The public sector needs protection from those who favor the well-to-do at the expense of the average worker. Many who have this inclination seem impervious to the fact that their support works against their own interest. What kind of democracy is it that fervently seeks after tax cuts for the richest in the nation, yet removes the primarily thing that has historically kept workers shielded from callously greedy business owners, namely, collective bargaining? Many people had struggled and died to make the work environment tolerable. If it were not for unions, children would be allowed to work, wages would not keep up with inflation, the work week would be tediously longer than it is now, there would be no such thing as overtime, maternity leave, medical benefits, pensions, retirement pay, improved working conditions, etc.
What makes what happened in Wisconsin that much more egregious is the manner in which they railroaded the bill through because of the absence of fourteen Democratic lawmakers who were disgusted in the puerile discussions made by Republicans. These Republican legislators claimed they were acting on a conservative mandate from the people—people who were clearly unable to ascertain that they themselves were being blamed for the fiscal crisis in their state. The average public sector worker is not the type of individual that brought the economy to its knees in 2008. It is so much easier to attack the masses of people who have very little recourse for defense except for protesting in the public square.
If a repressive regime can be forced to abdicate and abscond by citizen protests, then why is not a government of the people, by the people, and for the people able to be squashed, impeached, or radically reformed? Union busting is repressive; the denial of the breadth of collective bargaining removes the major form of safeguards for the average laborer. Such action flies in the face of what it means to be a human being worthy of dignity and respect. Certainly, corporate Wisconsin could have taken much of the slack, rather than lobbying to save themselves and ignore consumers upon whom they depend.
Voting is a right in this country, and it ought to be. But that does not mean that voters are aware of their rights or can discern what is in their best interests and in the best interest of the whole. It is incumbent upon the informed electorate to educate the rest of the population that is perpetuating their own self-affliction. Labor unions are still needed to protect the contemporary worker. They are by no means antiquated, and all workers have benefitted from their long history of struggle and activism on behalf of laborers.
The other states that are considering Wisconsin-like measures, including my own state of Iowa, need to be assailed by an Egyptian-type rebellion in order to salvage the last vestiges of real democracy in our weakening republic. Union busting has to become and remain a relic of the Reagan administration!