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PORTSIDELABOR  February 2012, Week 2

PORTSIDELABOR February 2012, Week 2

Subject:

Walker, ALEC take war on workers national

From:

Portside Labor <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 8 Feb 2012 20:42:41 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (158 lines)

Walker, ALEC take war on workers national
JOHN NICHOLS | Cap Times associate editor |
[log in to unmask] 
http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/john_nichols/john-nichols-walker-alec-take-war-on-workers-national/article_c73b91a0-11a1-5280-8979-08c7d444157a.html


Two days after Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected Gov.
John Kasich's anti-labor agenda by 61 percent to 39
percent in a referendum, the nation's primary proponent
of the war on worker rights opened a new front.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker jetted to Arizona, where he
huddled with policymakers at the Phoenician Resort in
Scottsdale. After a series of closed-door sessions, he
briefed a thousand Arizona conservatives on how they
could attack "the big-government union bosses."
"We need to make big, fundamental, permanent structural
changes. It's why we did what we did in Wisconsin,"
declared Walker, who at the annual dinner of the
right-wing Goldwater Institute said that compromising
with unions was "bogus."
Comparing governors who have been attacking the
collective bargaining rights of public employees with
the founders of the American experiment -- "just like
that group that gathered in Philadelphia" -- Walker told
his listeners: "We need to have leaders not just in
Wisconsin but here in Arizona ..."
If anyone missed the point, Walker said: "Tonight, you
might say I'm preaching to the choir with a bunch of
fellow conservatives. ... I preach to the choir because I
want the choir to sing. So tonight I'm asking you to
sing. Tell the message in Arizona and all across America
that we can do things better."
The crowd was listening.
Last week Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer -- fresh from pointing
her finger in the face of President Obama -- and her
allies in the Republican-controlled legislature
announced that they would try to outdo the anti-labor
initiatives of Walker and Wisconsin's Republican
legislators.
And they did so in conjunction with the very people
Walker had consulted with, spoken to and urged on in
November: the Goldwater Institute.
Indeed, as Arizona's anti-labor initiative was launched,
the Goldwater Institute's website featured an image of
2011 protests at the state Capitol in Madison and a
headline speculating on whether Arizona's fight over
labor rights would be: "Bigger Than Wisconsin?"
Documents linked to the "Bigger Than Wisconsin?"
headline outlined plans to "(ban) government sector
unions from collective bargaining and entering into
collectively bargained contracts." Indeed, they
suggested, "Statistical analysis shows that if states
prohibited all forms of collective bargaining, they
could reap a total of nearly $50 billion in savings for
state and local taxpayers across the country."
Even if the argument were valid, its totalitarian
premise raises the question: How much more money could
be saved by taking away other human rights?
Urged on by Walker, Arizona Republicans are putting
questions aside and racing to implement a militant
anti-labor agenda modeled on legislation enacted last
year in Wisconsin -- and promoted by national groups such
as the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC's model legislation, revealed by the joint
Nation/Center for Media and Democracy project "ALEC
Exposed," provides conservative legislators in the
states with preapproved bills for attacks on collective
bargaining in particular and organized labor in general.
And the group has worked closely with Brewer and many
Arizona legislators, including recently ousted Arizona
Senate President Russell Pearce.
Indeed, Brewer began outlining the Arizona plan at an
ALEC meeting in December, when she declared her
intention to "reform the state's personnel system" in
order to make it easier to hire and fire public
employees.
That inspired speculation about Brewer wanting to be
"the Scott Walker of the West."
In fact, Brewer and her allies are, as the Goldwater
Institute suggests, going even further than Walker did.
The legislation introduced by the governor's allies in
the state Senate would, according to an Arizona Republic
blog:
"* Make it illegal for government bodies to collectively
bargain with employee groups. Public safety unions would
be included in the ban.
"* End the practice of automatic payroll deductions for
union dues.
"* Ban compensation of public employees for union work.
"Wisconsin's collective bargaining law enacted last year
made unions effectively irrelevant by limiting issues
that could be bargained by a government and an employee
group. Arizona's bills would do away with collective
bargaining entirely and also go beyond Wisconsin law by
including public safety unions.
"Coupled with Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to do away with
civil service protections for state employees, the new
legislation could make Arizona ground zero for union
protests during this election year."
The Goldwater Institute's Nick Dranias is expecting
success.
"In Arizona, we believe that the political will exists
to do even more comprehensive reform," Dranias said.
"The environment, the climate that we face in Arizona is
much more receptive to these kinds of reforms than
Wisconsin is."
Arizona is a so-called "right to work" state, where
protections for private sector workers are weaker, and
Republican legislative majorities in Arizona are bigger.
Both those factors may make Brewer's work easier than
Walker's in Wisconsin.
But, for all the talk of how Arizona is "more receptive"
to assaults on collective bargaining rights than
Wisconsin, the states have one thing in common.
Like Wisconsin, Arizona allows for the recall of the
governor and members of the legislature. Indeed,
Arizonans recently used that power to vote out Pearce,
the architect of the state's draconian anti-immigrant
legislation.
In Wisconsin, more than 1 million voters have signed
petitions supporting the recall of Walker.
Just as Walker guided Arizona conservatives toward a
more militantly anti-labor agenda than that of
Wisconsin, so the coalition of labor, farm and community
activists that has formed the Wisconsin recall movement
can guide their Arizona compatriots toward a proper
response. If Brewer and her allies persist in trying to
out-Walker Scott Walker, then Arizona progressives may
find that they too will spell relief R-E-C-A-L-L.
John Nichols is the associate editor of The Capital
Times. Follow Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.
[log in to unmask]


Read more:
http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/
john_nichols/john-nichols-walker-alec-take-war-on-
workers-national/article_c73b91a0-11a1-5280-8979-
08c7d444157a.html#ixzz1lqQZgvfd

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PortsideLabor aims to provide material of interest to
people on the left that will help them to interpret the
world and to change it.

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