Huge turnout for Wisconsin May Day
100,000 demand rights for immigrants & unions
Published May 5, 2011 12:02 AM
WW photo: Bryan G. Pfeifer
In one of the biggest marches and rallies in Wisconsin history, more than
100,000 people participated in this year’s May Day in Milwaukee.
The action was sponsored by the immigrant rights organization Voces de la
Frontera and endorsed by the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and numerous other labor,
community and youth organizations. Participants’ demands included
legalization now; no Arizona racist copycat legislation in Wisconsin; keep
in-state tuition for immigrant students; and no union busting in Wisconsin or
anywhere in the United States.
The march began on the south side of Milwaukee at Voces de la Frontera’s
offices. It included whole families along with labor, community and youth
delegations that carried colorful banners such as “People before banks,
Stop union busting: Jobs, not racism, Legalization, not anti-immigrant
laws” and chanted slogans such as “Sí se puede!”
Labor delegations included the Service Employees union, the Milwaukee Teachers
Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees. Members of many unions attended, including the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Auto Workers,
including a member of UAW Local 833 at the Kohler Company.
At the main rally, historic solidarity was displayed among immigrant rights
groups, organized labor, and youth and students. Among the speakers were
Christine Neuman-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera; Richard
Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO; Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Wisconsin
Firefighters Association; Michael Rosen of the American Federation of Teachers
Local 212; Phil Neuenfeldt of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO; and numerous youth
activists from Voces de la Frontera youth organization. Other student
organizations such as UWM Occupied (the group occupying a portion of the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union) and Students for a Democratic
Society in Wisconsin participated.
Speakers denounced the racist attacks against immigrants of color and the
attempted union busting in Wisconsin and around the U.S. and pointed to the
banks, corporations and Pentagon as the real enemies of poor and working
Trumka came to Milwaukee’s May Day to show unity with the immigrant
workers’ struggle and with the struggle against union busting in
Wisconsin. “Now your Gov. Scott Walker ... has declared war on Wisconsin
workers and, like you did before, you joined in a peaceful protest to say
‘No! No!’” said Trumka. “This day — May Day
— is our day, our day to stand together shoulder to shoulder for
immigrant and worker rights. Thank you for being here and showing Wisconsin and
the world that we are one.”
Participants came from all over Wisconsin on buses and car caravans. Workers
also came from other states to show their solidarity. Delegations from the
Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, the Moratorium NOW!
Coalition and Workers World Party came from Detroit.
After the May Day march and rally, a group of activists participated in the
annual ceremony in the Bay View area of Milwaukee marking the 125th anniversary
of the May 5, 1886, tragedy in which the state militia shot into some 1,500
workers marching for an eight-hour day, killing seven in front of the Milwaukee
Iron Co. rolling mill, then Milwaukee’s largest manufacturing plant.
There was also a May 1 march and rally at the state Capitol in Madison.
For more information, updates and upcoming activities: www.vdlf.org;
www.wisaflcio.org; wisaflcio.typepad.com; www.defendwisconsin.org;
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE