If you've been anywhere near the news media this past week, you've heard something about what's going on in Wisconsin: how the governor there, after giving tax breaks that drained the state coffers, proposes to balance the budget by busting unions. Or at least that's what I'm gathering from the New York Times.
Now, I hear a lot of grief about unions from certain political factions. From what they describe, life before the Awful Unions was a golden age for everyone.
An age where all workers of all ages enjoyed clean, well-lit, airy working conditions.
When children didn't waste time in school, but enjoyed the pleasures of a working life as soon as possible.
And then there was taking work home -- what a lark! All those golden opportunities to squeeze in extra work into the wee hours of the morning.
Worker safety was of course everyone's first concern.
And of course, never was anyone laid off for life because of injury, like losing half your fingers in a machine.
Why, factory owners sometimes even insisted that workers live in factory-provided high-quality housing.
Ah, how the American worker must long for those golden days of 12 hour shifts, 6 1/2 day work weeks, being paid in scrip good only at the company store, no insurance, no pension plan... ahhh, one can fairly hear the song of freedom!
Why, even today, factories move from American shores to overseas, where the workers can still enjoy the pre-union life.
And all workers are safe and happy. Right?
Not buying that?
Yeah, neither am I.
So fight the good fight, workers of Wisconsin!
I, along with a whole lot of state workers here, will be wearing red tomorrow in solidarity. So many across this nation know they're just one vote, one governor's proclamation, one "By Gad, we're gonna bust them unions!" away from a jump onto the greased rails aiming straight back to the Industrial Revolution.
We of the AFT salute you.