Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

February 21, 2011

Letter to Governor Walker from Fr. John Jones, Philosophy Professor and former Department Chair at Marquette

Filed under: Scott Walker — millerlf @ 11:46 am

Saints Cyril & Methodius Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church in America

2505 South 30th Street

Milwaukee, WI  53215


February 19, 2011

Dear Gov. Walker,

We are writing you to express our strong dissatisfaction with provisions of the current budget repair bill that would limit or eliminate the right of public workers to engage in collective bargaining. We oppose these provisions. We have strong objections to the fact that such provisions would be put forward for a vote by the State Senate with no adequate time for sustained and open public discussion.

Many Orthodox Christians who immigrated to this country during the late 19th and early 20th centuries worked in factories, mines, and other industries. They experienced dreadful working conditions and sustained opposition to their efforts to engage in collective bargaining to improve those working conditions. They struggled with great difficulty to gain the civil and legal rights of workers to unite and collectively bargain with employers.  Those hard-won rights reflect a deeper moral right of people freely to associate with others to obtain and maintain a decent standard of living. As you well know, Wisconsin was the first state to grant public workers the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining with the state.

We appreciate the very difficult economic conditions that affect state and local governments in Wisconsin. We understand that very difficult decisions need to be made that will very likely affect the working conditions of public employees. But:

We categorically reject any efforts by you and other members of the state government to make these decisions without negotiating with public workers through the unions which represent them.

We categorically reject any efforts to rescind or limit Wisconsin’s long tradition of affording the right to collective bargaining to public workers in the state.

We categorically reject any effort to pass the current budget repair bill without the sort of sustained public discussion that should accompany a bill of this magnitude.

Accordingly, we respectfully request that you support efforts to remove all provisions of the current budget repair bill that would remove or diminish the rights of public workers to gather, organize, and collectively bargain with the State of Wisconsin and other governmental units in the state regarding their working conditions and benefits.

Sincerely yours,

Fr. John D. Jones                     Fr. Thomas Mueller                 Fr. Protodeacon George Potym

Associate Priest                                    Rector


1 Comment »

  1. Thank you, Father! As an Orthodox Christian I appreciate your willingness to come forward and support these basic human rights! My grandfather died in an accident in the Pennsylvania coal mines before the union. My uncle witnessed the suffering during unionization of the mines. Our ancestors died to form the unions! These rights are sacred to us! Union workers may have to make financial concessions during these hard times. I understand the Wisconsin unionists have agreed to them already. But we Americans should not be asked to give up these hard won rights to collective bargaining. Thank you for your witness!

    Comment by Riverside — February 21, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

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