A crowd of union members on the street tends to attract attention, and this is what happened today in downtown Milwaukee. Members of unions who represent workers in the metro area gathered to present a thank you card at Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office. The reason for the appreciation today? The Senator’s support for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, the most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression.
While members from over a dozen different unions gathered, 2 gentlemen in town for the Bucks games began to create a wide circle around us on the sidewalk in front of the Senator’s office. “Are you picketing? We don’t want to cross a picket line” they stated. Council President Pam Fendt went over to speak with them and explain the event. Dr. Steven G. Johnson, the director of operations for DC office of Cable television, film, music and entertainment identified himself as a member of IATSE and his friend a former member of CWA.
When speaking to Tiffany Henry, Milwaukee Office Director for Senator Baldwin, President Fendt stated we know Senator Baldwin and her staff share our belief that a union contract is the single best tool we have to close racial and gender wage gaps, and to ensure dignity and fair treatment for all workers, regardless of where we were born, who we are, or what industry we work in. The PRO Act is a priority for the members of the AFL-CIO and all procedural barriers must be cleared for the passage of the legislation.
While Ms. Henry took the time to personally greet the 30+ union members who turned out for this event; a young man wearing a Unity shirt approached Council staff, asking about how to organize a union in his own workplace. He had only recently learned about the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, signed up to be on our email list, heard about this event and came out to learn more. John Guy, organizer for the Council shared information on the basics of workplace organizing. Positive views of unions in public opinion polls are at an all time high right now, as people recognize the support they provide workers, and how they balance the power of their employer.