In a message to the All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care—HR 676, Jim Cavanaugh, President of the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL), said:  ”For at least three decades now the working class has been under severe attack.  In Madison, and throughout Wisconsin, we have declared that enough is enough and now is the time to turn it around.”  The SCFL represents 97 unions and 45,000 workers in Madison and the six county area.

At SCFL’s monthly meeting Monday, February 21, 2011, delegates voted for the following:  ”The SCFL endorses a general strike, possibly for the day Walker signs his ‘budget repair bill.’”  An ad hoc committee was formed to explore the details.

Unions in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and across the country are rising to defend the rights of workers to organize and bargain to achieve dignity and a decent life. 

Wall Street, not public workers, nor unions, nor government spending, caused the fiscal crisis that is stressing our states.  Workers should not have to pay to clean up Wall Street’s mess.

Working people know the truth and are rallying to defend the gains made through generations of struggle.

As workers stood up, hundreds of thousands joined them. 

High school students left their classes to march with their teachers.  Hear some of them speak here

Inspired by labor’s new fighting spirit against Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on public employees, faculty at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse voted 249-37 in favor of union representation through American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin.

Physicians demonstrated their support.   Dr. Lou Sanner, a family medicine physician at University of Wisconsin Health, told the Associated Press he was one of the doctors involved in writing hundreds of sick notes for protesters because they were suffering from stress.

Rejecting the governor’s effort to split off the firefighters’ union by exempting those workers from his attack on union rights, the firefighters joined the demonstrations and played their bagpipes in solidarity at street intersections.

On Thursday, February 24, Madison’s mayor and police chief called on Gov. Scott Walker to explain statements he made in a secretly recorded phone conversation that he “thought about” planting troublemakers among the thousands of demonstrators at the Capitol.

When Gov. Scott Walker discussed strategies to lay off state employees for political purposes, to coordinate supposedly “independent” political expenditures to aid legislators who support his budget repair bill, and to place agent provocateurs on the streets of Madison in order to disrupt peaceful demonstrations, he engaged in what a former attorney general of Wisconsin says could turn out to be serious ethics, election law and labor violations.

Representative Sandy Pasch, a Democrat representing Wisconsin’s 22nd Assembly District, condemned the governor’s budget adjustment bill not only for destroying bargaining rights but also for threatening 65,000 Wisconsinites with loss of health care coverage in the state’s vital Medical Assistance programs.  Conscious of that threat and in the best tradition of labor fighting for the uplift of all, the SCFL passed a motion to block the governor’s changes that would cut Medicaid and defund education. 

A Call for Solidarity

Jim Cavanaugh says here’s how all of us can help: 

“Constant and repeated rallies and other demonstrations of support ARE very helpful.” 

“Also, this is costing a lot of money … so, financial support for the State Fed’s defense fund is also appreciated.” 

You can donate on line.  Go to:   http://www.wisaflcio.org/ , scroll down the home page a little ways to the “Donate.”

Or CHECKS can be made payable to the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Defense Fund, 6333 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213.

To stay informed, listen to the pro-labor daily 3-minute updates from Workers’ Independent News here.    WIN, located in Madison, tells the story through workers’ voices.

Kay Tillow

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676