Wisconsin is Our Fight Too

February 2011

UPDATE [Friday, March 11]: Wisconsin nurses in public facilities lost most collective bargaining rights today, along with other Wisconsin public workers, when Governor Walker signed a new version of the bill. The new version required fewer votes to pass because budgetary language had been taken out.

“It's not over. This may be a battle that has been won by the governor, but we are in this for the long haul," said Lee A. Saunders, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer. The legality of the bill will be challenged. A majority of Wisconsin voters don’t support it. Recall efforts have been launched against some legislators who voted for it. And similar bills have been introduced in other states—even as the Wisconsin fight has energized union members and activists across the country.

February 24: On Wednesday, a delegation of UNAC/UHCP members and staff including State Secretary Barbara Blake flew to Madison, Wisconsin to support thousands of union members who are under attack by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker has introduced a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining rights as we know it for most public employees, and only allow public employees to bargain over wages.

We must fight back! When the collective bargaining rights for unionized employees are attacked anywhere, it is an attack on all of us. Collective bargaining is the very foundation of the Labor Movement. If we couldn't form unions and negotiate with our employers, we wouldn't have a say in our wages, hours and working conditions.

Governor Walker’s attack is clearly part of a united effort to destroy the entire Labor Movement.  At least eight states other than Wisconsin are considering proposals similar to Walker’s –  Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, and Tennessee.  And there is no indication that the attack will limit itself to public employee unions.  Make no mistake – we’re next on the chopping block!

What would the elimination of collective bargaining rights mean for health care professionals?  We would no longer have the right to advocate for quality patient care or workplace safety, scheduling, seniority, health benefits and pension at the bargaining table.

Please take action now to stand in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin.  You can make a difference:

1.  Sign the nationwide petition to stand in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin: go to www. afscme.org

2.  Watch a must-see video to feel the spirit of the protests: vimeo.com/20089255

3.  Donate to the Wisconsin Workers' Rights Emergency Response Fund: https://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4002/wi-response

4.  Join the Orange County Labor Federation’s candlelight vigil in support of the Wisconsin workers.

When: Thursday, February 24
Time: 5:30 pm
Where: Santa Ana State Office Building
28 Civic Center Plz
Santa Ana, CA 92701

5.  Join the San Diego Labor Council Rally
When: Saturday, February 26
Time: 12 noon
Where: County Administration Building
1600 Pacific Highway (Westside/Bayside)