The historic labor activism that marked 2011 will grow and spread in 2012. Corporate America will continue to attack middle--class workers by violating their rights and lowering their wages. Their political allies will continue to try to shrink the middle class with austerity budgets and anti-union laws.
The backlash will be fierce. Last year, blatant attacks on working families inspired massive protests throughout the Midwest in the winter. The Occupy movement flourished everywhere in America during the fall. In November, Ohio Gov. John Kasich suffered a stunning electoral setback when voters overwhelmingly rejected SB5, his anti-worker bill. This year’sThe protests of 2012 protests and political activity will make the events of 2011 seem mild.
On Election Day, voters told Kasich they were fed up with the corporate war on workers. They didn’t think it was fair to blame nurses, firefighters and teachers for the greed and recklessness of Wall Street. They wanted unions to continue to speak up for the middle class in the state lLegislature — and to spend union money in their communities. Since the defeat of SB5 in Ohio, Kasich has switched gears and said he won’t support a right-to-work ballot initiative introduced by Tea Party extremists.
Right-to-work proposals failed in all 13 states where they were introduced last year. Voters didn’t buy the arguments from of corporate-backed politicians that such laws were needed to improve their states’ business climates. The same politicians will try again to destroy unions in 2011.
They are likely to meet the same fate as Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Walker rammed through a bill to weaken government unions over huge protests. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has since risen faster than the national rate’s — and Walker risks losing office in a recall election.