Scores of AFT-Wisconsin members joined the thousands of Wisconsinites that converged on the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 24, to protest legislation designed to weaken private sector unions. (Be sure to check out our post on what you can do to stop so-called "right to work" legislation!) And while union members and community supporters rallied outside, many more were making their voices heard inside the Capitol, registering their opposition to the bill, offering testimony about why it's wrong for Wisconsin, and holding a Solidarity Singalong in the rotunda.
So-called "right to work" legislation meant to attack private sector union workers is being fast-tracked through the Wisconsin Legislature this week. Our sisters and brothers in the private sector stood shoulder to shoulder with us when Scott Walker attacked us in 2011; now it's our turn to show that we remain united. Here are five things you can do to take action:
Allain Daigle, a member of the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants' Association, created this moving short film in response to attempts by the UW-Milwaukee administration to stifle protest and political discussion on campus.
Members of the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants' Association (AFT local 2169) and The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals (AFT local 3535) gathered last night with other faculty, staff, students, and community members to defend the UW System against Scott Walker's proposed $300 million budget cut, partial privatization, and attacks on shared governance and tenure. (Read AFT-Wisconsin's press release on Walker's attacks here.) Union members and community allies across the state are mobilizing in opposition to these attacks, which threaten the quality and viability of the UW System as a home for world-class education and research. To find out what's happening in your area and get involved, contact AFT-Wisconsin Leadership Development Director Rob Henn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Madison, WI: Massive budget cuts and fundamental structural changes to the UW System proposed by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker today will lead to a significant reduction in the quality of education for UW System students, AFT-Wisconsin members and leaders predicted. “Scott Walker’s proposal to slash $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System shows that he’s willing to do just about anything as he puts his presidential ambitions above the needs of Wisconsin,” said AFT-Wisconsin President Kim Kohlhaas, a teacher in the Superior School District, in response to Walker’s plan. “He’s scrambling to find money to pay for his irresponsible tax cuts for his wealthy donors, and Wisconsin’s college students will have to pay the price. These cuts to the UW System will almost certainly threaten the ability of current students to graduate on time, and will damage, perhaps irrevocably, the ability of the UW System to attract and retain the best faculty and staff.”
The Wisconsin Labor History Society is currently accepting essays for its 2014-15 Labor History Essay Contest, open to all Wisconsin high school students in grades 9-12. Up to eight prizes between $100 and $500 will be awarded to outstanding essays of up to 750 words on the topic "Unions have been important to my family and my community because..." Essays must be postmarked by February 13 for consideration. Please distribute this contest flyer or share the contest website with any interested high school students and with your fellow union members to spread the word!