Steven Colbert and Teachers Union Head Randi Weingarten Skewer Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
Teachers union head Randi Weingarten appeared on The Colbert Report last night to voice her support of Wisconsin's protesting public employees. What ensued was a subtle skewering of both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's plans to end collective bargaining, and the anti teachers union sentiment that's swept the nation over the past two years.
Colbert poked fun at the ridiculous level of union vilification by introducing Weingarten as one of the "terrorist union leaders" that should be hunted down, adding, "Here for her last interview before she is renditioned to Guantanamo, please welcome, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Mullah Sheikh Omar Randi Weingarten."
Colbert pointed out that Wisconsin's public employees are close to a deal, having accepted budget cuts and cuts to their benefits, but, he asked, “Why can’t they just go that one step further and agree that they’ll never get to bargain about anything else again?"
Weingarten replied that Walker hasn't talked to union leaders since the day he took office, and said that public sentiment nationally isn't with his push to take away people's voice. She added that the unions know that Wisconsinites are suffering and said "we're willing to do our part." However, public employees need a way to advocate for things like smaller class sizes, and unions provide that.
Colbert also shrewdly noted that there's nothing in the Constitution about a union, "other than the first sentence” and addressed the argument that because all Americans are suffering, state workers shouldn't have great pensions or health benefits. “Why should they get something good because they organized and fought for it if other people don't have it?” Colbert asked. “Shouldn’t everybody live a shit life?”