By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Wisconsin Republican Governor Walker is trying to end collective bargaining for public sector unions in his state. He claims, it’s to help balance the state budget. He states, it has nothing to do with the fact that public sector unions generally back democrat candidates. If he’s not lying one would wonder why Walker’s proposal lets police and firefighter unions retain their collective bargaining rights even though their taxpayer-supported pensions are some of the most generous in the state. We’re suppose to believe it’s just a coincidence most of the police and firefighter unions supported Walker in the last election. Police and firefighter unions tend to endorse more conservative candidates, like Walker.
It should come as no surprise, there’s a provision in Walker’s new budget bill that would allow the state to sell or contract out any state-owned energy asset in no-bid deals with private corporations. Can you say, “This one is for you private energy Koch Brothers Corporation.” The Koch brothers gave Walker $43,000 in contributions and spent millions for attack ads against Walker’s democrat opponent. If you want to see what the Koch Brothers are up to and what front groups they operate see this video.
Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union, sent a message to the Governor’s office agreeing to the cuts to pension & welfare benefits sought by Walker in his bill. The governor’s response was “nothing doing.” That’s because it’s not about balancing Wisconsin’s budget it’s about breaking the union. In 2009, Connecticut public employee unions agreed to $702 million in givebacks. Ohio workers have given back $440 million, NY also $440 million, and $231 million in New Jersey. That doesn’t matter because the governors and other politicians in those states and others states want to break public sector unions. Conservative politicians want to destroy all public sectors and privatize them to pay back their corporate contributors. You can bet when the public sector jobs are outsourced to the private sector they will be kept union free.
Gov. Walker was tricked into a phone call by someone imitating David Koch. You will hear what a toadie Walker is for the Koch brothers. Listen to parts one and two here.
Public sector workers in Ohio are under attack by Governor John Kasich. Ironically enough, Kasich’s father worked for the government as a union mail carrier. As one, he and his family got those taxpayer-funded compensation packages and benefits that raised John and paid for his college. You know, those same benefits he wants to deny Ohio government workers.
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, shows Koch Industries is one of the nation’s top 10 polluters/emitters. The Koch’s operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. While it would be hard to boycott their oil and gas products, they have consumer products that could be boycotted. They own Georgia-Pacific products which makes the following paper products: Quilted Northern, Soft’n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Sparkle, Vanity Fair, Zee, Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper, and Dixie cups. They are one of the largest plywood sellers with their Georgia-Pacific lumber division. They also market Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra.
Another long time anti-union company is Coors Beer who makes: Coors Beer , Killians Beer and owns part of Millers and Molson Beer. Joseph Coors helped start the right-wing think tank, The Heritage Foundation in 1973. Heritage fights against environmental laws, unions and anything else that puts people before corporate profits. The Koch brothers and Walton family give generously to Heritage.
The Walton family owns Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club and are one of the biggest contributors to the GOP. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club do not allow unions. Previous attempts to form unions have been shut down. The Walton family has long been interested in starting private schools. The family donates millions of dollars a year to anti-public education reform and funds vouchers to private schools. The late John Walton was the biggest paycheck in the anti-public education movement, providing tens of millions of dollars of his own money to support anti-public education ballot initiatives and organizations and sitting on the boards of the major pro-voucher organizations. “The Walton family dedicates the bulk of its philanthropy to pushing vouchers, tuition tax credits and charter schools, giving at least $250 million to such efforts over the past six years.” (USA Today, 3/11/04) If you work in public education why would you do business with a company that wants to put you out of business?
Greedy corporations and Wall Street have wrecked our economy. We bailed them out and they gave themselves bonuses and laughed at us. Now workers are being told they are the problem with the economy. Many corporations are behind funding conservative politicians to do their corporate bidding. That is to break the public sector unions and privatize these sectors so that the corporations can own them. These greedy corporations already own many of our politicians and now they want to own our country.
We have two options. One is to recall these governors. The other option, is to boycott these corporations. A closed purse or a closed wallet is the only thing that will get these corporations attention. Is doing business with the above companies worth losing everything your unions have fought for? Is it worth watching more and more of our middle-class disappear?
Pete Seeger: Solidarity Forever
Dropkick Murphys: Workers Song
“All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms is treason. If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool. There is no America without labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other.” –Abraham Lincoln