Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) President
Michael Winship has urged members to join in a rally in New York Thursday
in support of union workers in Wisconsin.
"Governor Walker's attempt to wipe out collective bargaining
for public employees in his state is part of a national campaign to destroy
unions as the most effective and powerful progressive force in America,"
said Winship in a statement of solidarity with the protestors there.
Union workers are fighting budget-cutting efforts
that include reducing their collective bargaining power and benefits as a
way to cut huge budget deficits.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said Sunday on Fox News that
the state is broke (a $2.6 billion budget gap) and that it can't balance the
budget if unions retain their collective bargaining power. The union members,
and state Senate Democrats who had fled the state to avoid a vote that the
predominately Republican legislature has the votes to pass, had reportedly said
they would be willing to negotiate on the money and benefits issue so long as
they retained their power to bargain collectively, but Walker indicated that
was not sufficient. He called the collective bargaining argument a red herring.
"Just as the labor movement speaks truth to power, we think
it is important for people in power to speak the truth," said WGAE
Executive Director Lowell Peterson in a statement. "Governor Walker proclaims
that all he wants is to slash costs and save money for Wisconsin taxpayers, but
the inconvenient truth is that the public employee unions he seeks to destroy
have already agreed to the givebacks he has proposed."
WGAE represents writers in television, cable, digital
media and broadcast news.
It joins the American Federation of Television & Radio
Artists, which on Feb. 20 issued a statement that it was in
solidarity with state employees unions in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere who it
said were "standing up for their right to organize."