Oct. 11 - Madison, WI: WNPJ's Annual Assembly will be held at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ from 1-4:30 with awards banquet from 5-7. We will be honoring John Peck and Mary Beth Schlagheck with life-time achievement awards. Our Assembly will be focused on overcoming racial disparities. Please join us! Also, please make a nomination for our Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocate and Peacemaker of the Year award HERE.
"Anyone who doubts whether international labor solidarity makes a difference should speak to Hassan Juma'a Awad, President of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU)," reports US Labor Against the War.
"Months after the Ministry of Oil lodged a criminal complaint against Brother Juma'a and after seven or more postponements, his case was finally heard by a Basra count. ... In 30 minutes the court decided to drop the charges. The company lawyer and the prosecutor repeated the accusations against Hassan but could produce no evidence that the Iraqi economy suffered any damage as a consequence of strikes by oil workers over broken promises, unsafe working conditions and lack of respect for their rights."
The Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq stated, "This is an accomplished victory for supporters of freedom of trade union work and supporters of the freedom to work and assemble in Iraq and all over the world, and is the best proof that international and domestic solidarity is capable of reestablishing free and legal trade union work."
WNPJ was one of 164 organizations from around the world that signed onto a statement in support of Hassan and labor rights in Iraq.
The Homeless Veterans Initiative sponsored by Milwaukee Veterans for Peace Chapter 102, a WNPJ member group, continues to grow. Partnering with St. John's Lutheran Church at 5500 W. Greenfield Ave, the homeless program has opened the first veteran food pantry in Milwaukee. The doors will open every Tuesday morning to the 100+ veterans that Veterans for Peace has been delivering food to every week.
By an overwhelming 26 to 4 vote, the Vermont Senate voted to deny a request by Entergy Corp., the operator of Vermont's sole nuclear plant, to extend its forty-year lifespan by an additional twenty years, forcing a shutdown of the aging reactor by 2012. The vote marks the first time a state has moved to shut down an operating reactor, and deals a severe blow to the troubled nuclear industry, which had hoped for a revival after President Obama made massive federal loan guarantees to promote construction of new nuclear plants a centerpiece of his proposed energy policy. Pictured: Collapsed cooling tower, 2007
Student activists at UW-Madison are celebrating a victory after playing key role in winning restitution for 1200 Honduran workers who had been employed manufacturing Nike merchandise and then were fired without being paid millions in back wages. In April, after a months-long campaign by the Student-Labor Action Coalition, the UW became the first university in the U.S. to cancel its apparel contract with Nike over the issue of back pay for the fired workers. Cornell University then threatened to cancel its Nike contract as well and officials at other universities warned Nike that it would face larger student protests once the fall semester began, ultimately forcing Nike to agree to pay back wages to the Honduran workers.
Wisconsin mayors John Dickert of Racine and Paul Soglin of Madison were among those speaking in favor of a resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors Monday, calling for efforts to end our current wars and asking the President and Congress to "bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs."
The last time the mayors did that was during the Vietnam war. David Swanson offers a detailed rundown on how it happened.
Mayor Soglin also described the resolution on CNN. You can view the video below.
Two scary bills fail to reach votes in the state Senate and Assembly. Click on the titles to read the whole stories.
Mining bill headed back to drawing board. Sen. Tom Tiffany is taking Senate Bill 349 back to the drawing board after a ten hours of testimony from environmentalists and local governments. The bill would have severely limited the control that local governments could exert over frac sand and other non-mettalic mining operations in their jurisdictions. Tiffany plans to revamp the legislation and reintroduce it, though probably not for another year. Kim Lamoreaux, Baraboo News Republic, 10/30/13.
Bill allowing concealed weapons in schools won't get vote. The state Assembly will not be voting on a bill allowing concealed carry in schools. The bill in question would have applied only to off-duty, retired and out-of-state police officers. Joel Kleefisch, the bill's sponsor, planned to go ahead with a vote in the Assembly Criminal Justice Committee to expand the proposal to allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to carry guns in schools but concede that even in this Republican-controlled committee there were not enough votes to pass. Appleton Post-Crescent, 10/30/13.
"Who are the true patriots of today? Not the flag-wrapped politicians who send other people’s children off to be killed or disabled in wars to make the world safe for big businesses," writes Bill Quigley, before suggesting 12 people we should celebrate on Independence Day.
One of Quigley's "true patriots" is Joy First of Mt. Horeb, who's active with WNPJ member groups Pledge of Resistance and WI Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. Quigley lauds Joy as a "Wisconsin grandmother of five who has been arrested over 30 times for protesting against the Iraq invasion, the war in Afghanistan, the US drone assassinations."
Congrats, Joy (with Cindy Sheehan in photo), and happy Inter-dependence Day, all!
In a stunning advance, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has reached a far-reaching agreement with the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange that will improve pay and working conditions in 90 percent of Florida’s tomato industry. The victory is the result of a years-long strategy of targeting well-known brands that purchase tomatoes from FTGE growers, including Taco Bell, McDonalds and Whole Foods. The CIW’s combination of worker-led organizing in the fields and publicity about farmworkers’ conditions among the general public resulted in a series of agreements from food companies to pay an extra penny a pound for tomatoes, a 60 percent raise for tomato workers. In Wisconsin, Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice and Student Labor Action Coalition worked to educate the public about the CIW campaign. Read more about the Immokalee Workers victory here...
Many thanks to all who joined us in La Crosse on Saturday for WNPJ's member assembly and 13th annual awards reception, with special thanks to our host Tracy Littlejohn and the Hmong Cultural and Community Center!
Our awardees included (from left to right in the picture) Peacemaker of the Year - Adult Babette Grunow, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Al Gedicks, Peacemaker of the Year - Senior Pat Popple, and Peacemaker of the Year - Youth Key Jackson. (Not pictured is our Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocacy Award winner Sharon Whitney, who was unable to attend.)
To see more pictures from the day, click here.
WNPJ members, Will Williams and Vicki Berenson led a 2 hour workshop at the Wisconsin State Human Relations Association’s Statewide Equity and Multicultural Education Conference on November 18. Will is a member of Veterans for Peace and Vicki is a member of the Madison Friends Meeting. Both have been involved with counter-recruiting efforts through TAME – www.tamewisconsin.org. The workshop was called "Alternative Perspectives on Military Recruiting and Service".