Posted by: Catherine Lugg | February 20, 2011

In honor of the Wisconsin public employees…

I come from a “union family” on my mom’s side (teachers and coal miners). Unions are why we have a 40-hour work week, paid vacations, and a ban on child labor. The Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker has declared war on the teachers’ unions by trying to strip them of their right to collective bargaining. Not surprisingly, Scott has received significant funding from the Koch brothers, who are extremely anti-union.

The data are clear: When and where unions are strong in the US, you have stronger middle class families. Where they are weak, typically in states with a history of coerced labor (see Old South and Slavery), you have a smaller middle class.  Furthermore, MOST Americans would join a union if they had the opportunity. While SOME corporations might benefit from anti-union sentiment, the state and nation as a whole fare far worse when employee unions are weak–or non-existent.

Below is a CLASSIC ad from 1981. While sound quality leaves something to be desired, the sentiment is spot on.  All of us need to help our labor sisters and brothers in Wisconsin–the birthplace of public employee unions. If we don’t defend labor now, there won’t be an organized labor movement.

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