Politics

Green Bay Packers Criticize WI Gov: ‘Right To Negotiate Wages And Benefits’ Is ‘Fundamental’ To Middle Class

Yesterday, ThinkProgress noted the huge backlash from Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) “budget repair bill,” which would severely limit collective bargaining and eliminate the right of unions to negotiate pensions, retirement, and benefits. When asked by a reporter what would happen if workers resist, Walker threatened to use the “National Guard” against a possible walkout.

In response to Walker’s intent to misappropriate the deployment of the National Guard in an effort to intimidate state workers, the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers released a statement today, expressing that collective bargaining is “fundamental” to the middle class:

As a publicly owned team we wouldn’t have been able to win the Super Bowl without the support of our fans. … They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. But now in an unprecedented political attack Governor Walker is trying to take away their right to have a voice and bargain at work.

The right to negotiate wages and benefits is a fundamental underpinning of our middle class. When workers join together it serves as a check on corporate power and helps ALL workers by raising community standards. Wisconsin’s long standing tradition of allowing public sector workers to have a voice on the job has worked for the state since the 1930s. It has created greater consistency in the relationship between labor and management and a shared approach to public work.

These public workers are Wisconsin’s champions every single day and we urge the Governor and the State Legislature to not take away their rights.

Knowing the Wisconsin state legislature may soon vote on Walker’s proposal, hundreds of University of Wisconsin-Madison teachers and their students marched to Walker’s Capitol Office to drop off valentines which asked the governor not to break their hearts. Today, Wisconsin public employees flooded the Capitol to protest the bill. The state employees filled the sidewalks outside the building and within the Capitol Rotunda, where a public hearing over the proposal was being held.

Rallies against the bill are planning to continue all week. The Wisconsin Democratic Party are knocking on doors, and the AFL-CIO are making phone calls to inform people of the negative effects of the bill. Wisconsin was the first state in the country to implement a collective bargaining law in 1959, so Walker’s anti-union bill not only deeply disturbs Wisconsin residents but affects the nation as a whole.

Paul Breer