The Tide of Public Opinion Supports Public Employees–And So Do We!

Tell your network:

Tell your network:

We’ve been talking quite a bit about a conflict that is way over on the other side of the country – WI Governor Walker’s attack on public workers and his efforts to strip away their rights.

But here at Our Oregon, we really like teachers, policemen, firefighters, and all the other public employees who work on the frontline to protect our state and its people.  And as it turns out, we’re really—REALLY—not alone. Poll after poll shows public support for Wisconsin’s teachers and state employees, and strong resistance to the anti-worker agenda launched by Walker and his rich corporate financiers.

Some highlights:

•    A majority of the American public supports public employee bargaining rights.

•    A majority thinks that union busting is not the solution to the budget downfall.

•    And it turns out that people think Governor Walker is wrong.

Joe Conason, journalist and political commentator, provides a nice overview of the polls over the past few weeks:

Asking about the struggle in Wisconsin, the Pew researchers found that 42 percent stood with the unions versus only 31 percent who sided with Walker. The CBS News/New York Times poll was considerably stronger, with 60 percent supporting the right of public employees to bargain collectively and only 33 percent in opposition; those numbers closely matched an earlier Gallup Poll that showed 61 percent supporting labor against the governor.

And again, in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 33 percent says that it is “acceptable” to abolish those rights as a supposed way to address state and local budget deficits. Just under twice as many — 62 percent — says that eliminating those rights is “unacceptable.”

Actually, the vigorous resistance to Walker appears not to have damaged the union cause at all, but to have drawn attention to the gross partisan over-reaching of the Republican governor and his corporate friends. In Wisconsin, many voters are now expressing buyer’s remorse over their choice of Walker, and tell pollsters they are evenly divided over whether to recall him. (Emphasis added)

Governor Walker may be itching to pay back his corporate funders by blaming public employees for the current recession, but the public isn’t falling for it.

As the polls keep rolling in, will Walker acknowledge the simple truth—that he is on the wrong side of this fight? Maybe, maybe not, but email exchanges released by the Governor’s office this week show that Walker is backing ever so slightly away from his original plan. But even his “compromise” takes major rights away from workers, leading the Democratic leadership to say “thanks, but no thanks.”

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