Students and workers will rally tonight at the Utah State Capitol in solidarity with the teachers and other public sector workers who lost their rights to effectively bargain for better job conditions when the governor signed a controversial law ending collective bargaining.
Utah has been abuzz with rallies and protests this last month, so much so that even I have had a hard time keeping up. Most you probably feel the same or worse--at least it's good energy, people power.
Tonight's Capitol Hill rally, writes labor representative Julie Holzer in an e-mail to union members, is about the future of the middle class nationwide.
Her impassioned e-mail asks rank-and-file union members to join with the Revolutionary Student Union, which organized tonight's rally with others, to avoid a future United States that functions more like Mexico, where workers have little standing to negotiate with corporate entities for better wages and working conditions, and are thus exploited.
Salt Lake City is fortunate to have a group of young people (the Revolutionary Student Union) who pay attention to the ongoing evolution of society in our world. They know we are on a path that does not seek to protect you and your families from the corporate agenda, an agenda which seeks to consolidate wealth into the hands of an elite few. These young people are dedicated to fight for economic and social justice for all of us who work for wages so we can support our families.
These young people believe that the injustice Wisconsin is one more step towards corporate dominance of American working families. They believe the wealth and bounty produced by those who create it, should be shared.
I appreciate this may be out of your comfort zone, but these young people speak with passion and determination. They are motivated and perhaps will lead our children to take back that which has been taken away from middle class Americans.
You have all been affected by this. Every time we go to the bargaining table, our employers want concessions. They demand changes to enhance their bottom line. You all know this. We feel powerless in the face of corporate demands. The workers in Wisconsin offered concessions to address the state's economic deficit yet that was not enough. Now those public workers no longer have a voice to bargain over working conditions, vacations, holidays, the grievance procedure which allows us to object to management decision as equals.
The Wisconsin take away has embolden other states to follow suit.
Many of us say enough is enough; many do not even pay attention.
Change requires action, not complaint. These young people are the start of a movement which should be a reminder of our union heritage that many have forgotten.
I encourage you to attend this rally even though their beliefs may seem foreign to your own. At the end of the day we all want the same thing. We want our children to live without fear of having enough food to eat, or safe and comfortable shelter, clean water, safe streets, dignity and justice. We want them to have vacations and time to enjoy what they have earned. Without quality educations and good jobs, opportunity and options disappear.
Look across our border to Mexico; workers are exploited because they do not have tools to take their rightful place in Mexican society. They do not have a place at the table. Many live in squalor and fear for their lives.
That is not what I want for my children and their children. The organizers of this rally look to take action for change. They deserve our respect.
I am unable to forward their flyer, but the rally will be tomorrow (Tuesday)at 6:00 PM on the south steps of the capitol. Bring a sign, an open mind and your solidarity with all workers.
Link and italics mine.
If you haven't been following the news in Madison, more than 100,000 people protested this weekend in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's bill, which eliminates collective bargaining rights for most public sector workers.Younger Utahns might not even know what that means. Collective bargaining is the right of workers to coordinate with their co-workers to present a united front to management when negotiating working conditions (safety equipment, for example), hours and wages (The Labor Movement: the people who brought you the weekend), and management decisions.
It was not just "public sector employees" (a sterile term used purposefully by those targeting those workers that helps the public forget that we're talking about teachers, police and fire fighters) that rallied in Madison over the weekend. Check out this video from an old college buddy of mine, Tony Schultz, who I haven't seen in nearly a decade (he and I were undergrads at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the same time). He's a family farmer now and, in the video below, explains why hundreds of family farmers marched on Madison in solidarity with the teachers and thousands of others.