by Korey Hartwich | March 02, 2012
In Arizona, a powerful column yesterday by E.J. Montini in The Republic, takes issue with the attempts by some politicians to take away workers’ right to join a union, and the nasty attacks on the people who provide essential public services.
A couple of hundred "thugs" are expected to gather at the state Capitol today. That's how Arizona lawmakers have described them, anyway.
They've also called them "goons" and even suggested that the way they operate makes them members of a "cartel," a word most often used to describe Mexican drug lords.
Only these aren't Mexican drug lords.
They're police officers.
And government workers.
In other words, your neighbors.
They're the people to whom you entrust your children. Or count on to process your tax returns or business licenses. The people you call in the middle of the night when you hear a noise outside your window. The men and women who respond to your 911 call when you smell smoke. The people who come in the ambulance when your husband is experiencing chest pains.
The column makes the case that public service workers who joined unions to have a voice on the job and win fair compensation deserve respect from elected officials. “That right was earned by generations of American working men and women who suffered through deplorable conditions and, in some cases, physical assaults and death.”
And the columnist writes that the words are part of a larger campaign to destroy public employee unions in Arizona. “A raft of bills that would kill unions has been introduced, along with Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to make it easier to fire state employees. It's the most concentrated assault on working people in recent Arizona history.”
Arizona workers are fighting back. Read more of AFSCME’s coverage from Arizona here.