AFL-CIO Leader Calls Passage of Wisconsin Collective Bargaining BillThursday, March 10, 2011
Saying Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Senate Republicans participated in "an absolute corruption of democracy," AFL-CIO Leader Richard Trumka suggests unions and activists should use this "Wisconsin moment" to transform anger into activism.
Trumka was referring to the move made Wednesday night by Wisconsin's Republican-controlled Senate to separate collective bargaining restrictions from the state's budget bill so they could be passed without Democrats who left the state and went on the lam to avoid a vote. Since a quorum is only needed for spending matters, the collective bargaining aspect of the bill passed with Democrats still missing.
"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," Trumka said.
But he also thanked Walker, joking that "We probably should have invited him today to receive the mobilizer of the year award from us."
Speaking to the left-wing group, Campaign for America's future, Trumka said the Wisconsin protests have ignited a debate that labor has waited decades to start. He also said labor is winning that debate despite the Wisconsin legislature's moves.
"It's our job, each and every one of us, it's our job to transform the outrage and to make this moment a movement, to make sure this corruption in the Midwest doesn't stand," Trumka said.
Walker has held to his assertion that to reform government and get spending under control in Wisconsin, the state must change the way it does business with labor unions. He proposed the moves to fill a $137 million budget gap. In a press conference Thursday, Walker said he plans to sign the newly-passed collective bargaining bill "as soon as possible."