Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers are on strike in Shorewood, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee) because VJS, the general contractor for a major development project, refuses to hire certified crane operators. Instead, VJS hired uncertified workers to operate the crane using a remote so they can “multi-task” and do other projects on the construction site.
I brought coffee to the union members this afternoon and they were incredibly grateful. It’s 30 degrees and miserable outside today, and it’s a rough time of year to be on strike. Milwaukee folks, if you have a chance to swing by and drop off coffee or just offer a word of encouragement, I’m sure the union members would be grateful.
If you’re not in Milwaukee but would like to offer support, perhaps consider calling in a pizza order? Ian’s Pizza (414-727-9200) will deliver to the picket line (4060 N. Oakland Avenue). Especially after the holiday weekend and as we enter a new year, it would be nice to show those on strike some support.
Protests Erupt in Michigan Over Republican Anti-Union Legislation
Police arrested several protesters and they threw mace at a crowd gathered at the Michigan State House today. As the Detroit Free Press reports, State Police used “chemical munitions” when the crowd tried to rush the Senate floor.
More from the Detroit Free Press:
Gov. Snyder’s right-to-work initiative has the coordinated support of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative non-profit organization that funded Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to strip that state’s public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.
A year ago this month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proposed a slate of changes to public-employee benefits, including sharply limiting government workers’ right to bargain collectively. The action quickly provoked a firestorm. A hundred thousand protesters camped out at the capitol building in Madison; the minority Democrats in the state Senate fled the state to prevent the bill from passing.
Walker got his changes through the state legislature anyway, but the fight wasn’t over — in fact, it was just beginning.
In Madison today, the reverberations of a year ago are still being felt. And for Walker, the determined, grandiose politician at the center of it all, the biggest battle still lies ahead: He is all but certain to face a tough recall election this summer.
The after-effects of the protests have been “not so much a hangover as a bender,” said Tom Holbrook, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Walker’s response has been to frame his recall as a referendum, not on his own leadership or the issue of public workers’ rights and privileges, but on the very idea that any political leader can enact large-scale change. It is an odd, self-aggrandizing, and slightly bullying posture: He is daring voters to put up or shut up.
Read more. [Image: Darren Hauck/Reuters]
I believe we’ve already posted the video before but just confirming that the person that group of people were trying to help is Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, who is now in critical condition with a fractured skull.
And the only defense the cops can muster for their pointless violent crackdown was “well they were tearing up the lawn…”
This video is profoundly disturbing. But it’s also really important to watch. Scott Olsen is a 24 year old veteran from Wisconsin who served two tours of duty in Iraq. He’s now in critical care because of American police.