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Published on Mar 2, 2011
I rise today to highlight a very serious and dangerous attack on middle class Americans being waged by Republicans in Congress and in state houses across the country.
The Wisconsin governor's assault on public employees is getting the most media attention but it is just one front in the extreme right wing anti-worker agenda.
In fact, there is a well-financed and coordinated national attack against working families and the unions they may belong to.
The goal of which is to take power away from the middle class and give it to wealthy special interests that have backed Republicans in their elections.
Here's how it is playing out:
The Republicans are taking a real problem -- budget deficits and long-term debt -- and assigning to it a fake cause.
Under the guise of cutting deficits, they say, working people's union rights and workplace protections must be eliminated. In fact, this attack against working people is designed to remove a vital check on special interest corporate power from overrunning our democracy.
This is an agenda they have always pursued but they are using their newfound political power to re-launch attacks on --
• Rights that guarantee a decent wage.
• Rights that ensure a safe workplace.
• Rights that provide access to affordable health care and a secure retirement.
• And, yes, even the right of working people to join together to bargain for a better life.
So at the same time the governors of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey are demanding more public AND private union employee sacrifices, Republicans in Washington are using the budget fight to roll back the rights and protections of American workers.
Their spending priorities on the so-called continuing resolution show their hand.
• voted to erase workers ability to appeal unjust workplace actions by eliminating the National Labor Relations Board.
• voted to undermine wages of construction workers and others on federal projects.
• voted to roll back basic workplace health and safety protections guaranteed by federal law.
• While protecting subsidies for corporate interests, they have sought to cut education funding, and critical support for workers in need of job training, and even kids in Head Start.
These rights and services helped to build and sustain our nation's middle class in the last century, making the United States the greatest economic power in the history of the world.
We have the greatest workers in the world because of these rights. But now the rights and economic strength of America's middle class are at risk.