Randi Weingarten: History and Voters Will Not Be KindPresident, American Federation of Teachers

Our challenge now is to take this moment and turn it into a movement. And the way to do so is by renewing America’s labor movement.

Over the last three weeks, Gov. Scott Walker and his allies in the Wisconsin Legislature made a mockery of representative government. Rather than listen to the citizens of Wisconsin, who are strongly opposed to stripping teachers, nurses and other workers of their rights, Walker rammed through a bill that was a blatant political payback to his out-of-state major campaign donors and cronies, who have sought for years to crush the aspirations of workers who dare to demand a voice in the workplace. This charade culminated when Walker shredded 50 years of labor peace, built through bipartisanship and a democratic process, and signed a bill into law against the wishes of a majority of the voters in Wisconsin.

The governor may have won a short-term political victory, but history and Wisconsin voters won’t be so kind. Power exercised without discretion and prudence is corrupting. And based on Gov. Walker’s actions — his underhanded maneuvering to get the bill passed, his misrepresentations that the bill was part of reducing the budget deficit, and his manipulation of the process so the bill could be brought to a vote — it is clear that the process was indeed corrupting. The people of Wisconsin watched this sorry spectacle and took to the streets to protest it. It was deeply unpopular, and record numbers of Wisconsinites are signing recall petitions to force Republican state senators to stand for election again to defend why they stripped workers of their rights. As brazen as Walker was by stripping workers of their rights in the workplace, he can’t strip their democratic right to check his abuse of power at the ballot box.


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March 11th, 2011

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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