Entertainers and sports stars sound off in support of public employees

Earlier this week, we described how entertainers and sports stars – most union members themselves – have taken to Twitter, the blogosphere, and other mediums to express solidarity with workers in Wisconsin and states across the country who are fighting to protect their basic rights.

While it’s great to see the outpouring of celebrity support, the sheer volume of messages can make tracking difficult. So we’ve assembled a roundup of their tweets, posts, and statements to make their messages easier for workers’ rights supporters to access.

Michael Moore (@MMFlint), Documentary Film Maker:
It wasn’t said, but I know those who work in the movies r grateful for the working people who make up the audience. No filmgoers, no films.

Michael Moore (@MMFlint), Documentary Film Maker:
Nearly every winner tonight will be a union member. That’s all I’m gonna say. #oscars #hinthint

Tom Morello (@tmorello), Musician; Rage Against the Machine:
Just finished the “Frostbite and Freedom Tour” of Madison. The people of Wisc SO inspiring. THANKYOU. Solidarity Forever!

Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago), Cinema Critic:
Forbes says Gov. Walker is lying. Yes, Forbes. http://bit.ly/ge6BaP

Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago), Cinema Critic:
Catholic bishops are pro-union: “Hard times do not nullify the rights of workers.” http://bit.ly/eHGHh8

Gabrielle Carteris (@TheGabrielle_C), Actor:
End to a glorious day! Having dinner w/ the Union organizers. What they do… Extraordinary!

Gabrielle Carteris (@TheGabrielle_C), Actor:
Just spoke at the rally at the capital. 100,000 people. It doesn’t get any better.

Gabrielle Carteris (@TheGabrielle_C), Actor:
Leaving 4 Wisconsin Friday – 4 rallies on Saturday! Can’t wait! I am so proud of our union brother’s and sister’s.

Dropkick Murphys (@dropkickmurphys), Band:
We are with you Wisconsin! The song “Take Em Down” from Going Out In Style is now streaming at dropkickmurphys.com! http://fb.me/Inqbid6X .

Mark Ruffalo (@Mruff221), Actor/Director:
Shout out to #wiunion <http://twitter.com/search?q=%23wiunion> and people in Wisconsin fighting for their basic union rights.

Mark Ruffalo (@Mruff221), Actor/Director:
Thank you everyone for you support of our brothers and sisters fighting for the most basic of union rights. Blessings to you all!#wiunion.

Woody Schultz (@UGottaWoody), Actor, Writer, Director:
RT @a55afcohen: http://twitpic.com/442u15 – At the Save the American Dream rally in downtown L.A. #weareWI #unionmember .

Street Dogs (@streetdogsband), Band:
Sorry for the confusion… WE WILL BE PLAYING A RALLY/PROTEST AT OHIO STATEHOUSE ON HIGH STREET ON TUE 3/1 at 3PM! please RETWEET!!!

Street Dogs (@streetdogsband), Band:
OH workers! We support you and want to meet all of you! We will be playing at 3pm TUE 2/29 at your state house on High street. LETS DO THIS!

Street Dogs (@streetdogsband), Band:
Protests across the country today. Get involved in the fight for the future of the labor movement.

Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin), Comedian, Actor:
I support YOU! My sister’s a public school teacher RT @rogerbinion:@kathygriffin u support the public workers gettin screwed by the WI Gov?

Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt), Comedian, Actor:
Could not be prouder of the protesters in Madison. ‘Specially the teachers. American w/ a capital “a”.

Benjamin Folds (@BenFolds) Singer, Musician:
Wisconsin -Thank you for standing up for yourselves (and rest of us).

Danny DeVito (@Danny_DeVito) Actor:
Go Union. Got to be able to bargain. Life is a negotiation. call off the cops. Settle down and sit at the table with the people.

Stars didn’t limit their messages of support to 140 characters or less. Here’s what else they had to say.

Russell Simmons, writing on Huffington Post :

“We see who your billionaire oil buddies are, and we will stand up to your bullying with the strength of those 1300 sanitation workers of Memphis, Tennessee and the 100,000 public employees protesting in Madison as our power.  Gov. Walker, to threaten your own people that if you don’t get your way there will “dire consequences” is as pathetic and thuggish as listening to an 68 year old dictator say he will “fight till the last drop of blood.”

Tom Morello, in an interview with Rolling Stone :

“While we never had much money, we always had enough food on the table and we had clothes on our backs because my mom was a union teacher. And if Governor Walker is going to attack the rights of people like my mom, then The Nightwatchman is coming for his ass.”

“The battle to preserve workers’ rights in Wisconsin is a watershed moment in US history. Wisconsin is Class War Ground Zero for the new millennium and a crucible for people’s rights in the United States. As the gulf between the haves and have-nots grows exponentially in the US it is here that the first domino is going to fall…one way or the other. Were it not for hard-fought union struggles of the past, we wouldn’t enjoy some of the most basic human rights that we enjoy today.”

“The future of workers’ rights in this country will not be decided in the courts or in Congress, on talk radio or on Fox News. The future of workers’ rights in this country will be decided on the streets of a small Midwestern city, on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin. And who knows? Maybe in your city too.”

Bradley Whitford, speaking at a rally in Madison, WI :

“When a governor refuses to invest in the people who educate our children and keep us safe, he needs to know- this will not stand.”

“When a governor lacks the capacity for genuine leadership and instead uses his budget as a Trojan horse to deny American workers a seat at the table to negotiate their wages, benefits and safety- he needs to know- this will not stand.”

“The governor needs to know that we will stand united until his misguided proposal is defeated. Wisconsin teachers, united we stand. For the rights of workers everywhere, united we stand. For every American’s right to form a union and bargain collectively, united we stand.”

“For a country that finally realizes its spectacular promise, not in accumulation for the few, but in opportunity for all, united we stand.”

Danny Glover, speaking at a rally in Indianapolis, IN :

“I’ve come here because it’s not simply or only your battle, it’s a battle that’s taking place across this country,” Glover said, referring to similar protests in Madison, Wis., and other state capitals.”

“The everyday workers, men and women who give their energy and their time and their passion to make this country work, to make their states work, to make their cities work, to make their community work, are under attack.”

Jay Feely, placekicker and union rep. for the Arizona Cardinals, in an interview with NPR :

“I don’t think you can take away collective bargaining to any union and not destroy the union, because collective bargaining is essential to what unions do,”

“I support the Wisconsin unions in that respect. I think you can deal with the budget issues without trying to break the union — without trying to take away collective bargaining, which will strip them of any power at all.”

Keyon Dooling, Milwaukee Bucks guard and NBPA First Vice President :
“Wisconsin public-sector workers tirelessly deliver services on a daily basis to millions of Wisconsin residents. The right of these hard-working men and women to organize and bargain collectively is fundamental. Wisconsin’s workers deserve better than last night’s vote. Today, our union stands proudly with our fellow union members throughout the state as they continue their fight.”

Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers cornerback and NFLPA Player Representative :

“Last week I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them.

Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens.  They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work.

It is an honor for me to play for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and be a part of the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities.  I am also honored as a member of the NFL Players Association to stand together with working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against this attempt to hurt them by targeting unions.  I hope those leading the attack will sit down with Wisconsin’s public workers and discuss the problems Wisconsin faces, so that together they can truly move Wisconsin forward.”

Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers infielder and MLBPA official :

“As a Major League baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers who works in Wisconsin under a union contract and whose right to bargain collectively is guaranteed under federal law, I support the thousands of public sector employees who are threatened with the loss of that right under recently-proposed state legislation. These employees are real people with real families whose livelihoods, careers and futures are being jeopardized. I urge the government of Wisconsin not to take away this most basic of union and human rights.”

Echoing the individual thoughts of professional athletes, actors, actresses, and musicians, are the statements of support from their unions

Actors’ Equity

“Actors’ Equity Association stands in support of the right for the Public Sector Workers in the state of Wisconsin to collectively bargain and to be represented by a Union in that bargaining. These are basic rights for all workers and should be maintained. Wisconsin has long been a bastion for workers’ rights and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.”

American Federation of Radio and Television Artists

“We all have a fundamental right to collective bargaining, whether in good economic times or bad. We must stand united with our fellow union members in Wisconsin and throughout this nation as we work to protect the basic principle that Americans have an inalienable right to a fair living wage, decent benefits, safe working conditions and a voice in our workplaces.”

National Basketball Players Association (from Billy Hunter, Executive Director)

“Last night’s vote by the Wisconsin Assembly was an attempt to undermine organized labor and the men and women across the country who depend on their unions for a voice in the workplace. The NBPA proudly supports our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin and their stand for unequivocal collective bargaining rights.”

NFL Players Association

“The NFL Players Association will always support efforts protecting a worker’s right to join a union and collectively bargain. Today, the NFLPA stands in solidarity with its organized labor brothers and sisters in Wisconsin.”

Screen Actors Guild

“Wisconsin has become ground zero for the labor movement and collective bargaining rights. The struggle of public sector union members in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states to protect their basic collective bargaining rights is not theirs alone. If collective bargaining rights can be stripped away in a strong union state like Wisconsin, it can happen anywhere. Various anti-labor bills have recently been introduced in dozens of states. And, it is believed that if this action succeeds in Wisconsin, more and more anti-union efforts may spread across the country and ultimately could affect all labor organizations, including Screen Actors Guild. All workers have a fundamental right to join unions and to engage in collective bargaining over workplace issues they face.”

Writers Guild of America, East

“Governor Walker’s attempt to wipe out collective bargaining for public employees in his state is part of a national campaign to destroy unions as the most effective and powerful progressive force in America,” said WGAE President Michael Winship. “Public employees – in fact, all Americans – have a fundamental right to join unions and to engage in collective bargaining over the full range of issues they face on the job. That right has not only created and upheld the American middle class, but also offered hope and possibility to anyone anywhere who seeks fairness and equality.

Writers Guild of America, West

“The Writers Guild of America, West condemns in the strongest possible terms Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attack on the public employees of his state. His bid to deprive them of their collective bargaining rights is not only an assault on their unions, it is an attempt to deprive them of a meaningful voice in the workplace and in our democracy. Walker’s plan to strangle that voice is as cynical as it is immoral. Instead of improving the lives of Wisconsin’s working people, he seeks to rob them of their dignity and significantly reduce the quality of life for tens of thousands of workers and their families.”

Seen any other celebrities standing with workers? Let us know!

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 11:32 am and is filed under General, Jobs, Labor Law Reform. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Entertainers and sports stars sound off in support of public employees”

  1. carolyn felice says:

    Tom Morello should lead the working men and women of America on a nation wide walk out. Only encouraging first responders and those involved in security to remain on the job for safety but all other workers should walk off and not return to work until such time certain elected officials come to their senses.q

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