Wisconsin GOP pushes anti-union law through

Posted on March 10, 2011


Yesterday, the 18 republican members of the Wisconsin legislature split the budget bill that once contained state expenditures and a union busting law and passed it in an 18-1 vote which lasted under 30 minutes.

Since the bill originally contained a spending feature, a quorum (certain percentage of attendance) was required for the bill to be voted on.  This motion was a part of the budget repair proposal by Governor Scott Walker originally because it was claimed that the unions needed to be busted up in order to assist a $137 million deficit. In response to this, the 14 democratic representatives fled to Illinois to protest the bill.

In a last ditch effort, the 18 GOP members split the bill,  stripping it of all spending features, thus removing the need for there to be a quorum to vote.

The implications of this move show that greatly diminishing the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively over all aspects of the workplace other than basic wages was never a budgetary issue.  What made the vote illegal was the fact that there was not 24 hour notice given about the meeting. Not to mention, as we can clearly see in this video, the motions and suggestions of the single democratic rep in attendance, Peter Barca, were quickly silenced by the members of the republican party.

So what was their motive?

Who knows. All we can see from this is the blatant abuse of power of elected officials that supposedly represent the people. I think the voice of the people was clear long before this vote. For three weeks over 40 percent of unionized teachers were out on the streets protesting the proposal. Backing them were union doctors giving them sick notes to legitimize their absences.

The capital was occupied by protesters almost everyday and it was estimated that somewhere between 15 and 30 thousand protesters occupied the streets around the capital building in Madison, daily.

In response to the outrageous actions of the GOP, thousands took to the streets and occupied the capital in a matter of minutes, voicing their discontent.

In response to this, the peaceful protesters were treated like prisoners of war. They were forced to stand in the freezing temperatures and rain outside the building, not allowed in. Windows were ordered to be bolted shut to keep people from being let in. Citizens had to go through searches and metal detectors to enter their own capital to peacefully voice their opinions. At last night’s protest, the bathrooms were ordered to be locked and if anyone had to go, they were forced to leave; then they were not allowed back in.

Despite these most auspicious of events, the representatives of the people treated their constituencies like children throwing a fit. Gov. Walker was reported to have called them, “a bunch of guys who can afford to skip out on work.” This is most concerning to me.

Though I am an anarchist, I believe that so long as positions of power continue to be abused, this system will continue to be dysfunctional. A democracy is a people’s government and these back-room deals and  breaking of the laws by our own representative reflects poorly on us as a people and as a nation. We cannot step into the voting booths uneducated, then walk away wiping our hands and patting ourselves on the back for being good citizens. We cannot sit back in our easy chairs and allow government to function without our constant and thorough supervision. It is our responsibility as citizens to hold and augment the power of our government.

I strongly provoke my readers to educate themselves and take direct action, actions that you have the constitutional right to maintain and execute, against wrongdoings by your government. It reflects on you, the voter who put them into office. You supposedly chose them to be your leader, now hold them to a certain standard. They are not your authority, they are your chosen representatives to the public global eye. So the people giveth the power, and so they must take it away.

Posted in: Labor, News