Suppose you belong to my old union, the Teaching Assistants Association at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the oldest graduate employee’s union in the country. Your governor has just revoked your right to bargain collectively. While you survived since the 1960s because the University of Wisconsin was always willing to recognize your organization (even if only begrudgingly), you know that this guy obviously has an axe to grind and probably wants to eliminate your organization from the face of the planet because he doesn’t give a damn about what life is like for graduate students.
What do you do? Is it time to go on strike? I’m not sure I have the answer to either of these questions, but I think I do know this: Both Republicans in these two for-instances are counting on the workers involved to take it lying down.
Yes, the Governor of Wisconsin has called out the National Guard in the supposed fear that this might happen, but I think that’s just grandstanding. Whether it’s the fact the everyone in America has seemingly forgotten what strikes are or whether they don’t think they’ll have the guts to do so during a recession, neither of these “reforms” were proposed for the sake of education. It’s spite, pure and simple, that motivates both of them and the spiteful in both instances believe that the educators involved (which includes public school in the Wisconsin example) question won’t be brave enough to strike back.
I won’t try to tell the people involved what do in these instances until I have to walk a mile in their shoes, but I can’t help but wonder: If not now (or if that bill passes in the case of Utah), when?