Monday, March 2, 2015

Wisconsin Teamsters continue the fight against right to work

Local 344 President Bill Carroll.
Wisconsin's indefatigable Teamsters were out in the cold wind in the state capital on Saturday, Sunday and today to protest the probable passage of a right-to-work (RTW) bill. That's not all they're doing, though. They are giving speeches, training stewards, holding craft meetings, testifying before the Senate and the Assembly and contributing to DRIVE.

Rob Moss, Business Agent for Teamsters Local 695 in LaCrosse, was at all the rallies. He tells us Bill Carroll, President of Teamsters Local 344 in Milwaukee, member of Joint Council 39, revved up the crowd on Saturday: 
Brother Bill Carroll gave a very inspiring speech on behalf of all Teamsters. He was very well received by the entire crowd. He was spot-on with his accuracy in regards to the right-to-work legislation. Brother Bill is one of Joint Council 39's political liaisons. Brother Carroll was very informative about the needs of all of the unions to keep their members informed and most of all to keep up the members' involvement in the union efforts in the political arena.  
It's important that everybody understands -- especially our members -- this is not the end of the world. We have to deal with the results of next week's vote if it comes to pass and is negative. We are holding steward seminars and craft meetings in our Joint Council 39 effort to enlighten our members as to the effects of RTW. Locals 695, 200 and 662 held those steward seminars the last two weeks with the help of our legal counsel. 
It's our hope that some of the Republicans would come to their senses and realize the harm Governor Walker is imposing on American working men and women.
Mike Westphal (l) and Tom Millonzi. 
Here's the kind of effort Wisconsin Teamsters are putting into the fight: Tom Millonzi, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 200 in Milwaukee, told us the subject of DRIVE came up during Saturday's stewards' training. And then:
Mike Westphal, who has been out on a workers' comp back surgery issue -- and who will not be returning to the job -- pulled out his checkbook and made a one-time $100 donation to DRIVE. 
The Center for Media and Democracy reported something we all know: The right-to-work bill is being pushed by special interests linked to the Koch brothers:
As the Wisconsin legislature gets ready to ram through a union-busting bill that will significantly impact the economy of the entire state, Wisconsin's newest member of the Senate asked perhaps the most pertinent question of her Republican colleagues: "what beating hearts are for this bill?" 
The question was posed by Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) who was elected to the Wisconsin Senate in November 2014. She represents the far north where bitter winds and waves make spectacular ice caves that bring thousands to the frozen shores of Lake Superior. 
Bewley noted that the bill, which harms unions by allowing workers to opt out of paying their fair share for union representation, was moving so fast that most of her constituents, who get their news from weekly newspapers that come on Thursday, would not even learn about it before the Senate vote. 
While Democratic senators read letter after letter from workers and business leaders objecting to the measure that will lower wages and up-end critical training programs for builders and laborers, Brewley highlighted something the average observer might not notice: "I have not heard one person in the outer ring [of Republicans] speak of a single beating heart that is for this bill." 
But that matters little to the array of special interests that have arrived in Wisconsin to provide "experts" and astroturf cover for the anti-worker measure.
Good advice.
We'll try to post Brother Bill Carroll's speech soon. Keep an eye out!