As this diary points out, what’s going on in Wisconsin right now is about “much more than organized labor,” it’s also about “American ideals of democracy, equal representation, and popular sovereignty.” Here in Virginia, of course, we are a so-called “right-to-work” state, or as Leslie Byrne correctly called it, a “right-to-be-poor” state. When I see Democrats – the party that’s supposed to be for the working people of this country – not challenging “right to work,” or other assaults on labor in this country, it makes me very angry. And when I see Bob McDonnell pushing a plan which forces state employees to contribute 5% to their retirements, after McDonnell himself has raided their retirement system to produce his mythical – but largely unchallenged in its fundamental falsehood – “budget surplus,” it makes me angry as well. Anyway, I’m glad to see workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere standing up for themselves, and I would hope that all Virginia Democrats would support them in their efforts.
Speaking of Virginia Democrats, I emailed a bunch of them this morning for comment on the Wisconsin protests. So far, I’ve received (only) two responses, from Del. David Englin and from Alexandria Council Member Rob Krupicka. According to Englin, “Wisconsin Republicans are engaged in the worst kind of labor bating, and I commend the Wisconsin Democrats who are using every parliamentary tool available to them as a minority caucus to fight back!” Rob Krupicka adds, “During these tough economic times, everybody understands that there will be sacrifices, but they must be fair to working people. The middle class has taken it on the chin in this recession, we need to be working with them, not against them.”
I look forward to hearing from more Virginia Democrats on this. For now, thanks to Del. Englin and Council Member Krupicka for their statements.
P.S. More video on the “flip.”
UPDATE: Del. Charniele Herring says, “I believe this is democracy in action. We must stand together for our values-stand together for good wages, fair conditions, and ensuring that people are not exploited hard times or not.”
UPDATE #2: Excellent coverage by The Uptake.
UPDATE #3: Libby Garvey says, “It is outrageous that the Governor of Wisconsin is trying to use the fiscal difficulties that Wisconsin and many other states are facing as a pretext to destroy the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public employee unions. The Governor should drop that effort immediately, and agree to sit down across the table with the union leadership and have an open discussion of the issues.”