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Letter to the editor

Union has more than ideals to offer public

April 13, 2012

In last year’s Wisconsin recall elections the Republican party clearly articulated their disdain for anyone who belongs to a union. Their campaign literature proclaimed, “They are not us!” We’re likely to hear more of the same as the recall election of Governor Scott Walker draws near.

What many people have forgotten or choose to ignore are the multitude of workplace reforms that the labor union movement has promoted and won for us over the years.

The list is long: the minimum wage, pension benefits, over-time pay, sick leave, parental leave, child-labor laws, Social Security, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, health benefits, spousal and partner benefits, living wage laws, workplace safety, farm labor rights, grievance procedures, civil rights and more. If you work for a living, chances are that you have benefited from the union movement.

If Republicans would have had their way, few if any of these workplace reforms would be in place. Even now the Republican party seeks to roll back history and torpedo many of these benefits.

A prime example is last year’s successful campaign by Walker to hammer Wisconsin’s public sector unions. Walker and his followers are promoting a union-busting crusade supported by ultra-wealthy corporate interests that is gaining steam nation-wide.

Working people, unionized or not, should take notice. This issue impacts so many of us and our votes may be the only way to fight back.

Harlen Menk
Ellsworth, Wis.