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Wisconsin Letter of Solidarity with BART Workers
Letter from Kevin Gundlach, President of the South Central Federation of Labor, Madison, Wisconsin, expressing solidarity with BART workers in the Bay Area:
Solidarity Sisters and Brothers,
On April 20, 2011, Jim Cavanaugh, then President of the South Central Federation of Labor sent a letter thanking ILWU Local 10 for their Solidarity and support to Wisconsin workers, in large part by shutting down the ports on April 4, 2011. The maritime employers threatened to sue the union, but SCFL and many others stood in solidarity with our Union Sisters and Brothers who stood with us. The company was ultimately forced to back down. Collectively, in word, deed and action, we made a difference for all working people.
Today, our shared struggles remain the same. This age old war on workers will not subside. Cynical and corrupt forces will not give up in their attempts to divide and conquer us, pillage our pocketbooks and ravish our communities.
Since WI ACT 10's implementation against public sector workers, we have seen a host of attacks on private sector workers, union and non-union alike, throughout Wisconsin and throughout our Country. Even though corporations are making record profits, they still demand more cutbacks in wages and benefits, while threatening working families with mass layoffs. Even though these same corporations do not pay their fair share to provide public services, workers and the community are being asked to give more and have less.
Whether in Wisconsin or California, these attacks on workers too often fall under the guise of austerity. But as we know, their premises for supporting austerity are false and misleading at best. Mismanagement, corporate corruption, wage disparity and an economic system that is upside down are to blame, not workers and their families.
BART workers and the entire community have every right to be outraged when any manager is making over $300,000 after an obscene pay raise and the union-busting lead negotiator is hired for close to $400,000---all this and more, while trying to gut workers' pensions, healthcare and wages, and compromising safety. By compromising safety at the workplace, those managers and board members are compromising safety for the community as well.
But we know that just as in the past, we are stronger together in our struggle for social and economic justice. Thank you for standing up, thank you for telling it like it is and thank you for fighting back!
South Central Federation of Labor
1602 S. Park Street, #228
Madison, Wisconsin 53715