Friday, February 18, 2011

Democracy in Action in Wisconsin

All week, I've been consumed with the demonstrations and protests that have erupted all over Wisconsin in response to Gov. Walker's budget "repair" proposal. Under the guise of needing to balance the state budget, he's demanding that all public workers in Wisconsin pay up to 12 times more for health insurance and up to 6 times more for the pension plan and also, stripping our rights to organize in labor unions. Each day this week, increasing numbers of people have been peacefully gathering at the state capital, 13,000 the first day, 40,000 today and who knows how many will show up this weekend! People have held smaller but still peaceful demonstrations in communities all over the state as well. Today, the head of the largest public employee union agreed to the increase in payments in exchange for taking collective bargaining off the table. The Governor said (in so many words) "Hell No!" letting everyone know that his goal is truly to bust the union.

I've been a public servant--I don't consider myself merely an employee--for most of my working life. I feel it a privilege to provide service to the people of this state. I'm proud of the work that I do and I am outraged at this move by the governor to destroy our unions! There is increasing evidence that this plan to bust the unions is underwritten by very wealthy and powerful individuals in this country in order to have an overriding influence in the 2012 national elections.

Does the statement I just wrote sound a little paranoid ? I think it does, but believe me, it's true. I have been listening to National and Wisconsin Public Radio every chance I have, before and after work, watching the news in the evening, reading the mainstream newspapers on line and trying to keep up with the progress of this movement. My head aches sometimes with it all!

What is happening here will have an influence all over the country. Not only public workers are in danger of losing collective bargaining rights, but all workers. Over a hundred years ago, American workers struggled, fought, and died for the right to organize for better working conditions and now the conservatives want to take that away from all of us.

I am witnessing an historic moment. Forgive me if I'm not too concerned with quilting just now. When this is all settled out, I'll go back to my sewing but right now, I have other things to do.

I'll be in touch.

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