VIDEO: Wisconsin Governor Gives State Workers Some Love

Wisconsin public employees on the Capitol steps said Thursday their governor doesn't appreciate them, he "depreciates" them--with a 10 percent wage cut, for example. Photo: Ron Blascoe.

With a straight face, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proclaimed Wednesday State Employee Recognition Day, along with a new recognition program that would reward workers for "outstanding conduct in serving the people of Wisconsin."

In response a group of state employees from several unions proclaimed their own State Employee Depreciation Day Thursday, with a ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.

Energy efficiency specialist Barbara Smith reminded the crowd that public workers are about to lose 10 percent of their pay when Walker’s Budget Repair Bill is implemented, while cuts to public services will affect nearly everyone in the state.



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Smith read a “Proclamation of Indignation” and handed out awards. Arts Board workers whose jobs are being eliminated received a blank canvas and a music box without music, “to highlight the new no-Arts future.” Wisconsin corporations were awardees too: they received a pair of fangs, “the better to take profits from workers’ hides,” Smith said, and a commemorative pen from Supreme Court Justice David Prosser’s visit to Walker’s office on election night, “the better to allow corporations to keep writing the laws in their favor.”

Amy Kerwin, a Madison city parking worker, played "On Wisconsin" on her trombone.

Proving that great minds think alike, Ohio Governor John Kasich proclaimed this week Public Service Appreciation Week. Like Walker, Kasich has made killing collective bargaining rights for public employees a chief goal of his administration.

Jane Slaughter is a former editor of Labor Notes and co-author of Secrets of a Successful Organizer.