More than one hundred workers gathered outside the Carvel State Office Building in downtown Wilmington today to show their support for workers in Wisconsin.
Carrying signs and shouting slogans in solidarity, union members and supporters in Delaware demonstrated their support for union workers in Wisconsin. Union members in Wisconsin are protesting Govenor Scott Walker’s decision to push for legislatoin that would take away public workers’ rights to collectively bargain for their benefits and working conditions.
President of the Delaware AFL-CIO Sam Latham says today’s rally was all about showing unity between Delaware workers and Wisconsin workers. “I think Wisconsin has helped to unite us to realize that we’re all in this together as labor, and we all need to stand together and fight together.”
Latham admits that Delaware workers are in a better position than their brothers and sisters in Wisconsin because although budget cuts may be coming, Governor Markell is not proposing an end to collective bargaining for workers. “We’re fortunate in Delaware that we’re not balancing the budget on the back of working men and women,” Latham says. “Now don’t get me wrong, the Governor’s going to come forward, and he’s going to want some concessions. And if they’re reasonable, they’re going to happen, but he’s not asking us to give up collective bargaining.”
Markell took to the Internet to voice his opinion on the protests in Wisconsin. He penned a lengthy editorial that was published today at Politico.com. Markell says, “It’s better for our state when unions have the right to speak out and to have a place at the table-when they represent those whose voice may not be heard. Those discussions might be painful. But it would be worse if they didn’t take place at all.”
Markell also talks about the sometimes frustrating process of union negotiations. “It’s true that my job as governor would be easier without having to deal with public-sector unions. Some of them file frivolous grievances. Some union members have unrealistic expectations about wage increases when so many of their neighbors throughout the state don’t have jobs, wages or benefits. I’m sometimes frustrated by that attitude.”
There may still be some rough spots ahead for state workers in Delaware with a budget that seems to grow tighter by the day, and Latham warned today’s crowd of that possibility. “We’ve got fights ahead of us, brothers and sisters, we’ve got some dark days. But beyond every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. Something good is going to come out of this. When all is said and done, we’re going to stand stronger, and we’re going to stand better and we’re going to stand more united than we’ve ever been.”