It's been an incredible few weeks for labor, and the progressive movement more generally, in Wisconsin. By now, it seems everyone in the US and beyond knows what's been happening here.
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The community-labor alliance that is the hallmark of the Partnership for Working Families network has a chance to earn real gains from what is happening in Wisconsin. The question is, what can we do with it?
From the beginning, our partners have played important roles in this effort.
Wisconsin's governor and the legislators who have led the charge to eliminate collective bargaining for public workers have had a consistent message: they are representing everyday people against the overwhelming and unjust might of the unions. It's a classic David v. Goliath narrative, and one that we progressives have seen time and again.
What's amazing about what's playing out here is that Wisconsin voters aren't buying it.
Instead, that David v. Goliath narrative has been flipped on its head.
As for so many Wisconsin households, the proposal to eliminate collective bargaining for public employees would have a direct and immediate negative impact on mine. For ten years my partner has worked for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, where she is a member of AFSCME Local 366. People may feel that they have some understanding of the risks and challenges of being a teacher, a police officer, even a county benefits specialist.
There was much hype in advance of the competing rallies in Madison today. As it happened, 70,000 people turned out - as they have day after day - to oppose the collective bargaining ban, while only about 3,000 tea party supports turned up.
Many of the tea partiers carried signs saying "Pay Your Fair Share," with the implication that public employees don't want to help fix our so-called budget woes.
It's been gratifying to see that people get the real issues here.