Friend of the show and committed Wisconsin public school teacher, Susan Stern, shares her personal experiences and thoughts on Governor Walker’s “anti-labor” bill.
Who’s Opposed to Governor Walker’s Bill?
By: Susan Stern
The residents of Wisconsin are opposed to Governor Walker’s bill which would deny collective bargaining rights, safe working conditions and fair pay to the people who keep our state running. Yesterday as my first graders were making connections with the janitors’ strike in Los Angeles (Si Se Puede/Yes, We Can by Diana Cohn) and the civil rights movement and what they are seeing in Madison, many remembered the bus boycott and exclaimed, “Wow! It’s like we’re having a boycott in Wisconsin.” Another student succinctly remarked, “It’s about jobs.” The boycott connection is a first grade analysis of the response to Governor Walker’s bill. They understand about large groups of people coming together to change things when something isn’t fair. What has allowed me to revel in these conversations with first graders has been the agreement we teachers have bargained that has allowed us to make teaching a career. Teaching is a rewarding, yet demanding profession – one of a handful, in which you can’t use the bathroom whenever you need to. Fortunately, some breaks for basic needs including lunch as well as planning for our students are bargained so we can take care of ourselves and our students.
Who’s opposed to Governor Walker’s bill? Teachers of all ages from across the state have come to Madison sharing stories, food and even deodorant! We are as passionate about our students as we are about our rights. Even business owners oppose Governor Walker’s anti-worker bill. Governor Walker would like you to believe that the state of Wisconsin has been flooded with out-of-state political protesters. This is probably because the people he listens to are millionaire and billionaire out-of-state corporate supporters. If anyone had any doubt that this was the case before, after listening to the tape of his conversation with the man he thought was Mr. Koch, it is now crystal clear that he is beholden not to the residents of his state, but to his out-of-state corporate sponsors. We are opposed to Governor Walker’s bill and we live here. Parents of my students have approached me on the playground, in the grocery store, at the YMCA, by phone and by email to share their opposition to Governor Walker’s bill. They understand how this bill would be devastating not just to teachers like me, but to anyone who cares about class size and the quality of Wisconsin children’s education. More and more Wisconsin business owners are speaking out in opposition. I’ve talked to farmers, a furniture store owner, computer consultant, and coffee shop proprietors. They oppose Governor Walker’s bill because they understand how collective bargaining helps state workers earn a living wage and actually make purchases and contribute to the economy.
Who’s opposed to Governor Walker’s bill? While the vast majority of the tens of thousands who have protested at the Capitol are Wisconsinites, people from all 50 states and various countries are taking action in opposition to Governor Walker’s bill too. They are helping to feed and sustain Wisconsin residents with food and supportive statements and holding rallies in their own communities. It’s People like those in Sedona, Arizona who purchased the pizza that provided me with plenty of pep one late afternoon at the capitol. They understand that this has become a workers’ rights movement that is beyond Wisconsin. Those of us who live and labor in Wisconsin are an important part of a renewed labor rights movement. The tens of thousands of Wisconsinites who have been rallying, holding vigil, writing and singing in opposition to Governor Walker’s bill are buoyed by this support and larger movement. I am a teacher, parent and consumer in the state of Wisconsin. I am not a rich corporate millionaire; I am a Wisconsin resident. I am one of hundreds of thousands who help make Wisconsin wonderful by teaching, nursing, farming, selling, protecting, and collecting to take care of Wisconsin residents and we oppose Walker’s anti-labor bill.