We have arrived at a major historical juncture, and I don’t mean finals week/spring break. Last night the Republicans in Wisconsin passed their Union Busting “budget bill” by a procedure that removed all elements relevant to the budget—leaving only the parts that were always the central goal, those designed to break the labor movement. For more details you can follow this link to hear directly from one of our graduate union brothers: if you didn’t know grad unionists have been at the front of the struggle from the beginning!
This is not only about breaking the unions in Wisconsin, it is part of a larger offensive by big business to increase exploitation and wealth inequality nationally. They know that labor is the most politically important element of the left and that if they can crush us they can roll back equality in many other facets of society. So do environmentalists, women’s groups, and many others who have flocked to Madison to support unions there.
If big business is successful in Wisconsin, and perhaps even if they fail, Oregon will face similar threats to our right to unionize in the future. The Koch oil barons bankrolling the attack in Wisconsin are reportedly also even funding opposition to the income tax increase here in Eugene we need to keep our schools afloat. The Koch brothers are among the richest 400 people in the US, who together now have more wealth than the bottom HALF of the population combined. They are using their wealth to strangle the public education of a whole generation of youth as part of their class war. As Wall Street rakes in billions from bailouts, their peers at US Bank are gouging the unemployed in our state just for access to their unemployment benefits! Attacks on public employees are a diversion from the real source of our problems. There has been a one sided class war by the rich against the working people in the US for decades and they are now moving to check mate.
There has never been a more important time in my life (probably not in anyone’s who was not alive during the 1930s!) to have a strong show of public support for labor. The legislative attack in the midwest is yet another attempt to stack the rules in favor of the haves against the have nots in this long struggle. Solidarity, as Egyptian labor has reminded us, is our greatest hope and as workers in Wisconsin contemplate violating the Taft-Hartley act (implemented to weaken labor after the last depression) in a general strike, I hope to see as many of our brothers and sisters who can make it out tomorrow afternoon. I have also included a list of upcoming events for easy reference below.
VP Political Education
Friday March 11th Solidarity Rally, 4pm at GTFF office or 4:45 at the Eugene Convention Center.
March 18th 12pm-1 800 Willamette SEIU against US Bank
March 30th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm support United Food and Commercial Workers at Coburg Road Albertsons in Eugene
March 31st 6pm-7 Candelight Vigil to support McKenzie Willamette Medical workers getting squeezed out of their health care by a highly profitable company.