Monday, February 21, 2011

Walker remains defiant in spite of growing opposition, compromises offered

If you're still not convinced that Scott Walker is solely after the utter destruction of unions in our state, and through that end the destruction of the middle class, consider his latest refusal to compromise with public service employees as the strongest piece of evidence yet.

When union leaders told Gov. Walker that they would agree to paying more towards pension, health and other benefits so long as their bargaining rights remained intact, Walker wouldn't budge, insisting that his proposal was non-negotiable.

In reality, collective bargaining costs the state nothing. Public service employees who were agreeing to tighten their belts (even more than they have already) sought to create a compromising situation that would benefit all parties involved. It was a win-win solution for both Walker and the unions.

Walker remained obstinate, an adjective I usually reserve for toddlers.

The budget being his primary rationale behind this obscene bill, it's a bit puzzling to see Walker remain so defiant when it comes to non-budgetary issues. In essence, Walker is stalling his own bill through his refusal to grant public service employees their rights to bargain collectively -- a compromise that will cost nothing to the taxpayers, nor increase a penny to the budget deficit.

Throughout Walker's stubbornness the support for the unions has grown. Police and firefighters, two unions that supported Walker in his gubernatorial campaign last fall, have come out backing the protesters in Madison. National and even international support has grown as well -- Ian's Pizza on State Street reports donations of pizza to give to demonstrators coming from all across the country, as well as from ten countries globally (including newly-liberated Egypt).

Even the Green Bay Packers have thrown their support behind public service employees, with cornerback Charles Woodson being the latest to voice opposition to Walker's assault on workers. "These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work,” said Woodson.

None of this matters to walker, of course -- not even the influence of the Super Bowl champions could change our governor's attitude towards unions and the workers whom they represent. His sole goal is to silence the voices of workers under the guise of fixing a budget deficit, a deficit that was augmented by Walker's tax giveaways to corporate entities. His true priorities lie with making Wisconsin a corporate tax haven, forging our state into becoming a great place for big business but horrible for working families.

This is not the leadership that Wisconsin voters chose last fall. Both Democratic and Republican administrations for the past half-century have respected the rights of public service employees to collectively bargain. That Walker wants to dismantle those rights so early in his tenure as governor has got a lot of people (including about 70,000 that showed up at the Capitol on Saturday) wondering: what's next on Scott Walker's agenda? Who will he sell out next in order to appease his corporate donors?

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