Tag Archives: Workers

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Compares Organized Workers to ISIS

Republican presidential hopeful says battle against organized workers has prepared him to take on foreign militants

By Jon Queally
February 27, 2015
Common Dreams

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 26, 2015. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” said Walker, “I can do the same in the rest of the world.” (Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)

Speaking to the audience at the annual rightwing convergence known as CPAC on Thursday, Republican Governor Scott Walker indicated that his ongoing attack on the rights of workers in his home state of Wisconsin is preparing him for a possible future fight with foreign militants such as those aligned with the Islamic State fighters now operating in Iraq and Syria.

“We need a leader who will stand up and say we will take the fight to them and not wait until they take the fight to American soil,” declared Walker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, to the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC.

“If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same in the rest of the world,” he added in a clear reference to both ongoing protests against new anti-worker laws and a historic revolt in 2011 against Walker’s push to dismantle collective-bargaining rights for the state’s labor unions.

According to the Blaze.com, the conservative web platform created by Glenn Beck, Walker’s speech received “thunderous applause” from the conference attendees. Fox News‘ national political correspondent Joseph Weber reported Walker “delivered the goods” during the speech.

Though Walker and his handlers later tried to re-characterize the comments—claiming the governor was not making a comparison between Wisconsin workers who have opposed Walker’s anti-labor policies by joining public protests and militants who have released gruesome videos of beheading and lighting afire their captors inside a foreign war zone—local union members were not buying it.

“To compare the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, grandmothers, veterans, correctional officers, nurses and all the workers who came out to peacefully protest and stand together for their rights as Americans to ISIS terrorists is disgusting and unacceptable,” said Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt in a statement. “To compare hard-working men and women who work for a living to terrorists is a disgrace. Coming together to peacefully protest for freedom, to raise your voice for a better Wisconsin, this is not an act of terror.”

Watch it (h/t ThinkProgress):

According to Reuters:

The Badger State’s 47-year-old governor has emerged as an early favorite in the battle to win the Republican nomination in the November 2016 presidential election. He was among more than a dozen potential candidates due to address activists at CPAC in Maryland near Washington on Thursday and Friday.

Like many other potential candidates, Walker has argued that Democratic President Barack Obama has not been aggressive enough in the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State and other extremist groups in the Middle East.

Proposed Labor Laws in Chile Lauded as ‘Enormous Step Toward Social Equality’

‘Today we are marking a new milestone—we are clearing a debt that we have hold toward the workers of Chile,’ says president Michelle Bachelet

By Deirdre Fulton
December 30, 2014
Common Dreams

 

President Bachelet signs the labor reform bill that strengthens collective bargaining on December 29, 2014. (Photo: Ministerio de Agricultura Chile/flickr/cc)

 

Chile’s center-left president Michelle Bachelet, who took office in March promising to push a progressive platform, introduced new legislation Monday seeking to reform the labor code, boost union power, and reduce the gap between the rich and poor in a nation beset by severe income inequality.

“Today we are marking a new milestone, building the country that we wish—we are clearing a debt that we have…toward the workers of Chile,” the president said in a speech at the presidential palace in Santiago. “In a democratic society, [economic] growth and equity need to go hand in hand in order to ensure a future of prosperity, but also of legitimacy and social cohesion.”

According to TeleSur:

The legislation includes various measures empowering workers such as strengthening unions, increasing collective negotiations, and ending the practice of replacing workers on strikes (referred to as scabs).

Bachelet also mentioned fair remuneration, work security, training, protection in case of unemployment, fairer work relations with employers and simplification of collective negotiation.

If passed, Bachelet’s proposal will be the first major change to labor laws since the military regime of Augusto Pinochet, who ruled the country between 1973 and 1990, Barbara Figueroa, head of the Central Workers Union, told Radio Cooperativa on Monday. Figueroa called the proposed changes “an enormous step toward social equality.”

“We’ve waited more than 20 years for this small step,” she said. “We have started to dismantle the labor plan of the military regime.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that “Bachelet’s backers have a majority in Congress, where the labor law changes must be passed, but conservative legislators could force the administration to water down the proposal,” which will be debated in 2015. Business leaders also oppose Bachelet’s plan.

But the reforms could serve as a model for other Latin American countries—such as Peru, where for the past week, youth, students, and labor activists have been protesting recently passed legislation they say discriminates against all those under the age of 25 by taking away a number of rights at work such as vacation time and reducing minimum wage salaries.