April 2011

IBEW, Working Families Unite Against Widespread Anti-Worker Attacks

index.html Home    Print    Email

Go to www.ibew.org

In Wisconsin, tens of thousands of working people and their allies have taken on an epic fight against Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers.

Sadly, he is no rogue operator. This year a crop of new hyper-partisan governors and state lawmakers took office, often by razor-thin margins, capitalizing on voter malaise and a weak economy.

Last year was the first election that was influenced by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which lifted corporate limits on campaign spending. The vehemence of the attacks on working Americans rose in direct proportion.

Corporate lobbyists and anti-worker special interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Builders and Contractors invested a record amount of money to elect politicians who were committed to doing their bidding at the expense of middle-class families.

In Wisconsin, Koch Industries was one of the largest contributors to Walker's campaign. The Kochs' interest in curtailing the power of labor unions is no secret. Koch Industries is also behind one of the largest anti-worker lobbyist organizations, Americans for Prosperity, and a major source of income for most of the other prominent right-wing groups and think tanks.

In Ohio and Florida, Koch allies Govs. John Kasich and Rick Scott are also committed to slashing bargaining rights for public workers, while lawmakers in 14 states are trying to ram through right-to-work legislation.

At a time when the American people want lawmakers to make jobs their No. 1 focus, some state officials are going after the hard-earned rights of working families, using the recession and state budgetary woes as a cover for their partisan agenda.

While politicians are spinning their attacks on public workers as a budget issue, chipping away at workers' rights and decent working standards keeps our economy on the wrong path, adding to the nation's financial problems.

There are already signs that many of these anti-worker politicians have overreached. Walker's approval ratings have dropped to record lows, while a statewide recall effort against those state senators who supported his anti-worker attacks is quickly gaining momentum.

As you can read in this issue of the Electrical Worker, Walker, Kasich and other lawmakers have sparked an unprecedented movement among working people, bringing tens of thousands of people into the streets and state capitols across the country.

The fight is far from over. Rallies continue to be held across the country to push back against the attacks. Check the list of resources in this issue to see how you can get involved.

"Every IBEW member needs to tell their lawmakers that the top legislative priority has to be jobs," says International President Edwin D. Hill. "This is a fight we all have a stake in."

Read more: Wisconsin Ground Zero for Attacks on Workers

Read more: Ohio Workers Stand Up to Anti-Worker Legislation

Read more: New Hampshire: 'The Toughest Fight Yet'

Read more: Florida Workers: Standing Together

Read more: Indiana Right-to-Work Effort Derailed by Labor Pushback

Read more: Meanwhile, Back in Washington, D.C.:
GOP Plan Calls for Gutting Rights, Slashing Jobs

Read more: Activists Keep up the Pressure on Michigan Lawmakers

Read more: Maine Workers Tell Gov.:
'We Need Good Jobs, Not Partisan Attacks'

IBEW members were among the thousands who protested against anti-worker legislation in Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user wisaflcio.

Resources for
IBEW Activists

Where to go to get involved and
stay up-to-date

We Are One
Americans will be rallying across the country the first week of April in support of workers' rights. Go to the Web site to find an action near you.

States of Denial
An online resource for grassroots activists.

Progressive States Network
An organization committed
to promoting pro-worker, progressive legislation in
all 50 states.

Economic Policy Institute���
A nonpartisan think tank focused on the needs of working people.

The latest updates from IBEW members across the country
in the battle to defend workers' rights.

IBEW Facebook Page
Connect with over 15,000 IBEW members across the country.