “protects employees’ rights to act together, with or without a union, to improve working terms and conditions, including wages and benefits.”

I also also wrote about the importance and history of collective bargaining here.

It is time to stop demonizing public workers and start analyzing the actual problems of our economy. It is also time to start placing blame where it belongs. We as taxpayers spent $700 Billion dollars to Bail out Wall St. after the economy crashed a few short years ago, yet to this day, they are still allowed to continue on with business as usual.

In Wisconsin, where the Governor keeps telling us that “we are broke”, the collective bargaining power of WMC, has already been given (using taxpayer money) $2.3 billion in tax breaks and loopholes. Balancing the budget after give-away’s such as this on the backs of teachers, nurses, plow drivers, prison guards, etc… is not only ineffective but also immoral.

You can track almost directly on a graph that the decline of unions in America runs parallel with the decline of middle class wages in this country. Yet in that same graph the rise of corporate power and the wages of CEO’s are on the exact opposite line. In 1980 CEOs in America made approximately 35% more than the average workers at their companies, today that number is approximately 300 times more and growing. Taking the collective bargaining rights away from Police officers, Firefighters, teachers, nurses, social workers, prison guards, plow drivers, etc… does not address any of these problems.

Collective bargaining, allowing labor a seat at the table to discuss such things as working conditions, health and safety policy, hours, and pay, is not too costly. It is essential!

This is not just an issue not just Wisconsin that has brought out the protestors in mass who know it is a right.

When Ohio’s own extreme right wing Governor and the Ohio Republican party unethically took the rights of Ohio’s workers away via SB-5, the people of Ohio organized. Needing 231,000 signatures to get collective bargaining on the ballot in November, yesterday they delivered 1.3 MILLION signatures saying enough is enough.

“This historic number of signatures sends a strong, clear message to the extreme politicians who played political tricks to pass SB 5 and to the rest of the country,” Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio, said in a released statement. “More than 1 million voices from all 88 counties can’t be wrong.”

Buyers remorse and democracy in action all over this country. Here is a picture of the semi(yes Semi) needed to deliver the 1.3 MILLION signatures!


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18 thoughts on “The Right to Collectively Bargain

  1. Well then, we can get a million for Walker. Ohio has about twice the population of Wisconsin so we’d need 650K just to match them, but engagement here has exceeded even Ohio’s (as impressive as that is).

    1. They most certainly are not, sir. All workers share the same rights whether they are funded by a private entity or a public one. Being a civil servant does not make one any less worthy of compensation, the right to negotiate, the right to a safe workplace or any other benefit of the private sector. If anything the fact that public service pays less when education level is accounted for means that those who work in the public sector are already sacrificing for YOU. People who could, in the private sector, earn far more choose to work for the state FOR YOU AND ALL THE PEOPLE THEY SERVE ON A DAILY BASIS.

      The only thing I seem to keep hearing from the anti-union side of things is, “Why do they have what I don’t have?” And you know what? I wonder the same thing. DEMAND IT. You should have a pension, you should have a living wage, you should have PTO, and Maternity/Paternity leave. You should be equal to a public employee, but not by dragging them down. It should be by bringing yourselves up. Unionize and demand better treatment. They may write the checks, but they can’t do a damn thing or turn a profit without skilled workers.

  2. The basic problem here, I think, is the d’oh civics belief that rights must be constitutionally enumerated (this goes right along with the “we’re a republic, not a democracy”) in my list of pet peeves.

    1. Alas, you need to present some facts or we have no clue what facvts are actually facts.

    2. Yeah, I can see your point. Corrections officers who lock themselves into prisons with violent convicted felons who outnumber them greatly shouldn’t be able to negotiate for workplace safety and working conditions; they should just take whatever management gives them.

  3. I also think Walker was well within his “rights” to seek changes in the law (it’s within the legislature’s purview to change or eliminate a wide range of rights – like, say, the rights of domestic abuse victims in the Wisconsin Penal Code).

    But he shouldn’t lie about how hid his agenda until after the election, or that he hasn’t fundamentally altered public workers’ rights.

    1. Lying is something conservatives tend to value in their politicians, just as they value hate. Odd from a party that claims to defend family values. . . .

  4. ” It’s an expensive entitlement” says Dear Leader Walker. Sean Duffy calls Medicare a, ” socialist entitlement program”. Paul Ryan trumpets the need for ” entitlement reform”.

    These guys are going after the New Deal and Great Society legislation that helped lift many tens of millions of Americans out of poverty and within reach of a decent, dignified life. And they call these laws and programs ” entitlements “.

    I call them New Testament Christian. I call them just. I call them civilized. I call them humane. I call them common decency.

    It’s the wealthy and powerful and their puppets in government who feel themselves entitled. Entitled to our labor at wages and conditions they determine. Entitled to tax breaks and our tax dollars. Entitled to a couple of hundred billion dollars wowrth of iron ore in the Penokee Range. Entitled to the good life, at our expense.

    I think we need entitlement reform, all right, though I’m guessing my definition is seriously at odds with Walker/Ryan/Duffy.

  5. Walker opened Pandora’s Box by directly assaulting public employees and teachers in particular. Low-minded envy has been latent in Wisconsin for some time and Republican politicians have danced around it gingerly and even worked up a little energy on WEAC. But not fanning up overt hostility in order to divide the electorate and win elections. It’s funny, you can almost see Walker thinking, starting to understand that he’s pressed too far beyond the dog whistling of old. He’s unleashed the furies and can’t put numbskulls like Rich P back in the box.

  6. Collective bargining is no longer a right. Something is just sick about making someone pay into a political corporation(union) who then gives money to a candidate they don’t support. It’s good to give them the choice instead of forcing them to pay into a union that throws them under the bus anyway.(500 MPS employees). Union Brothers? yea right. That is simply the end of this argument and to not agree with this point just shows you only care about unions/democratic power overall because it’s immoral.

    1. Pete you must be talking about groups like WMC that work against its smaller members, or maybe the WRA that gave money to scott Walker yet the majority of its members know what a mistake that was and would never do that.

      And Fred I see reading comprehension is not a strong suit of yours….

    2. F*cking wingers are coming out of the wordwork. Ultimately, a “right” is what a democratic people say it is and we are about to whip your ass, electorally speaking, mofo.

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