THE BATTLE FOR UNIONS IN WISCONSIN:
HOW YOU CAN HELP
THE BATTLE FOR UNIONS IN WISCONSIN
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Folks from outside Wisconsin are contacting me and asking how to help with the battle to save collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin. (Additional information on the current status of things here is at the end of this letter.)
YOU CAN PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT
People of generally modest means, including many college students, are continuing the occupation of the Capitol and the daily picketing in resistance to the Governor’s plans. Most teachers have had to/have chosen to return to their classrooms, but many other union members remain, people from private sector unions and public unions including police and firefighters. There are many private citizens, often seniors. Those remaining in the capitol and on the picket lines need food, water, transportation, housing. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is coordinating much of that support. No matter how small, financial support is welcome:
ONLINE: The AFL-CIO is accepting donations online through PayPal or any major credit card. Please go to http://wisaflcio.org for the link.
CHECKS can be made payable to the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Defense Fund, 6333 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213 (Please indicate the purpose, e.g. "Capitol protests" or "Madison rally", on your check.)
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SEND FOOD AND WATER DIRECTLY TO THE PROTESTERS
These two close-by shops will supply food and water to those in the Capitol or on the picket line:
Ian’s Pizza 608-442-3535 minimum order $20.00 These folks are now taking orders only for delivery to the resistance, they’ve stopped all delivery to the general public. They tell me they deliver to wherever the people are — if they’re inside the Capitol, they go in. If people are marching and picketing, they take the food to the picket line.
Subway on the Square 608-255-1636 NOTE: minimum order $100.00 They have set up a fund there for your orders, and they are giving free food from that fund to any union member or pro-union demonstrator who requests food. Thank Pat for arranging that, I’m sure this is the first time they’ve done anything like this.
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CONVEY YOUR OPPOSITION IMMEDIATELY TO THE LEGISLATORS AND GOVERNOR
This legislation can be stopped in the Wisconsin Senate. The state has shut down the Legislative Hotline (!) through which you could reach the Wisconsin Senators. So each needs to be contacted directly.
We need only 3 Republicans to vote "no" to stop this. I’m listing here Republicans who may be willing to listen:
Eau Claire area — Terry Moulton Sen.email@example.com (608) 266- 7511 District 23
Green Bay area — Rob Cowles Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org (608) 266-0484 District 2
LaCrosse area — Dan Kapanke Sen.email@example.com (608) 266-5490 District 32
Ripon area — Luther Olsen Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org (608) 266-0751 District 14
Richland County — Dale Schultz Sen.email@example.com (608) 266-0703 District 17
Racine area — Van Wanggaard Sen.Wanggaard@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-1832 District 21
Sheboygan area — Joe Leibham Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org (608) 266-2056 District 9
Menasha/Fox Valley — Michael Ellis Sen.email@example.com (608) 266-0718 District 19
Fond du Lac area — Randy Hopper Sen.Hopper@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-5300 District 18
Dodge County — Scott Fitzgerald Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org (608) 266-5660 District 13
To contact other Republican Senators, or if a voice mailbox is full, try sending an email. Email addresses are above, or at the senate home pages. Try this link: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate
If you live here or if you vacation here, contact the Senator from your District and urge a "no" vote on this legislation. If you know someone who lives or vacations in Wisconsin, ask them to contact the appropriate Senator. If you don’t live here, contact as many of the Republicans on the list as you can with your opposition to the legislation. ("The Whole World is Watching")
The Governor: Gov. Walker is not listening to us, and is in fact bragging about having received 19,000 emails in favor of the legislation to get rid of unions. So we need him to hear us. Try his phone 608-266-1212 That mailbox will probably be full. There are several email routes, I’ve used them both. Email him directly at email@example.com Or go to
http://walker.wi.gov and scroll down to the "Citizen Suggestion" box and give him your suggestion.
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KEEP THE RESISTANCE ALIVE, WIDESPREAD, HIGHLY VISIBLE AND VIBRANT
* Participate in a protest rally
Come to Wisconsin or urge those you know who live here to get involved. The Capitol in Madison is occupied 24 hours a day, with pickets outside at all hours. Come on down!
Daily rallies and protest activities are happening throughout Wisconsin. Join in the activities near you. Two sources for detailed and timely information are http://wisaflcio.org [scroll down to Capitol and to In District Events] and http://www.wiafscme.org/ [scroll down to the Activities List]
* Organize a rally, a protest, an act of solidarity or civil disobedience wherever you are in support of Wisconsin workers and our cause. Alert the local media that you are acting in support of public employees’ right to keep their unions in Wisconsin.
* Spread the word in whatever way you can: postal mail, email, Facebook, twitter.
* Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and to the editorial directors of your local TV and radio stations.
* Send this email on to anyone who might help with this fight, via email or postal mail.
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SUPPORT THE "WISCONSIN 14"
In a remarkable act of civil disobedience and courage, the 14 Democratic Senators have left the state to deny the Senate a quorum. Without at least one of them, the Senate cannot pass this particular legislation. Their leaving had to be done quickly and some left, literally, with just the clothes on their backs.
Contact information for the "Wisconsin 14" is listed below. I suggest:
** Send them messages of solidarity and support, and urge them on.
** Most of these folks are not wealthy. Consider writing a check to their campaign committee to help with these extraordinary expenses. Send it to their home addresses and be sure to write it to "The Campaign Committee of Senator xxxx" — home addresses are on their senate web pages ("voting address") which you reach via http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate (The Government Accountability Board here has ruled that campaign contribution funds can be used for these expenses. No personal gifts are allowed, and they will be returned.)
Tim Carpenter Dist 3 Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org 608-266-8535
Spencer Coggs Dist 6 Sen.email@example.com 608-266-2500
Tim Cullen Dist 15 Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org 608-266-2253
Jon Erpenbach Dist 27 Sen.email@example.com 608-266-6670
Dave Hansen Dist 30 Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org 608-266-5670
Jim Holperin Dist 12 Sen.email@example.com 608-266-2509
Bob Jauch Dist 25 Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org 608-266-3510
Chris Larson Dist 7 Sen.email@example.com 608-266-7505
Julie Lassa Dist 24 Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org 608-266-3123
Mark Miller Dist 16 Sen.email@example.com 608-266-9170
Fred Risser Dist 26 Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org 608-266-1627
Lena Taylor Dist 4 Sen.email@example.com 608-266-5810
Kathleen Vinehout Dist 31 Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org 608-266-8546
Bob Wirch Dist 22 Sen.email@example.com 608-266-8979
Update as of Tuesday February 22:
The battle lines here have been definitively clarified: Last week, the public employee unions all agreed to the Governor’s economic demands contained in this contested "Budget" Bill. But the Governor continues to insist that the abolition of collective bargaining, as included in the Bill, is non-negotiable. So as we’ve known all along, this Bill is not really about budget issues . . .
Also, FYI, the Legislature’s reach with this Bill is far beyond collective bargaining. Other major components of the Bill are an assault on any decent notion of the civil society to which we aspire.
For example, access to health care assistance for the poor and elderly will be curtailed. And supervision of the privatized workers who care for the most vulnerable among us would be effectively abandoned. Important civil service positions, now filled by merit selection, are converted to political appointment — including such civil arbiters as agency lawyers.
Legislators are meeting today (remember, the Republicans have majorities in both houses of the legislature) to continue this juggernaut as best they can without a quorum in the Senate. They are limited to non-fiscal actions in the Senate without the quorum denied them by the Democrats.
The situation in the Capitol is tense. Police are now everywhere, and reporters tell me that the call has gone out for more police to be sent to the Capitol. Access to the Capitol is limited, with one door open and slow security searches of all entering.
People are concerned that they are attempting to slowly strangle the occupation — hallways of the Capitol have been emptied and then closed off. Last night, those sleeping on the 3rd floor of the rotunda were told to move "to clean that area", and they’ve secured that area. Internet access has been cut off. It appears the tactic is to limit access to the building and confine protesters to smaller and smaller spaces. This process, which may elude high-profile and organized resistance from the protesters, can lead to minimum media interest — as we are all slowly just pushed out the door and out of any semblance of a democratic process.