June 15, 2011
The Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
Government of Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org / fax (613) 996-9795
Dear Minister Fast,
The Trade Justice Network and the Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC) congratulate you on your recent re-election to the House of Commons and appointment to lead Canada's important international trade file. The networks, which represent labour, environmental, farmers, cultural, student, Indigenous and other public interest groups in Canada and Quebec, support greater engagement and trade with Europe as part of a fair and balanced Canadian trade agenda.
The Trade Justice Network came together in February 2010 because of concerns, shared by RQIC, that the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could undermine important social, economic and environmental policy on both sides of the Atlantic. Since that time, we have advocated openness and public debate on CETA in our communications with local, provincial, and federal government representatives. We have met with Members of the
European Parliament from all political parties on multiple trips to Brussels, and we continue to receive briefings from Canada's lead negotiator following each round of CETA talks.
Based on these meetings, and a careful reading of leaked copies of the CETA text, we know the proposed Canada-EU free trade agreement has the potential to transform the Canadian and Quebec economies in important ways. For example, the agreement will place new constraints on how the provinces, territories and Canadian municipalities make public policy. From culture to agriculture, telecommunications to procurement, the regulation of finance to the delivery of public services, copyright law to drug patent terms, CETA will affect many policy areas which are best decided by federal and provincial legislatures.
At the same time, serious questions have been raised about the projected gains from a comprehensive Canada-EU trade deal. For example, a Sustainability Impact Assessment conducted for the European Commission found GDP growth would be less than half what was estimated in a 2008 joint study the Canadian and EU governments used to justify commencing negotiations. Another Canadian study estimates job losses of between 28,000 and 150,000, based on the natural effect of imports and exports on multiple sectors. We feel these studies present a strong case for slowing down the negotiations with the EU while a public debate can be held on the risks and benefits of CETA.
The Trade Justice Network and RQIC would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you at your convenience to go over our concerns in more detail. As two broad-based networks of Canadian and Quebec civil society organizations, we have expertise across many sectors which we hope can be of assistance to the federal government as it moves forward with its CETA negotiations.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The Trade Justice Network
Email: TJN.RCJ@gmail.com / 416-979-0451
Trade Justice Network / Réseau pour un Commerce juste (TJN / RCJ) member organizations:
Alberta Federation of Labour, Alternatives, ATTAC-Québec, Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), Canadian CED Network, Canadian Conference of the Arts, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), Canadian Federation of Students
(CFS), Canadian Health Coalition, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), CUPE Ontario, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), Council of Canadians, The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Manitoba Federation of Labour, National Farmers Union (NFU), National Union of Public and General Employees (NUGPE), New Brunswick Federation of Labour, Northern Territories Federation of Labour, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, Ontario Federation of Labour, PEI Federation of Labour, Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, Sierra Club Canada, Toronto and York Region Labour Council, United Steelworkers (USW), Yukon Federation of Labour.
Réseau québécois sur l'intégration continentale (RQIC)
Courriel: email@example.com / 514-383-2266
RQIC member organizations: Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), Alternatives, Association canadienne des avocats du mouvement syndical, Association mondiale des radiodiffuseurs communautaires (AMARC), Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI), Attac-Québec, Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD), Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO), Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), Conseil central de Montréal métropolitain (CCMM-CSN), Développement et Paix, Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ), Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), Groupe de recherche sur l'intégration continentale (GRIC-UQAM), Ligue des droits et libertés, Mouvement d'éducation populaire et d'action communautaire du Québec (MÉPACQ), Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE), Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ).
When a few hundred oil workers in southwestern Kazakhstan launched a strike to demand higher wages in early May, no one expected the protest would last long or have much of an impact.
But what began as a small-scale strike has awoken the country's long dormant labor movement, and is growing into the greatest organized challenge the Kazakh government has faced in 10 years.
"We will continue [our protest] until the end," said one striker in the port city of Aqtau, who gave his name only as Kelbaev. "As long as we don't get what we are demanding, until we get higher wages, we will remain here [on strike]."
The strikes have expanded in scope and scale. The initial protest at the Karazhanbas oil field near Aqtau has swelled to include thousands of oil workers.
Not far from Karazhanbas, transportation workers are striking at the OzenMunaiGaz company, disrupting oil deliveries. Miners' and gas-workers' unions have expressed solidarity, and in the northern city of Kokshetau, investors in the KazRosInvestproyekt limited-liability company have been protesting for three weeks.
According to Kelbaev, the strike in Aqtau is falling on deaf ears in the capital, Astana, 1,700 kilometers away. "We have been speaking only with local officials," he said. "No one from the government [in Astana] has come and met with us. They are not even paying attention."
But the ultimate goal is to be heard by the Kazakh government, which was accustomed to large protests in the 1990s when its seat was in Almaty and the population was clamoring over unpaid wages.
Since then, however, the country's rising oil revenue and accompanying improvement in the standard of living has helped relegate protests to small, local affairs centered on narrow issues.
The opposition is watching events closely, with parliamentary elections scheduled for 2012, hoping to imitate these rallies and tap into popular sentiment during next year's election campaign.
The stakes are high, with both registered and unregistered parties preparing to enter a parliament whose seats are filled entirely by members of the ruling party, Nur-Otan.
Radio Free Europe, Wed Jun 15 2011
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EDMONTON - High-profile strikes erupted across Alberta in the summer of 1986 as the oil boom went bust, often pitting workers against police in what many saw as a fight for their lives.
That level of activism and political pressure hasn't been seen since in a province where the workforce unionization rate has dropped to about 22 per cent from 29 per cent a quarter-century ago — at both times, Canada's lowest.
There were picket lines outside Suncor in Fort McMurray, at Zeidler Forest Products operations in Edmonton and Slave Lake, and at Red Deer's Fletcher's Fine Foods facility.
But the dispute that galvanized the country was Edmonton's 6 1/2-month walkout by 1,080 employees at Gainers, the city's last old-style meat packing plant. It was a bitter fight over wage rollbacks and pension protection.
For days, crowds of chanting union supporters blocked the 66th Street gates, hurling rocks and paint bombs, and smashing bus windows to stop convoys of replacement workers owner Peter Pocklington hired to keep his business running.
"I remember an older gentleman taking a two-by-four to one of the scabs back then, knocked him right off his motorcycle," says Louis Tancsics, who had been in export shipping at Gainers for about a year before the strike started.
"Guys had wrenches, guys were throwing sidewalk blocks. Man oh man, they broke the (bus) windshield even with screens welded on front ... (passengers) were screaming for their lives."
The 78-year-old brick slaughterhouse on the north side of Yellowhead Trail was owned by Swift's until Pocklington bought it and transferred operations from the antiquated Gainers plant beside the Mill Creek Ravine in 1981.
They handled thousands of hogs and cattle a day. The animals were herded to the top floor, killed, gutted, boned and turned into processed or fresh meat on the way down to the ground level.
When the collective agreement expired in 1986, Pocklington insisted he couldn't afford to match raises provided at competing firms.
He arguing that with Alberta hog prices set too high by a marketing board, he needed to cut costs.
The company ran ads seeking replacement workers. Feeling Pocklington was actually making a profit, members of United Food and Commercial Workers local 280P walked out June 1.
The battle lines were set.
"Most of us thought we would be out for a couple of months until we worked out an agreement, but then (Pocklington) locked us out and brought in scabs, and we knew our jobs were in jeopardy," says then-shipper Dan Fitzgerald.
"We were hoping to cause enough commotion that they wouldn't want to try to get in. When the first bus came in, (pickets) tried to tip it over."
The Alberta labour movement rallied around what was for them a match made in heaven — $12-an-hour employees in a dirty, dangerous industry against a wealthy, outspoken businessman.
One striker showed up at events dressed as a pig wearing a top hat, tuxedo and a sash labelled "Peter Pocklington" to drive the point home.
Pocklington rejects any insinuation he was the bad guy, calling the dispute a "tragedy" created by provincial rules allowing a marketing board to set hog prices rather than let the market decide.
That charge was repeatedly denied by the board, which has said the cost of Alberta hogs at the time was the lowest in North America.
The former Oilers owner says he hired people to keep the plant running while the union fought on despite his company's financial challenges.
They might as well make me the villain, he says.
"They're afraid to take on the government. They said 'you can pay a hockey player a million dollars, why can't you give us a raise?,' " says Pocklington, now living in California.
"Unfortunately, greed overcame better judgment. I have nothing but good feelings for the workers. They were good people. They were just misled by the union."
Bob Claney was the police superintendent in charge of the tense situation.
He commanded 375 uniformed officers at the height of the action, about one-third of the entire Edmonton force, which at one point was so stretched top brass considered calling in the army for backup.
Claney repeatedly walked through the crowd at the head of a police line, pointing out individuals to arrest.
While several union supporters complained they were hurt when grabbed by police, sometimes blocks from the action, Claney says he was required to enforce court orders allowing replacement workers access to the site.
"People believe what we were doing by following that court order was anti-labour. I certainly was tagged with an anti-labour label, which was far from the truth," Claney says.
"So many of the members that were working with me ... had relatives, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, cousins that were working in Gainers. We wanted to make sure we did it in the least violent way."
He says he often singled out older people so they would be removed from any danger. He had pickets arrested for breaching civil court orders, rather than criminal charges, to ensure they didn't receive a criminal record.
"People were striking because their union encouraged them to do so. They felt they were doing the right thing. The unlawful acts that took place were minor. It was essentially civil disobedience."
Gainers quickly won injunctions restricting the number and location of protesters around the property, for the most part ending the big confrontations that created national headlines.
But that didn't end the fight.
Union supporters followed delivery trucks so they could pressure retailers to buy from competing firms.
Some people used needles to make holes in the plastic wrap on Gainers meat at grocery stores so the product would dry out and become unusable, Fitzgerald says.
This was part of a boycott, featuring 5,000 blue-and-white lawn signs handed out in Edmonton alone, that made Gainers such an unpopular brand the company switched to the old Swift's logo after the strike ended.
One survey indicated fewer than one-quarter of local residents were buying Gainers meat, down from three-quarters of respondents who used the products before the strike.
"It was the most effective boycott I have ever witnessed. It spread right across the country," says retired Alberta Federation of Labour president Dave Werlin, who helped rally his colleagues to the cause.
"It was one of those things where you don't have to buy a particular manufacturer's meat. You had many choices. My old mother and father in Saskatchewan, they never did buy it again."
At the same time, the strike became part of a larger campaign to make Alberta's labour laws friendlier to unions through such changes as banning replacement workers.
Werlin warned 6,000 demonstrators at the June 12 opening of the legislature session, the largest rally there since the Depression, that "violence and terrorism" would continue in Alberta if new laws were not brought in.
Later that day, 500 protesters marched from that peaceful event to the plant, where 44 people were arrested after the windows, headlights and radiator were smashed on a farm truck trying to deliver a load of hogs.
The strike dragged on, through mediation and an unsuccessful dispute resolution proposal, until a contract was reached after meetings with then-premier Don Getty in December.
The new collective agreement included a two-year wage freeze followed by a small raise. Strikers were hired back ahead of the replacement workers and pension benefits remained intact.
In 1988, the Alberta government announced $61 million in loans and loan guarantees for Gainers, partly to help build a packing plant in Picture Butte that was never constructed.
Getty has always denied Pocklington's claim that he made a deal to provide financial assistance and fair market pricing for hogs to settle this economic black eye.
For his part, Pocklington says he would handle things differently today.
"I would just have shut the plant down. It didn't work. The government knew it, the union had to know," he says.
"Permanently lock the door. Use it for real estate. It just caused a lot of pain and destroyed a lot of wealth."
But Tancsics, now working in distribution at a bakery, is proud of his role in a strike that he's still asked about.
"It just showed how people then, they came together for a cause ... It's a matter of earning your livelihood and standing up to someone who wanted to make money off other people's backs."
Edmonton Journal, Mon Jun 13 2011
Byline: Gordon Kent
Day six of the Walkerville tent city protest has seen overwhelming support from Wisconsin workers, students and community members. Over the course of the week, thousands of Wisconsinites have gathered on the cement blocks lining the Capitol Square in order to call attention to Gov. Walker and his legislative allies' destructive budget proposals -- proposals which will cripple Wisconsin's schools, health care system and communities.
Many have said that they are surrounding the Capitol to bear witness to their elected officials' decisions and to let their Representatives know that the people of Wisconsin are preparing to take back their government back this summer.
"Walkerville is a way to focus the spotlight on Gov. Walker and Sen. Alberta Darling's budget that will devastate higher education, public education and Wisconsin as we know it," explained Michael Rosen, President of AFT Local 212, and professor at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Rosen traveled to Walkerville on Wednesday to spend the night.
About 150 tents have sprung up around the Capitol since Saturday June 4, when Walkerville tent city was erected.
Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, brought her son, Nicholas to Walkerville. "We are here to tell Scott Walker that his attack on Wisconsin's unions, middle class, and communities will not stand. The people are coming together here in Walkerville to fight for a just budget and for an economy that works for all."
Each day in Walkerville has had a theme, complete with educational programs to inform citizens on the budget and how it will impact their everyday life. Public services, health care, education and higher education have all been a theme of the day. Many local musicians have taken to the stage on State Street to show their support for the protestors and entertain the family-friendly crowd.
"As Wisconsinites, we cannot standby in silence while our friends, family and neighbors suffer at the hand of Governor Walker's bad choices for our state," explained Dian Palmer, President of SEIU Health Care Wisconsin and a public health nurse from Milwaukee who has been spending multiple nights in Walkerville. "I am here because what I have heard from Governor Walker does not represent the Wisconsin that I believe in or that my fellow Wisconsinites believe in. And I am here to bear witness and ensure that our leaders do right by education, healthcare and programs for senior citizens."
On Health Care Day, nurses and home care patients took on a mock Scott Walker in the fight for quality health care in a play boxing match. Candice Owley, President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, took to the ring in order to ensure quality care for all of Wisconsin. Read more about the boxing match here.
On Public Services Day, state and county employees held a mock town-hall listening session with characters of Gov. Walker, David Koch, Sen. Glen Grothman and Sara Palin. On Sunday, Wisconsin teachers held a citizen speak-out on why funding for public education is essential to quality education for our children.
Last Monday, fire fighters, farmers and cops lead a march of thousands to call for a fair and just budget. Read more about it here. For video of the march click here.
As the winds blew in last night Walkerville residence took refuge by patronizing local businesses as they waited out the storm. After the storm, Walkerville citizens returned to their tents, tucked-in for the night and continued to raise awareness of Gov. Walker's bad budget choices. Walkerville survived the storm, but can Wisconsin survive Walker's dangerous budget proposals?
AFL-CIO, Thurs Jun 9 2011
Now that the state budget has received a stamp of approval from the Joint Finance Committee, the war of words is heating up once again.
This time in the form of rallies across the state.
We are Wisconsin, made up of union members, teachers, nurses, even a former representative is making some noise.
"Change some of those most dramatic and drastic cuts to some of the most important programs in the state of Wisconsin," says former state Representative Jim Soletski.
They're fighting against spending cuts to school districts, local governments and public services.
"Yeah, there's going to be a lot of tough days ahead," says Republican state Representative John Nygren of Marinette.
Rep. Nygren, who sits on the Joint Finance Committee, points to the ballooning budget deficit, saying that dollar amount speaks for itself.
"When we were elected into office into leadership this time around, we had a $3.6 billion budget deficit that we needed to fix, so tough choices had to be made," says Rep. Nygren.
It's an argument not everyone at the Green Bay rally is buying.
"They can say that all they want but you know there comes a time when you need to educate kids," says Jonah Lenss, a volunteer with We Are Wisconsin.
"Cutting from Medicaid, cutting from Badger Care, Senior Care, how is that helping those people that need it?" asks Suzanne Haines, a nurse.
Rep. Nygren argues hundreds of changes were made to the budget. Some to education, and Senior Care. He's convinced after the budget passes, better days are ahead.
"The only way for us to get out of it, is to make those tough decisions without raising taxes, that's what we did," says Rep. Nygren.
wbay.com, Wed Jun 7 2011
Devon Whitman of the AFL-CIO Field Department reports on a huge victory for domestic workers at the International Labor Organization (ILO) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Last night, following a week of intense negotiations, governments, employers and workers from across the globe reached agreement on the 19 articles which will make up the first international convention on domestic work at the 100th annual conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO). While the final vote of the ILO's general body will take place on June 16, the victory last night marked a major achievement on the road to winning a strong international convention setting out the rights of domestic workers the world over.
An ILO "convention" sets an international labor standard. Governments must ratify the convention for it to become the law in that nation.
Juana Flores, of Mujeres Unidas y Activas (Women United and Active) of San Francisco, said:
So many women throughout the world have never been recognized for their labor. With this convention the world is recognizing, for the first time, that domestic workers are workers like any other and deserve the same treatment. I feel incredibly proud to have been able to represent the domestic workers of the United States in this process.
The agreed upon convention opens with the recognition of the following inalienable rights of domestic workers, which include:
•Freedom of association and collective bargaining.
•Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor.
•Effective abolition of child labor.
•Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
The proposed convention also provides protections for migrant domestic workers, including the obligation that national laws and regulations require that such workers receive a written job offer or contract of employment that is enforceable in the country in which the work is performed stipulating specific terms and conditions of employment.
It also requires that countries take measures toward ensuring that domestic workers enjoy equal treatment with workers generally in relation to working hours, overtime compensation and rest periods and minimum wage protections.
When the agreement on the convention was reached, the South African delegation of domestic workers led domestic workers from across the globe in a song:
My mother was a kitchen girl, my father was a garden boy, that's why I'm a trade unionist, that's why I'm a trade unionist!
afl-cio now blog, Wed Jun 8 2011
Egyptian workers take to the streets, defying the controversial anti-strike law, as they call for better working conditions but the police use force to cut out their voice
Late afternoon on Wednesday, after a day of renewed labour protests, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's interim government released a statement announcing their decision to begin applying the anti-strike law criminalising any form of action that disrupts work and production. Soon after, snatch-vans belonging to the notorious Central Security Forces (CSF), police forces and plain-clothed police officers descended on Maglis El-Shaab Street where protesters had gathered in front of the Cabinet offices, arresting at least seven tenant farmers and using force to disperse others.
Workers from several economic sectors went on strike Wednesday after weeks of relative calm. Some gathered in front of the Cabinet offices while others filled surrounding streets and buildings. Employees of Nasr Car Company along with tenant farmers, graduates of Al-Azhar University and staff members from the ministry of state for antiquities (MSA) gathered to make their demands known, arguing that now is the time for action not idleness.
Nasr Car Company employees called on the company's management to rehabilitate workers forced to take early retirement. Next to the Nasr Car protesters sat top graduates of Al-Azhar University. The graduates had already constructed a tent and were huddled beneath the shade of a tree, hoping to avoid the unforgiving sun as they began their first day of a collective hunger strike. This move was inspired by Ahmed Hussein, a graduate who graduated at the top of his class in philosophy, who began his hunger strike days ago. By noon on Wednesday, Hussein had reached a critical state and was taken to hospital.
The recent graduates, who had already been protesting for two weeks according to their spokesperson, Mohammed Magdy, were demanding employment within the university.
A street over, tenant farmers were protesting against the government, whom they blame for depriving them of land. Angry farmers demanded that all other dispossessed farmers join their strike.
Further down Kasr El-Eini Street stood employees of the newly formed MSA – the ministry of culture had previously overseen Egypt's antiquities. Staff members who had worked for the government anywhere from five to thirty years were demanding permanent contracts and decent working conditions. They also sought the removal of Zahi Hawass, minister of state for antiquities, and of Safwat El-Nahhas, president of the Central Agency for Organisation and Management and chairperson of the Complaints Committee for the High Council of Wages, whom they blame for the lack of government action.
Waleed Sami, speaking on behalf of the protesting MSA staff, announced that starting today employees would begin an open-ended strike, spanning the length of Egypt from Alexandria to Aswan. He also added that on 15 June, they would begin an open-ended sit-in in front of the Egyptian Museum. The strikers are debating when to close down all tourist sites in Egypt, which they will soon announce. Security staff from the Pyramid site in Giza, however, announced that starting 15 June, the iconic pyramid complex would be shut down.
Ahramonline.beta, Wed Jun 8 2011
Translator's note: On May 24, a massive explosion and fire at a newly inaugurated oil refinery in Abadan led to the deaths and injuries of an unknown number of workers. The explosion, caused by technical problems, occurred during a facility inauguration ceremony that had prompted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to boast of Iran's growing capacity to refine oil. According to Hamid Reza Katouzian, head of the Energy Commission of the Majles, Iran's parliament, "experts had forewarned that the Abadan refinery was not ready to be inaugurated."
The explosion underscored once again the lack of safe working conditions in Iran's oil and petrochemical industry. In addition, recent labor strikes have challenged the industry's reliance on temporary contracts for its labor force. In March, 1,800 contract workers at the Tabriz Petrochemical Complex demanded that they be hired directly in order to receive the benefits and job security provisions to which permanent employees are entitled. In April, 1,500 striking workers at the Imam Khomeini Port Petrochemical Complex located in Khuzestan near the Gulf made similar demands.
Most recently, factional conflicts within the Majles over control of the income generated from oil production have led to leadership changes in the Oil Ministry. First, Ahmadinejad dismissed the oil minister and appointed himself "caretaker for the Oil Ministry." When parliament deputies and the Guardian Council called this act illegal, he appointed one of his allies, Mohammad Ali Abadi, as the new temporary "caretaker." Below are excerpts from a recent interview with Iranian economist Mohammad Maljoo in which he addresses the state of labor in the oil industry. It was published in the May 2011 issue of the Tehran-based journal Mehrnameh. This translation was originally published by Tehran Bureau on June 5, 2011. http://to.pbs.org/iqcYcl
Iranian voices in translation, Tues Jun 7 2011
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) apparently doesn't want to be reminded of the people who will feel the sting of his budget cuts.
It was revealed last week that Walker, who is proposing budget cuts in education and vital social services—many to low-income family programs—ordered removed from the governor's mansion a painting of three Milwaukee children that the artist says he meant to remind governors how their policies impact children around the state.
In an e-mail to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice, artist David Lenz says:
I guess that was a conversation Gov. Walker did not want to have.
This is the second time this year a governor has removed art from a public building. In March, Maine Gov. Paul LaPage (R) ordered a labor history mural taken down.
The foundation that runs the Wisconsin governor's mansion commissioned Lenz and other Wisconsin artists for work to place in the mansion that would remind state leaders of the people they represent. Bice writes:
Lenz said he carefully selected the three children portrayed in "Wishes in the Wind." The African American girl, featured in a Journal Sentinel column on homelessness, spent three months at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission with her mother. The Hispanic girl is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. And the boy's father and brother were killed by a drunken driver in 2009.
"The homeless, central city children and victims of drunk drivers normally do not have a voice in politics," Lenz explained in an email. "This painting was an opportunity for future governors to look these three children in the eye, and I hope, contemplate how their public policies might affect them and other children like them."
When the story broke, Walker's office released a statement that said the first family was simply redecorating the floor.
The Walker administration says it is working out an arrangement with the Milwaukee Public library to display the painting. John Gurda, vice chairman of the library's Board of Trustees, told Bice that Walker should have realized the reaction removal of the painting would draw.
This is indicative of that tone-deafness. My point of view is this is not the Walkers' house, this is Wisconsin's house. This was commissioned by an organization that was there long before Scott Walker came in and will be there long after he is gone.
afl-cio now blog, Mon Jun 6 2011