"An assault on unions is an assault on democracy itself"
February 13, 2011 11:25 AM Subscribe
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says the National Guard is prepared to respond to unrest among state workers:
"Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond if there is any unrest among state employees in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights." NY Times offers more reporting on Walker's proposals here.
Notably, Walker is reportedly refusing even to negotiate
with the public employee unions.
Though Walker's carefully worded announcement avoided any specific commitments about how guard troops might be used much beyond noting the Wisconsin Governor's concern that "some union leaders will try to incite their members,"
a look back at the history of the labor movement in the US
reveals that this wouldn't be the first time in US history the National Guard has been called upon
to respond to labor unrest
, and that the results haven't always been pretty
These latest developments come at a time when many observers have been warning of a major assault on the labor movement for some time, both in the US and internationally
. Commenters in the UK and US warn: "An assault on unions is an assault on democracy itself,"
and "As go the unions, so goes the nation."
The New York Times, meanwhile, reports that states across the nation are taking steps to curtail collective bargaining rights
in response to a nationwide state budget crisis. It remains to be seen if states are also prepared to renege on their contractual obligations to state bond holders, although politicians have quietly begun discussing the possibility of allowing states to declare bankruptcy for the first time in the nation's history
, a move which critics have also cautioned might be used to provide anti-labor proponents further political ammunition against labor, alleging that current state budget shortfalls (which appear to be due more to poor state financial management than the recent economic downturn
) have been part of a deliberate Republican strategy to force the politics of the situation to a crisis
in order to justify its union busting efforts