From Mary Bell, WEAC president:
By Mary Bell
This evening I stood shoulder to shoulder with AFSCME Council 40 Executive Director Rick Badger in response to the state governor’s attack on public workers. The following is a statement I released to the press:
“We know these are tough times and we have made it clear to the governor and legislators that we are prepared to do our part to help our state recover. This isn’t about protecting pay and benefits – it’s about protecting the right to collectively bargain. That’s what’s being stripped away here – the rights to be represented.
“Wisconsin has a tradition that respects the value of work and the individual workers. Governor Walker in a few short days will have destroyed our traditions and imposed his values on all of us. That’s not how we do it in Wisconsin.
“Without a voice in the schools, without rights to speak up on behalf of students and the education profession, educators are concerned about the future.
“Thousands of teachers and education support professionals have flooded the Capitol this week, raising their voices against a plan to throw out 60 years of labor-management peace.
“Our union is calling all Wisconsinites who are able, to come to the Capitol on Thursday and Friday and stand beside your neighbors, family and friends to help our voices be heard.
“If you can’t get to the Capital, go to your place of worship – and pray. Pray about what kind of a state you want to live with, what kind of state you want for your children.
“Our goal is not to close schools, but to instead to remain vigilant in our efforts to be heard.
“Wisconsin’s governor and Legislature have denied opportunity for discussion and collaboration. By stripping away the rights of workers, they’ve left nothing more than one’s ability to have a voice and to stand together and say this is wrong for Wisconsin.”
The response–which, in reality, began 3 days ago. This reporter makes it sound like this is the first day the capitol has been packed. It’s been packed since Monday like this: