Wisconsin workers, students continue fight
Published Apr 4, 2011 10:23 PM
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker directed the state’s Legislative Reference
Bureau to post online the anti-union bill that he signed on March 11. This is
his latest attempt to bust the state’s public sector unions and attack
their collective bargaining rights.
Walker contends the bill is now law because it was published and vows that his
administration “will carry out the law as required.” However, the
LRB’s chief says that the law hasn’t taken effect because the
Wisconsin secretary of state — who publishes the state’s bills
— is adhering to a judge’s order not to publish the bill in the
Wisconsin State Journal. Publishing would make the bill legal and
Walker’s legislation was passed by the majority-Republican Legislature on
March 10. Subsequently, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a
temporary restraining order barring the law from going into effect. Sumi issued
the TRO because the Legislature violated open meeting laws while attempting to
pass the bill. She enjoined the secretary of state’s office from
The Department of Administration has appealed Sumi’s ruling to the
Wisconsin Court of Appeals, which declined to hear the case and sent the motion
to the state’s Supreme Court. It hasn’t yet decided if that court
will hear the motion to dismiss the injunction.
Reaction breeds resistance
The governor’s moves touched off another firestorm of resistance
throughout the state, with protests in Madison and elsewhere.
“To ram through a bill attacking workers on the 100th anniversary of the
Triangle Shirtwaist fire is a tragedy,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale,
secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO on March 25. “Clearly
Scott Walker wants to roll back worker rights to a time where Triangle-like
conditions were rampant and will use any means necessary to achieve his
Wisconsin Resists and other organizations are mobilizing to pack the courts any
time there is a hearing over the bill. Unions, including Madison’s
Firefighters Local 311 and the Laborer’s union, have filed lawsuits over
the governor’s and the Legislature’s illegal actions.
Workers’ rights supporters are not only relying on the courts. They are
mobilizing statewide to kill these union-busting bills and stop the
governor’s proposal for cutting billions of dollars from the upcoming
Every day statewide protests, rallies, candlelight vigils and other actions go
on at the state Capitol. Walker is opposed everywhere he speaks. On March 24,
the Milwaukee County Labor Council, along with its student and community
allies, mobilized hundreds to confront him at a political fundraiser.
The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO sponsored a major rally at the Fox Valley Labor
Temple in Neenah, Wis., on March 26. The federation said, “We are making
history in Wisconsin and we aren’t stopping now! Union workers, nonunion
workers, students and activists have been joined by mothers, fathers,
grandparents, children, veterans and concerned citizens to raise their voice
against Gov. Walker’s extreme plans” which would limit
workers’ rights, cut needed services, harm education and more.
Solidarity demonstrations with Wisconsin’s workers and poor communities
are also taking place around the U.S. On March 26, a 15,000-person-strong rally
took place in Los Angeles. It featured Mahlon Mitchell, the first
African-American president of the Wisconsin Firefighters Association.
April actions, solidarity
There will be solidarity actions across the U.S. on April 4, the anniversary of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. They will support the workers
in Wisconsin and oppose union busting and other anti-people attacks. The Jobs
With Justice and AFL-CIO websites have more information (www.jwj.org and
In Wisconsin, many April actions are being organized. On April 2, at “A
March Fit for a King,” the people of Milwaukee will commemorate Dr.
King’s legacy and stand for economic justice and basic human rights.
Event leaflets oppose Walker’s “reckless” budget that
“cuts education, health care, transportation, and other services”
for working people. They assert, “Milwaukee, we will stand up and take
back our state and our city.” Sponsors include Milwaukee Inner-city
Congregations Allied for Hope, NAACP Milwaukee and American Federation of
State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 82.
Upcoming events in Madison supporting state workers include an April 2 Labor
Notes conference; an all-day cultural event, “Forward Wisconsin
Festival,” on April 3, sponsored by the IATSE Local 251 Union stagehands;
and a People’s Assembly on April 9-10 organized by the Wisconsin
International support, solidarity messages and other assistance continue.
Amirul Haque Amin, president of Bangladesh’s National Garment Workers
Federation, sent a letter of solidarity, which is posted at Defend
Wisconsin’s website. It lauds U.S. workers “who have taken to the
streets and Capitols to reject the attempts to deny them ... their rights to
collectively bargain, and to decide on the conditions of their labor. Their
resistance has been inspirational to the labor movement and to working people
all over the globe.” (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