While the image of union workers is one of white men in hard hats, the reality is that African-Americans and other minorities may be hit hardest if the unions fall. Studies show that 14.5 percent of all public sector workers in the nation are black and one in five black workers are employed in public administration. Teachers, police and firefighters are not the only professionals affected in the battle raging in Wisconsin between union workers and the Republican-led state government, either. If the law passes, service employees like janitors, garbage collectors, and home health care workers will not only lose their ability to collectively bargain for wages and benefits, but their right to a union altogether.
Joining us is Paul Frymer, professor of politics at Princeton University and author of "Black and Blue: African American, the Labor Movement and the Decline of the Democratic Party," who says that unions represent the last bastion for the black middle class.
Also with us is Sheila Cochran, Secretary treasurer and Chief Operating Officer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and 30-year member of the Union of Autoworkers, who says that the effect of union breakups will be felt hardest in her city, where the majority of African American professionals work in the public sector.