Letter: Labor under assault as history repeatsThe day after Labor Day 1933, Nazi groups occupied union halls and trade unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler. Labor leaders were arrested and collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished.
By: Ray Anderson, River Falls, River Falls Journal
The day after Labor Day 1933, Nazi groups occupied union halls and trade unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler. Labor leaders were arrested and collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished.
Before that date organized labor in Wisconsin through collective bargaining managed to abolish child labor altogether, institute an 8-hour work day, 40-hour work week, mandatory breaks, safety guidelines, grievance procedures, a minimum wage, the concept of a work-free weekend, workers compensation, pensions, health safeguards, paid sick days, vacation days and holidays.
In 1935 FDR signed the National Labor Relations Act. Collective bargaining was finally legalized for the private sector in the United States. In 1962 JFK signed an executive order extending that right to the public sector.
After the 2010 Wisconsin election, Gov. Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature began an all-out assault on worker’s rights and repeated moves of Hitler by enacting laws that strip most public workers, including teachers, of nearly all union bargaining rights.
Walker also proposed to slash funding for public education and services. That action was repeated by Republicans in Ohio, Nevada, Iowa and other Red States.
Democrats in the minority fought bitterly but unsuccessfully in preserving union rights.
Reacting angrily thousands of Wisconsinites gathered at the Capitol to protest. The number grew to more than 85,000. Wisconsin was the national focus of the fight over union rights.
Walker called out state police forces to control them but didn’t go as far as an official in Ohio who would shoot protestors.
Democrats then returned to the grassroots, circulated petitions to recall six Republican senators in the hopes that at least three could be recalled from office giving Democrats a Senate majority and halt further assaults on unions, stop brutal spending cuts for public education and services, and restore democracy.