El Semanario
Posted on 02-24-2011

Dangerous Precedent

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Madison, Wisconsin to denounce a bill that would reverse gains unions have achieved for workers over decades. The bill proposed by Governor Scott Walker seeks to address a 137 million budget shortfall by requiring state workers to increase their contributions to their pensions and healthcare. Dealing a blow to the labor movement in the state, the proposal would also permanently limit the power of unions to bargain collectively on workers’ behalves. The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) released the following statement in response to state attacks on workers and the institutions that uphold and defend fundamental workers’ rights:
Workers have made concessions, agreeing to make higher contributions to their pension and health care but the Governor also wants workers to compromise on their rights. The bill wants to restrict unions’ negotiating power to wages, requires for annual votes to be held for unions to continue to exist and bans them from requiring workers to pay union dues.
“Under the pretext of budget balancing, this bill is threatening to layoff workers, strip basic labor rights, and weaken the institutions that negotiate to improve our quality of life. This bill is a blow attacking collective bargaining and Wisconsin and Ohio workers are on the frontlines of fierce attacks that could unleash a wave of anti-worker and anti-union legislation throughout the country. Workers have agreed to make financial sacrifices but they are also being asked to hand over their rights in the workplace. Allowing this to happen sets a dangerous precedent for workers in our nation. LCLAA members will be joining in solidarity rallies throughout the U.S to support Wisconsin workers and oppose attacks on our labor rights,” stated Milton Rosado, LCLAA’s National President.
“Working families have borne the brunt of the economic downturn and workers in Wisconsin have been given a false choice between keeping their jobs or paying up and giving up their rights. Cutting public sector jobs affects the delivery of critical services in our homes, schools, hospitals and the broader community. Attacks on workers’ right to bargain collectively to secure decent wages, benefits and healthy and safe working conditions lowers the standard for all workers. If workers cannot act together through their unions, attacks on workers’ rights will go unabated,” stated Hector E. Sanchez, LCLAA’s Executive Director. “At a time when the U.S. ranks as the nation with the greatest income disparity among Western industrialized countries, labor unions can help restore the balance in our economy and strengthen our communities by expanding the middle class.”