By Mike McCallister,
Greater Milwaukee Green Party

Despite single-digit and falling temperatures, some 300 Milwaukee unionists and their supporters rallied against anti-union “right to work” legislation being hustled through the state legislature this week.

The rally was organized over the weekend through a new Facebook group, Defeat “Right to Work” in Wisconsin:

The Greater Milwaukee Green Party was an early endorser of the rally, to be joined by most of the area’s major unions, Wisconsin Jobs Now, Voces de la Frontera, and the Coalition for Justice.

Among the speakers were:

  • Nate Hamilton, whose brother Dontre was murdered by a Milwaukee police officer on April 30, 2014, spoke to the rally on behalf of the Coalition for Justice.
  • Angela Walker, who ran for Milwaukee County Sheriff as an independent socialist candidate last fall, spoke on behalf of Wisconsin Jobs Now.
  • A representative of the UW-Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association, which bargained on behalf of teaching assistants at the UWM campus, before Act 10 banned collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin. He noted that if this bill passed, the union movement would be back to Square One. He argued that learning from the militant (and politically independent) tactics of early 20th century unionists would be valuable going forward.
  • Leaders from Teamsters Local 344, United Food and Commercial Workers, United Auto Workers, United Steel Workers at Caterpillar, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Local 212 at Milwaukee Area Technical College

Following the speakers, demonstrators took to the streets of Downtown Milwaukee. The peaceful, spirited march made it around the Grand Avenue mall, past the Chase Bank building, and back to Zeidler Union Square, where activists were urged to continue the action in Madison over the next two days.