Sunday, February 20, 2011
LIBERATION SQUARE, WISCONSIN
Cairo revolution sweeps...Wisconsin? Republican Governor Scott Walker, who has been governor for about six weeks, wants to bust the unions. His drastic plan would require public workers to pay more for their health insurance and pensions, effectively cutting their take-home pay by around 7 percent. The plan would also take away collective bargaining, and the right of public service employees to negotiate with the state over working conditions.
Walker's controversial plan has been met with massive demonstrations in the streets of Madison, an outpouring of people reminiscent of the recent revolution in Cairo. Like a Midwestern Mubarak, Walker says he won't budge. The protests have grown larger and larger.
To his defense, Tea Party activists have staged counter-demonstrations in support of the governor's union-busting plan. Once again they're working against their own interests, riding like Paul Revere in reverse, ready to warn the redcoats about the rebels. These misguided weekend warriors--who wouldn't even have a weekend without the unions--are on the wrong side of history.
Historic note: Wisconsin is the home of the 40 hour work week, unemployment compensation and worker's compensation--thanks to unions. Read more about the struggle for decent wages and worker's rights in this eclectic list of events in US labor history HERE.
Rachel Maddow gives a rundown of the Wisconsin protests.