Labor History in Schools Proposal Resources

When the Labor History in the Schools Bill (SB 108) was discussed in the last session of the Wisconsin Legislature, it generated much attention. In the paragraphs below, you will find links to
various sources of information from the discussion in 2007 that may help you in learning the background of this issue.

There was a full hour devoted to the issue on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Idea Network when Ken Germanson, president of the Wisconsin Labor History Society, discussed the bill, with an opposing viewpoint from John Ashley, executive director, Wisconsin Association of School Boards. (Listen to this program at http://www.wpr.org.and click on “View All of Joy Cardin’s Audio Archives,” and then scroll down to program # 071211A for the 6 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 program.)

The Milwaukee Journal on Monday, Dec. 17, ran pro-con op-edpieces on the bill. The “pro” side waswritten by Phil Neuenfeldt, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIOand Ken Germanson, president of the Wisconsin Labor History Society. (See http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=696867.) The “con” side was by the Center forUnion Facts, a notoriously anti-union group. (See http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=696866.)

A week later, on Monday, Dec. 24, there were three lettersin the Journal Sentinel, basically citing general agreement with the “pro”position. Please see: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=699308.

Coincidentally, there have been two recent articles thatpoint to how important unions are to a healthy economy and to restoring astrong and viable middle class in our nation. New York Times columnist PaulKrugman outlines how the drop in union membership has been caused largely by U.S.corporations that have figured out ways, with the help of a pro-businessNational Labor Relations Board, to undercut the ability of unions toorganize. He notes further the valuethat a strong union movement would have for all Americans. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/24/opinion/24krugman.html?hp.)

New York Observer Columnist Nicholas von Hoffmanlikewise states the value unions have for a healthy society. (See http://www.observer.com/2007/unions-may-be-flawed-they-re-needed.)