MADISON-On Presidents Day 2011, we remember what Republican executives from history understood that Scott Walker does not.
We start with the original Republican, Abraham Lincoln, who, by the way, tried to prevent a quorum in the Illinois Legislature in 1840 using the exact tactics currently being used by Wisconsin’s Democratic senators.
Lincoln said, “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
As governor of California, Ronald Reagan, meanwhile, actually SIGNED legislation establishing collective bargaining for California’s municipal and county employees. In 1968. Reagan had served two terms as president of a union, the Screen Actors Guild.
Teddy Roosevelt said in 1914 that, “It is essential that there should be organizations of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize."
And then, of course, there was Ike, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who may have anticipated Wisconsin’s current governor when he said, “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.”