Bargaining power minimized

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By MAtthew Dziak / Asst. Opinions Editor

Labor woes (Ivan Crystal / Illustrator )

By MAtthew Dziak / Asst. Opinions Editor

After riding high on the glorious victory The Green Bay Packers had in the Super Bowl, many Wisconsin public workers now feel left out in the cold; not because of the frigid weather but rather because of the proposed economic bill that aims to narrow the negotiating power of certain unions.

The proposed budget that Governor Scott Walker and other Republican legislatures endorse involves a dramatic scale back on collective bargaining agreements in order to fill the $137 billion state deficit, and it diminishes the ability for the unions to negotiate a fair, yet realistic deal.

The measure would make it impossible for public sector employees to debate over their base salary and nothing else.

Walker believes that throwing the rights of the union workers in the dirt will help the state improve in the coming few years.

In spite of this new development in Wisconsin’s legislature, over 70,000 union workers and supporters protested at the Capitol Square for nine days.

In response, the Democratic state senators and legislatures staged a walkout and vacated the state in order to delay the passage of the bill.

One shortcoming of this event is that the Republican majority refuses to hold any debates or negotiations on this bill, and would rather cast their votes in favor.

The unions were created to improve working conditions, pay, benefits and in short, to keep the corporation from overworking and underpaying its employees to gain a quick profit.

Firefighters and certain law enforcement workers supported Governor Walker’s campaign in which he was elected after a long standing democratic incumbent.

Ironically, these firefighters and law enforcement workers, who are also union public employees, will not be affected by the bill and their collective bargaining rights will not be diminished.

Teachers and union workers of the AFL-CIO will be the ones who will endure the burden of budget cuts.

Not by a decrease in pay or an alteration in their benefits, but rather a complete removal of their rights as workers to negotiate a labor deal that would be fair to the workers and satisfy the necessary budget cuts.

The workers have the leverage to go on strike and refuse to work until the state grants them the opportunity to negotiate a deal.

However, their fate looks grim as they have already agreed to paying more toward pension and health coverage, which essentially means a cut in pay by seven percent.

 The collective bargaining agreements give the union workers and opportunity to negotiate for certain necessary benefits or increase in salary to negate high inflation and cost of living.

In a time after a economic collapse and a need to trim budget gaps, the state of Wisconsin has targeted these workers’ rights in an attempt to create terms that would only satisfy the government and their budgetary concerns.

The Republican Party swears that that they will not raise taxes to generate revenue, instead they would rather strip the rights of certain union workers to create their form of a forced agreement. and get their way.

The laissez faire ideology of the Republican Party is contradicted by this new bill.

Its only motive is to generate revenues by cutting salary and benefits to workers such as their hospitalization, paid vacation time, as well as base salary.

One possible reform would be the ability for those who work in unions to have similar coverage, co-pays, prescription costs and monthly dues that the private sector workers already pay.

 Salary would not be affected nor paid time off, but there would be a similar system for these union workers to receive health care coverage.

Caught in the middle of this back-and-forth between the Republican and Democratic parties are the citizens of Wisconsin, who face an uphill battle with the government who seeks to deny them a voice to protest or a somber future without proper benefits.

What allows a postal worker to have better benefits and have to pay less in medical coverage or insurance than a web page designer?

What makes the firefighters more valuable than teachers?

Both do a great service to their community and are essential to the basic functioning of each community.

If citizens all have equal rights, then everyone should have equal coverage in regards to medicine, despite anyone’s career choice.

This is the basis for the ideas proposed by the Obama administration in regards to nationwide health care coverage.

Regardless, the insurance companies that charge monthly dues for medical benefits end up with a profit and are usually the ones who donate and endorse campaigns for certain politicians across this free nation.

 Corporations and their lobbyists are the driving force in this glutinous affair that is taking place.

These conglomerates pay for campaigns, traveling expenses, and lavish vacations for these political puppets in a nice suit, cheap smile and clean shave who then carry out bills and laws that would profit the corporations.

Instead of cutting back on wages and benefits for certain public employees, wealthy politicians and business executives should not  be the ones to receive greater tax cuts, which Walker seems content to do as he blatantly attacks the middle class.

Those who are dependent on welfare, or government subsides should have to complete basic community services if they cannot find a job.

 Mooching off of the welfare system and breeding citizens to receive aid through tax revenue without having to earn it should be reformed.

As a nation predicated on freedom, we can choose a career in any field desired, yet certain benefits and opportunities in public services, subsidized by a corrupt hierarchy of greed driven politicians are diminishing, leave many new graduates seeking opportunities in other careers.  

Without the job benefits, how will these public service fields ever be filled?

Walker’s unreasonable budget cuts leave one to wonder how he plans to operate a state with the union workforce rallying against  his outright aggressive assault on   the rights they are entitled to.

With the local government only interested in protecting its own interests, it is imperative that the workers of Wisconsin bond  together and keep fighting to stop the onslaught of injustice and  secure their job benefits and to let it be known that the government serves its people.

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