Eugene T. Paslov: The tidal wave of reaction – Wisconsin
I generally don’t believe in political conspiracy theories. Most politicians are not focused enough to be able to plan and make the conspiracy work over time. In addition, conspirators must keep the entire plan secret, at least for a time. I don’t think political conspiracy theories work; but then I may be wrong.
I thought it was strange when Gov. Brian Sandoval decided, while still in campaign mode, to attack unions.
Nevada does not have a strong union movement, although the teachers’ union – Nevada State Education Association – has developed a resourceful voice in protecting teachers’ rights. Other unions have worked hard to give their members a voice in the political arena, but we still are a “right to work” state and are generally unsympathetic to organized labor.
The governor went after teacher unions. He attacked the tenure, advocated vouchers and demanded state and local employee unions take draconian reductions.
There appears to be much misinformation about public employee wage and benefits, with little attempt to determine the actual facts. For example, wages tend to be lower for public employees, who are generally better educated than comparable workers in the private sector. Benefits are about the same as those in the private sector with some variations. To date there has been little negotiation. Why so rigid?
Apparently Republican governors have a plan. Some ideological Republican governors are focused on dismantling public sector unions specifically. Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker is the first to take action at passing laws to undo public sector unions.
Along with his newly elected Republican state legislative majority, they have mindlessly blamed Wisconsin’s budget shortfall on the collective
bargaining rights of public employees.
Wisconsin Republican legislators themselves caused much of the problem with tax breaks for their corporate friends. Now 100,000 people have descended on Madison demanding the governor talk with the aggrieved parties. Gov. Walker refuses. He’s intent on destroying collective bargaining. And the neo-con billionaire Koch brothers also are now involved. Why?
Public employee unions still are able to raise money, usually for Democrats. The conservative Supreme Court allowed Citizens United to become law. International Corporations (Koch brothers) are now able to secretly contribute unlimited funds to their favorite political party – mostly Republicans.
No limits. No accountability. Corporate America is free to buy our nation’s policy makers.
Now with the unions destroyed, corporations run roughshod over workers. A conspiracy?
Anti-union Republicans/corporation conspirators: 10; middle-class workers: 0.
• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the former Nevada superintendent of schools.