May 27 2015

A breaking Legislative and State Budget Update from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.

A breaking Legislative and State Budget Update from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.

 WAFL_PrevailingWage

Prevailing Wage: Repeal Still on the Table

 

Despite public statements last week to the contrary, efforts to repeal our State’s Prevailing Wage laws are very much alive. Early this morning, the Assembly Labor Committee released a public notice, barely within the required 24 hour window, informing the public that it will hold a hearing tomorrow morning on Assembly Bill 32, the bill that if passed without any amendments would repeal our State’s Prevailing Wage laws. An executive session, where the Labor Committee members will vote on any amendments to the bill and the bill itself, will be held immediately after the hearing. Attached to this email is a flyer with more information on the importance of a Prevailing Wage. The hearing details are as follows:

 

Wednesday, May 27

9 a.m.

411 South

 

Wisconsin State Budget: Update

 

The powerful Joint Finance Committee (JFC) began its deliberations on April 15 and is nearing the end of its deliberations. It has not yet, but will soon, deliberate on final, important components of the State Budget such as the UW System, Workers Compensation, and Transportation – in addition to combining non-budgetary policy issues like prevailing wage that Governor Walker did not include in his proposed budget. Therefore, we must continue to be vigilant as the JFC’s deliberations wind down this week and the full Legislature begins its work to approve and amend the JFC’s proposed budget.

 

 

Austere State Budget: Created by the Walker Administration’s Failed Policies

 

Governor Walker and his Republican-controlled Legislature have politically manufactured a budget crisis. You may remember that heading into this budget process, State Departments requested $2 billion more in funding than our tax revenue would allow. This does not have to be the case if the JFC made two decisions.

 

One important decision that the JFC could make is to decrease Governor Walker’s 2011 tax cut for millionaire owners, which will be fully implemented in 2016. This particular tax cut, the 2011 Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit, is costing the State more money than expected – twice as much, in fact. This tax cut for millionaires allowed factory and farm owners’ state income tax rate to fall from over 7% to 0% over 5 years. 2016 will be the final year of implementation. The loss of tax revenue due to this one tax break results in a cost of over $500 million in the next budget cycle, which is at least $275 million more than expected.

 

Another important decision that the JFC could make is to accept the federal dollars to expand our State’s Medicaid program, BadgerCare Plus. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau projected in February that the State would save $345 million in the 2015-17 budget cycle  if it expanded BadgerCare to include more low-income adults and accept the federal Medicaid dollars. This may sound counterintuitive, but the following from the LFB shows just how much we are spending and losing, all for our Governor’s political ambitions: in the next budget cycle, our State will spend $1.12 billion on BadgerCare; if we expanded our BadgerCare to cover more adults and accepted the federal expansion dollars, we would only spend $776 million on BadgerCare. Therefore, by not accepting the federal dollars, Wisconsin will expend more tax revenue to cover less adults.

 

Of course, this decision could be reversed by JFC or the Legislature at any time, if the State wished to prudently spend state tax dollars, and lessen our borrowing obligations.

 

 

Budget Issue Update

 

As Governor Walker’s proposed budget winds its way through the Republican-controlled, JFC, a bad budget is being made worse by harmful decisions that will go to the Legislature for approval. Just last week, decisions were made to many departments, including the following:

 

  1. Schools

 

One hour before debate began, Republicans released their 29-page educational plan. The plan did not receive any public hearing and was crafted in secrecy. It continues to upend Wisconsin’s strong tradition of great public schools and commitment to local control. The 51 point plan was approved along party-lines in the dark of the night. Despite the rhetoric, the Republican plan will likely result in Wisconsin’s per pupil funding falling below the national average for the first time in history.

 

  1. Cuts to Funding Levels

 

Under the plan approved by the JFC, public schools would, at first blush, receive a freeze in funding the first year of the budget and then would receive $70 million increase (about $100 per pupil) in funding the second year of the budget. However, this scheme will not pan out as such, as the state wide voucher system will receive money directly from public school districts. Therefore, there will be at least a $48 million cut to public school districts during the budget cycle.

 

The JFC-approved expanded voucher system would allow for voucher schools to receive $7,200 for each K-8 pupil and $7,800 for each high school pupil. Again, the tuition would come from the local public school district. The first year, only 1% of the school district’s potential students could receive the voucher. However, every year thereafter for ten years, the percentage would increase by 1%. The cap would be lifted entirely the tenth year.

 

These cuts to education come at a time when the vast majority of states are increasing funding for public schools.

 

  1. Milwaukee OSPP details & impact on Madison and Racine

 

The Republican-controlled JFC secretly developed a plan to split up public schools in Milwaukee without receiving public input or giving notice to parents or taxpayers. Their plan is called “Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program” and was introduced, debated, and passed in the dark of the night. The OSPP plan for now is limited to Milwaukee, but part of the larger plan is to recreate the OSPP in Madison and Racine (districts with 15,000 or more students).

 

The OSPP calls for the Milwaukee County Executive (who is currently Chris Abele, a politician without a college degree or background in educational policy) to appoint a Commissioner who would receive funds from the Milwaukee Public School District and would generally manage three to five schools that are currently within the Milwaukee Public School District – however, he or she would select a business, nonsectarian group, or individual to operate the schools.

 

The Commissioner would fire all the staff at these schools and hire new staff or re-hire existing staff. The staff would not be school district employees under Act 10 and also would not be subject to civil service rules. The staff would be terminable at will. However, the Commissioner could only be terminated by the County Executive for cause.

 

  1. Changes to Teacher Licenses

 

Under the JFC-approved education plan, any individual could become a licensed teacher in Wisconsin if they pass a test and have experience in the technical field that s/he will teach. No bachelor’s degree or coursework in education necessary.

 

  1. Changes to Electing the Racine Unified School Board

 

In an affront to local control, the JFC approved a plan that would upend how Racine taxpayers have chosen to elect their school board. The plan dictates that nine geographical districts must be drawn from which each school board member would be elected. There is no evidence that taxpayers from Racine wanted the JFC to dismantle their way of electing their school board members.

 

  1. Any Claim that Funding to Public Education Is Increased is False

 

The JFC is touting that it restored Governor Walker’s $127 million cut to schools the first year of the budget and then provided a 1% increase in funding the second year of the budget. This is not accurate for two reasons. First, the JFC does not include the $48 million that will come out of the coffers of the public schools that are forced to pay for the increased voucher subsidy. Second, the JFC employs an accounting trick by providing schools a large payment in July 2017, which is outside of the budget and will start the next budget cycle in the red.

 

 

  1. Corrections

 

Governor Walker’s proposed budget cut 60 night tower Correctional Officer positions at every prison across the State, leaving night towers vacant at a time when prisoners are most likely to escape. The JFC accepted this dangerous proposal, with the exception of one prison in a JFC member’s district. Representative Schraa (R-Oshkosh) represents Waupun and argued in favor of keeping the night tower Correctional Officers positions at the Waupun Correctional Institution through January 2017 because the prison sits in a residential community. Clearly, all night tower Correctional Officers provide an important public safety and every prison should be fully staffed at night. However, JFC voted to eliminate all of the positions, with the exception Waupun because it is situated in one of the JFC members’ districts in the majority party.

 

 

III.             State employees’ Health Care

 

The JFC, in concert with the State’s Group Insurance Board that met the same day, approved the Governor’s plan to change State employee health care by shifting over $80 million in health care costs to employees over two years. The changes will affect state employees and their family members, who combine for total almost a quarter-million people.  The changes will result in the doubling of out-of-pocket and deductible costs and the quadrupling of prescription drug costs. This comes at a time when the vast majority of State workers will not see a raise in some time. The changes will go into effect on January 1, 2016.

 

 

  1. Educational Approval Board

 

The JFC voted to keep the critical Educational Approval Board as-is. The Educational Approval Board (EAB) is an important board that oversees for-profit colleges; its mission is to “protect Wisconsin’s consumers and support quality educational options.” There are almost 250 for-profit colleges in Wisconsin; combined, these institutions took in more than $350 million in tuition last year. While for-profit colleges enroll less than 10% of all higher-ed students, they account for 26% of all federal loans and almost 50% of all students who default on their loans. The EAB provides a critical role for oversight of these businesses. Governor Walker proposed to eliminate the EAB and transfer some of its functions to two different agencies; this move would surely incapacitate the State’s ability to regulate for-profit colleges. The JFC, noting the EAB’s importance, voted to reject the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the EAB.

 

 

  1. WEDC

 

Working people across the State were concerned with the Governor’s many proposals to move and merge agencies and departments for purely political reasons. However, one merger in particular was creating much consternation: the merger of the successful Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the failed Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Since its creation in 2011, WEDC has been troubled by scandals and failures. Earlier this month, the Legislative Audit Bureau released a scathing report outlining even more egregious examples of the WEDC’s failure to follows laws and even its own rules, provide transparency, and an accurate accounting of the small number of jobs it has created. The criticisms of WEDC are now bipartisan: the JFC voted to reject the merger of the successful WHEDA and WEDC, and remove Governor Walker as Chairman of the WEDC Board of Directors.

 

 

Budget: Next Steps

 

The JFC’s will meet this week, on Wednesday, May 27 and Friday, May 29. It may even meet on Saturday, May 30 to finalize its deliberations. We urge you to contact your legislator and members of the Joint Finance Committee to raise our voices to reject any changes to Prevailing Wage, reject Governor Walker’s proposal to split and transfer of the Workers Compensation System, lower borrowing for Transportation, protect the UW System, and put working families first in our State in every decision that will come before the JFC and Legislature in the coming weeks.

 

 

Joint Finance Committee Members can be reached through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472

Sen. Alberta Darling (Co-Chair) (R)

Sen. Luther Olsen (Vice-Chair) (R)

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R)

Sen. Leah Vukmir (R)

Sen. Thomas Tiffany (R)

Sen. Howard Marklein (R)

Sen. Lena Taylor (D) Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D)

Rep. John Nygren (Co-Chair) (R)

Rep. Dale Kooyenga (Vice-Chair) (R)

Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R)

Rep. Dean Knudson (R)

Rep. Michael Schraa (R)

Rep. Mary Czaja (R)

Rep. Chris Taylor (D)

Rep. Gordon Hintz (D)

 

 

We look forward to standing with you as we raise our voices on important issues that will affect working families across our State. If you have any questions, please contact Legislative & Research Director Teresa Mambu-Rasch, JD, either via email tmambu-rasch@wisaflcio.org or via cell (414) 418-2241.

 

In solidarity,

 

     

Phillip Neuenfeldt

President

 

Stephanie Bloomingdale

Secretary-Treasurer

 

 

Teresa Mambu-Rasch, J.D.

Legislative and Research Director

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO

6333 W. Bluemound Road

Milwaukee, WI 53213

 

tmambu-rasch@wisaflcio.org

office- (414) 771-0700

cell – (414) 418-2241

 

 

May 27 2015

Superior Federation of Labor – EMO training June 4th

EMO flier Superior

May 18 2015

3rd Annual Union Sportsmen’s Alliance – Eau Claire Area. Take Kid’s Fishing Day – Sponsored by Western WI Building and Construction Trades Council and the Greater West Central Area Labor Council.

3rd Annual Union Sportsmen’s Alliance – Eau Claire Area.  Take Kid’s Fishing Day –   Sponsored by Western WI Building and Construction Trades Council and the Greater West Central Area Labor Council.

 

DATE:    Saturday June 6, 2015 

TIIME:   9:00AM – 11:30AM. 

LOCATION:  Braun’s Bay Pavilion @ Carson Park

 

Fishing poles and bait are available on site!  Register your children by June 3rd by calling Terry Hayden 715-225-0260 or Laurie Gruber @ 715-579-3297.   Grab your camera and accompany your children (all must be parent, guardian or chaperone).   Yes, there will be picnic style lunch and door prizes

 

May 12 2015

La Crosse area members – June 7th 4th Annual Union Sportsmen’s Alliance & Western WI AFL-CIO

Take Kids Fishing Day 2015

 

4th Annual Union Sportsmen’s Alliance & Western WI AFL-CIO

Dust off those fishing poles and get the kids outside for an exciting morning of catching bluegill and bass!

 

May 07 2015

Friends and Fans of the Milwaukee County Zoo

Friends and Fans of the Milwaukee County Zoo

 

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is at it again. Last fall Abele tried to slip into the county budget his plan to outsource food service, concessions and other jobs at the County Zoo.  The County Board said “no way!” and stripped it from the budget. 

 

Abele’s negotiated another deal to hand over county jobs – good jobs that actually produce revenue for the county — to an out of state mega-corporation.  It’s a 10-year deal outsourcing the work of more than 50 people. 

 

On Thursday, May 14, Abele’s outsourcing proposal will be in front of a key County Board Committee.   We need to urge County Supervisors to once again stand up and stop Abele’s outsourcing of good county jobs. If you’re in the Milwaukee area, please attend this hearing if you can. The Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 14, in Room 203R of the County Courthouse. 

 

If you can’t be there, please contact the Milwaukee County Board and tell them to stop Abele’s plan once again. Here’s the phone number: 414-278-4222.

 

If you live in Milwaukee County, you can find and contact your supervisor here: http://county.milwaukee.gov/CountyBoard.  If you don’t live in Milwaukee County, but are a Zoo supporter, you can email your support to the County Board Chairwoman here:  marina.dimitrijevic@milwaukeecountywi.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 07 2015

The Labor Movement Needs YOU! Join us at our 2015 Every Member an Organizer Academy

EMO Flier State Wide

The Labor Movement Needs YOU! Click above for schedule.

Join us at our 2015 Every Member an Organizer Academy

May 05 2015

Wisconsin Labor History Society

 

 Wisconsin Labor History Society

 

 Newsletter              

Vol. 5, No. 5

April 27, 2015

In This Issue

An invitation to join

PROVOCATIVE READS

May 1 is brithday of Mother Jones

Bay View Tragedy event set May 3

Joe Hill to be remembered in performances

Workers Memorial Day events announced

Music, drama to trace Milwaukee labor history

International Workers Day background

 

Join Us: Help to build solidarity

 

If you are not now a member of the Wisconsin Labor History Society, please consider joining NOW!  Become a member for 2015!

 

Choose your annual membership level:

$20 – Individual      $10 – Retiree, Student

$30 – Family

$50 – Sustaining Member

$100 – Solidarity Member

 

Click here for easy online or mail-in form. Members may use same form to renew for 2015.

 

Provocative Reads . . . 

 

CORRECTING WALKER ON LINCOLN – A guest editorial in the Springfield Journal-Register written by Larry Spivack, President of the Illinois Labor History Society, responds to Scott Walker’s speech at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, in which Spivak sets the record straight on Abraham Lincoln’s support of organized labor.  Read more. ___

HOW LABOR IS FIGHTING BACK – Picture thousands of people streaming across the Brooklyn Bridge, with UAW, 1199 SEIU, and Teamsters’ “Stop the War on Workers” signs held aloft, as projections on the side of the Verizon building declared, “We Are the 99%!”

 

Or think about thousands more thronging into the Wisconsin Capitol, singing “Which Side are You On?” as teachers and students held hands and firefighters marched in with bagpipes, all to fight Governor Scott Walker’s attack on public workers’ unions. Read more. 

 

 

May 1st marks  Mother Jones’ 

185th Birthday  

 

On May 1, 1930 Walter and Lillian Burgess’ home in what is now Adelphi, Maryland became the center of world-wide interest when Mother Jones celebrated her 100th birthday.  Mrs. Burgess – Mother Jones’ friend and caregiver – conferred with Dr. Howlett, who tended to Mother up until her death on Nov. 30, 1930. 

 

 

 

“The biggest worry we had was about letting Mother go downstairs on the day of the party.  She had insisted that she would do so, despite the fact that she was weak and not left her bed for months except to sit up in a chair for a few minutes.”

 

As May 1st approached hundreds of letters and telegrams poured into the Burgess home from union leaders and admirers from around the country.  Read more.

 

Quick Links…

Wisconsin Labor History Society

 

Check us out on Facebook

See our blog

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO

 

Wisconsin Historical Society

 

 

 

About Us The Wisconsin Labor History Society mission:  To preserve and promote labor’s heritage in Wisconsin. Our website

Contact us: 

WLHS 

6333 W. Bluemound Rd. 

Milwaukee WI 53213 

414-771-0700 x20 

info@wisconsinlaborhistory. org

 
 

Greetings!

In the days before and after May 1 — International Workers’ Day — you’ll have a chance to attend a number of events that highlight labor’s glorious history to provide inspiration to meet today’s many challenges. This is a special edition of our newsletter to highlight many of the those events, beginning with Workers Memorial Day on Tuesday, April 28.  ___ We particularly urge you to join us at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 3, for the 129th Anniversary Commemoration of the Bay View Tragedy to be held at the Bay View Rolling Mills Historical Marker site at S. Superior St. and E. Russell Ave. near Milwaukee’s lakefront.  Get directions here! And pass the word around about all of the events listed below. Remember you can forward this newsletter to all your online friends.  

In solidarity,

 

Wisconsin Labor History Society 

 

 

 

Song, drama and words set for Commemoration of 1886 tragedy 

 

Join us for the 129th Anniversary Commemoration of the  Bay View Tragedy at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 3, at the Bay View Rolling Mills Historical Marker site at S. Superior St. and E. Russell Ave., on Milwaukee’s lakefront. The event honors seven persons who were killed on May 5, 1886 while marching for the eight-hour-day when the state militia fired into the peaceful assembly. Jennifer Epps-Addison, executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now, will address the group.  In addition, the ceremony will feature a tribute to the late labor folksinger Larry Penn and a re-enactment of the incident that will involve larger-than-life-sized puppets.   In addition, the Milwaukee Metropoplitan Voices will sing labor songs. Each year some 300 persons attend the event which is free and open to the public.  See poster.  Get directions here.

 

 

 

‘Roadshow’ to mark Centenary of death of famed organizer Joe Hill  

 

To mark the 100th Anniversary of the judicial murder of IWW organizer and songwriter Joe Hill, Milwaukee folksinger Lil’ Rev will lead the “Joe Hill Roadshow” with concerts throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota . The “Roadshow” will be part of an Illinois Labor History Society May 1 celebration at Waldheim Cemetery in Illinois, and then begin its Wisconsin tour with popular labor folksingers including Anne Feeney of Pittsburgh, Jan Hammerlund of Sweden, Bucky Halter of Chicago, Lil Rev of Milwaukee and others.  The Wisconsin shows will be at:

7 p.m., Tuesday, May 5, at Paradigm Cafe, 1202 N. 8th St., Sheboygan

7 p.m., Wednesday, May 6, at Barrymore Theater, 2909 Atwood Ave., Madison

2 p.m., Thursday, May 7, at Luna Cafe, 330 Main Ave., De Pere

8 p.m., Friday, May 8, at Anondyne Coffee Roasters, 224 W. Bruce St., Milwaukee

7 p.m., Saturday, May 9, at Park Plaza Shopping Center, 401 N. Main St., Oshkosh.

2 p.m., Sunday, May 10, at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St., St. Paul MN.

For more information, click here.

 

 

Workers Memorial Day celebrations to contest proposed comp law changes

 

On Tuesday April 28, 2015 Wisconsin workers will join with communities across the globe to pay tribute to workers killed or injured on the job in the annual Workers Memorial Day events. 

 

Workers are joining together on April 28 to “pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” as we raise our voices as one for safe jobs and worker protections.  

 

This year’s commemoration comes at a time when Workers’ Compensation protections are under attack across the country and in Wisconsin.  Governor Walker’s proposed budget attempts to upend our Workers Compensation system by splitting its department and transferring its many functions to two separate State departments, weakening protections for workers.  The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is opposing the changes.   

 

Workers Memorial Day commemoration will all be held on Tuesday, April 28, at the following sites in Wisconsin:

 

La Crosse:  5:30 p.m., Green Island Park, Labors Grove. 

Madison:  10:30 a.m. Madison Labor Temple, 1602 S. Park St., Room 201A

Madison:  4:00 p.m. Saint Patrick’s Church, 404 E. Main Street. A special Construction Workers’ Memorial Day Service will be held to honor those individuals who lost their lives in construction accidents in the past year. 

Milwaukee:  5:00 p.m., Zeidler Union Square Park.

 

 

 

Milwaukee labor history to be dramatized in song, story

 

The history of labor in Milwaukee will be celebrated at a musical and theatrical performance by the In Good Company production from May 8 – 10 at Next Act Theater, 255 S. Water St., Milwaukee. Entitled “Living Life in Ten Acts,” the performance features the Milwaukee Metropolitan Voices.  It is set in “Derry’s Pub,” a popular hangout for workers in Milwaukee, and the trouble develops after a stranger enters and the co-mingling begins an exploration of Milwaukee labor’s struggles and victories. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 8, at 3  and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday.  For tickets, go to http://mmvoices.org or call 278-0765.

 

 

 

May 1 celebrated as ‘Workers Day’ throughout world, but not in USA 

 

May Day celebrations often bring to mind rituals like dancing around the maypole; yet, to workers across the world the day May 1 has become a day to celebrate workers everywhere. Born out of the quest for the eight-hour-day in the 1880s, the date of May 1, 1886 was set as a deadline by which

 

Workers in Bastille Square, Paris, on May 1, 2012

companies in the United States would adhere to an eight-hour workday, cutting worker hours from the 12 to 14 hours typical of the period. When the eight-hour-day was not achieved, several hundred thousand workers across the US began a general strike, only to be stifled by the calling out of the army, militia and police to beat back demonstrators.  The period was marked by the Haymarket Affair of May 4, 1886 and the Bay View Tragedy of May 5, 1886, two bloody events that stymied the quest for the shorter workday. In 1890, celebrations were developed across the world setting May 1 as International Workers Day; it was not to happen in the USA, where more conservative leaders felt the date was too closely tied to anarchists and other more radical groups.  Instead, the US established Labor Day for the first Monday in September.  Read more.  

 

 

About this e-Newsletter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This e-Newsletter is compiled periodically to inform members of the Wisconsin Labor History Society and friends about various items of interest concerning labor history.  

 

Feel free to send topics to kagermanson@gmail.com for inclusion.

 

IMPORTANT: 

The items selected above are for information and to stimulate discussion and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Wisconsin Labor History Society. 

 

Compiled by Ken Germanson, WLHS President Emeritus.     

 

 

 

May 05 2015

The Labor Movement needs YOU!

The Labor Movement Needs YOU!

May 01 2015

Council 32 Unification Update #1

 

By now most AFSCME members have heard about the historic Founding Convention that created Wisconsin’s new unified Council 32.  More than 300 members from Wisconsin’s three existing Councils gathered in Appleton in mid-April to approve unification.

 

The votes in Appleton set the stage for an exciting new chapter in AFSCME’s long and proud Wisconsin history.  But unifying three historic Councils into one requires many steps.

 

At the moment, Councils 24, 40 and 48 continue to operate while the process of finalizing an official charter for the new Council carries on in the background.  There are many legal and financial steps needed to combine the assets and resources of three Councils into one.

 

Council 32’s new charter from AFSCME International will be ready on June 1. Before and after the charter is granted, AFSCME Locals in Wisconsin will continue to operate as they have since our union was founded here in 1932.

 

“Unification will make us stronger and more efficient in many ways,” said Council 32 President Paul Spink.  But the technicalities of unifying will not interfere with the work of AFSCME Local unions in any way, he said.

 

Meanwhile, in preparation for receiving the Charter that will make Council 32 an official member of the AFSCME family, the Council’s newly-elected Executive Board will gather for a retreat in late May to dive into the work of charting a new course.

 

“We have a lot of exciting work ahead of us.  We’re all really eager to carry the bold and determined spirit of our Founding Convention forward into a brighter future for all AFSCME members,” Spink said.

Apr 21 2015

Council 32 Announcement

Council 32 Announcement

 

I’m proud to report the unification of AFSCME in Wisconsin. This past weekend, more than 250 delegates from Wisconsin Councils 24, 40 and 48 came together for the founding convention of AFSCME Wisconsin Council 32. Delegates established a new council by debating and adopting a governing constitution. They then elected a team of officers and an executive board to lead Council 32.

 

Delegates chose the number 32 for the council as a tribute to those courageous workers who started AFSCME in Wisconsin in 1932. In the coming months, the transition of staff, finances and council business will be shifted from Councils 24, 40 and 48 to AFSCME Wisconsin Council 32.

 

As you know, AFSCME members and public employees in Wisconsin have faced unprecedented attacks since 2011. Collective bargaining and workers’ rights have been stolen. State and local budgets have been slashed. Tax giveaways for corporations and the top one percent have become the norm. But these attacks have led to renewed activism as a reaction to the blatant disrespect of the work and services we provide. As I addressed the delegates, I felt so much hope, determination, and excitement in the room.

 

I want to thank every one of you for the support that you have given to our members in Wisconsin. You made Wisconsin’s fight AFSCME’s fight by sending help to Madison and across the state. Your efforts helped sustain the activists who came together this weekend to say: “We are still standing and we will organize like never before.” This weekend, we began a new chapter in the story of AFSCME Wisconsin.

 

 

Lee A. Saunders

President

AFSCME

(202) 429-1100

(202) 429-1102 (fax)

lsaunders@afscme.org

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