Writer wasn’t very neighborly By John Kocovsky
I recently read a letter from Keith Best entitled “Recall pits neighbor against neighbor” (Viewpoint, Feb. 5). It started out that even though Mr. Best and his neighbor had differing political viewpoints, they seemed to still be “neighborly.” In fact, as they chatted Mr. Best thanked “Joe” his neighbor for remaining neighborly in spite of their difference of opinions. “Joe” agreed, and answered that since he couldn’t change Mr. Best’s mind, and Mr. Best couldn’t change his mind, they might as well remain friends.
But, Mr. Best couldn’t leave well enough alone. He started with a series of questions; Was his neighbor in a private union? Why did he want to recall Walker? Did his neighbor know that the Act 10 reforms had nothing to do with private unions? And because “Joe” resented this line of questioning, and maybe to forestall an argument with Mr. Best, told him that he was done talking, Mr. Best interprets this as an unwillingness to have a dialogue. Me thinks Mr. Best was just looking to push forth his point of view.
Mr. Best was right about Act 10 targeting public unions. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has taken away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of the state’s public employees. But maybe “Joe” (and I, as well as Mr. Best, can only speculate as to what “Joe’s” thoughts are) sees this attack on public unions as a divide and conquer strategy to weaken all unions. After all, union membership now stands at an all time low of 11.9 percent, divided almost equally between public and private. Or maybe “Joe” is afraid that our state will become a so called “right-to-work state” say like Arizona. Or maybe take it an extra step further, as Arizona is doing by passing four Senate bills which essentially do away with public unions-1) Prohibit the recognition of any union as a bargaining agent of any public officer or employee; 2) Prohibit collective bargaining or enter any employment bargain with any union or its agents; 3) prohibit the meeting or conferring with any union or public employee for the purpose of discussing or reaching any employment bargain.
Finally, after intentionally causing this breach in neighborliness, Mr. Best says he will still wave to “Joe.” I hope Mr. Best is not surprised if “Joe” does not use his whole hand if he waves back.
John Kocovsky, Hazelhurst