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Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers

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Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers

This is a group for expressing solidarity with the rallies by public workers and their allies in Wisconsin, USA, and for publicizing similar actions against neoliberal austerity everywhere.

Members: 36
Latest Activity: Jun 6, 2012

Group image from Labor Notes article "Wisconsin Labor Jams Capitol To Resist Governor's Attacks", by Howard Ryan. Feb. 16 2011- http://labornotes.org/2011/02/wisconsin-labor-jams-capitol-resist-governor%E2%80%99s-attacks

 

Here are two websites that provide ongoing coverage from Madison:

The Wisconsin Protest Wave

Defend Wisconsin

 

And here's a message I was forwarded about ways to support the continued occupation of the Capitol. You can also support the IWW's Madison fund here: http://store.iww.org/madison-donations.html:

 

THE BATTLE FOR UNIONS IN WISCONSIN 

  HOW YOU CAN HELP 
 


 Folks from outside Wisconsin are contacting me and asking how to help with the battle to save collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.   (Additional information on the current status of things here is at the end of this letter.)
 
 YOU CAN PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT 

 People of generally modest means, including many college students, are continuing the occupation of the Capitol and the daily picketing in resistance to the Governor's plans. Most teachers have had to/have chosen to return to their classrooms, but many other union members remain, people from private sector unions and public unions including police and firefighters.  There are many private citizens, often seniors.  Those remaining in the capitol and on the picket lines need food, water, transportation, housing. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is coordinating much of that support. No matter how small, financial support is welcome: 
 
 ONLINE:  The AFL-CIO is accepting donations online through PayPal or any major credit card. Please go to  http://wisaflcio.org /a>http://wisaflcio.org/>   for the link. 

 CHECKS can be made payable to the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Defense Fund, 6333 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213 (Please indicate the purpose, e.g. "Capitol protests" or "Madison rally", on your check.) 
 
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Comment by Marian Swerdlow on March 16, 2011 at 13:36
Around 750 people assemblied at Union Square in Manhattan 5:30 pm 3/15 to "save the American dream."  The speakers were very effective, although some certainly glorified the US past, I guess to make it seems that the current attacks on unions are somehow a departure from the American Way, and others equated the attacks with only the Republicans.  From the signs people carried, and cheers for the speakers, it was clear the crowd was enthusiastic for taxing the rich.  In NY, the practical issue is the extension of the so-called "Millionaire's tax," due for expiration.  Our Democrat governor, Cuomo, is against extending this progressive tax. 
Comment by Aaron Stark on March 16, 2011 at 1:55
Rallies at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing began in force today, in response to Governor Rick Snyder's deep budget cuts to social programs, his Emergency Financial Manager bill, and his tax cuts for businesses. The rallies are expected to continue tomorrow. For organizing information, see this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michigan-Rally-information/172489696....
Comment by Aaron Stark on March 15, 2011 at 1:49
The AFL-CIO and other unions are planning large rallies around the country on April 4th ( http://www.we-r-1.org/ ):
"On April 4, 1968,Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. The workers were trying to form a union with AFSCME.

Beginning with worship services over the April 1 weekend, and continuing through the week of April 4, unions, people of faith, civil and human rights activists, students and other progressive allies will host a range of community and workplace-focused actions.

Join us in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for. It’s a day to show movement. Teach-ins. Vigils. Faith events. A day to be creative, but clear: We are one. "
Comment by Marian Swerdlow on March 12, 2011 at 18:09

Solidarity Rallies for Wisconsin called by MoveOn this Tuesday, March 15.  In NYC, at Union Square, Manhattan at 5:30 pm.  My union has finally roused itself, called on everyone to "wear red" on March 22, and, apparently exhausted by this effort, dozed off again. 

Comment by Aaron Stark on March 12, 2011 at 16:26

I've seen at least one call for a US-wide general strike on March 31, 2011. There may be other general-strike calls for days other than March 31, and this one doesn't seem to have organizational backing yet, so take this with a grain of salt.

Here is the Facebook group for it: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=147739558619715 . And here is the description from the group:

"We’re calling for a day of NON-VIOLENT ACTION to show the heartless corporations, and politicians they own that WE THE PEOPLE make this democracy work and this country great. The plan is that we will not go to work or class and instead march, picket, gather in a place that makes sense in our town, city, or county, and non-violently make noise, create excitement, and promote solidarity.

HOW?
This will only work if YOU work to help ...organize, get the word out (repost, share, invite friends) and participate. We’re calling for ACTION, helping to connect people, and providing other support as needed. You know your community. You know what will work. Leafleting? Picketing? A march? Neither of us can nor should dictate what local actions or activities look like. We ask that if you operate under the auspices of this movement that it be non-violent, but beyond that we want you, your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to creatively design and plan what is right for you.

From our group/cause page,
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Call-for-a-Nationwide-General-Strike/150601308334693?sk=app_2373072738

click on "Discussions" on the left side. I now have topics for every state! Please check in, and let people know ...what state and city you are in or plan to be in on March 31.


WHY?
The lower 98% in the U.S. are under attack in a way not seen in generations. From union busting to outsourcing to mass layoffs, the working people of this country are being assaulted by corporations and plutocrats. While we lose our jobs, our benefits, and take cuts in pay, the rich are awarded massive tax breaks and amass obscene amounts of wealth. They buy politicians to do their bidding and pull the strings of corporate media to tell us that WE have to make sacrifices.

We believe that the workers, the unemployed, the underemployed, the students, the bottom 98% — have sacrificed ENOUGH and that it is time for us to say NO.

WHEN?
March 31st is the birthday of César Chávez, one of the preeminent labor and civil rights leaders in the U.S. during the 20th century. César Chávez and his incredible work helped to build the US Labor movement and the modern middle class. Our action, on his birthday, will strengthen the labor movement and help ensure that there will be a middle class tomorrow.

If you’re not familiar with him, you can start by reading these two links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/César_Chávez
http://www.ufw.org/_page.php?inc=history%2F07.html&menu=research


Who is behind this?
Mike Benedict: Mike works in a vibrations test lab in Erie Pennsylvania and has been a UE (United Electric, Radio and Machine Workers of America) member for nearly 17 years. He has organized, fought for workers rights, single payer healthcare (HR 676) was canvass coordinator for Erie Pennsylvania during the 2004 John Kerry Campaign and ran for Eire city council in 2005. As someone that has studied the history of labor and economic trends, he recognized that we are now at a defining moment and that a large scale action is necessary.

Yuri Keegstra: Yuri came across the “A Call For a General Strike” event on Facebook one night while organizing and sharing info regarding protests in Wisconsin and thought “absolutely!”. He works in IT at a Wisconsin university and is a proud union member. He has a strong interest in the civil rights, environmental, universal health care, anti-war, social justice, economic justice, and animal rights movements. He has been an organizer and activist since he was a teenager. More info can be found on his Facebook profile.

Who is behind them?
Nobody. Mike created the event and issued the call. Yuri saw, joined, and offered to help. Two people, a couple states apart, working on their own time with their own equipment. No union money. No political party money. No organization money. Nobody dictating or suggesting what to say or do. Just us — oh, and YOU!"

Comment by Aaron Stark on March 10, 2011 at 3:34
Fairly frequent coverage from WORT-FM community radio in Madison: http://www.wort-fm.org/listen.php . Not every minute is on the labor struggle (they have music shows too), but they're doing a lot of great reporting on this.
Comment by Aaron Stark on March 10, 2011 at 1:40
Here's an early article about tonight's events: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/117656563.html
Comment by Aaron Stark on March 10, 2011 at 1:16
According to a tweet by WI Democratic Assembly member Kelda Roys "Republicans just passed it illegally. Public locked out, no notice under open mtgs law." http://twitter.com/#!/keldahelenroys/status/45637422440124416
Comment by Brian Ross Ashley on March 6, 2011 at 5:06

Interview with the co-president of National Nurses United, by Alan Benjamin of Unity & Independence

[Note: On Thursday, March 3, National Nurses United organized a 4 p.m. demonstration at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, against Governor Scott Walker's budget cuts and concessions. I was able to speak by phone with Sister Jean Ross, Co-President of NNU (based in Minnesota), shortly after the rally. Below are her responses to my questions. -- Alan Benjamin/Unity & Independence]

 QUESTION: Tell us about the march and rally against concessions.

 JEAN ROSS: The march was 12 blocks long. Well over 7,000 participated. The number might be higher. It far exceeded our expectations. We only began talking about the march at a meeting at the Labor Temple in Madison last Sunday; then we had two conference calls. It was really organized on very short notice.

 QUESTION: What has been the reaction of the workers to your message about fighting the concessions. All we hear in the media are union officials, both local and national, offering to give back $100 million or more in concessions (mainly in relation to pensions and health care) in exchange for having the governor and the state legislature drop the attacks on collective-bargaining rights.

 JEAN ROSS: The message has been that this fight is not about the money, it is only about the union-busting. But it is also very much about the money.

 I have spoken to many, many workers during my stay here in Wisconsin. I tell them, “Don’t be afraid to say it: Yes, it’s about the money. It’s about your money.”

 Just about everyone’s response is the same. “That’s also what we believe, but no one ever asked us. We were never consulted.”

 QUESTION: Are you saying that these various union officials have been offering up these concessions without having first discussed this question with the union members who will be affected by the cuts?

 JEAN ROSS: From what we can tell, this is the case. And what’s the point of having a union if not to bargain – but they are giving it all away. One of the speakers at our rally this afternoon was very good on this point. He said, “Yes, we want to keep our union rights. But we also want to keep our dignity.”

 The response to our message has been overwhelming. At the big rally at the State Capitol on Saturday [where more than 100,000 protested in 13-degree weather for more than 10 hours—Ed. Note], everyone wanted to carry our NNU “No Concessions For Workers” signs and banners.

 How can our unions be saying what they’re saying – offering concessions in the name of safeguarding trade union rights? This is our chance to save our labor movement. Can’t they see that? People in Wisconsin are crying out to their union leaders: “Lead us to where we want to go. Don’t start the struggle by offering these concessions. We don't want our unions to become impotent.”

The unions are missing a lot when they ignore this cry of people who want unions, unions that fight for the interests of their members. They are ignoring this chance to revitalize our unions.

Comment by Ira M Wechsler on March 6, 2011 at 3:35

 

This movement which in some way reflects class struggle by the workers is pretty much been hijacked by the capitalist-controlled Democratic Party and their stalwarts in the AFL-CIO and SEIU union leaderships. Their goal is to revitalize the corrupt, Rockefeller capitalist-faction controlled Democratic Party which has been discredited as unresponsive to working class' needs nd t the same time divert the struggle against state imposed layoffs and cutbacks TO MERELY A STRUGGLE FOR BARGAINING RIGHTS. They seek to disarm the working class with their non-violence and gifting the the benefits that workers have won over a period of the last 70 years to the capitalists rulers. They seek to build an incorrect mindset that the problem is merely those bad Koch capitalists while the internationalist Rockefellers  who have the blood of the Iraqi, Afghani, and US workers on their oil-rich hands. The problem is capitalism not merely its face, just as in Egypt the problem was not just Mubarak but the capitalist system with its imperialist exploitation of $2 a day Egyptian workers.

 

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