The Polish trade union Solidarity, whose protests in the early 1980s helped precipitate the downfall of Soviet communism, has embraced the cause of Wisconsin's protesting public workers.
Piotr Duda, head of the 700,000-member "Solidarnosc" trade union, wrote that
on behalf of his organization he wanted to "express our solidarity and support for your struggle against the recent assault on trade unions and trade union rights unleashed by Governor Scott Walker," Wisconsin's budget-cutting Republican executive.
"We are witnessing yet another attempt of transferring the costs of the economic crisis and of the failed financial policies to working people and their families," Duda wrote. "As much as some adjustments are necessary, we can not and must not agree that the austerity measures are synonymous with union busting practices, the elimination of bargaining rights and the reduction of social benefits and wages."
"Your victory is our victory as well," Duda concluded, pledging assistance if the public employee unions need it.
Writing at Politics Daily this week
, Gerald J. Beyer, an associate professor of Christian social ethics at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, argued that there are parallels between the Solidarity movement in communist Poland and the efforts by public workers in Wisconsin and other states to resist efforts to curtail their collective bargaining rights.