From the United Auto Workers International Union website:
DETROIT – The massive protests by Wisconsin’s public sector workers clearly show that Gov. Scott Walker’s extreme attempt to strip away union rights so he can fill state posts with political cronies is bad governance, UAW President Bob King said.
“Governor Walker’s attempt to take away a worker’s most basic democratic right – the right to join a union – does nothing to bring decent-paying jobs to Wisconsin,” King said. “We fully support these workers in their courageous efforts to fight back against this thinly veiled, purely partisan effort to destroy unions in favor of a system Walker and his well-heeled political pals will control.”
Walker is pushing a bill through the Republican-dominated legislature that would strip away collective bargaining rights from public employees and unilaterally cut their wages and benefits.
The UAW represents 30,000 active and retired members in Wisconsin.
UAW Local 469 member Mike Bink, who works at Master Lock in Milwaukee, said the governor is merely paying back his political supporters from the business community.
“Destroying unions has nothing to do with getting Wisconsin’s fiscal house in order or bringing jobs and revenue to the state,” Bink said. “Teachers, nurses, librarians and other public workers should not be sacrificed to satisfy the governor’s corporate cronies.”
Fellow member Pat Vesser from UAW Local 1102, who works for Paper Converting in Green Bay, agreed:
“I’m out supporting teachers, nurses, librarians and social workers because we rely on these and other public workers in my community, and this attack on their rights shocks me.”
UAW members were among the tens of thousands of workers supporting Wisconsin state employees at the protests at the state capitol this week.
Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4, which includes Wisconsin, said the region will mobilize its members in the private sector to help in the battle to keep Republican lawmakers from destroying Wisconsin’s middle class.
“We know that depressing wages in one sector quickly sends all wages in an area downward, so this issue affects all workers, and not just those employed by the state or municipalities,” McInroy said. “Is this the solution to the economic crisis – to bankrupt the middle class of Wisconsin?”