For the past two days, thousands have gathered at the State Capitol in Madison, WI, in defense of workers' rights. The local Democratic Party and Organizing for America are mobilizing on the ground to push back against a Republican proposal to end collective bargaining for public workers.
Jessie Lidbury, regional field organizer, explains why this is so important:
We’ve got a fight on our hands and it’s personal. Over the past few days serious developments have surfaced of Governor Scott Walker presenting a “Budget Repair Bill” that will essentially gut collective bargaining for public employees here in our own backyard of Wisconsin.
Over the next couple days nurses, teachers, snowplow drivers, prison guards, and public servants will be standing together to let Governor Walker, know what is at stake: livelihoods, heath care, our children's education, and the rights of all workers.
With a vote scheduled to happen today, just six days after this bill was introduced, we are asking our legislators and our governor to think before they act—to listen to how we will hurt.
Here are the facts, Wisconsin's public employees have gone without pay raises while taking unpaid furlough days. By making cuts with this “Budget Repair Bill”, the negotiating rights of nursing aids, teachers, correctional offices, and others will be taken away.
State employees already agreed to more than $100 million in concessions in a contract settlement that the governor scuttled before even taking office.
If this bill passes, most public employees, working for state and local governments as well as school districts, would no longer have the right to bargain collectively with their employer over any issue except pay, and even that would be capped. They would no longer be legally allowed to bargain collectively on issues such as the quality of their working environment or the funding teachers and other state employees need to do their jobs.
With a vote on the legislation expected as early as today, volunteers are already gathering at the Capitol this morning. It's going to be a big day in Madison and you can follow updates throughout the day here.