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Jonathan Gramling
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Vol. 10   No. 3
FEBRUARY 5, 2015
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The Capital City Hues
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UNIQUE HITS
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                         The Freeloader’s Bill

Stories & Columns

NEWS BRIEFS
*Mt. Zion Selects Interim Pastor
*Wisconsin’s Future: Put Kids First
*Madisonian Serves in the Indian
Ocean
*The Rennebohm Foundation Awards
BGC and ULGM $300,000 Grant
*WWOCN New Leadership
Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at the
Wisconsin Union’s Shannon Hall February 14th
Editors Note: As a sponsor of the performance of Urban Bush Women at the Overture Center on February
18th at 7:30 p.m. — see the ad for Urban Bush Women on p. 2 of this paper — The Capital City Hues received
five pairs of tickets for the performance. I would like to give away these five pairs of tickets to the first five
individuals who e-mail me at gramling@capitalcityhues.com with the title Urban Bush Women in the Subject
line. Please include an address where I can send the tickets to. Remember, he who hesitates is lost.
***
One of my favorite stories to read to my children when they were too young to read themselves was “The
Little Red Hen.” For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it recounts how the little red hen went through the
stages of baking bread, from harvesting the wheat to rolling out the dough.  

At each stage of the process, she asked an assortment of animals if they wanted to help make the bread
and they all had an excuse why they couldn’t help. But when it got to the stage where the freshly baked
bread was going to be eaten, all of a sudden, all of the animals were willing to volunteer.
However, the little red hen told them nothing doing. If they couldn’t help make the bread, they certainly
couldn’t eat the bread. In essence, the animals were just a bunch of freeloaders.

Now I hear that Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in the state legislature want to make Wisconsin
a “Right to Work” state. In other words, in workplaces where the workers have voted to be represented by
a union, Walker and company want to make union membership — and the payment of union dues —
voluntary.

It appears that they feel a union shop, where once the union has been certified in a workplace, all of the
represented workers have to join and be members of the union, is Un-American. Apparently they feel that no
one should be forced into an association that they want no part of. In my view, Walker and company want to
empower a bunch of freeloaders as a method to destroy private unions.  

Why do I call them freeloaders? Well if you remember, it is law that when unions bargain for wages and
conditions of employment for their members and those wages and conditions of employment become part of
a collective bargaining agreement, then all workers regardless of their union membership receive those
benefits. In other words, through “Right to Work,” they can opt out of belonging to the union and not pay
union dues, but still get the benefit of the hard work and bargaining of the union. I find that down right un-
little red henish. The freeloaders get their cake and eat it too.

Remember that Walker and company already got rid of the public employee unions and now they have set
their sights on private unions. They are using the selfishness and narrow-mindedness of some workers to
eventually lower the wages of all of the workers. In other words, they will be using the greed of the few to
lower the standard of living for the many.

Walker, the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party have certainly done a number on poor working folks and
working folks in general. Through years of propaganda, they painted public employees — including people
who maintain our parks, pave our roads, pay our unemployment insurance and provide us safety — as a
type of welfare recipient who was feeding at the public trough, never mind the companies who were
receiving millions of dollars in state subsidies only to decide to ship their jobs overseas. Once they did a
number on the public employees, they were able to strip them of the effectiveness of their unions.  In
essence, they drove a wedge between private and public sector workers. And the private, non-represented
and represented workers thought that it would end with the stripping of the public sector unions of their
power.

But the intent was never to stop with the public sector unions. That was just a smokescreen, They are after
all of the unions and the “Right to Life” laws will make the private sector unions ineffective too. And what
will the result be? Ever been to a manufacturing plant in Mississippi where they make about half the wages
of a unionized plant? Ever experience the overall poverty of Mississippi? Well that is coming to a state near
you: Wisconsin.