“It can’t be anywhere as harsh as it’s been in Wisconsin,” said Chris Flores of event sponsor MoveOn.org, a reference to that state’s recent move to strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights.
One of hundreds of similar rallies held across the country Tuesday, the event was meant to deliver the message that the breaking of unions and gutting of social programs to balance budgets should be stopped.
“We cannot allow this attack on the American dream to continue,” said Flores. “That’s why we’re here today: to stand up, fight back and defend the American dream against the right-wing assault.”
Participants chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, corporate greed has got to go” and received support from passing motorists who honked their approval. The group signed a petition objecting to threatened cuts they say would eliminate 700,000 jobs and cut billions from critical public programs. The petitions will be delivered to Rep. Jerry McNerney later this month.
“Teamsters are no more corrupt than corporations or the government,” said Antioch’s Don McLeod, noting that unions are responsible for winning weekends and holidays off, fair wages and other workplace rules enjoyed by all Americans.
Some of those present also wanted to make it known that, despite MoveOn.org’s reputation as a liberal group, the preservation of workers’ rights was of interest to everyone. “We have to get the conservatives on the other side of the street to see that this is their fight, too,” said Flores.
Rather than make cuts that hurt the poor and middle class, Flores said, the government should make ends meet with stronger regulation of corporations.
“We demand an end to the attacks on workers’ rights and public services across the country. We demand investment in creating decent jobs for the millions of people who desperately want to work. And we demand that the super-rich and powerful corporations, including Wall Street banks and big oil companies, pay their fair share.
“We’re not the problem. The problem is the fat cats, the CEOs.”