Monday, November 7, 2011

Taking a Hammer or Chisel to Workers' Rights

The full frontal assault on working people's rights to form unions and have a say in their wages and working conditions is poised to go down to defeat in Ohio on Tuesday (Nov. 8, 2011), according to polling in advance of the vote. If the union-busting measure does go down to defeat, it will be a tribute to the hard-work of union people all over the state.

Meanwhile, the undermining of the middle class continues apace in Michigan. Republicans in the Legislature have used less of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's sledgehammer and more of a chisel to take apart laws guaranteeing workers' dignity.

The state is undermining public employee unions by outsourcing jobs, even if it jeopardizes services being delivered and could end up meaning taxpayers have to pay more by providing food stamps and other benefits to the new low-paid workers.

The Legislature passed and Republican Rick Snyder signed bills attacking teachers' rights to have unions, as well. In the guise of tenure "reform," school districts don't have to go by seniority in laying off personnel. Who will be the first laid off now? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out it most likely will be union leaders who will be the first to go.

Bigger battles lie ahead, for sure. And at some point Republicans may bring out the sledgehammer after all.

No comments: