Honestly, I am sick of hearing how awful unions are. How, those workers don’t deserve those benefits. Again, let me state that Bill and I are NOT union employees. I have no reason to tout their virtues except that unions have helped us all. Just like everything else in life, there are good unions and bad unions. For every story you have about how the union has protected a bad member, I can tell you one where it has saved jobs. Instead of wondering why their benefits are better than yours, why aren’t you demanding that you have the same benefits?!? Here are some of the things that unions have done to make all of our work lives better:
- Weekends off. In 1870, workers were required to work 61 hours on average a week. Labor unions engaged in strikes which in turn led to the the Fair Labor Standards Act which helped create a federal framework for a shorter workweek.
- Fair Wages And Income Equality. The decline in unions have mirrored the decline of the middle class. Coincidence? I think not.
- Put an end to child labor. See the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Employer-Based Health Coverage.
- FMLA. Labor unions led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”
- Overtime Pay.
- Workmen’s Compensation.
- Unemployment Insurance protection if you lose your job through no fault of your own.
- Tuition assistance.
Individually, workers are powerless. Collectively they can control their fates. That is the importance of unions regardless if you are in one or not. Well, what does that have to do with Scott Walker? Plenty. If you are a regular reader here, you will know that I have done plenty of posts on what is going on in Wisconsin. However, I just came across this video from The Rachel Maddow Show that shows how Scott Walker did what he is doing now for the State of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. And how bad it turned out. Watch:
If you can’t get the video to work, here’s what you will see. You will learn that Scott Walker manufactured a budget crisis there. In January, the courts rules that Scott Walker invented a fake financial emergency to justify him improperly firing the county’s unionized security guards. Best of all, he handed all those union jobs to a private FOREIGN company. A company that has been in trouble before (see 2:30 into the video. This part is definitely NSFW). Now that the courts have ruled that Scott Walker improperly fired those workers they have to be hired back. They also have a contract with the foreign security firm. What does that mean? Milwaukee is paying for not one but two security firms. Where is the cost savings in that? If this didn’t work in Milwaukee, I’m not sure how Scott Walker thinks this will work for the whole state.
This high stakes game of chicken has to end. If this was truly about the budget, as soon as the unions gave into the concessions, this should have been over. Instead, it is not and has turned into a power grab of epic proportions.