Word has just leaked out of the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa that the Koch Boys are talking to severely wounded Republican Governor Corbett to move legislation this winter and spring to outlaw union dues deduction for all state and local public employees.
It is the same kind of legislation Scott Walker passed in Wisconsin and Kasich tried to pass in Ohio.
If such legislation passed in Pennsylvania, it would effectively destroy public employee unionism in this state.
That would then open the door for an omnibus assault on all unions in this labor state.
It would also make it extremely difficult for a Democrat to win the presidential election in 2016. As we all know, Pennsylvania and Ohio are traditionally the two states that tip the balance and determine the winner in presidential elections.
Corbett is a very unpopular governor. People in Pennsylvania have had buyers’ remorse since he was sworn in. He is up for re-election in November. Some think this may in part be a desperate move to pump radical right-wing energy and money into his term and campaign.
Obviously, the wretched Koch boys are pushing because they want to create an American plutocracy that they control and make the 80 percent of us servants to their power and obscene wealth. Their recent history gives us ample proof of that.
Ironically and perhaps propitiously, this fight for decency and dignity in the workplace and democracy is joined as we begin to focus on Dr. King and the meaning of his life, struggle, and legacy. Now more than ever we must claim, hold, and internalize the truth that Dr. King gave his last full measure helping to lead a strike of public employee sanitation workers in Memphis – workers who were on strike for the right to have a union and dues deduction. In his great book Going Down Jericho Road about the strike and Dr. King, Professor Michael Honey discusses at length the issues that led to and propelled the strike forward.
So now as we begin this mighty struggle in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for workers and democracy, let us not just remember but drive ourselves with Dr. King’s actions in the winter and spring of 1968.
This struggle is a struggle over the legacy of Dr. King, what value we place in his life, and whether we honor his memory or degrade his struggle.
Photo: David Koch & Charles Koch – The Koch Clowns
Photo source: DonkeyHotey on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)