The battle to preserve collective bargaining in America is taking place in Wisconsin, after a Tea Party backed Governor announced budget cuts – not only to pensions and pay – but also to basic human rights. The big risk – and this is why it’s so serious – is that if unions lose in Wisconsin, it will energise conservatives in other states and demoralise unionists at the same time.
Residents are turning out in droves to oppose a bill they view as an anti-union effort that would infringe on the rights of state workers, proposed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
As dissenters streamed into the halls of the capitol building Thursday, Democratic state senators fled the state in a move to block a vote on the measure. They ended up at a hotel in Northern Illinois, where they remain, at least for the time being. The state’s Assembly has planned a vote for Friday.
While many, including President Obama, have characterized the bill as an “assault on unions,” Gov. Walker maintained Friday that his legislation, which would strip state employees of their collective bargaining rights and force them to pay a larger share of the cost of health care and pensions, was a “modest proposal.”
Collective bargaining is a basic right that should be afforded to all workers, in every country in the world. In Egypt, the new military dictatorship has cracked down on trade unions, denying workers in the North African state the right to collectively bargain. A mark of a democratic society is that it allows collective bargaining.
The vicious reaction against the union members protesting at these anti-worker attacks have been predictable. The governor Scott Walker has even threatened to sack the protesting workers and replace them with scabs.
The right of workers to leave their jobs is a test of freedom. Hitler suppressed strikes. Stalinsuppressed strikes. But each also suppressed freedom. There are some things worse than strikes, muchworse than strikes – one of them is the loss of freedom.
— President Eisenhower
In a heart-warming show of solidarity, a little pizza shop in Madison, Wisconsin has been deluged with calls and emails from folks around the world donating money to provide free pizza to protestors at the Capitol. This past Saturday, Ian’s on State gave away 1,057 free slices in their store and delivered over 300 pies to protesters.
In addition to providing hundreds of pizzas for the Wisconsin protesters, Ian’s Pizza is also keeping people updated on its Facebook page. Their Facebook landing page gives you the details up front on how to donate to the protesters and their wall gives you immediate updates of when they send out their pizzas:
Pizza Delivery News: For those downtown, we will be dropping off our pizza at the North Hamilton entrance to the capital. Spread the word!
Not only are they getting enormous support – up to 8000 fans in just a few days – but their fans are really engaging with Ian’s Pizza. It’s a great way to spread the word from union supporter of the Wisconsin workers to others who haven’t heard that they can donate pizzas, as this comment from a fan shows:
I want to give all-ya’ll MAD(city) props!! Not to be corny, but you have done this the right way and I’m very proud of you. I’ve been in three times just to smile and take it in. Keep pushing out those pies for the good people of Wisconsin. Good for you guys….GREAT for you guys.
Now, excuse me as a I try to donate a few pizza slices to my comrades in Wisconsin.