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Richard Trumka begins: "For anyone who still thinks the inspiring actions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are just about public employees in those states, here's a moving dose of reality."

Portrait, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka on Capital Hill, 10/26/09. (photo: Damon Winter/NYT)
Portrait, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka on Capital Hill, 10/26/09. (photo: Damon Winter/NYT)

The Wisconsin 14

By Richard Trumka, Reader Supported News

06 March 11

RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor

or anyone who still thinks the inspiring actions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are just about public employees in those states, here's a moving dose of reality.

People in every walk of life and every part of the country - even other countries - are expressing heartfelt gratitude to the 14 Democratic state senators who left Wisconsin Feb. 17 rather than allow Gov. Scott Walker to pass a sham budget bill taking from state and local workers the right to bargain for good middle-class jobs.

Gov. Walker and state Republicans may be sending them $100-a-day fines and arrest warrants, but take a look at some Facebook and phone messages real people are sending the brave Wisconsin 14:

  • "I've got 20 plus years in in Department of Corrections and I myself have walked through the halls of hell literally ... I've dealt with escapes, fire, suicides, Jeffrey Dahmer ... In my opinion, the 14 of you are clearly as big American heroes as those who are dying in the war overseas right now."

  • "Today I will start tithing 1 percent every day of my daily income for your re-election campaigns!"

  • "I was taught to either stand for something or fall for anything ... Thank you for setting a great example!"

  • "My parents in northern Illinois would be glad to feed you a home-cooked meal - just drop me a note and I'll put you in touch."

  • "History will look back on you not only as heroes of the American working class but also as patriots in the purest form as inspired by the founding fathers of this country."

  • "Keep up the good work, and if you need $100 - any one of you - I am, definitely, willing to sacrifice Benjamin Franklin to keep you guys out of state until this situation is over."

  • "As a social worker in Wisconsin barely able to pay my own bills on my income, I want to say Thank You to all of you ... I see first-hand what happens when services are cut and people are unable to get the services they need - the stress, the homelessness, the inability to get mental health or health services in general and the revolving door of our horrible "justice" system. It's horrible. Please keep up the fight."

  • "I have never taken a stand before but now I do, with all 14 of you!"

  • "You are what democracy is all about!"

  • "Thank you, thank you, thank you! Please know how much the citizens of Wisconsin understand your sacrifices in leaving your homes, families and constituents to do the right thing and stop this ridiculous budget 'repair' bill. You give us hope!"

  • "Thank you all for the guts you have shown throughout this time. I believe the story of the Wisconsin 14 will go down in history."

  • "Muchas gracias."

  • "Thank you all from Canada. We believe in free collective bargaining. It is a human right and courageous folks like you and the protesters make us all proud!"

  • "Thank you from your neighbors in Minnesota who were only 8,500 votes away from being in the same situation had we not elected Mark Dayton."

  • "I have never been more proud of a group of men and women ..."

  • "You are the heroes of the whole nation. This is not only about middle-class union workers, it is about all of us."

  • "Finally, politicians who stand for something they truly believe in."

  • "I'm a little choked up here because I realize the sacrifice that you are making. They put the pressure on you. They're trying to turn the screws on you. I appreciate your courage. Your vision ... And the backbone that you're showing."

  • "Sorry you're away from your families, but because of your efforts we all hopefully have better family lives."

  • "You are on the right side of history."

  • "I'm down at the capitol right now. I am a retiree. I've been here every day at least twice a day. I have other things to do ... like our 14 senators do. But this is the most important thing that's happened in Wisconsin in my life. I'll be 70 in September ... God bless and keep you always."

Let me add my thanks and my admiration for the Wisconsin state legislators - and those from Indiana - who have left home and are living out of suitcases for weeks to do the people's work. your social media marketing partner


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+57 # giraffee2012 2011-03-06 13:02
The 14 Dems are at the top of my list - It's a start and I expect others to FOLLOW.

Dems - PLEASE vote in 2012 or admit you are committing the biggest crime. R's: if you're not one of the top 400 richest men in USA - go straight to jail if you vote R!
+42 # AML 2011-03-06 13:35
I welcome the changes that are about to transpire worldwide. Hang on; the ride is about to get rough, and if we as Americans and world citizens stand together, we will prevail.
+32 # Gary Hyer 2011-03-06 14:01
As a resident in New York State who is currently receiving a pension for years put into the system my congratulations and thanks go out to the Wisconsin 14 who have taken the action to stand with the people and their courage under fire. Let's hope that this action; to do what is right and just; spreads to the upper levels of our goverment, on both sides of the houses, to stop the petty infighting and absurd actions that are currently being proposed.
+46 # Tammi Dee Koytek 2011-03-06 14:14
Capitalist greed will not be satisfied until they own everything and every peasant outright. Its not enough that 400 people have as much wealth as the lowest 155,000,000 people in America. The had to pull-off the largest heist in history by fabricating the collapse of the American Economy, to steal the retirement savings of millions and then hold the Government up for trillions of our tax dollars. Then they have the nerve to demand trillions of dollars in tax cuts and handouts to companies with billion dollar profits while trying to destroy every safety net including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food stamps, unemployment, etal.
Welcome to Fascism in America, Where 400 rich old men tell us what we can do with our bodies. Who we can love, even (Ref. Missouri) do away with child labor laws.
Place all hope on Wisconsin to be the dawn of the Revolution in America. Remember, every generation has to fight to keep their Freedom.
Peace and love
+24 # kgyurkey 2011-03-06 16:27
You have found the succinctest words yet for expressing the reasons why the non-400 should be in a state of rage not unlike those shaking their fists at Mubarak or Ghaddafi. The difference in terms of the have/havenot divide is only one of magnitude - if anything our's is a bigger outrage because we had the power of democracy and they have bought it away from us. But if we don't stand up to them now, while it's still theoretically possible, we have only ourselves to blame for the demise of our republic. We are going to have to take to the streets, so let's get started!
+16 # JazBing 2011-03-06 18:04
Just want to add "rich, old, WHITE men" And, who could tell the 400 billionares and our Congressmen apart? 1/3 of Congress are millionares! And, very few women and minorities...Gr eed is as greed does.
+39 # Linda 2011-03-06 14:22
I am proud of these 14 Democrats who stood up for what was right no matter how inconvient it may be for them and their families.
Now if only the Democrats in Washington would follow your lead and stand up for the people and what is right for a change and not Reubicans and corporations then this country just might stand for something other than corruption and greed.
+35 # Paul Greiling 2011-03-06 14:24
Finally some Democratic Politicians with a backbone.
+23 # lvb 2011-03-06 14:55
We are legion.
+20 # Doro 2011-03-06 16:30
Kudos to you all. Thank you, Thank you!!
+23 # Barry De Jasu 2011-03-06 16:46
I am so impressed and inspired by what these 14 Democrats have done and hope that their efforts will inspire other elected officials to stand on what is right instead of siding with the 'money'. If only our extraordinarily pragmatic President would at times go all the way for principle and for what's right. Our President like so many democrats compromises way to the right without even a public airing of principle.
+17 # fredboy 2011-03-06 18:26
The Wisconsin governor and legislature have spat in the face of American workers, reminding us of the awful, abusive actions that prompted our essential labor movement. Workers are helpless unless they organize. United, they have and continue to manifest a mature, productive workplace.

Wisconsin writes the epitaph not for labor, but for all who oppose our united stand. Please, every worker, organize, organize. Unite to create the best workplace. And fight oppression, as it always leads to vile abuse and injustice.

Wisconsin voters failed by electing such treachery. While the anti-worker efforts manifest shame and arrogance, the resulting reaction of honest, dedicated working men and women stand as a living, growing memorial to our dedication to the promise that all may strive to succeed here.
+16 # Mary Miller 2011-03-06 20:16
You know, we had people LOCKED out of our state house during a big portion of the hearings here in Ohio. The Governor stated that he was GOING TO PUT it in action, regardless of the votes...People, if our governors are running a lack of due process, locking us out from voicing our opinions, maybe we need to vote with our feet: move to a state the respects our wishes. I don't have more answers, but we LOST in ohio. You could be next.
+15 # DPM 2011-03-06 20:17
We now have some brave people making a sacrifice for what is right. Now, it is up to us, not just support them, but to charge forward and take back our country, economically and morally.
On Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and the U.S.A. Up with the free people of America! Canada!
+15 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2011-03-06 20:31
The Republicans control the legislature in my state, and they have shamelessly overturned the intent of about half a dozen public referendums because they didn't like the results.

So this "take our country back" crap that the tea-partier's have been yelling is only code for "take our country backward."

But here's the good part: Republicans always overplay their hand; they are so arrogant, they think just because they were able to delude voters into electing them, they have a mandate to be as Republicans as they want to be. But when normal Americans witness just how abhorrent that is, they start throwing the Republicans out. Stay tuned and stay informed.
+13 # wizardbob 2011-03-06 21:16
If only our president had the backbone the WI 14 are showing. God Bless you;all.
0 # Gary Ray Pierson 2011-03-07 05:20
Can they tar and feather the fake governor? You know, that toadie the repubs put in office in Wisconsin.... The repubs could and would and of course, get away with it, since they own the courts and much more.. Y'all are jusy bad people for the most part.. You all are mental.. Cpl. Pierson, 101st Vietnam, Nixon was a good toadie for corporate America and of course, not a lier.. His tapes prove that.. :)
+4 # Manywords 2011-03-07 09:52
Let no one underestimate what these 14 are doing! You've drawn a line in the sand, and all of America's working class are on your side! All retired workers and all future workers are too. Don't give up or give in....ever.
+4 # rblee 2011-03-07 11:21
Hope and change. Sure. But, they left out something: fight like hell! Isn't it something that North Africa is showing how to do it? The idiotic Tea Party mercenaries are no match for an aroused real We the People--not the fake Fox-led We the Sheeple!
+3 # bjw 2011-03-07 11:37
All of those Republicans state representatives must live in gated communities, send their kids to private schools and only go to private hospitals for treatment. They must not use any public services or worry that they might have to in the future. Can you imagine if you were the teacher of one of their children how you would be feeling right now? Or a nurse taking care of their family members? Or a fireman who might be called to fight a fire at their homes?
+2 # DS 2011-03-07 16:35
It is horribly depressing to me. I live in very conservative, agrarian community and hear, constantly, of how bad off the community and those living here are. Yet these same people are avid supporters of the republican elite that keeps them repressed. The locals here reject any notion that the 400 richest are running things and they continue to vote in those that hurt them most. Really sad. The anti-union rhetoric here is even sadder. I have no idea how to change attitudes here, and fear for my safety if I try.
0 # Doug M 2011-03-08 11:15
Last fall after the election I too felt like a stranger in this land of my birth, but I have been to Madison, WI and I have seen the strength we have. Be a voice in the wilderness. but no longer be silent. We are fighting a class war that we must win for our grandchildren's sakes. Bless you
0 # enrique 2011-03-09 14:39
Whatever happened to the "Employee Free Choice Act"? What did you do with it, useless Democrats? You allowed it to be buried under a pile of Washington political crap. It will never see the light of day again! Here is your Revolution: create a third party that blows them all asunder! Happy unionizing!

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