John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, said the recent protests . . . are unlike anything he has ever seen [in his 40
years] working in or around the capitol . . . .
“The bishops are very careful — it’s a balanced statement,” he said. Unions, “just like anybody else, have to consider the good and make sacrifices.”
However, it’s “a mistake to cite hard times as a reason to dismiss or marginalize unions.” Tilt. Financial crisis? Favored union status? Don’t mention it.
The bishops are merely reminding everybody of the teaching of the Church [about] the dignity of work and the appropriate place for unions without giving them carte blanche to have everything they want. [italics mine]
They are not merely reminding, they are injecting stuff into the middle of a hot political situation. Let us not play dumb here.
The bishops’ man continues:
Does the bill serve to marginalize unions? Does this serve to drastically reduce the ability of worker to articulate and protect their interests? Those are fair questions to engage. [Flack, flack.]
Huebscher observed that the bill has struck such a chord with Wisconsin citizens because of its potentially far reaching implications for public and private employees.
Struck such a what kind of chord? What’s he talking about?
If the state as a matter of public policy can say that workers are going to be very limited in what they can bargain for, that will seep into other segments of the economy, he said. I think workers perceive that this is going to affect them, even workers that aren’t unionized. [union argument]
Huebscher added that there are benefits employees in the state have today that they didn’t have decades ago such as just wages [justice! yes!], paid overtime, 40-hour work weeks and the inability to be fired without due process. Union talking point.
Ditto reference to “time when [unemployment and workers compensation] weren’t available, followed by reference to “a sense among working people that while they don’t belong to a union today things they have exist today because unions fought for them. And they’re concerned about losing that.”
And we the bishops take that union argument very seriously, do we not, says their interpreter with 40 years experience. In fact, Wisconsin’s “long tradition of integrating and affirming workers” — what the hell does that mean? — “parallels . . . the development of Catholic social teaching and the rights of labor.”
Applause, cheers, trumpet blasts: Spoken by a true labor skate of the 19th or early 20th century. Give him the hook.
But also give him credit for being glad there’s been no violence so far, noting that the bishops have “urged people to remain civil, talk to each other, and keep the common good in mind.”
Well, it was the least they could do, right?