Ethical Culture Supports Wisconsin Protesters
Outraged by Governor Scott Walker’s attacks on his state’s unions, the members of the Board of Trustees of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County have passed a resolution supporting the unions and the protestors. The resolution takes note of the fact that the governor’s actions make a mockery of the provision in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides that “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” The Board believes that Governor Walker has deliberately reduced taxes on those most able to pay in order to create an excuse to deprive the states’ union workers of their rights.
The resolution which can be viewed below and has been sent to Governor Walker and also to Governor Christie. “We not only support Wisconsin union workers in their struggle to maintain their right to collective bargaining, we also oppose the demonization of union workers here in New Jersey and wherever they are under attack across the country,” says Ed Gross of Westwood, the current president of the organization.
The Ethical Culture Society has a long history of social action locally in support of human rights, including working for fair housing, against homelessness and towards a more peaceful world. The Society is currently spearheading a coalition of local religious organizations working for the safe release and transition to residency of asylum seekers who are accused of nothing yet are imprisoned in the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Resolution on Wisconsin Public Workers
Whereas public employee unions in Wisconsin have expressed a willingness to negotiate changes in their contracts to help alleviate the financial burdens on the state government, which Governor Walker has rejected, and
Whereas Governor Walker and his legislative allies have supported tax reductions for those most able to pay despite the deficits faced by Wisconsin, and
Whereas the proposed legislation in Wisconsin includes provisions that would allow gubernatorial appointees to substantially limit health coverage for low-income families without legislative review,
Therefore, we, the Board of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, find that such legislation as has been proposed in Wisconsin so eviscerates public employees’ unions which have played a proud role in providing humane and just protection for American workers, making a mockery of the fourth clause of Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests,” and
We further find that the combination of tax reductions for the wealthy with an insistence on dictating non-negotiable terms of employment for government workers is an assault on the principle of requiring that those most able to pay what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. called “the price we pay for a civilized society” should pay the most, and
We find especially that the use of such legislation as has been proposed in Wisconsin as a model for legislation in other states indicates that such legislation is part of a national effort to tilt government to favor the wealthiest,
We therefore applaud those who are demonstrating in Madison, Wisconsin against such drastic legislation, and
We call on residents of our county, our state, and the country to show their support for those in Wisconsin and elsewhere who oppose all such unnecessary and harmful legislation.