Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Enemy Before Us

In a previous post I wrote about the GOP’s strategy to go the birth place of union activities and begin dismantling workers’ rights and protections. There is a war going on but unions and progressives aren't paying attention.

We’ve seen how the GOP in Wisconsin dismantled public employees’ bargaining rights. Now the GOP is going into Maine, the birthplace of the oldest child labor laws, and seeking to weaken the law that protect children form exploitation. Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, wants all workers younger than 20 years of age to make less than minimum wage. He wants to increase the work week for teens from 20 hours to 24 a week and increase the work hours on a school night from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. The pay would be whatever the employer determined for the first 180 days of employment. After 180 days, the employer could conceivably fire the teen and hire new teens for 180 days again.

The common thread is that these two states are birthplaces of the labor laws: public employees union rights and the other is child labor laws. If a union or a common working person were to appeal these decisions all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no way the highest court, as it is now stacked, would vote in favor of the rights of unions or working people.

The GOP, motivated by greed, is not messing around. They are not going to stop until all workers work for less than minimum wage and no benefits and no way to get to the bargaining table. It might be too late to stop them. We might have to start all over again, but I’m not sure we have the money or the will to do it now. The will may come when we’re forced to camp out in the woods in a tent -- if we’re lucky enough to have one. Our children and grandchildren are looking at us and wondering what kind of parents and grandparents we are if we can’t provide better for them. We might try to fight back, but for now we’re getting our asses kicked and some aren’t even aware of what they’re losing or that the more unions lose, the more we all lose in the end. Just look at the Record Searchlights’ front page of the Sunday, April 24, addition, there for a lack of a few paychecks could be us.

Do you, union workers, know that there is a newspaper devoted to breaking our union and bargaining rights? It covers Shasta, Butte and Siskiyou counties. In this paper we union workers are vilified by our own neighbors and some businesses. They call our union workers communists, socialists, fascists, radical political thugs and pawns of union bosses - even though we elect our union bosses. This is what the tea party members write in their newspaper, the Constitutional Compass. We need to read this rag for to know our enemy and ourselves we will win our battles. They outline their battle plan within the pages of their little newspaper. Most of their ideas and comments are recycled from right-wing think tanks, Fox News, and Judson Phillips’ blog.

I can’t believe that attorney Pete Peters, who sits on the board of the Shasta District Fair, would listen to a nut job like Phillips. Search the Internet to get an idea of what we’re up against.

In reading this newspaper there is no doubt that the right-wing GOP has declared war on us, the working folks, a surprise unprovoked attack by politicians who lied their way into getting elected as governors and legislators.