The Workers' Paradise A Discussion of Workers Cooperatives and Building the New Economy

February 22, 2011

Dems in the Assembly Have Their Day

Filed under: Worker Rights — Tags: , — John McNamara @ 7:32 pm

The Democrats provided some great theater today. The GOP either decided (or didn’t have the votes) to proceed with acting on the “non-financial” parts of the Budget Repair Bill in a separate act (although I have to think that Collective Bargaining is, in its nature, financial).  The Assembly Democrats, however, vowed to present close to 100 amendments to the Budget Repair Bill.

The Senate made a few appointments and adjourned until the “Call of the House” which will happen when they achieve quorum on the Budget Repair Bill.  The Assembly was still debating when the Governor took to the air is what was billed as a “fireside chat.” For those that either remember FDR’s fireside chats or have studied them (as I did in high school). These were talks to the nation to ease the country’s anxiety through the depression. Scott Walker didn’t quite reach that level. He continued to pretend that the only opposition to this bill is over pension funds and health insurance. He decried the protestors as being entirely from out-of-state. This was especially odd since he seemed to focus on Nevada for some reason as the source of protestors (for those that don’t know, the GOP code for outside agitators in Wisconsin is this: NY=Jews, Chicago=Gangsters, California=Gays and Lesbians). He claimed that he would only listen to “Wisconsin voices”. I can tell you that the tens of thousands of people on Saturday knew the UW Badgers’s fight song and they also knew what to do when “jump around” came over the loud speakers:

Imagine that scene with protest signs!

Oh, youtube has it!

Labor and Civil Rights Lawyer Lester Pines spoke to the crowd. He mentioned something very important that may get lost in the hullabaloo. Collective Bargaining Rights are Human Rights. As such, and with any rights, they are not conferred upon people by the government. The government merely recognizes that the right exists. Workers have the right to collectively bargain because those rights are inalienable human rights included the the Jeffersonian short list of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” Many men and women faced down armed guards (private and public), Pinkerton spies and assassins to force employers and governments to recognize those rights. The denial of recognition will not make our rights fade away, it will only mean that the methods of enforcing them will change from bargaining tables to picket lines.

A state bent on destroying labor relations will not be good for business. Unlike the south which, because of slavery, has a culture of subservience that extends back 500 years, the north has a alternate culture of standing up to bullies, fighting for our rights, and helping others fight for their rights. A world in which the State ignores the rights of the people will make the current protest look like a tea party.

The Great State of Wisconsin lives for another day. The Struggle continues.

Luther Olson is a Republican Senator on the bubble. He is a good man and a nice guy. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him and he isn’t part of the cabal, but he needs to be pushed to challenge the leadership. Contact him:

Madison Office: 123 South, State Capitol
Madison Address: PO Box 7882 Madison, WI 53707-7882
Madison Phone: (608) 266-0751; Toll-Free: (800) 991-5541

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/sen14/news/Contact.asp

2 Comments »

  1. ” inalienable human rights included the the Jeffersonian short list of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”

    Now your just making stuff up.

    The DOI has no legal standing,only the Constitution counts.That document is concerned with civil rights not human rights, and really doesn’t go into labor. What we think of as Human rights comes from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN in 1948. Articles 23-25 may cover some of what your talking about, but collective bargining is not specifically mentioned.

    After you read it, you will see how lame this country is on Human Rights, and if we were to really stick to this document, a lot of the benefits of having unions would be nullified. Health Care and pensions are specifcally mentioned as rights a government should provide its citizens.

    Comment by nkdpagan — February 22, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  2. Hmm, I would argue that the Constitution itself was the product of collective bargaining (as was the Magna Carta). Granted the membership of those groups doing the bargaining was limited to white property owning men, but nevertheless. The right of people to engage in collective bargaining is the cornerstone of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As Lester Pines argued, these rights exist, governments only recognize them and while the UDHR is a great document, it is a political document that, itself, is the result of collective bargaining between nations–it can only recognize rights.
    But since you mention UN resolutions than you might not the International Labour Organization’s discussion on collective bargaining (http://www.ilo.org/global/standards/subjects-covered-by-international-labour-standards/collective-bargaining/lang–en/index.htm) and their recommendation 193 on which the CICOPA World Declaration of Worker Co-ops was based, in part: http://www.cicopa.coop/IMG/pdf/Declaration_approved_by_ICA_EN-2.pdf

    Comment by John McNamara — February 22, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

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