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A year ago in Wisconsin, tens of thousands of union members and citizens joined in an awe-inspiring wave of protests against Governor Walker’s union-busting legislation aimed at public service workers. On March 9, 2011, the State Senate passed the bill, repealing state workers' collective bargaining rights over pensions and health care, limiting pay raises of public employees to the rate of inflation, ending automatic union dues collection by the state, and requiring public unions to recertify annually. Since then, in a major recall mobilization, over one million signatures to recall Governor Walker were submitted on January 17, 2012. Recall elections for a number of Wisconsin lawmakers could happen in June this year.
It’s no small irony that Wisconsin was the first state in America to provide collective bargaining rights to public employees in 1959. Wisconsin affiliates have appreciated the outpouring of support from PSI affiliates around the world to prevent these rights from being repealed, but battle fatigue is certainly becoming an issue; your energy and further contributions will be greatly welcomed at this time.
PSI is working with our affiliates in Wisconsin, the AFL-CIO, and We Are Wisconsin to send in a communications response team to amplify media coverage around the world during the week of March 5th. (For more information please contact PSI's Communications Coordinator Teresa.Marshall@world-psi.org)
In addition, we are organizing a solidarity delegation to support the struggle in Wisconsin and internationalize the effort to defend public services as part of the Global Unions and PSI’s Quality Public Services Act Now! Campaign.
PSI affiliate unions are invited to send an official union representative to join an international PSI delegation for one or both of the major direct actions taking place during this first week of March. (Please note that no interpretation services will be offered due to limited resources.) On March 7th the AFL-CIO’s “Reclaim Wisconsin” bus tour will stop in Milwaukee where some 500 Labour Council delegates and the general public will be gathered for a special program of international and local speakers and presentations. On Saturday, March 10th the AFL-CIO and its partners will be gathering thousands for a massive mobilization at the State Capitol in Madison (one hour from Milwaukee) to protest the legislation and rally for the recall of the governor. Your union’s participation at either of these events would be greatly appreciated.
Understanding that it may not be possible to send a representative, I invite your union to instead send a message of solidarity and support. These messages will be prominently displayed at both events. You can send your message of solidarity and support to PSI’s North America Sub- regional Coordinator, Mark Langevin; at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or you can fax your special message to the North America Sub-regional office at: 202-355-1399; or mail your message to:
Public Services International/North America
888 16th Street, N.W. #800
Washington, D.C. 20006
To confirm your participation in the PSI solidarity delegation, please contact Mark Langevin at: