March 10, 2011
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s Assault on Workers’ Freedoms
Wisconsin bill would strip state’s public employees of bargaining rights, voice in the workplace
WASHINGTON—Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and state Senate Republicans last night trampled the democratic process and blatantly disregarded the public will.
In an apparent violation of the state’s open meeting laws, the Republican state senators have revealed themselves as people who will say or do anything, and use any tactic necessary, to pass their extreme agenda that attacks working families who are already struggling. Their actions are both reprehensible and cowardly.
In stripping teachers, nurses and other hard-working public employees of their right to bargain collectively and their voice in the workplace, Walker has shredded 50 years of labor peace, bipartisanship and democratic process.
Walker and the Republicans rammed through a bill that is nothing more than a political payback to their deep-pocketed friends. None of the provisions that attacked workers’ rights had anything to do with balancing the budget. In fact, public employees had already agreed to sharp cuts in wages and benefits.
The principled stand by the state’s Democratic senators gave Wisconsinites the time and opportunity to see Walker’s true intentions. This fight is only beginning. Walker is losing badly in the court of public opinion. We will work with Wisconsinites to pursue legal channels to fight this unconscionable attack on working families, and to continue the recall effort against those who rammed it through.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.