Dear Governor McDonnell: Walker Should not be Praised for Suppressing Workers’ Rights

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    (I couldn’t agree more, Bob McDonnell has demonstrated that he’s 100% anti-worker, definitely not a friend of people who aren’t rich and powerful. Not that it’s a big surprise or anything, but still, this demonstrated it beyond a shadow of a doubt. – promoted by lowkell)

    A long list of Virginia groups have joined together to show their solidarity with the people of Wisconsin. Instead of focusing on jobs or transportation, our Governor spent his time recently praising Governor Walker for his attacks on Wisconsin workers.  Governor McDonnell sent a tweet and YouTube video to Governor Walker applauding his good friend’s “courage” and “leadership.”

    A diverse group of labor and non-profit organizations sent a letter to Governor McDonnell this morning expressing solidarity with those protesting in Wisconsin and highlighting that Governor Walker is not to be commended for using his state’s budget struggles as an excuse to suppress workers’ rights.

    “The working people of Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio are raising their voices with the world watching, and we must show them support. We are embarrassed that our Governor, Bob McDonnell, would support Governor Walker’s shameful actions and would oppose the hardworking nurses, firefighters and teachers that keep our nation going,” said Sandra Cook, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing.

    Click here to let Wisconsin workers know that Virginia stand behind them in their fight to uphold the American dream.

    Although public sector workers in Wisconsin have ceded the concessions asked by Governor Walker, they are still being asked to give up their right to collective bargaining.

    “This is a political strategy and an attack on labor unions across the country. We are either going to work together and make history or the labor movement is going to be history. Are we going to settle and allow corporate lobbyists and big business to continue to make bad decisions, or are we going to take our country back?” said Chris Lance, President of CWA/National Coalition of Public Safety Officers Local 2201.

    While many of Walker’s supporters blame organized public sector workers for the state’s budget woes, the groups signing the letter to Governor McDonnell note that Virginia, a long time right-to-work state, has experienced the same budget problems as states with strong public sector unions like Wisconsin. The letter implored Governor McDonnell to make pragmatic, not political, budget choices.

    “We would describe those who are fighting for better wages and benefits, jobs security and safer work places as courageous and brave, not Governor Walker who is trying to deny workers their rights,” said Doris Crouse-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO.

    “The same powerful corporate interests and their political allies who pressing to undermine workers’ rights are attempting to roll back environmental protections as well,” said Glen Besa, Virginia Director for the Sierra Club. “Unions built and protect a strong middle class in America, and it is the middle class that has the political clout to demand our water and air be protected.”

    Click here to let Wisconsin workers know that Virginia stand behind them in their fight to uphold the American dream: http://statevoices.salsalabs.c…

    Click here for the full text of the letter sent to Governor McDonnell

    http://www.virginia-organizing…

    The following organizations signed the letter to Governor McDonnell:

    Central Virginia Chapter A.P.R.I.

    Central Virginia Labor Federation

    Communications Workers of America Virginia State Council

    CWA Local 2204

    Eastern Virginia Labor Federation

    IUE-CWA Local 82161

    National Coalition of Public Safety Officers

    Northern Virginia Labor Federation

    Richmond Jobs with Justice

    Richmond Peace Education Center

    SEIU Local 5

    SEIU Local 32BJ

    Sierra Club Virginia Chapter

    Tenants and Workers United

    Virginia AFL-CIO

    Virginia Association of Personal Care Assistants

    Virginia Education Association

    Virginia New Majority

    Virginia Organizing

    Virginia Professional Fire Fighters, IAFF

    Virginia State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

    Voice of Vietnamese Americans

    Western Virginia Labor Federation

    Workers’ Justice Center

    • DanielK

      Obviously this is nothing more than union busting but it is specifically political union busting.  Let’s remember that he wants to take away collective bargaining rights away from all public employees with the exception of police, fire and state patrol.  As I know from my local’s efforts in the last state wide elections that a public safety union’s name hold substantial value to a candidate both from labor standpoint and also a public safety candidate.  It’s an area of the electorate that any candidate wants.  Walker knows that which is why he used the endorsement of those three statewide unions to his advantage during the election and is probably protecting them right now.  Remember, those three unions endorsed him and now he is protecting them from losing their collective bargaining rights.  While I don’t think that their endorsement ALONE is the reason why they are shielded initially from this legislation but he was also worried about the political backlash in going after “those who protect us from violent criminals” and everything else.  I don’t think he was expecting this type of a response from the labor community though.

      There are politicians out there who support collective bargaining for public safety but not for all public employees.  I don’t really see how there is any difference to be honest since they are all employed by the government at whichever level they work for.  If unions and collective bargaining were truly the cause of all the problems in Wisconsin then they would have eliminated collective bargaining for EVERYONE in Wisconsin and not simply everyone else but public safety.  Walker’s ignorance about the labor community shines so brightly because he realized that if you screw with one labor union you screw with them all and we take care of our own til the very end.  We’re like a family: We may have our little issues between us but in the end we’re all family and families take their of each other!

      Elections have consequences and I think that this really hits home for me and the position that I hold within my local. I’ve lost a lot of sleep over the last few days and even felt sick thinking about if an endorsement that my local did allowed a candidate like Walker to get elected and then have it negatively impact my fellow union brothers and sisters but also their families.  The far reaching effects of this bill if passed with not simply affected unions but more importantly their families and their well being and that is completely unacceptable.  As a union leader, the course of events throughout the United States over the last few weeks has introduced me to a new test I must put towards any candidate I encounter and it’s is called the “Walker Test”  Do you support the efforts of Governor Walker? Even in a right-to-work state like Virginia it serves a good indicator to how they really feel about workers rights in the workplace like administrative rights and grievances which I feel are the backbone of our existence without being able to rely upon collective bargaining. This has impacted me so much that I promise I will do everything in my power to ensure my local does not put a candidate like Walker into a position where he can hurt so many people and their families.

    • Should be worried right now.  If McDonnell thinks it’s OK to crush public school teachers, and VA having some of the best public schools in the nation, there should be concern.

      For some odd reason, Republicans want to eliminate public schools and privatize it all.  Their utopia consists of an America where only the fortunate and extremely intelligent can afford school and the rest of us, once minimum wage is removed, will work for pennies.

      It’s what they fight for every day.