In a July 2013, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said that he was waiting for Connecticut to have its “Act 10, despite hundreds of thousands of protesters at the Capitol telling him that this was the wrong direction for their state.
Act 10 prohibits collective bargaining on pensions, health insurance, safety, vacation, sick leave, and hours of work for public-sector workers. It also limited collective bargaining on wages so that employees could only negotiate base pay and receive an increase that is at or below inflation. Bargaining rights that had been in place for more than 50 years for Wisconsin’s public sector workers were eliminated. This is much different from saying that we have to limit pay raises or restructure benefits in difficult times. Walker’s message, that Mr. Foley echoed, is that you, working families of Wisconsin will never, ever be able to have a voice on the issues most important to the security of your family.
Act 10 hasn’t just affected public-sector workers. It continues the takes spending money out of the local economy and hurts small businesses at a time they need every dollar possible.
This whole narrative may seem like a dream to Mr. Foley and the rest of the predatory corporate raider crowd; however for workers and their families in Wisconsin, Connecticut, or any other state, it is a nightmare.
Is this the direction that Mr. Foley keeps talking about? It is a direction for Connecticut that will be devastating for hard-working men and women who teach, build, repair, protect, respond, service, manufacture, and care for the elderly, sick, and injured in our communities.
Our economy and the quality of life in our state are not measured by how many billionaires we produce. It is measured by how many families have health insurance, can buy a home, send their kids to college, have disposable income to spend in their communities, and can retire with dignity. For the average family that needs two or more full-time incomes to survive, Tom Foley is a bad choice.
Ron McLellan is President of the Connecticut Employees Union Independent. Founded in 1967, Connecticut Employees Union Independent is a member-run organization of over 7,000 active and retired blue-collar state and municipal maintenance and service workers.
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