By Milwaukee GMB
This year the trade unions, as represented by the MALC, did not hold it's annual Laborfest event down on the shores of Lake Michigan. Their reasons were many but came down to a couple main points:
- they had no funds available
- Harley Davidson Motorcycles was hosting it's 110th Anniversary Celebration and had reserved the Summerfest Grounds through Monday
They also made mention that they were unable to get the grounds as Harley had already rented them. Why they didn't already have them reserved last year it's hard to say. (They claim there was someone new handling rentals this year and they were unaware that MALC rented the park every year. But so does Harley.) While the IWW has known the trade unions were bankrupt strategically and structually and had been for quite some time it was sad to not have the event even if it would have been scaled back or relocated as the Milwaukee GMB has had an outreach booth there for numerous years.
However, Milwaukee's workers were not willing to forego their holiday and a new coalition was formed calling itself We Are Milwaukee and set up an event which took place in downtown Milwaukee. In fact the event took place in Zeidler Union Square Park which had in the past been the staging area for Laborfest's parade. Read More Here.
After many trials and tribulations the Milwaukee GMB's website in now back online. We'll leave the whys and wtfs in the past and move on in the present preparing for the future. It'll be here before you know it.
The purpose of this website is to give FWs a chance to bring to light issues they face, provide information on current and upcoming events, expand on information posted on the GMB's Facebook page and other social media outlets. This site has no editor beyond the membership of the Milwaukee GMB. Each member is able - and encouraged - to post articles on topics of concern to them and which affects workers locally, regionally and globally.
It may take some time to bring all past articles online and update links but it will happen. Please be patient but feel free to contact the webmaster if there is a particular article you need right away.
By James Mitchell
After myriad attempts by their unions to comply with WI Gov. Scott Walker's State Budget Bill's financial goals - and retain their collective bargaining rights, only to be rejected out of hand by the Govenor and State Legislature - public sector workers, joined by workers in all industries unionized or not, started a recall petition. Even many small businesses, whom Gov Walker claims to be looking out for, thought it underhanded and wrong. They may not like or want a union in their workplace but felt the Govenor's actions were out of line. The rub of course was WI State statutes which require the Governor to be in office for a year before he can be recalled.
This caused a delay in the actual petitioning but also gave additional time to get the message out and highlight even more of Gov. Walker's misdeeds. In that time a ruling was made on then Milwaukee County Exec. Walker's actions when he fired the courthouse gaurds and hired a non-union firm to replaace them. The courts found that the County Executive did not have the power or the right to fire the workers nor replace them. The workers must be rehired, paid back wages and benefits. Just as Walker was told at the tiime he instigated the actions. This put an even bigger burden on the Milwaukee County Budget at a time when Milwaukee County was also under seige by Gov. Walker's budget cuts that greatly reduced the shared revenue Milwaukee County received from the state.
This past week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported about 100 local residents, mostly security guards and human relations, will lose their employment as result of M&I Bank being purchased by the Bank of Montreal. They are sub-contracting the security and will have less need for human relations, since they won't be hiring. Most reading might know M & I gave large contributions to Governor Walker and received bailouts from President Obama.
The evening before it appeared in the paper, my wife and I decided to take our dog for a walk around downtown Milwaukee. We first went to the M&I headquarters to see her son. He handed us some legal documents and advised he was either losing his job or being reduced from around $12/hour to $9.00/hour with health care cuts and elimination for 1 year of sick/holiday days. As he was getting custody of his teenage daughter the next day, this was not good news. Next we walked across the river and came upon a party of M&I executives, feasting on free food and free expensive liquor, and celebrating. All were dressed pretty well, and all were white.
Though this is a very small example, it shows how capitalism works. Misery for most, and benefits for some. Wealth is created for the few by the many. More ...
The Milwaukee General Membership Branch of the I.W.W. is joining the National Week of Action for Paid Sick Days at Jimmy John's [Join in on Facebook]. Following up on some initial inquiries at several local JJ locations in and around Milwaukee the Branch has decided to hold an informational event at the Jimmy John's located at 2242 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View, WI.
The Milwaukee GMB has reached out in solidarity to 9to5 Milwaukee. Recently 9to5's Paid Sick Days Milwaukee Campaign - which nearly 70% of City of Milwaukee residents voted in favor of - won it's court battle against MMAC and all workers working within the city limits - regardless of where they live - now had the opportunity to have up to 9 paid sick days a year depending on how many hours they worked and the size of the business [number of workers] that employed them. ALL WORKERS. Union, nonunion. Gov. Walker, and his ilk, quickly passed legislation to outlaw citazens passing such local ordinances. We are glad to announce that 9to5 Milwaukee will be joining us in the event. More ...
The Milwaukee GMB will be participating in local May Day Events in Milwaukee again this year and calls on workers, students, retirees and their families to join us. The GMB will meet at 6th St and Mineral St. on Milwaukee's near South Side. This is right off of the freeway and should make it easy for workers from anywhere to join us. Dressed in our colors we will meet at, or before, 1:30pm with our posters, signs, banners and flags. More ...
The Oath of Office had scarcely stopped echoing through the Capitol rotunda when Governor Walker declared open season on workers, unions and fair play. Continuing to play by his own 'rules' Governor Walker announced that he would not bargain with the states workers and instead told the legislature to draft legislation to cancel any and all contract negotiations. This dispite the fact that many State workers had been working under contracts that had expired more than a year ago. Some much more than that.
Governor Walker then submitted a 'Budget Repair Bill' to eliminate the $137,000,000.00 budgetary shortfall in this years State Budget. Rather than ask lawmakers to recind the huge tax breaks given to businesses that supported him in his election campaign. More ...
A number of Milwaukee GMB O.C. members have visited a number of SE WI Jimmy John's Sub Shops to talk to workers about the benefits of joining a union. This activity was taken up after the Jimmy John's workers at nine Minneapolis, MN area franchise locations decided that they were deserving of respect, improved wages and working conditions and decided to form the IWW Jimmy John's Workers Union.
Workers at the MN franchises attempted to meet with franchise owners to discuss desired improvements in wages and working conditions. More ...
The Milwaukee General Membership Branch of the I.W.W. is a chartered body of members of the I.W.W. in the metropolitan Milwaukee area in any and all industrial classifications. Our main goals are to aid in the formation of Industrial Union Branches [I.U.B.] of the I.W.W., Job Shops, coordinating activities amongst local IUBs and interfacing with the general workforce and student body.
The Milwaukee GMB has an Organizing Committee the meets twice a month. More ...