Last Saturday, 600 courageous taxpayers gathered in the snow and sub-freezing temperatures in Olympia to support Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s effort to cut spending and rein in the power of government unions. They were there to express hope that our state might follow a similar path—to allow a return to fiscal sanity. (See video of the government rally.)Click here to sign the petition, if you're interested.
Speaker after speaker described the union monopoly in Washington state, and how long-term reforms are impossible as long as government unions retain their monopoly over taxpayer dollars. As Freedom Foundation general counsel Mike Reitz said, “Collective bargaining is broken. And if we don’t fix it, it will break our state.”
A few hundred yards away some 2,000 union members and supporters gathered in violation of their rally permit in an attempt to shout down the Freedom Foundation event. They were from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Washington Federation of State Employees, the Service Employees International Union and others. Together, they represented an imposing voice for maintaining the status quo.
The good news is that a few years ago it would have been only the union members on those steps. It was nearly unheard of for hundreds of taxpayers to gather in bad weather on less than a week’s notice to support something being done in a state two thousand miles away. It’s a measure of how far citizens have come in working together to effect change. The bad news is that it still looked a lot like David and Goliath. The government unions are still calling the shots.
That’s why we’re redoubling our efforts at the Freedom Foundation to address the problem of union monopolies and their stranglehold on the state’s finances. We’ve taken on Goliath before, and won a 9-0 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court to protect teachers whose rights were being violated by their union. In fact, several of the laws being proposed by governors like Scott Walker are based on legislation and court decisions we were responsible for.
Because of that experience, other organizations are looking to us for leadership in this effort. Our co-founders, Bob Williams and Lynn Harsh, have recently been on the ground in Wisconsin, Indiana and other states to share the lessons we learned in that ten-year litigation effort. And our staff has been called several times this week by allied organizations around the country who wanted guidance.
We’re glad to share our experiences, and we’re glad to see that other states are working on this issue. But we want change in Washington state too, and we need your help to get it. Those six hundred citizens who gathered in the snow last week need reinforcements. We must reach a much larger group of taxpayers with the truth about what really needs to happen before we can expect to change our state’s habit of overspending and over-regulating. That’s our commitment.
How can you help? Take a moment today to sign our petition, calling on our leaders to enact laws that will shift power away from union lobbyists and back to the people. Then forward it to five other people who understand the need for change.
Nearly one thousand citizens have signed it so far. In the next two weeks we want to send 10,000 signatures to Governor Walker to support him in his fight. We’ll also send them to your state legislators, to let them know how many of you want them to finally deal with this fundamental issue. Will you help us achieve that goal?
Monday, March 7, 2011
Petition to end union monopolies in govt.
From the Freedom Foundation March 5, 2011: