Worker Solidarity Growing: Wisconsin to IN, OH and Beyond
In this still-struggling economy, our country needs one thing: more good jobs. But instead of focusing on finding ways to create good jobs, politicians have turned their attention to political payback to the corporate CEOs who spent more than $1 billion on the November elections.
In states across the country, workers are fighting back against corporate-backed lawmakers who are trying to use state budget problems as an excuse to gut workers’ rights and benefits, when in fact it was Wall Street’s gambles and broken promises that have hurt taxpayers and the middle class—not workers. CEOs are trying to shift the blame for high unemployment and rising poverty levels away from themselves and onto workers and our unions.
But we won't let that happen. Workers across the country -- from Wisconsin to Indiana, from Ohio to Florida -- are fighting back.
- In Wisconsin, workers, students, community, and faith have joined together to stage massive protests this week against Governor Walker’s budget proposal which would gut collective bargaining rights for 200,000 public workers. Tens of thousands of people are putting their everyday lives on hold to stand in solidarity. Student Labor Action Project activists in Wisconsin have been mobilizing on a daily basis to the capitol.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Beginning Monday, workers, students, faith leaders, and community allies will be holding solidarity rallies in their own states. Plan your own action, or contact your local JwJ coalition to find out if there is already an action planned in your area.
- Thousands of people are changing their facebook status to say, “Today I stand with in solidarity with the teachers, firefighters, nurses, and all public workers who are fighting for their rights. If you do too, change this to your status for the rest of the day.”
- The Student Labor Action Project is organizing a March 2nd Public Need vs Corporate Greed Day of Action. Stay tuned for more details on these actions in days to come.
- In Ohio, working people are also fighting a repeal of collective bargaining rights for the teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other public servants who provide vital services in our communities. Yesterday, thousands of people, including members of Columbus and Toledo JwJ, converged on the capitol to rally against Senate Bill 5. JwJ coalitions throughout the state, including Cleveland and Columbus, are gearing up for more actions in the coming weeks, including more actions at the capitol, vigils, town hall meetings, and rallies in key cities.
- In Indiana, working people are fighting several anti-worker bills, including so-called "Right to Work" legislation that makes it easier for companies to lower wages and cut benefits. Central Indiana Jobs with Justice has been part of actions at the state house and held a forum on the attack on Indiana’s workers this week, and they’re gearing up for a hearing on Right to Work and visits to the state house every day next week. South Central Indiana Jobs with Justice held a town hall meeting and press event, St. Joseph Valley project in South Bend is holding a roundtable on right to work next week, and Tri-State JwJ in Evansville organized a town hall meeting and an action when IN House speaker Bosma came to town. Check out coverage of the fight in Indianapolis’ Nuvo newspaper.
- In Maine, JwJ affiliate Food AND Medicine held a legislative breakfast where farmers, small business leaders, and workers made presentations to seven legislators in attendance on Right to Work as well as legislation specifically targeting hospital workers, state workers, and construction workers.
- In Florida, the governor wants slash taxes on big business and pay for it by forcing public employees to pay more into their pensions. JwJ coalitions in South and Central Florida are fighting back against draconian budget cuts.
- In Missouri, Jobs with Justice has been fighting back against big-business efforts to repeal the state’s minimum wage law as well as right to work and other anti-worker legislation.
Make no mistake - these attacks on working people aren’t about balancing any budget – they’re about corporate CEOs using politicians to make sure that nothing gets in the way of their ability to bring home huge paychecks and even bigger bonuses.
CEOs know that workers united through unions are one of the few remaining protections workers have from unchecked corporate greed. They want to weaken or eliminate unions so that the voices of all workers are weakened.
Corporations want to control how our communities spend money. They want to cut public sector jobs instead of closing tax loopholes, privatize pubic sector jobs so that they can profit, and do away with agreements that ensure government contractors pay decent wages and don’t cut corners on safety. Meanwhile, politicians are asking working people to sacrifice vital public services like firefighters, teachers, and nurses so that they can give tax breaks, bailouts, and tax loopholes to corporations and CEOs.
These CEOs may have more money than we do, but we have strength in numbers. We need to come together to curb unchecked corporate power and restore the balance to our politics. It’s time for politicians to come together to create real solutions to the problems that are facing ordinary Americans.
At a time of record economic inequality, these laws that direct more money to corporations will only widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor, enriching a lucky few while forcing more people into poverty. Who will control our communities: working people or corporations?