Mississippi Union Workers Support Wisconsin Union ProtestsBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 28 Feb 2011 09:57am |
Mississippi union workers are showing solidarity with the protesters in Wisconsin. About 60 union workers rallied at the capitol in Jackson yesterday. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that public workers in Mississippi already have fewer protections than workers in Wisconsin.
Although Madison Wisconsin is 900 miles away from Jackson, union workers in Mississippi are supporting their fellow union workers.
A major flash point for the workers in Wisconsin is an effort by their new governor to remove their collective bargaining....public workers in Mississippi don't have that benefit.
Brenda Scott, the president of the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees, says collective bargaining is a key protection that Mississippi public workers should enjoy.
"They have collective bargaining rights. I wish we had it. I pray one day we have it. Because what it does is it levels the playing field. Workers, rank and file workers, can come to the table and bargain ways that the state could perhaps save money because they actually do the job," Scott said.
Scott says unions are responsible for things many take for granted such as vacation time and a 40 hour work week.
Union worker Malone Davis says he attended the rally because he considers a threat to the Wisconsin union, a threat to all unions.
"To support one another. To support better pay, better working conditions and retirement. People should stick together and support one another and support the union. If you support the union than you become close brothers and sisters with one another," Davis said.
Last week, Governor Haley Barbour says he supports Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker because it is unfair for public sector workers to have collective bargaining.
"When they have collective bargaining in Wisconsin, on one side of the table is the state employee union or the local employee union. On the other side of the table are politicians, that they paid for the election of those politicians. Now, who represents the tax payers in that negotiation," Barbour said.
In addition to trying to end collective bargaining, the Wisconsin governor is also trying to require public workers to pay more into the retirement system.
Last year the Mississippi legislature increased the retirement contribution of public workers in Mississippi to 9-percent of their pay with little push back from the union.
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