Letter signed by 850 professors argues against misdirected policymaking, endorses need for collective bargaining
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2011
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Washington, D.C. – With public employees under siege in states across the country, a significant group of notable scholars have come together in protest. In an official letter released today by American Rights at Work, 850 faculty and researchers from colleges and universities nationwide call for policymakers to preserve employees’ right to bargain collectively.
The letter and full list of signatures is available here.
The letter rejects claims from corporate-backed politicians that public employees and their unions are to blame for budget shortfalls, and stresses the value of collective bargaining as a path for employees and state representatives to work together to address fiscal challenges.
“We know from Wisconsin that these attacks aren’t about addressing budget deficits—they’re about unionbusting,” says Paul Clark, professor and head of the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Penn State University. “Public employees, who in fact make less than workers in similar jobs in the private sector, have already made sacrifices in terms of wages and benefits, and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs since the recession began. Yet politicians like Gov. Scott Walker would rather hand out tax breaks to corporate donors than do right by the middle class.”
Says American Rights at Work Executive Director Kimberly Freeman Brown, “Poll after poll shows that people in Wisconsin and across America oppose attempts to take away public employees’ right to collectively bargain. This letter joins a diverse chorus of voices in echoing that these attacks are not what taxpayers want, and that they won’t fix state deficits.”
On April 4, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, working families, students, people of faith, progressive allies, and civil and human rights advocates will stand as one to protect collective bargaining rights for all workers. More information and a list of events can be found at www.we-r-1.org.
The following day, April 5, many of the scholars who signed on to the letter will also participate in a series of teach-ins to discuss the concerted attack on working families. A national teach-in by Frances Fox Piven and Cornel West will stream live from New York City, followed by teach-ins on campuses across the country. For more information, visit www.fightbackteachin.org.
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