Video by Sam Mayfield
How does Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s push to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights impact people? A mother of a teacher, a firefighter and a farmer’s wife says she encouraged her kids to go into these honorable professions and “now they’re getting screwed for it. It’s not fair”.
That’s one of the many comments The UpTake’s Sam Mayfield heard as she talked to people around the Madison, Wisconsin Capitol area. While the national news media is mostly ignoring the tens of thousands of people who are rallying to prevent the passage of the “budget repair bill”, people in Madison find it the focal point of their day.
An adjunct instructor says the bill would help her financially because she would no longer have to pay union dues. But she’s still against it because of what it does to workers’ rights. “Whether or not I’m required to pay, I will pay because I’m proud to be part of a union, and proud to stand in solidarity with my brother and sister teachers here in Madison.”
A pair of small business owners in Baraboo, Wisconsin say the bill has already “profoundly effected our business.” They are home builders and they have already lost two contracts on homes they were going to build for a teacher and a prison guard. “The people who are most effected by this draconian legislation are our clients.” said one. “What’s being missed is the impact this is going to have on the economy of Wisconsin. Just as we’re starting to emerge from this terrible recession, this is going to have a profound impact on the buying power of all of these middle income people.”
The impact goes beyond one business losing a contract. Stonemasons, plumbers, HVAC installers, sheet rockers, painters all lose out on work. “Its like pulling threads out from a fabric and expecting the cloth to remain whole. It can not remain whole.”