Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made the dramatic announcement on the morning of 11 February that he is prepared to call in the Wisconsin National Guard to respond if there is any unrest among state employees. In the wake of his announcement that he wants to revoke nearly all of their collective bargaining rights. Walker said he has not called the National Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any labor problems. Walker’s attacks on the union workers violated a long-held state tradition of honest collective bargaining, and his threat to call the National Guard is an unnecessary insult to the state employees.
“Although this stunningly radical move is being cloaked as a budget necessity, it is a cruel hoax because Governor Walker and the Legislature have full authority to balance the state budget without attacking the fundamental rights of workers,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “In reality this is a naked power grab by the large corporate interests that back Scott Walker and who seek unfettered control over Wisconsin politics.”
Indeed Robert Kraig is correct on this matter. Union workers losing the right to collectively bargain is not only an insult to the state workers in question, the very workers who teach the children, collect the trash, and keep the infrastructure intact; but is also an attack on all workers, including those in the private sector.
Should this measure be put into place, Wisconsin Unions will be effectively broken. Indeed, the fact that Governor Walker has already put the National Guard on alert demonstrates that should strikes break out the state will immediately use National Guard forces to break the union completely.
Given the history of times when the National Guards, or as they were called at the beginning of the 20th century, State Militia, have dealt with labor disputes, it would not surprise us if any such confrontation results in violence to the detriment of workers. Only 90 years ago, mine workers went on strike in Wyoming and West Virginia. As a result, the governments of both states called in the National Guard to wantonly murder strikers.
The American Party of Labor stands in solidarity with the public workers of Wisconsin!