When collective bargaining was put on the butcher’s block in Wisconsin, Democrats suspected their next move would be eradicating unions altogether. On Fox News Sunday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for the elimination of public sector unions, which confirms that theory.
Huffington Post reports: “Wallace… asked whether Daniels would like to see public-sector unions disappear entirely. ” Daniels replied, “I think government works better without them, I really do. There’s a reason that defenders of labor … always said that unionism had no place in the public sector, that it was necessary freedom, and it is, in the private sector. But that it was a bad idea in government.”
Remarkably, for years we’ve all had to endure attacks on teachers, with the onslaught of propaganda claiming educators are afforded extravagant wealth and luxurious lifestyles — except that’s not true at all.
Let’s review public unions, who are now among the long list of Americans ostracized and demonized by Republicans:
In 2011, 7.6 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union, compared with 7.2 million union workers in the private sector.
The union membership rate for public-sector workers (37.0 percent) was
substantially higher than the rate for private-sector workers (6.9
percent). Within the public sector, local government workers had the
highest union membership rate, 43.2 percent. This group includes
workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police
officers, and firefighters. Private-sector industries with high
unionization rates included transportation and utilities (21.1
percent) and construction (14.0 percent), while low unionization rates
occurred in agriculture and related industries (1.4 percent) and in
financial activities (1.6 percent). (See table 3.)
Republicans claimed that eradicating unions altogether was not their goal, but after Walker’s win in Wisconsin, right wing politicians morphed overnight into dogs with a bone. While at an Occupy event here in New York City, a police officer told me during a conversation, “they would never go after police unions.” (In your face hipster cop!)
Present day Republicans have become the most unrelenting, uncompromising, polarizing force in American political history. It’s their way or no way. This is unacceptable. Sure, Republicans voted them in, but now there is a nice faction of the 7.2 million union workers who will rethink their Republican vote.
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