News from Madison: From Wisconsin Labor History Society Website.
Many Wisconsin Labor History Society members have spent the last week making lots of history of their own, as part of the tens of thousands of workers and their supporters who gathered in and outside of the State Capitol in the campaign to defeat Scott Walker’s union-busting legislation.
This report will point out some miscellaneous bits of information that may prove informative and inspiring.
Key Packer Supports Protest
Most of us know Charles Woodson is the premier star of the Green Bay Packers, the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year and many time pro-bowler. But do you know he is also the player representative for the Packers with the National Football League Players Association? He’s now let his voice be heard, joining those Packers who have already supported the protests: Here’s his statement:
“Last week I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them. Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work.
“It is an honor for me to play for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and be a part of the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. I am also honored as a member of the NFL Players Association to stand together with working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against this attempt to hurt them by targeting unions. I hope those leading the attack will sit down with Wisconsin’s public workers and discuss the problems Wisconsin faces, so that together they can truly move Wisconsin forward.”
Meyer Quote Makes New York Times
Board Member Steve Meyer, who is also a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee was quoted in Saturday’s New York Times in an analysis written by Labor Reporter Steven Greenhouse as follows “Wisconsin has become ground zero for the process of pushing against unions . . . People are waiting to see what happens here. That’s why the labor movement has become so deeply involved trying to stop this process.” See full story here. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/us/19union.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23
UWM Faculty Senate Supports
Meyer also reported that the UWM Faculty Senate has expressed its full support for the state workers protesting the major cuts proposed by Gov Walker and the proposed curtailing of collective bargaining rights. The Senate called the claim that public workers made substantially more than comparable workers in theprivate sector as “misleading and deceptive” based on numerous studies. It expressed further support for all workers on the Milwaukee school and “abhors the draconian standards that they will have to endure.”
A Song Tells it All!
WLHS President Steve Cupery, who is also a area director for the Wisconsin Education Association Council has sent along this interesting song written on Friday morning by Ken Lonnquist, a teacher, and sung on the radio within an hour after he wrote it. Click here to hear it on You Tube.
More: Pictures Tell the Story
Jim Reiland reports that his daughter is watching events closely from her home in Louisiana and forwarded some interesting pictures recorded by her friends in Wisconsin. The pictures appear as a link on Daily Kos (click here) and in a tongue-in-cheek manner debunk the claim by Tea Partiers and others that the union protesters were a bunch of thugs.
Sobottke Takes the Bullhorn at Capitol
Member Tom Sobottke wrote the following:
“I was in Madison all day yesterday and heard several fiery labor speeches outside the Capitol at the height of it in late afternoon. I was in the very center of the Capitol Rotunda all day Thursday and between nine and four Saturday.”
Taking the bullhorn he said:
“I’m Tom Sobottke, a teacher from Pewaukee. Frederick Douglass the great civil rights leader said to two young men he encountered, “without struggle, there is no progress.” (a pause and then with feeling) “This is that struggle.”
Tom also writes a blog, and has provided many comments on the current struggle. Check his blog out by clicking here. Then, make a comment. Tom is a Mukwonago high school teacher, a member of ULE-Mukwonago, WEAC, and NEA and a proud former member of AFCSME Local 171 from 1980 to 1985. Click here to read his blog. http://strugglesforjustice.com/
Some Personal Comments
Ken Germanson writes: Events in Madison have caused out-of-state friends and acquaintances to contact many of us who are in the eye of the storm. I had a friend, with whom I served in the Navy some 55 years ago, call me from his home in Suburban Chicago to offer his home as a “safe house” for one or more of the 14 State Senators who have taken refuge in Illinois to avoid having create a quorum so the GOP-controlled Senate could push through this antiunion bill. What makes this remarkable is that my old Navy friend is a retired School Administrator in the Morton Grove, Ill., and thus spent much of his life in management. But he knows fairness when he sees it! And, he says he’s serious about the offer for his home to be a safe house.
Dominick D’Ambrosio, retired International President of the former Allied Industrial Workers Union (now merged with United Steelworkers) called from his home in Cincinnati to discuss happenings here and to say folks there are watching with great interest what occurs in Wisconsin. Gov. John Kasich, newly elected Republican, is promising to duplicate much of Scott Walker’s antiunion legislation in that state. Already demonstrations have begun in Columbus, the state capitol.