I want to preface this with the statement that I have never belonged to any union in any workplace. Ever. Currently I have to pay a “fee” to the union at work to cover the cost of the collective bargaining agreement that happens to cover my job as well (even though I am not a union member) but I’m fine with that – I get to enjoy most of the benefits of the CBA without actually having to become a union member. I’m not terribly fond of unions, as they are just as prone to abuse as the corporations that they find themselves opposing when it comes to workers’ rights. Just some background so that you can understand my position.
I heard a rumor today that some of the Republican representatives in my state have invited the “union-busting” asshats from Wisconsin to come speak in front of our legislature regarding trimming the budget through the elimination of collective bargaining rights. In short, they want to bust the state employees’ union here.
I hope that the word is spread far and wide, so that when these “people” show up at our state house they are met with a huge crowd of protesters. I want the word to be passed loud and clear to my state’s legislature – we WILL NOT permit union-busting tactics under the guise of “balancing the budget” to take place here in Vermont. The budget has already been trimmed enough with drastic cuts to aid programs, displaced state employees and concessions made to an already-existing CBA. If you want to trim the budget, how about our reps taking the same 3% pay cut they jammed down our throats last year? The one where our salaries were frozen for 2 years as well, without so much as a COLA?
To the Wisconsin representatives, I would simply say: Stay home and deal with YOUR OWN problems. We want you here about as much as we want the Westboro Baptist Church here (which, in case you missed it, means we don’t want you here at all, in any capacity). We’ve always managed to resolve our budget problems without outsiders coming in and telling us how to run our state – and we can STILL do it.
While I may not be a union member, the union here has always managed to force the administrations to play fair when it comes to the state employees. Sometimes not as fair as others, to be sure, but when I think of how things would have gone WITHOUT the union I get a headache.
Support your local unions in this cause, everyone. There are plenty of ways to trim the budget without doing it on the backs of the working class.