Member Says Wisconsin Governor Should Apologize for Attacks on Workers
Several possible presidential contenders have come through the state in the last few weeks, but none have received the reception that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did on Saturday. Walker, who has presided over a stunning reduction in workers’ rights in his home state, was greeted at a Concord event by hundreds of demonstrators.
Walker hasn’t officially announced he’s running for president, so his multi-day visit was more aimed at “testing the waters.” Those in attendance Saturday wanted to deliver the message that his anti-worker agenda isn’t welcome in New Hampshire. As if his policy record — eliminating collective bargaining rights and enacting Right to Work — wasn’t enough to draw demonstrators, Walker’s recent comments comparing workers to terrorists raised the ire of many.
SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members, including President Rich Gulla, Director John Hattan and Jeremy Dupuis, were among those demonstrating Saturday. Dupuis, who works at the Department of Administrative Services, spoke on behalf of his fellow union members. (You can watch a clip of Jeremy speaking here | You can watch a longer video with all speakers here)
“Gov. Walker has attacked public employees, he’s attacked the middle class and eliminated jobs, and now he’s here to run for president,” Dupuis told the crowd. “Instead of running for president, he should be here apologizing for his actions.”
Afterwards, Dupuis said the demonstration was uplifting.
“You could definitely see the energy of the people around us, people willing to fight for their livelihoods,” he said. “It was rewarding. We want a country that works for all of us and it’s great to see people standing up for themselves.”
Hattan agreed with him.
“It was great to see such unity amongst a coalition of workers there,” Hattan said. “From the shipyard to the carpenters to IBEW to the AFL-CIO, to name a few.”
Hattan said politicians like Walker and Rep. Bill O’Brien have forced workers to get better organized and take action. With Walker likely to run for president, Hattan said there is much work to do to educate the public at large.
“I hope voters see him for what he is, but I think we have to be diligent,” he said. “Certainly it’s a long game, and while we may have setbacks, in the long run, I hope a Republican gets nominated who better represents the country at large.”
Walker is scheduled to return to New Hampshire next month for state GOP event. You can see his and other candidates’ scheduled NH visits in NECN’s primary candidate tracker.