The Attack on America’s Middle Class, and the Plan to Fight Back
Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 9:00 AM CDT • General Session Hall A
Sen. Al Franken, Lee Saunders, Mary Bell, Mary Kay Henry, Joseph Hansen, Bob Kuttner, Ari Melber
We’re witnessing the fruition of a decades-long plan by conservatives to undercut the progressive movement by destroying its foundation: labor unions. After decades of successfully diminishing the power of private sector unions, the right wing is now coming after public employee unions. From Wisconsin to Ohio, Republicans are taking aim at public sector unions as a means to their political ends. As they attempt to destroy the bedrock of progressive infrastructure, the middle class gets weakened and income disparity continues to grow. After years of playing defense, progressives are ready to take the fight to the other side. Americans of all walks are angry, loud and organized to retain collective bargaining as the bedrock of the middle class and to expand the power of working people. Why are public sector workers bearing the brunt of this attack, and what is next? What will become of the middle class if we are not able to repel conservatives bent on destroying labor unions? How can we continue to fight for workers even as more states try to strip away our right to collectively bargain? And how can progressive activists stand up for and with the middle class against corporations who are attempting to buy our government? Speakers: Sen. Al Franken, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, UFCW President Joseph Hansen and economist Bob Kuttner. Moderated by Ari Melber of The Nation.
7:43 AM PT (Laura Clawson): I kept trying to provide some pieces of Sen. Al Franken's speech, which argued that progressives need to make the case that, far from being conservative, the Republican agenda would bring truly radical change to our society. But it called for more than quick sound-bite transcriptions, so we'll see if the full text is available at some point.