While what little coverage the conservative media provides portrays the assault on working people as being focused primarily in Wisconsin and Ohio, the reality is that the battle is a national one. Fortunately, this assault has triggered a movement by progressives throughout the nation to fight back. With Defend the American Dream rallies happening throughout the country, Tuesday provides yet another opportunity for all of us to get involved in a fight we are winning.
The states colored in yellow on the map above from Maddow Blog are states in which legislation is pending that would undermine the rights of workers to collectively bargain over the wages, benefits, and working conditions. Further details on these and other attacks on workers are provided in this AFL-CIO article, which notes that:
* So-called right to work bills have been introduced in more than a dozen states, including Indiana (temporarily off the table), Maine, Michigan and Pennsylvania with Republican legislatures and governors.
* Bills attacking immigrant workers’ rights and immigrant children’s education, including many patterned after Arizona’s anti-immigrant law passed last year, have been or will soon be introduced in some 30 states, half of which are Republican controlled.
* Paycheck deception bills that would silence workers’ voices in the election process have been or soon will be introduced in nearly two dozen states, including 15 where Republicans control the legislature and hold the governor’s office, including Florida where the bill was approved by a Senate committee this morning.
* Prevailing wage laws protect communities and workers from unscrupulous contractors low-balling bids on taxpayer-funded construction projects by setting wage rates to the local or prevailing standard. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), with the support of construction industry CEOs, vows to eliminate Ohio’s prevailing wage law, and legislation has been or will soon be introduced in 19 states, including nine with dual Republican control.
* In 22 states—12 with Republican governors and legislatures—moves are under way to eliminate Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) that would hurt communities, workers and small businesses by lowering wages.
* Public school teachers and employees are fighting back against assaults in more than a dozen states, including some so-called “education reform” proposals that are thinly veiled attacks on teachers’ rights and privatization schemes.
The good news is that this conservative attack has mobilized a major progressive push back. There have now been 27 straight days of protests in Madison with hundreds to tens of thousands of people rallying in support of working people. The rally this past Saturday had at least 85,000 people at it (see pictures here), which is larger than any teabagger rally to date. In the far northern Wisconsin town of Washburn, population 2,271, as many as 5,000 people showed up to protest Gov. Walker when he visited the town recently. Meanwhile, in Iowa, state Republicans were so scared of public outcry that they shut off the switchboard for the state House on the day they were voting on anti-worker legislation.
The progressive movement in favor of working people continues on Tuesday, March 15 with Defend the American Dream rallies being held in at least 267 communities throughout the country. Go here to find a rally near you so that we can continue to make our progressive voices heard and fight back against the Koch-funded conservative attack on working people. So that more people can attend, many of the rallies are scheduled for late afternoon to early evening.
If you cannot attend a rally on Tuesday, two other ways to make your voice heard are to:
* Contact your state legislators and Governors
* Write a letter to your local newspaper. Here are links for submitting letters to the editor for national papers, and to newspapers in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
If you attend a rally or send a letter to the editor, let us know at the Winning Progressive Facebook page so that we can inspire others to take action.