The withering power of American unions and worker’s rights will hear its death knell should Scott Walker ever see the Oval Office. After crushing organized labor in Wisconsin and whatever hopes the people might have had of escaping the miserly yoke of the Koch Brothers and their corporate allies, Walker has now declared that he would pass a “right-to work” law on a national level, effectively gelding American labor’s bargaining power and killing the union off for good.
In a show of hypocrisy that we have come to expect from the Republican agenda, the “limited government” advocate would use federal power to interfere with the balance of power between employers and employees, saying that “[what he did in Wisconsin] was fight the stranglehold that big government special interests had on state and local governments. I think in Washington we need that even more.”
Of course, in reality, he’s tightening the stranglehold that Republican special interests have on the wallets and rights of the American middle class. The “right to work” law is a misnomer- it forces unions to represent workers who don’t pay dues, depriving them of needed funds and their negotiating power, leaving workers at the mercy of corporate greed and shattering one of our nation’s most sacred covenants. The International Monetary Fund published a study last month proving that unions help keep too much money from flowing to the top 10% of earners and plays an important role in keeping income inequality honest.
To put it in perspective, consider this: “Last year, 11.1 percent of workers belonged to a union, down from 20.1 percent in 1983. In that same time period, income inequality has been skyrocketing, and in 2012 the top 10 percent of earners took home more than half of all income, the highest amount ever recorded since 1917.”
It’s a sad day for the American worker and a sign of more danger on the horizon. Walker’s blatant pandering to big corporations and big business with his right-to-work law so enraged Wisconsin that a recall election was organized. As a thank you for Walker’s slavish devotion to their interests, corporate backers hooked him up an astonishing $31 million dollars- $8 million from the Koch Brothers alone- and funded a massive misinformation and propaganda campaign that kept him his job.
He’s now under federal investigation for violating finance fairness laws during that election, but that hasn’t stopped the preening schmo from embarking on the campaign trail, trumpeting lies about his economic prowess (Wisconsin has a $2 billion deficit and one of the lowest job creation rates in the country) and neglecting his home state in the meantime.
One only has to look at states like Wisconsin or Kansas to see the fruits of the Republican agenda. The working families of America suffer while millionaires make out like bandits. The union has been a proud bastion of worker’s rights in America for too long to see it crumble like this. Scott Walker, Tea Party darling and thrall of the 1%, would serve this country to his masters on a silver platter if given the chance. Our nation and our people deserve so much better.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.