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Fri, Sept. 20

Letter: Union debate furor is a smokescreen


The furor over public employees' unions in Wisconsin is, as usual with anti-union rhetoric, all a smokescreen. There is no way to cut public employees' wages and benefits enough to significantly affect Wisconsin's deficit problems. Besides, the unions have already agreed to take pay cuts and increase their contributions to their health care packages, and have expressed willingness to sit down and negotiate further. The issue is collective bargaining, pure and simple. Opponents of public employees' unions say they only want to do away with those unions, not unions in the private sector. I don't believe them, based on who is financing them and that, historically, attacks on public employees' unions have been part of a broader attack on the collective bargaining process.

With recent actions by the Supreme Court and Republicans in the House granting more power to corporations and removing governmental oversight of corporations and the financial markets, organized labor, unions, and the collective bargaining process remain as the only checks and balances standing in the way of a return to the days of an even more loaded playing field and a smaller middle class than we have now. Don't be fooled into believing what's happening in Wisconsin is about its budget problems. It's about removing the major obstacle to the weakening of workers' ability to negotiate as equals.

Ron Woerner


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