Like so many of you, I have watched in disbelief as the Republican supermajority of Fort Wayne City Council worked relentlessly to dismantle the very foundation that makes this community strong.
Sadly, the GOP political agenda to weaken the working and middle classes has never been more apparent than in this drive to eliminate collective bargaining for so many city employees – the very men and women who built this city and have worked to make this a great place to live.
Citizens of Fort Wayne should be very proud that Councilmen Glynn Hines, Geoff Paddock and John Shoaff are standing up for the values and common sense that make our community strong. Thankfully, they have been at the table to remind the Republican councilmen of the dedication and sacrifice made by city employees this past winter – and during every severe weather incident and crisis our city has faced. But these reminders from the Democratic councilmen, along with outcry from the public, were steadfastly ignored as Republicans stripped collective bargaining from the very people who sacrifice daily to make our city great.
Our community is undoubtedly on the road to economic recovery – more so than any other Midwest city.
Now is not the time to abandon the principles that make our community strong. Our citizens understand this and recognize the motives behind these tactics.They stand with the workers and the hundreds of police, fire, labor and non-labor workers who overflowed from City Council chambers in opposition to these measures and whose voices fell on deaf ears.
Those many voices from around our community who believe in the middle class and those who know Fort Wayne is moving in the right direction are the reason the GOP chairman now pivots from his initial comments about city workers and their right to collectively bargain. While he now attempts to create a hasty, revised image to atone for his party’s mistakes, the people of Fort Wayne are not fooled.
Voters will not forget the Republican Party’s deaf ear to them and how it turned its back on the men and women who work in the city.
Voters will not forget the relentless partisan push of the six Republican council members to undermine workers’ very ability to protect themselves from unsafe, unfair work practices and potential wage reductions.
For decades, the Democratic Party has stood alongside working men and women in defense of fair pay and economic security. The ability to collectively bargain has accounted for improved working conditions, retirement security and greater accountability in both the public and private sectors.
This is not new territory for us as a party but rather a consistency in our core beliefs. We remain true to those beliefs because they have guided us as we helped to build the largest middle class in history and demonstrated that all citizens are stronger working together.
Our community can do better then what the GOP is offering. Our citizens deserve better representation, and the change will begin this fall.