Teamsters President Calls Protests "Inspiring"
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa saluted the tens of thousands of people streaming into Wisconsin's capital this week to protest Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal.
"It's inspiring to see middle-class workers coming together to say they've had enough of this one-sided class war," Hoffa said. "Government workers didn't cause Wisconsin's budget problems and they don't deserve to be punished for them. Gov. Walker's proposal is a vindictive attack on people he views as his political enemies. He should be bringing people together to create good jobs in Wisconsin, not tearing the state apart in a crass attempt at political payback."
Democratic senators left the Statehouse today so that Republicans couldn't vote on the bill, which was filed six days ago, without a quorum. Hoffa praised the Democrats as courageous.
"Governor Walker is trying to make an end run around democracy," Hoffa said. "Democratic senators took a stand for Wisconsin workers who won't be denied a voice in the process. They stood up in the face of injustice."
"This union-busting budget proposal is the worst form of political payback," Hoffa said. "Gov. Walker should be listening to middle-class workers in Wisconsin instead of shortsighted billionaires who don't care about the long-term health of the state's economy. The big corporations and the CEOs already have a big say about what goes on in Madison. Stripping government workers of their collective bargaining rights will silence their voices in the legislature and give even more power to the big corporate interests."
Hoffa noted that Walker's political campaign received a $43,000 donation from Koch Industries, the oil conglomerate owned by Charles and David Koch, longtime union foes. Walker also received $5 million from the Republican Governors Association, which is funded by billionaire Rupert Murdoch and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"Wisconsin's economy was strong when people worked together and there was balance between management and labor," Hoffa said. "That balance has already been undermined, and now Gov. Walker wants to destroy it.
"No economy ever grew by arbitrarily driving down the living standards of working families," Hoffa said.
Hoffa pointed to a study by the Institute for Wisconsin's Future that showed Walker's budget proposal would cost the state $1.1 billion in economic activity and 9,000 private sector jobs.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters