Blog

Fighting Back and Making History

August 10, 2011

This entry is from AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee and AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee A. Saunders

Together, we made history in Wisconsin — winning two recall elections on Tuesday. Only two lawmakers have been unseated by recall in the state’s entire history. And having picked up two seats, Scott Walker’s anti-freedom bill would not have passed with the new state Senate makeup.

True, we did not retake the Senate. This was an uphill battle from the start, in very conservative districts – but we won two seats because we had no choice other than to stand up against Walker’s extreme anti-worker agenda.

These victories send a powerful, undeniable message to governors, legislators and candidates in every state who think that they can continue to attack the working middle class, public services and the basic rights of workers.

What everyday AFSCME members accomplished in Wisconsin, by pulling together, is nothing short of extraordinary — fighting back and winning against the deep pockets and dirty tricks of corporate-backed politicians and their front groups

Members like Janice Bonholz traveled to Waupun to knock on doors and help mobilize voters for the first time in her life. In Madison, people like Gretchen Lowe made phone calls to voters across the state to help with Get Out The Vote efforts.

Make no mistake, this is a marathon, not a sprint. And it is about more than just Wisconsin. It’s about the future of the working middle class in our country. It’s about ordinary American families standing up and saying “no more” to the politicians playing partisan games with their lives. It’s about nurses, teachers, firefighters, cops, and public and private sector workers who are fed up with paying the price for Wall Street excess, the greed of corporate CEOs, and the dangerous agenda of the politicians who answer to them.

It’s clear that the Main Street Movement is making a difference, but we still have a long fight ahead of us. In Ohio, we need to win on Nov. 8, and repeal Governor Kasich’s extreme Senate Bill 5. And everywhere else that public services and workers rights are under attack, we need to carry the momentum from yesterday’s wins and continue to turn the tide on the dangerous anti-worker and anti-public services agenda.

We are incredibly proud of what AFSCME members like you have already accomplished. Each and every one of you has helped spark a national movement, and proven what we’ve always known: that when we are united, we are strong.

Next: Worth a Read: Wisconsin’s Warning to Union Busters
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