In this regular interview series, American Rights at Work spends some time off the clock with notable workers’ rights leaders, supporters, experts, and organizers.
Are unions punk rock? We think so, and so does Mike McColgan, the lead singer of the popular punk band the Street Dogs. Mike’s work as a union firefighter and pressman have shaped the riveting working class anthems he’s written and performed in bands like the Dropkick Murphys, and now with the Street Dogs. We’ve been blown away by their music for years and will see them on Monday in concert in D.C. at the Black Cat. You can also catch the Street Dogs live on their Wreck the Halls tour, pick up one of their many recordings, or watch them in action performing in Madison as part of the historic protests against collective bargaining attacks in Wisconsin. Read our interview with Mike to learn more about what inspires his passionate political stances, powerful lyrics, and lifelong fight to champion unions… Read more »
A tireless advocate of workers’ rights, legendary guitarist Tom Morello has organized benefit concerts and even engaged in civil disobedience to support the cause. His performance on the steps of the capital building in Madison this February was one of the highlights of the historic protest against Gov. Walker’s attacks on workers and collective bargaining.
Moved by the widespread mobilizations in support of workers’ rights across the states, Morello has crafted his latest solo album, Union Town, as a soundtrack to these epic social and economic justice battles. Read more »
Last week, working people made significant gains in GOP strongholds as independent voters made it clear that Scott Walker does not speak for them. The battle continues today, as two Democratic Wisconsin senators who bravely fought Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights by leaving the state in the spring now face recall elections. Right-wing activists attempted to trigger six recall elections, but only secured enough signatures in these two districts. Read more »
Last night, mere months after they voted to repeal collective bargaining rights for public employees, two Republican state senators in historically GOP districts were fired by Wisconsin voters. In District 18, Jessica King defeated incumbent Randy Hopper, while in District 32, Jennifer Schilling cruised to an easy victory over incumbent Dan Kapanke. The successful recall of two of Walker’s allies brings the Wisconsin state senate to a near deadlock at 17-16.
Although we’re disappointed that all six senators who sided with Gov. Walker and the Koch brothers weren’t defeated, last night’s results are a sign that the tide is beginning to turn. Read more »
Chicanery fail. The latest attempts to subvert the electoral process in Wisconsin were defeated yesterday, as the six fake candidates running for office finished behind the genuine Democrats on the ballot. These fraudulent candidates were drummed up by the same crowd that rammed home Gov. Scott Walker’s extreme anti-worker bill last winter. None found success at the ballot box, despite a barrage of Election Day robo-calls from right wing groups aimed at confusing voters. Read more »
The protest movement defending workers’ rights against the extreme agenda of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has gone amphibian. In response to Walker’s attempts to rollback the rights of public employees, the last year has been marked by massive protests, the creation of Walkerville at the state capital, and now protest by boat. Over the holiday weekend, as the governor’s wife hosted a party at Madison’s lakeside Governor’s Mansion, a group of Wisconsinites took to the waters of Lake Mendota to once again remind Walker that the working people of Wisconsin are not going away. Read more »
It’s been a banner week for far-right trickery in the upper Midwest. In Wisconsin, the state GOP is moving forward with their Machiavellian plan to run fake Democratic candidates in the state’s upcoming elections. On the other side of Lake Michigan, the Koch-funded front group Americans for Prosperity has been caught posting fake eviction notices on homes in Detroit. According to The Detroit Free Press the counterfeit eviction notices have “created chaos” in Southwest Detroit, where residents have been understandably frightened and confused by the bogus letters. Read more »
Last March, facing rising opposition, Republicans in Wisconsin met abruptly in a closed meeting to pass controversial legislation stripping Wisconsin public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Today, that bill was struck down by Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi. Judge Sumi, a Republican-appointed judge, ruled that Act 10 was passed in violation of the state’s open meetings law.
In her decision, Judge Sumi wrote that the tactics used by proponents of Walker’s unionbusting bill were in clear violation of the state’s constitution, “We are entitled by law to free and open access to governmental meetings, and especially governmental meetings that lead to the resolution of very highly conflicted and controversial matters.” According to Judge Sumi, the methods by which the bill was passed denied the people of Wisconsin their stake in the legislative process. She ruled that the abuse of power was so egregious that the court had no choice but to strike down the law. Read more »
As workers, small business owners, religious leaders, and everyday community members continue fighting to protect workers’ rights, some of the country’s most renowned actors, musicians, and athletes have lent their voices to the cause. These stars and their unions, including Actors Equity, AFTRA, Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America, East , the Major League Baseball Players Association, and the National Football League Players Association, are amplifying the message that workers of all stripes have to stand together for a voice on the job and a fair chance at the American dream.
Preparing to become governor is certainly a full-time job. But maybe Wisconsin’s Governor-elect Scott Walker should take some time to read Blog at Work.
On Monday we reviewed Gallup’s recently released poll that asked Americans to rank the professions they trusted the most. Six of the top ten professions were jobs found in whole or part in the public sector. That’s a pretty good indication of the trust the American people have in public employees.
So why should any of this matter to Governor-elect Walker? Well, a day after we reported on the Gallup poll’s results, Walker announced that he would consider rescinding all collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin’s public employees to solve the state’s budget problems. That’s right. Wisconsin doesn’t just have a Governor-elect, they have a Unionbuster-elect.