The progressive outcry in Madison and elsewhere that was triggered more than three weeks ago by the Koch-funded conservative attack on public employees has turned into a sustained movement fighting for working people. Hundreds to thousands of people have continued to rally in state capitols and other cities throughout America, and more rallies are planned for this week and beyond. In Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber spoke to a rally attended by more than 700 people on Monday and vowed that collective bargaining rights would be protected in his state. The folks at CNN, Fox “News,” and the rest of the networks might not want you to know it, but we are the majority and we are winning this battle.
Let’s keep up the pressure so that we win this battle, and The past few weeks have seen levels of sustained progressive organizing that have not been experienced in America for a number of years. Now is the time for all of us should get involved to keep this critical fight for public employees, unions, the middle class, and the progressive movement in America going. Below are ways for you to learn about the issues and take action – if you know of other rallies, etc. to add to the list, please let us know at our Facebook page.
LEARN ABOUT THE ISSUE
Here is an interesting article from McClatchy News about how public employee pensions are NOT bankrupting states.
Here are some fact sheets and reports from the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association comparing private and public sector compensation and explaining why it is factually wrong to blame public employees and their unions for budgetary problems that states are facing.
Here is Paul Krugman’s great New York Times column explaining the political power play that is behind the GOP’s attack on public employees and their unions.
Legislation: Tea party Republican Governor, and Medicare fraudster, Rick Scott has proposed a budget that includes lowering corporate and property taxes while cutting $1.75 billion in education spending, reducing state employee pensions and teacher pay, and cutting Medicaid spending.
Status: The Florida legislature starts a 60-day session on Tuesday, March 8 at which Gov. Scott’s budget proposal will be on the agenda.
* Contact Florida State Senators and House members
* Attend a Rally:
Rallies to oppose Gov. Scott’s budget cuts will occur in Miami, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tampa, and throughout Florida on Tuesday, March 8. Find the rally closest to you at Awake the State.
Legislation: A string of bills targeting public employees, including limits on teachers’ ability to collectively bargain and a permanent ban on the ability of future governors to allow for collective bargaining with state employees.
* Contact Indiana state legislators
* Contact Governor Mitch Daniels – 317-232-4567
* Attend a Rally:
Indianapolis – Thursday, March 10 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Legislation: Senate Bill 5 would eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in the state
Status: SB 5 passed the Senate, 17-16, after the GOP had to remove two of its own pro-labor Republican Senators from committees that voted on the legislation.
On Tuesday at noon, Governor Kasich gives his State of the State speech where he is expected to continue his attack on public employees and their unions. At 4p.m. that same day, the Ohio House starts its first hearing on SB 5.
* Contact members of Ohio House of Representatives
* Write a letter to your local newspaper editor – links to newspapers available here
* Attend the State of the State Rally:
Tuesday, March 8 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Statehouse in Columbus
Visit the Facebook page for the rally
Legislation: Gov. Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill” would, among other things, eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees
Status: Legislation pending in State Senate but cannot be voted on because 14 Democratic Senators have fled to Illinois, thereby preventing the Senate from having a quorum. Democrats and unions have offered a number of compromises, but Gov. Walker refuses to budge.
Rallies are continuing throughout the state, and another large rally is planned for Saturday in Madison
* Contact your state legislator
* Write a letter to your local newspaper - links available here
* Support the effort to recall eight Republicans Senators who support Walker’s anti-labor legislation. Democrats need to pick up only three seats to gain a majority in the state Senate. Information on canvassing this weekend to collect signatures in support of the recall effort is available here.
* Attend a Rally:
Here is a list of rallies occurring in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Racine, La Crosse, and numerous other towns throughout Wisconsin this week.
Madison – on Saturday, March 12 at 3 p.m., there will be another major rally organized at the State Capitol. Schedules for buses from throughout the state are being put together and will be posted here.
Waupun – on Thursday, March 10 at 4:45 p.m., there will be a workers’ rights rally and march starting at the Rock River Intermediate School, 451 E. Spring Street. Thank to reader Fitz for sharing this rally with us.
Legislation: The State legislature is consider a bill that would eliminate 770 teaching positions, increase class sizes, and try to move students to on-line classes by giving them a laptop. Other legislation would weaken collective bargaining rights of teachers and begin to implement “performance-based” pay policies.
Status: The bill proposing to eliminate 770 teachers and replace them with on-line classes was sent back to committee in the state Senate, but is moving forward in the state House.
* Contact members of the Idaho state legislature
* Write a letter to your local newspaper editor – links to Idaho newspapers available here
* Support the students who are protesting these proposals, and join the students who are walking out of their classes
* Contact your state legislators and Governors
* Write a letter to your local newspaper editor -
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, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
* Attend a Rally:
Tuesday, March 15 – noon
Tuesday, March 15 – 4:30 p.m.
Houston City Hall