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CUPE National president Paul Moist opposes American move to strip Wisconsin public employees from their free collective bargaining rights.

The following is a letter from Paul Moist sent to Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker on February 16, 2011.

Dear Governor Walker:

On behalf of the over 600,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) we are writing to register our complete opposition to your government’s planned move to strip Wisconsin public employees from their free collective bargaining rights.

The United States is signatory to many International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, which affirm the rights of workers to belong to unions and to engage in free collective bargaining, as an appropriate mechanism to determine wages and benefits and working conditions. Using the current recession and your majority in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate to strip away fundamental rights from dedicated public employees is plain wrong and totally unjustified. We appeal to you to stop this path to confrontation with your employees and cancel plans to introduce such draconian legislation.

In the midst of a very difficult economy in the United States, with far too much unemployment, public  services need to be front and centre, especially for families in need. In such difficult economic circumstances public employees are more than willing to be creative in bargaining and work with employers to find ways that both support public services and ensure that the people who provide those services are treated with respect. Attacking your own workforce under the guise of fiscal austerity measures will hurt both public employees and the community at large; neither outcome is justified.

When so many are struggling around the world for the rights and values that we hold dear it is particularly shocking that you would consider such measures. Difficult situations demand leadership and leadership is based on respect and a willingness to search for solutions in the best interest of all citizens. We strongly urge you to reconsider the course you are on.

Yours truly,

National President