Randy Bryce, 50, was high above a muddy construction site welding together steel beams when Mr Walker signed the law. He is among the Wisconsin angry. Just ask his family. It was last week when he was in a book shop in Caledonia, where he lives, when from the corner of his eye he caught his son, Ben, eight, letting fly at a book he’d seen on a table. It was a memoir by Mr Walker, the governor’s face on the front.I was always proud to call Randy my friend and my union brother. Now, I am just more proud.
A member of Ironworkers Local 8, Mr Bryce called the Right to Work law a “blatant political attack” against him and other working men and women. Last week when hearings on the law were scheduled in the legislature in Madison, the state capitol, he took a day off to testify to senators. But the Republican leadership cut them short and he didn’t get the chance. The next day he took to the public gallery and gave them a piece of his mind. “You’re turning Wisconsin into a banana republic,” he yelled.
Mr Bryce, an Army veteran, was ejected by police that day, a symbol of the helplessness of the unions and the once mighty progressive left in Wisconsin to resist the conservative juggernaut that began rolling here in 2010 when Mr Walker won the governor’s mansion and Republicans took control of both sides of the legislature. “If someone had told me in 2010 all this could happen in Wisconsin, I’d have laughed in their face,” Mr Bryce mused this week. “And now it’s a reality.”
“States that have enacted this legislation have a 52 percent higher fatality rate among workers,” Mr Bryce asserted. His ironworking job is one of the more dangerous out there. “One of thing the union stands up for is workplace safety and safety will be one of the first things to go, because it costs money.”
An option, of course, is to move to a different state. But that would never cross Mr Bryce’s mind. “I’m going to stick around for as long as it takes to get all those sons of bitches voted out of office.”
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Randy Bryce, Ironworkers Local 8: