Philadelphia: The Next Big Target for the Right-Wing Assault on Public Employees and Unions
Charlene Scott cheered and chanted with the hundreds thronging Philadelphia’s Love Park during Saturday's protest against conservative Republican onslaughts seeking to slaughter what remains of the living-standard comforts enjoyed by middle and working-class Americans.
But Scott had a different perspective than most attending that demonstration, which had been organized largely to voice solidarity with public workers in Wisconsin now confronting calculated attacks against their collective bargaining rights from that state’s Tea Party-aligned Republican governor.
Scott said she had seen this onslaught coming ten years ago.
“When I saw jobs moving off-shore, banks lowering interest rates on personal accounts and governments passing more charges onto taxpayers I knew this was coming,” Scott said.
That Philadelphia protest was one of hundreds around America that have surged during the past two weeks against the worker bashing/wealth redistribution onslaughts by conservative political leaders in state capitols and on Capitol Hill.
Less than 36 hours after that weekend protest, the Philadelphia Daily News revealed that a union-busting campaign is headed to Pennsylvania, the state with the nation’s fourth largest number of card-carrying union members.
The planned campaign to attack collective bargaining rights of public sector workers in the Keystone State comes from an organization funded by the conservative Koch Brothers, who’ve poured hundreds of millions into building the tea party movement. Pennsylvania makes an attractive target because its voters just last November put Republicans in charge of both the Governor's Mansion and the two houses of the state Legislature.
The man tapped to head the PA campaign, former Republican state legislator Sam Rohrer, is quoted in that Daily News article stating his belief that public sector employees do not have the “right” to collective bargaining or to strike.
The billionaire Koch Brothers, Charles and David, provided campaign contributions last year to then Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania, both of whom won election.
A number of other states, like Indiana and Ohio, with Republican governors and legislatures, are already pursuing efforts to eliminate collective bargaining by public employee unions.
A recent Gallup Poll found that 61 percent of those surveyed nationwide oppose the elimination of public worker bargaining rights, however those polled who identify themselves as Republicans favored such elimination by 54 percent.
While Pennsylvania's Gov. Corbett is not openly emulating Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker by calling for busting public employee unions, he has said he does support allowing workers at unionized companies to opt out of being members. Further, Corbett supports barring public school teachers from striking, according to that Daily News account.