Posted In: Election 2012, Indiana, Kids Not Cuts, Multimedia, New Hampshire, Uncategorized, Workers' Rights
by Félix Pérez
UPDATE: Click here to read EdVotes’ coverage of the State of the Union and find out more about NEA member Sara Ferguson who attended as a guest of the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
“An America where everyone gets a fair shot.” “An economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few,” that gets people the “education and training they need so they’re ready to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow.” These are the broad themes President Obama is expected to hit on tonight in his State of the Union Address to the nation.
Expanding on his historic remarks in Osawatomie, Kan., last December, President Obama will outline his economic vision for the nation and his defense of the middle class.
The president’s address and his pro-middle class accomplishments as well as his support for the collective bargaining rights of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees represent a stark contrast to the agenda extremist elected officials in many state capitols across the country are attempting to ram through state legislatures on the backs of working Americans.
One such divisive politician, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, has been tapped to deliver the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union. Daniels is the target of ongoing rallies and demonstrations that have drawn tens of thousands of workers non-stop to the statehouse throughout the past three weeks.
Daniels has come under fire for his “my way or the highway” advocacy of a so-called “right to work law” and his opposition to a referendum that would let Hoosiers vote up or down on the law. He joins Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich in their crusade to strip workers of their right to negotiate collectively for reasonable wages, benefits and working conditions.
Adding weight to the argument that Daniels’ proposal is about politics and not jobs is a recently surfaced video. In the video, shot in 2006 during Daniels’ first term, he said, “I’m a supporter of the labor laws that we have in Indiana. I’m not interested in changing any of them. Not the prevailing wage laws and certainly not a right-to-work law. We can succeed in Indiana with the laws we have, respecting the rights of labor and fair and free competition for everybody.”
Republican presidential candidates also strongly support “right to work.” Mitt Romney, a longtime anti-worker CEO of a venture capital investment firm that bought companies and sold them off piece by piece, said, “If there were to be a federal right-to-work law that reached my desk, I would support it.”
Newt Gingrich weighed in on the current effort by a group of radical New Hampshire Republican legislators to pass a “right to work” law: “I hope that New Hampshire does adopt right-to-work. I frankly keep it at the state level because, as each new state becomes right-to-work, they send a signal to the remaining states: Don’t be stupid.”
Read the letter from Arizona math teacher and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel to President Obama with proposals for the State of the Union on helping the middle class.
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