The head of the largest federation of unions in the United States, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, jokingly thanked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Thursday for igniting an impassioned debate on workers’ rights.
“Well, thank you, Scott Walker,” Trumka said during a speech in Washington, DC to the group Campaign for America’s Future. “We should have invited him here today to receive the Mobilizer of the Year award! Because Gov. Walker’s over-reaching has brought us to this moment to talk about jobs. This is the debate we’ve wanted to have. Well, guess what? Suddenly the debate came to us, and we’re winning.”
“In your lifetime, have you ever seen this much solidarity, this much excitement, this much activism?” he continued. “As progressives, it is our job to transform the outrage and make this moment a movement – to ensure that this corruption in the Midwest does not stand.”
“Last night Scott Walker and his Republican tools in Wisconsin showed just how far they’re willing to go to pay back their corporate donors,” he said. “Destroy the rights of nurses, teachers, snow plow drivers and EMTs? Done. Blow up the constitution and state law to take away those rights? Absolutely.”
The bill to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights was passed by a 53 to 42 vote in the Wisconsin Assembly and will now head to Gov. Walker’s office to be signed into law.
Trumka said the massive protests that erupted in Wisconsin because of the bill were the result of Americans being “pushed to the brink” by intense fear and anger about employment.
“We have been in a jobless recovery,” he said. “And into the economic pain and the political vacuum stepped the corporate-powered right wing and its politicians—using insecurity and fear to divide us. To pit worker against worker, to blame an economic crisis caused by Wall Street on teachers and the immigrant poor.”
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010,
and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs
of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University.
Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.