Since we last wrote, the situation in Madison has come to a standstill as Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker and Democratic members of the State Assembly have faced each other off to a temporary draw. Until at least one Democratic member of the Assembly returns from Illinois, Walker’s legislation “ to remove all public employees (except police and fire) from collective bargaining “ will undoubtedly remain in limbo.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of union supporters have gathered daily at the Wisconsin state capital.
In Boston and throughout the country there have been support rallies. A rally last Tuesday at the Massachusetts State House drew a few thousand opponents to Gov. Walker’s legislation. A rally this past Saturday drew even more people.
Perhaps 150 or so BTU members (see Boston Herald report) attended the first rally last Tuesday, where they heard a variety of union leaders and activists from both the public and the private sector along with some politicians speak in opposition to Gov. Walker’s proposal. Our own Allison Doherty-Lacasse “ a West Roxbury high school teacher “ spoke and did a great job.
In what many termed a surprise, Gov. Patrick was invited to speak at the rally. His comments that Massachusetts educational reform was negotiated with teacher unions in contrast to Gov. Walker’s overt attempt to negotiate around teachers struck many in the crowd as “ well “ a stretch of the truth.
However, the mood in the crowd was positive, as attendees recognized that conditions in Massachusetts are much, much better for unions right now than they are in Wisconsin. At the same time, we all recognize that the Mayor, the Governor and the Speaker of the Massachusetts House each wish to remove health coverage from the collective bargaining process.