Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Open Letter to My Legislators

Dear Senator Wanggaard and Representative Vos --

I am deeply distressed by Governor Walker’s threat to strip the collective bargaining rights of our public employees.

These people -- our teachers, ER nurses, 911 operators,  snow plow drivers, and others -- have given our state their best for many, many years.  To take their right to bargain collectively away from them is not just a slap in the face for all their hard work, it is just plain wrong.

Governor Walker has made a series of terrible blunders since taking office, mistakes that cost our state the good, high-paying jobs of the future -- turning down the money for high-speed rail (and the jobs and cleaner environment that would bring), turning away funding for rural broadband access, and making it more difficult to site new, efficient windmill generators among them -- and all this within 2 months of being sworn in!

This threat to our public employees is just his latest bad move, and it’s a tactic I urge you to oppose.

Certainly, during these tough times, all of us must tighten our belts and pitch in where we can for the common good.  The public employees union, as the employees themselves, agree with this.  It smacks of dictatorship to exclude these people from the talks that will affect their lives, their salaries, their benefits, and, thus, their futures.

Mr. Walker must not seek to balance Wisconsin’s budget on the backs of middle-class workers and the poor!  The benefits these people have now are ones they bargained for in good faith -- and sacrificed for  -- in the past.  It is wrong, just plain wrong, to take away those benefits, and the right to bargain for them, now or at any time in the future.

By acting unilaterally as he has threatened, Governor Walker is robbing Peter to pay Paul.  There is, in fact, no need to rob anyone.  Reasonable people can sit together across a table and come to reasonable agreements.

So, I urge you to stand up for the right of every Wisconsinite to organize and bargain collectively -- the right of all of us to seek our future together.

Because I have volunteered to teach 100+ students tomorrow in Kenosha, I will not be marching on the capital tomorrow.  But I will be with those protesters in spirit.

Since I cannot be there, I count on you to represent my interests.

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Sullivan

No comments: