Firefighters Union: Workers Under Assault

Wednesday, 23 Feb 2011 07:56 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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The president of the International Association of Firefighters says battles over anti-union bills in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere are indicative of a nationwide assault on workers’ rights and an effort by many Republican-controlled state legislatures to silence organized labor.

“This is about right-to-work laws in a dozen states,” Harold Schaitberger Tuesday said on MSNBC’s “Hardball. “This is about dues-deduction laws that have been passed in Alabama to eliminate the opportunity for workers to even have dues deductions for their unions. Now it’s in Tennessee, Oklahoma – spreading into other states.

union leader workers under assault“This is an outright assault on worker rights and trying to silence the workers` voices. This is an absolute coordinated, organized attack in … 19 states,” he said. “We have over 500 anti-worker pieces of legislation introduced in those states already in this session.”

Schaitberger told Chris Matthews Gov. Scott Walker is being disingenuous in dealing with the unions – even though Wisconsin’s firefighters are not included in the state bill’s benefit and collective-bargaining restrictions.

“Governor Walker already knows that they [state employees] are prepared to pay toward their pensions, to pay toward their healthcare. This is simply a cover,” he continued. “This is an old divide and conquer: Give a few something, take away from everyone else the same thing, allow the battle to take place inside the house, and you stand back and just watch them fight each other.

“That’s not what’s happening in Wisconsin because firefighters were marching with, were fighting with, were standing on the front line with – and we are staying united with – all the workers in Wisconsin,” he continued. “This is simply a cheap trick by Walker, trying to eliminate the ability of those workers to be represented.”

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