“The faithful members of NTEU have much to be proud of: protecting our nation’s borders to keep our enemies out; ensuring that our nation’s new financial regulatory laws are implemented so that we don’t have another 2008 Wall Street meltdown; and performing critical scientific research in numerous federal agencies that promote the safety and well-being of all Americans. In short, the vast majority of Americans know that they are serving our nation.
“These are hard times for our country, and especially for our country’s budget. Our debt is hampering our economy’s future and children’s opportunities. Getting out of debt will take sacrifice. Civil servants have to share that sacrifice—and they’re already sharing it. But they don’t deserve to be scapegoated. And they don’t deserve political attacks on their right to organize.
“As President Eisenhower said: ‘Workers have a right to organize into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers. And a strong, free labor movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society.’ President Eisenhower also said this: ‘Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of their right to join the union of their choice.’
“In Wisconsin, public servants showed that they were willing to sacrifice and compromise to get a budget back in check—only to be met with an uncompromising, ideological resistance.
“Here in Washington, we have to be willing to compromise too, and to cut spending we can do without. But we shouldn’t have to see men and women who serve their country turned into scapegoats and we shouldn’t have to cripple our country’s competitiveness in order to get out of debt.
“Democrats know that we can take on our fiscal challenges without cutting billions in scientific research, without kicking 200,000 children out of Head Start and putting college further out of reach for so many, without leaving our infrastructure stuck in the last century, without giving up the strong, new rules that protect our financial system from another collapse.
“There’s a way through our fiscal challenges: the way of compromise, shared sacrifice, and tough choices—not the way of turning Americans against one another for political gain. If enough people in Washington put our country’s future first, we can meet those challenges, together.”