Green Jobs Bill in first 100 days? Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Green Jobs Bill in first 100 days? Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss President Trump’s latest impeachment, shocking new details of his failed insurrection, and the Wisconsin Republicans who are aiding and abetting the violent overthrow of American democracy. We welcome Citizen Action Climate & Equity Director Rafael Smith to discuss a groundbreaking opportunity to pass a large New Deal-style green jobs program (Jobs for Economic Recovery Act) in the first 100 days of the Biden Administration and how you can get involved in making it a reality. The legislation, which has major traction the Senate and House, will put millions of jobless Americans back to work, dramatically improve racial equity and expand opportunity for depressed rural areas. We also dig into Governor Evers’ State of the State speech and new fissures in the Republican state legislature that resulted in Senate Republicans splitting from the Assembly by cutting a deal with the Governor on COVID-19 relief.
Listen Now – Episode #475
Download Mp3
Press Clips

Contact [email protected] to get involved in supporting the Jobs for Economic Recovery Act

Contact your U.S. Senate members in support of Jobs for Economic Recovery Act.
Contact your U.S. House of Representative member in support of Jobs for Economic Recovery Act.

Links:

Wisconsin’s House Democrats vote to impeach Trump, Republicans reject move.
Wisconsin Congressional Delegation Votes Along Party Lines on Impeachment.
Evers forecasts his plans for governing beyond COVID.
Tony Evers focuses on unemployment, expanding broadband in State of the State.
Evers, Senate Republicans reach a deal on COVID-19 bill; Measure goes back to Assembly, where leader says GOP will keep fighting.
Coronavirus relief standoff: Evers urges Assembly compromise after Speaker doubles down on original bill.
Gov. Tony Evers To Call Special Session On State Unemployment System: Governor Uses State Of The State Address To Push System Changes, Broadband Funding.
Evers’ Calls Special Session to Overhaul Antiquated Unemployment Insurance System.
Republicans shoot down Evers’ plan to begin overhauling unemployment system.
GOP Balks at Evers’ Special Session on Unemployment.

 

 

 

Bill Kaplan: Trump, his racist mob and Ron Johnson lost

Bill Kaplan: Trump, his racist mob and Ron Johnson lost

Photo by Gage Skidmore (cc-by-sa-2.0)

Last week began with Democratic Senate wins in Georgia and control of the Senate. Senator-elect Raphael Warnock said: “We are sending an African-American pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. served, and also Jon Ossoff, a young Jewish man, the son of an immigrant, to the U.S. Senate. … In this moment, we’ve got to bring people together in order to do the hard work.”

Then a racist mob, waving Confederate flags and some wearing clothing adorned with “Camp Auschwitz”, stormed the U.S. Capitol, killing a Capitol Police officer and desecrating the Capitol, including a memorial to civil rights icon Georgia Democratic Representative John Lewis. The mob had marched to the Capitol after Trump called his presidential election loss an “egregious assault on our democracy” and told his followers to “walk down to the Capitol” and not show “weakness.”

Wyoming GOP Representative Liz Cheney said: “There’s no question the president formed the mob, … incited the mob … addressed the mob. He lit the flame.” In December, Trump tweeted: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” It was: 5 dead, pipe bombs and a truck filled with 11 Molotov cocktails (crude bombs) and a semiautomatic rifle. The Capitol invasion halted a congressional session to officially ratify the presidential election. The session was previously interrupted by Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson and like-minded GOP colleagues, to raise baseless allegations about “election irregularities.”

However, a group of historians and constitutional scholars said: “Never before in our history has a president who lost reelection tried to stay in office by subverting the democratic process set down by the Constitution. … Unable to accept his defeat, President Trump and his collaborators have falsely charged massive electoral fraud … They have concocted and spread falsehoods that inflame Americans against their own government, and against each other.” Moreover, the voters have spoken, courts rejected Trump’s lawsuits and the Electoral College ratified Joe Biden’s win. But Johnson disingenuously said: “We are not acting to thwart the democratic process – we are acting to protect it.” A lie.

Before Congress reconvened, the National Association of Manufacturers issued an extraordinary statement: “Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing President Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S. Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election. … This is not law and order.” A chastened Johnson dropped his objections. It doesn’t remove his stain of dishonor.

Johnson hears conspiratorial voices, but doesn’t hear those fearful of losing their pensions, healthcare or jobs, or small dairy farmers crushed by market forces beyond their control. He must be defeated if he runs for reelection in 2022.

Impeaching Trump or invoking the 25th Amendment are fool’s errands. Moreover, Congress officially confirmed Biden’s victory. He takes office January 20, hitting the ground running to begin an economic recovery and end the worsening pandemic.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C., for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Citizen Action Weekly; January 8, 2021

Citizen Action Weekly; January 8, 2021

Friday, January 8th

Citizen Action Statement on Trump Insurgents Breaching the Capital

Citizen Action’s Director had the following reflections on the storming of the Capital instigated by President Trump

Although most of us were shocked when our TV screens and social media feeds exploded with images of the first breaching of the U.S Capital since the British army burned it down in 1812, upon reflection we should not be surprised. This has been brewing for decades because of the actions of the most powerful people in American society. As excellent recent books by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Nancy Maclean, Jane Mayer, and many others have documented, the malignant brand of right-wing conservatism that has seized control of the Republican Party and its voters over the past five decades is bent on unwinding democracy and majority rule to hold power and dictate national policy.

It is critical to understand that this has not been the work of a few demagogic politicians, not even Donald Trump who has merely exploited the opportunity. Many of the richest people in America, and the leaders of our largest and most powerful corporations, unsatisfied by the most equal distribution of economic benefits in American history from the end of World War 2 through the mid 1970s, deliberately invested in a movement to appropriate the lion’s share of economic growth for themselves. The electoral and communications machine that they built (and are still lavishly funding) used hatred, fear, and racism to build a voting base that will remain a danger to democracy long after Donald Trump has passed from the scene. According to a major poll, nearly half of Republican voters approve of the assault on the Capital! 

We have seen many GOP figures and some big corporate trade groups call for the removal of President Trump. We should not be fooled, they are repositioning themselves, and can be expected to continue to underwrite the proto-fascist movement that brought us to this dangerous precipice. One of Wisconsin’s Senators was a ring leader in overturning the democratic election of President-elect Biden, and two newly elected Wisconsin Congressman voted to overturn the election, even after the insurrectionists were cleared from the building. These are not strategic masterminds, but political weathervanes, reading the currents of public and elected opinion in their only party!

The real power behind the conspiracy continued to foment strategic racism to mobilize their base and seize power. As powerful thinkers such as Michelle Alexander, Ibraham X Kendi, Ian Haney Lopez, and Isabelle Wilkerson show, racism is not merely a matter of bias which can be vanquished through training and moral inspiration, it is a system deliberately created to serve the economic and political interests of the ruling elite. 

The best counter to organized money is organized people. The only answer to this on-going conspiracy against democracy and equality is to continue to build an antiracist progressive movement powerful enough and strategic enough to both achieve governing power and achieve fundamental structural reform. That is what Citizen Action leaders and members are working towards across Wisconsin. 

If you have not already, please join one of Citizen Action’s organizing co-ops and get involved. If you are already a co-op member, please contact your co-op organizer about getting more deeply involved in one of our major issue campaigns.

Citizen Action Statement on Charging Decision in Shooting of Jacob Blake

This week Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced his decision not to criminally charge the police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back this summer.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin stands in solidarity with Jacob Blake, his family and friends, hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country fighting for racial justice, and every person who loves humanity and is demanding real action to address America’s structurally racist criminal justice system.

As the Wisconsin Examiner reported: “Michael Graveley said his role was only to make a narrow legal decision over whether there was probable cause that the officers committed a crime.” Gravely and many legal analysts point out that it is extremely difficult to prove that a police officer in a shooting did not act in self defense, whether or not it’s true.

This means that the laws and legal precedents that have created the current self-defense standard have racist impact, as Black people continue to be shot and killed by law enforcement officers without legal consequences. This is a threat to the entire justice system, which cannot operate effectively when large segments of society justifiably do not have faith in its decisions.

Michelle Alexander’s penetratingly eloquent The New Jim Crow and Ibram X. Kendi’s brilliant pair of books Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist, call for every moral person to use their power to disrupt and unwind structural racism.

While DA Gravely may well be right that the case is unwinnable under current standards, this does not absolve him of moral responsibility. In the era of slavery and Jim Crow, heroic attorneys filed cases and DAs pressed charges that they knew would be shot down by a racist legal system. We should expect no less today.

Graveley’s decision also passes on responsibility to lawmakers, who have the power to create a legal system where black lives matter and everyone is truly equal under the law. But so far Wisconsin’s state leaders have not proposed or pursued effective action up to the scale of the problem.

For Professor Kendi, one can’t meet his definition of antiracist without both recognizing the deep racism in our society and in each of us, and taking effective action to replace racist structures. For him, the defining mark of antiracism is effective deeds, not words or personal reflection. All those with substantial power such as our political leaders, corporate leaders, and at a lesser level of power nonprofit leaders, and every person with love in their hearts for all humanity must do more.

Citizen Action asks every elected leader, and every person within the sound of our voice with influence over these leaders, to take meaningful steps to unwind the structural racism that made the murder of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake possible. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with Jacob Blake and his family.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Green New Deal State Budget Priorities.

2021 is our best chance to win climate justice reform in over a decade. We can’t let this opportunity slip away! Citizen Action is fighting for a Green New Deal for Wisconsin rural and metro areas, both to head off a climate genocide and create true economic equity for everyone, especially for communities of color and rural areas excluded from opportunity.

Recently Gov. Tony Evers’ climate task force, Chaired by Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes, released its recommendations for action. But this does not mean they will be included in the Governor’s state budget.

We need your voice to be heard now to make serious progress on a climate transition that improves economic opportunity and racial equity.

We are calling on Gov. Evers to include the following policies in his state budget:

  • State funding for local Climate Action Plans (CAPs), to give every community the resources needed to develop and begin to implement climate & equity plans.
  • State funding for New Deal-style transitional jobs programs for getting everyone locked out of economic opportunity into energy conservation or renewable energy jobs that cut climate emissions.
  • To avert massive home energy shut-offs once the pandemic is under control, forgive all consumer utility debt run up during the health emergency.
  • Mandate all utilities to provide “on-bill financing” for home solar panels and energy conservation upgrades at no cost to homeowners and renters, slashing utility bills, and generating green jobs.
  • Allow cities and municipalities to raise building standards in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and generate local renewable energy and conservation jobs.

Please contact Gov. Evers today and ask him to include these climate & economic opportunity policies in his next state budget scheduled for release on January 26th.

Take Action Now: What we can do RIGHT NOW to combat the climate crisis, a virtual climate change webinar

It is past time to take action to save the planet.  Now with Democrats in control of the Presidency, both houses of Congress and the Wisconsin Governor’s seat we have the political power to take real action on climate change.  We need to do everything we can on a national and personal level to stop the climate crisis.  

While we lobby for climate action on the state and nation level there are steps we should all be taking RIGHT NOW.   Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Driftless Co-op is hosting a very special, virtual event to highlight actions we can all take now to save the planet.  Many of these action will reduce your carbon footprint, create jobs, save you many and boast your local community.  This is your chance to learn about personal actions you can take RIGHT NOW to reduce carbon output, save money and protect the planet. It will also be a chance to learn how you can win a $25 gift card to the Driftless Cafe.

Join us virtually and learn about:

  • Free small scale energy efficiency kits through the “Focus on Energy” program
  • Green Home upgrades including solar panels at no upfront cost
  • “Renewable Connect” programs offered by local energy utilities 
  • La Crosse’s “Solar on Schools” program
  • “Ready For 100” clean energy lobbying initiative 
  • Citizen Action of Wisconsin lobbying campaigns for climate action in the 2021-2022 state budget
  • On-Bill Financing programs
  • Sustainable Tiny Homes Project in La Crosse 

This virtual meeting will be your chance to learn about all the actions you can take now.  In order to have the greatest impact we all need to do our part to recruit as many people as possible to take action.  To that end we will be also be announcing a very special contest to see who can mobilize the most friends and families to take action as well!  The winner of this contest will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua.

This meeting is open to the public.  

RSVP here for the Zoom link.  Please join us so that we can all take action to save tomorrow!

Thursday, January 28, 2021 7:00 PM –  8:30 PM CT

Tell Gov. Tony Evers we need a BadgerCare Public Option in his next State Budget

TAKE ACTION! Contact Gov. Tony Evers and tell him to make sure a BadgerCare Public Option is included in his next State Budget.

No matter what we look like, where we live, or what’s in our wallets, we all need good affordable health care. But for too long, we’ve let a powerful divide us to pad their own profits.

The COVID-19 pandemic reveals what has always been true, excluding people from health care is a threat to the entire community. Crippling costs deter the uninsured and everyone who can’t afford massive co-pays, deductibles, and surprise medical bills from seeking testing and treatment, helping the virus spread.

Millions of Americans have lost health care coverage due to job loss during the pandemic, and hundreds of thousands in Wisconsin.

Healthcare is a human right and no one should go bankrupt because they get sick or delay medical treatment because they can’t afford it.

We need to make sure BadgerCare is opened to everyone in Wisconsin as a public option, lowering premiums and eliminating large co-pays and deductibles, so that all of us can get the care we need without going bankrupt or having to wrangle with an insurance company.

New polling completed in late November 2020 by Badger State Research found 78% of Wisconsin voters support “creating a BadgerCare public option that allows people to purchase health care coverage through BadgerCare rather than private insurance.”

Ask Governor Evers to put Badgercare Public Option in the Budget!

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Pacifica Radio network during the Trump Insurrection to discuss its origins and the danger to democracy. The program airs on the 200 stations national radio network. Listen here.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig responded to Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke’s claim that the Trump riot in the U.S. Capital was similar to the Act 10 protests. Read it here in UpNorthNews.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos radio show to discuss the big Georgia special Senate election and governing in the Biden era. Listen here.

The power behind the insurrection” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We give our reactions and initial analysis of the unprecedented Trump insurrection at Congress. What does it mean for American democracy? We dig into how the shocking events at the Capital lay bare our white supremacist society. Insurrectionists were largely allowed to enter and leave Congress with little resistance and few arrests after sowing chaos in their effort to execute a right-wing coup. We welcome Lauren Jacobs, the Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families, to discuss the real power behind the insurrection and how the progressive movement’s response and commitment to multiracial organizing around our values of caring for everyone can be an anecdote to Trumpism.

Listen Now – Episode #474

Facebook post of the week

“The power behind the insurrection” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“The power behind the insurrection” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We give our reactions and initial analysis of the unprecedented Trump insurrection at Congress. What does it mean for American democracy? We dig into how the shocking events at the Capital lay bare our white supremacist society. Insurrectionists were largely allowed to enter and leave Congress with little resistance and few arrests after sowing chaos in their effort to execute a right-wing coup. We welcome Lauren Jacobs, the Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families, to discuss the real power behind the insurrection and how the progressive movement’s response and commitment to multiracial organizing around our values of caring for everyone can be an anecdote to Trumpism.
Listen Now – Episode #474
Download Mp3
Press Clips
Citizen Action Statement on Charging Decision in Shooting of Jacob Blake

Citizen Action Statement on Charging Decision in Shooting of Jacob Blake

For Immediate Release: January 6, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig, (414) 322-5324, [email protected]

Milwaukee: Late yesterday afternoon Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced his decision not to criminally charge the police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back this summer.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin stands in solidarity with Jacob Blake, his family and friends, hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country fighting for racial justice, and every person who loves humanity and is demanding real action to address America’s structurally racist criminal justice system.

As the Wisconsin Examiner reported: “Michael Graveley said his role was only to make a narrow legal decision over whether there was probable cause that the officers committed a crime.” Gravely and many legal analysts point out that it is extremely difficult to prove that a police officer in a shooting did not act in self defense, whether or not it’s true.

This means that the laws and legal precedents that have created the current self-defense standard have racist impact, as Black people continue to be shot and killed by law enforcement officers without legal consequences. This is a threat to the entire justice system, which cannot operate effectively when large segments of society justifiably do not have faith in its decisions.

Michelle Alexander’s penetratingly eloquent The New Jim Crow and Ibram X. Kendi’s brilliant pair of books Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist, call for every moral person to use their power to disrupt and unwind structural racism.

While DA Gravely may well be right that the case is unwinnable under current standards, this does not absolve him of moral responsibility. In the era of slavery and Jim Crow, heroic attorneys filed cases and DAs pressed charges that they knew would be shot down by a racist legal system. We should expect no less today.

Graveley’s decision also passes on responsibility to lawmakers, who have the power to create a legal system where black lives matter and everyone is truly equal under the law. But so far Wisconsin’s state leaders  have not proposed or pursued effective action up to the scale of the problem.

For Professor Kendi, one can’t meet his definition of antiracist without both recognizing the deep racism in our society and in each of us, and taking effective action to replace racist structures. For him the defining mark of antracism is effective deeds, not words or personal reflection. All those with substantial power such as our political leaders, corporate leaders, and at a lesser level of power nonprofit leaders, and every person with love in their hearts for all humanity must do more.

Citizen Action asks every elected leader, and every person within the sound of our voice with influence over these leaders, to take meaningful steps to unwind the structural racism that made the murder of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake possible. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with Jacob Blake and his family.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Green New Deal State Budget Priorities

Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Green New Deal State Budget Priorities

2021 is our best chance to win climate justice reform in over a decade. We can’t let this opportunity slip away! Citizen Action is fighting for a Green New Deal for Wisconsin rural and metro areas, both to head off a climate genocide and create true economic equity for everyone, especially for communities of color and rural areas excluded from opportunity.

Recently Gov. Tony Evers’ climate task force, Chaired by Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes, released its recommendations for action. But this does not mean they will be included in the Governor’s state budget.

We need your voice to be heard now to make serious progress on a climate transition that improves economic opportunity and racial equity.

We are calling on Gov. Evers to include the following policies in his state budget:

  1. State funding for local Climate Action Plans (CAPs), to give every community the resources needed to develop and begin to implement climate & equity plans.
  2. State funding for New Deal-style transitional jobs programs for getting everyone locked out of economic opportunity into energy conservation or renewable energy jobs that cut climate emissions.
  3. To avert massive home energy shut-offs once the pandemic is under control, forgive all consumer utility debt run up during the health emergency.
  4. Mandate all utilities to provide “on-bill financing” for home solar panels and energy conservation upgrades at no cost to homeowners and renters, slashing utility bills, and generating green jobs.
  5. Allow cities and municipalities to raise building standards in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and generate local renewable energy and conservation jobs.

Please contact Gov. Evers today and ask him to include these climate & economic opportunity policies in his next state budget scheduled for release on January 26th.

Bill Kaplan: New Year’s resolution, bipartisan cooperation

Bill Kaplan: New Year’s resolution, bipartisan cooperation

Hope is in the air with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, President-elect Joe Biden and a new Congress. Biden said: “Brighter days are coming. But it’s going to take all the grit and determination we have as Americans to get it done.” He promised enhanced national educational and vaccination efforts, using all the powers of the federal government. Moving forward, Biden will ask “the American people to wear a mask for the first 100 days … .” And, he thanked former New Jersey GOP Governor Chris Christie for “encouraging people to do the right thing and wear a mask for themselves, their loved ones, and their country.”

The pandemic will worsen before getting better. Nationally a cumulative 20 million+ cases and 350,000+ deaths. Wisconsin endures a cumulative total near 500,000 cases and approaching over 5,000 deaths. A divided Wisconsin must rise to the COVID-19 challenge. As Ohio GOP Governor Mike DeWine said: “The virus doesn’t care if we voted for Donald Trump (or) Joe Biden.” Louisiana GOP Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died of COVID-19 as did newly elected New Hampshire GOP House Speaker Dick Hinch.

There are encouraging signs of bipartisan cooperation in Wisconsin. Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan and GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos showed leadership in jointly urging all Wisconsinites to wear masks, practice physical distancing and trying to stay home while awaiting vaccination. Pocan later pressed Vos to require masks in the Assembly. Moreover, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin and GOP Congressman Bryan Steil issued joint letters to Evers and Trump asking for “accurate and transparent information” on vaccine distribution. And, 8th District GOP state Senator Alberta Darling was spot-on in condemning the “intentional destruction of vaccine doses” in Grafton.

However, much more is needed. Evers and Vos should build confidence and counter mistrust by getting vaccinated together publicly. The urban and increasingly suburban vs. rural divide must be surmounted to beat COVID-19. Moreover, Evers should ask all former governors to sign on to a joint statement imploring Wisconsinites to wear a mask and get vaccinated. Bipartisan cooperation is also needed on healthcare coverage.

The new state legislative session demands a reset between Evers and GOP leaders. The nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum’s recent report projecting a $373.1 million deficit points the way to “help close the gap” between spending and revenue – Medicaid expansion. 38 states, including many GOP-led, have done so. During the Trump administration, GOP-led Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Utah adopted Medicaid expansion. Time for Wisconsin to make the fiscal and moral choice.

Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley said: “I think we have the opportunity to demonstrate more clearly now than ever that accepting the Medicaid money, which is ours and it is there for us to just take, we could be helping our budget more than hindering it.” Similarly, former 32nd District GOP state Senator Dan Kapanke said: “As far as Medicaid dollars coming from the federal government, certainly with COVID the dynamics have changed … I would be open to accepting those dollars … .” On Wisconsin.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C., for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

“Will Gov. Evers’ budget invest in green jobs” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Will Gov. Evers’ budget invest in green jobs” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We review Congress’ inadequate COVID relief bill that was immediately trolled by Trump, calling it a disgrace and demanding $2000 relief checks he has previously opposed. The Fox con has now cost the state $1.4 billion for nothing aside from a failing real estate project. We ask the question what could the state leaders have done with $1.4 billion to invest in the creation of new green jobs throughout the state. Guest panelist Rafael Smith discusses what needs to be in Gov. Evers’ next state budget to make real advancements in creating a green economy that addresses historic racial inequality and heads off a climate catastrophe. We close by welcoming In These Times magazine fellow Alice Herman to discuss her feature story about how the toll of COVID 19 on healthcare workers, and the lack of employer or government concern, is prompting many to take labor actions and to seek to form unions.
Listen Now – Episode 473
Download Mp3
Press Clips

 

CONTACT Gov. Evers and tell him to fund Climate Action Plans and mandate our utilities offer “on-bill” financing for home energy improvement upgrades in his state budget.

Links:

Citizen Action Supports the Right of Wisconsin Voices workers to Organize

Citizen Action Supports the Right of Wisconsin Voices workers to Organize


For Immediate Release–December 23, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324.

Milwaukee: Over the past 6 weeks there has been controversy concerning an organizing drive by employees at Wisconsin Voices to form a union. Citizen Action of Wisconsin believes the right to form and join unions is a fundamental human right. Citizen Action is a union employer, and has had a staff union for over two decades

We sent the Wisconsin Voices Interim Director and board of directors a detailed letter on November 13th urging them to recognize the union. We have since remained in contact with the board and have repeatedly encouraged them either to grant immediate recognition or to agree to a swift card check recognition process.

Citizen Action has a long history of working closely with Wisconsin’s union movement, we were founded as a labor-community coalition, and have over 40 labor affiliates. We are equally committed to the network of civic engagement organizations that collaborate through Wisconsin Voices.

As a founding partner, we believe Wisconsin Voices is a critically important organization in the progressive ecosystem, and urge its leadership to work with the staff to recognize and implement their desire to form a union.

First, the right to form and join labor unions is a fundamental human right which is codified in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe that all progressive organizations should recognize and support the right of workers to form unions, not only in theory but in practice. This includes every Wisconsin progressive group, not only Wisconsin Voices. As the current federal process is rigged against workers, meaningfully supporting the fundamental right to form a union means immediate voluntary recognition.

Second, as an organization committed to racial equality, we believe Wisconsin Voices has a special obligation to embrace union rights. Unions played a vital role in the United States in creating an African American middle class. The withering attack by large corporations on union rights over the last forty years has taken a great toll on racial equity, dramatically reducing the availability of family sustaining jobs with benefits for Black and brown working class people. Milwaukee’s shocking racial disparities are in part a consequence of the flight of good union jobs from the North Side of Milwaukee, where most African Americans in Wisconsin live.

Third, in our experience, giving employees a union voice at work improves the organization, and leads to more collaborative decision making which reflects the views of all workers, not only the most effective internal advocates. At Citizen Action, we have had a staff union for over two decades. From the perspective of the current management of Citizen Action, the staff union relationship has been very positive and made us stronger. As unions are themselves democratic organizations, we have had challenges from time to time. The value of having a union is not that we always agree; it is that we have a structured way to work out our differences and move forward together. We firmly believe that sharing power with our organizers and staff members makes us a more unified and effective organization.

We urge the management of Wisconsin Voices to meet with your staff to voluntarily recognize the union they are requesting.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, December 18th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, December 18th

Friday, December 18th

Protect Wisconsin’s clean water by demanding an Environmental Impact Study on the Roth Feeder Pig II CAFO 

Whether we are white or Black, rich or poor, rural or urban, we all want clean water, fresh air and a habitable planet for our families.  But today, giant corporate farms are threatening the beauty and natural resources of the Driftless region.  Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) threaten our groundwater, our air, our local economies, our small farms, and our outdoor recreation.   You can help protect our waters RIGHT NOW with a few simple clicks.

On October 30th Vernon county saw the impact CAFOs can have when the area suffered a major manure spill and fish kill off.  Now a newly proposed CAFO, Roth Feeder Pig II, is posed to be the biggest hog CAFO in Wisconsin.  Attempts are being made to move forward on construction without an environmental impact study in a region that is susceptible to extreme rain events and sinkholes, both of which could lead to major water contamination.  By joining together across the state to protect our precious lakes and farmlands, we can make sure that the DNR completes an environmental impact study before construction of the Roth Feeder Pig II CAFO in Crawford county begins. 

You can help by clicking below to send an email directly to Wisconsin Government officials and Wisconsin DNR leadership demanding an environmental impact study.  Email submissions from anywhere in the state will be accepted and are encouraged.  Please take a moment to fill out this simple form to contact Governor Evers and the DNR to demand they protect Wisconsin waters!

Thank you to everyone who volunteered and donated toys for Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op’s first ever rural toy drive!

Last weekend Citizen Action of Wisconsin held its first ever toy drive to give back to farmers, farmer workers and families of undocumented farm hands.  Donation sites were set up in La Crosse, Adams County and Viroqua.  Despite the cold weather the day was an overwhelming success!  Over 250 toys were collected!  Those toys will be distributed throughout the Driftless Region’s farming communities.

We were so thrilled at how the day turned out!  A special thank you goes out to Citizen Action of Wisconsin members Joni Anderson, Jillian Richie, Paul Kruse, and Heather Talbot for braving the cold to help collect toys.  Thanks also go out to Tractor Supply Co in Viroqua, Adams Radio 106 in Adams, and UU of La Crosse for hosting our drop off locations.  Thank you to Adams County Democrats for co-sponsoring the toy drive and for their generous donation. Thank you to News Channel 8 in La Crosse for covering the event; you can read their story here.

Lastly a very special thank you to everyone who donated toys either in person or through the mail.  You all helped bring smiles to struggling rural families this holiday season!

Take Action: Join Us In The Demand for a BadgerCare Public Option!

Part of the healthcare co-op is pushing for Governor Evers to include a Public Option in the state budget. If we don’t talk about it, we will never get it.  We need to look for progress wherever possible and this is one avenue at the state level.  

All working families in Wisconsin should be able to purchase affordable health insurance & get the care they need. The choices our government makes now to help us weather the outbreak of this virus can also set a better course for the future of our communities. Now is the time for us to unite across our differences and make policy choices that help every-day people in pursuit of a safe, healthy, and thriving Wisconsin.

Take Action: Tell Gov. Evers We Need a BadgerCare Public Option! 

NC Organizing Co-op Members and Friends – SAVE THE DATE

In spite of living through a pandemic in 2020, a lot has been accomplished by our members and our organization throughout the year. And we would like to celebrate this work, as well as to continue planning for 2021. Currently, there are candidates seeking office for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals – District III and several school boards within the region, but there is much more to plan for in 2021. Please save the date and join us for a virtual get-together! If you lack the ability to use Zoom, there will be a call-in option too. This meeting is happening on Saturday, January 16th, from 10 am to 12 noon. We hope to see you there!

Sign Up to Phone Bank into Georgia with the People’s Action Health Care For All Team!

Do you like Democracy? Do you believe that health care is a human right? Do you want to see Mitch McConnell out of power? Then you should sign up to phone bank for the Georgia senate races with People’s Action health care team! he health care team is hosting the following events:

  • Wednesday, December 30th, 5-8pm CT – Phone Bank

Polls are tight, so these calls and texts could make the difference! You can sign up to participate HERE

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Show for 60 minutes to discuss developments in the Biden Administration, assess key appointments, and progressive strategy. Listen here

Citizen Action’s Health Care for All Director, Claire Zautke, penned a column for Up North News on the importance of signing up for ACA during the open enrollment period. Read it here.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Earl Ingram Show for 60 minutes to discuss the situation in Wisconsin, including the assault on democracy and the latest sabotage efforts of the do-nothing Legislature, and evaluate Governor Evers’ strategy. Listen here.

Citizen Action members called for an environmental impact statement on a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in the Driftless Region, Roth Feeder Pig 2. Read about it here.

“Sinking Snake Oil Ship” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We check in on the federal COVID-19 debate in Congress. After months of failure, are the nation’s lawmakers about to deliver meaningful relief? Claire presents new research quantifying the deep financial hardship the pandemic has inflicted on American families and why the failure of political leadership is so devastating. The Electoral College declared Joe Biden the winner this week as all legal options for the snake oil salesman-in-chief have now closed. That didn’t stop Sen. Ron Johnson from embarrassing himself this week with his sham hearing on the election. We talk about disturbing news that the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association emailed a document to thousands of law enforcement agencies comparing Black Lives Matter activists to terrorists. Also, the City of Milwaukee Common Council is prepared to turn down federal money for more police officers.

LISTEN NOW!

Stay up to date! Stream our Annual Membership Meeting Today

Thank you to all who joined us for our first Virtual Annual Membership Meeting on December 5th! If you were unable to attend, the meeting is available for your streaming convenience

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