SEATTLE (Aug. 21, 2013) — Since The Stand first reported that controversial Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) would be headlining a Seattle fundraiser for a local right-wing think tank, the Washington State Labor Council and the M.L. King County Labor Council have been inundated with calls and emails from people — both inside and outside the labor movement — asking whether a protest is planned. The answer is yes.
Join with union members, environmental and community activists, local businesses and others who plan to send a message to Scott Walker and his right-wing supporters that his divisive anti-labor, job-killing, environment-damaging policies aren’t welcome in Washington state. The event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 outside the Seattle Sheraton Hotel, 1400 6th Ave. Download the event flier, spread the word and make plans to attend, and bring your signs and banners!
The Sept. 5 event is sponsored by the M.L. King County Labor Council PAC Committee. For more information, contact email Dianne Gross or call her at 206-441-7102 or the MLKCLC at 206-441-8510.
The Washington Policy Center, a corporate-funded conservative think tank with close ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), invited Gov. Walker to its 2013 annual fundraising dinner in Seattle on Thursday night, Sept. 5. Alongside state Rep. Jan Angel (R-Bremerton), WPC President Dann Mead Smith is Washington state co-chair of ALEC, the controversial “corporate bill mill” that has pushed Stand Your Ground laws like Florida’s, discriminatory voter-identification legislation, and anti-union “right-to-work” (for less) legislation across the nation.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Dann has written to tell us that he is no longer co-chair of ALEC.)
Gov. Walker has become a hero of right-wing anti-labor conservatives for passing legislation in his state known as Act 10. When the recession hit, rather than renegotiate state contracts — as Wisconsin state employees offered to do and as happened in many other states, including Washington — Walker fought to pass Act 10, which took away collective bargaining rights from state employees. The unrest and protests over Gov. Walker’s politically inspired, Koch brothers-backed actions dominated national news for months.
Since that time, Walker has also refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, rolled back Clean Water Protections in his state, passed tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy while slashing his state’s budget for schools and health care, and implemented austerity policies that have stifled the economy of Wisconsin.
Walker is on a national tour to promote this fall’s release of his book entitled Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge and is rumored to be considering a presidential bid in 2016. Recently, Walker even likened himself to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a claim that Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt called “laughably delusional.”
The truth is, he’s the anti-FDR. His dramatic disinvestment in state and local government and his attack on bargaining rights stand in direct contrast to FDR’s legacy of job-creating public investment and respect for workers’ rights. Also unlike FDR, Walker has a horrible record on job creation, as reflected in this chart based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
By imposing austerity all-cuts budgets at both the state and local levels of government, Walker’s Wisconsin has lagged behind the rest of the U.S. in job creation, prolonging the recession for his state’s unemployed.
Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, said this about Walker’s latest parade of bad ideas.
It’s time for Gov. Walker to stop showboating for the National Governors Association and get real about bringing good times to Wisconsin. Any expansion of Act 10 is an expansion of a reckless policy that divides workers and cripples workers’ rights on the job. The right to collective bargaining is essential and gives workers in both the public and private sector a shot at the middle class. Collective bargaining allows workers to speak up about unsafe work conditions, inadequate or faulty work equipment and the most efficient way to serve our communities.
Gov. Walker is no Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Wisconsin knows it. FDR brought us out of the Great Depression with strong investment in workers and jobs programs that worked. Scott Walker is drowning in a jobs deficit and to compare himself to FDR is laughably delusional.
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