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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota unions’

Indianapolis, Ind.–March 10, 2011–TedF Photogs

More faces of the labor movement, more faces of middle class, and a cross-section of American workers are shown below in thumbnail photographs.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

Andy O'Leary

Bricklayers

Brother Joseph Clark, Jr. and Brother TedF

Building Trades

Guitar Man

IBEW Brothers

Indiana State Senator Vi Simpson and friends

Mark Froemke

Middle Class

Painters

Rally attendees on chairs in the cold

Sister Steelworker

Steelworkers

A smiling Teacher

Ted Fiskevold & Mark Froemke

UFCW

Union Sisters

Union Workers

TedF & TerryO

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On the Saturday after war broke out in Wisconsin, Mark Froemke and I drove down to Hudson, Wis. to a solidarity rally on a bridge over I-94. Mark is the President (chief, cook and bottle washer) of the West Area Labor Council out of Crookston, Minn. and a card-carrying member of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union–BCTGM Local 167G, AFL-CIO. I belong to the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, Twin Cities Local 13—NWU, UAW Local 1981, TC Local 13, AFL-CIO.

Mark and I were fired up to go to Madison on Feb. 19, 2011, but we were only able to make the 450 mile round trip from Detroit Lakes, Minn. to Hudson. For Mark, this round trip was closer to 700 miles, since Crookston is another 120 miles northwest of Detroit Lakes.

We were happy to be part of that rally in Hudson on that cold Saturday. The wind whistled through the St. Croix River Valley as we marched on the bridge with about 700 other union members and their families and friends of labor. (Of the three photographs in this blog “Header,” that’s me and Mark in the photograph on the left.) There were lots of vehicle horns honking in solidarity, there was much singing, cheering and chanting, and the general consensus of all involved was, like my AFSCME friend Judy Carlson said, “This is the beginning of something…”

Eight hours together in the car gave Mark and me plenty of time to talk about future road trips and going to Madison. “Let me put it to you this way,” Froemke said. “If George and John were to return and the Beatles had a reunion tour, would we want to miss that?” No answer was required.

On Feb. 22 I attended a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul where over a thousand union members and supporters heard Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer Labor Party Gov. Mark Dayton say, “…This is Minnesota. Drastic extreme measures will not become law here because I’m here.”

Just down the road south of me, workers in Fergus Falls, Minn. have been picketing after work in solidarity with Wisconsin.

Fergus Falls union members. (Submitted photograph.)

My friend Judy Carlson and her friend Rozanne Nohre made a pilgrimage to Madison from the Twin Cities, and they took DFL Governor Dayton along, via Rozanne’s rally sign. In the photo taken by another patron of the restaurant, Judy and Rozanne shared conversation and beverages with two Sheet Metal Workers who traveled to Madison all the way from New York.

It is pretty crazy out there in the working family class warfare zones of the Midwest. Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels signed away collective bargaining for state employees six years ago on his first day of office, has been squeezing the life out of Indiana’s middle class ever since, and most recently—Daniels chased 38 Democratic members of the Indiana House of Representatives out of Indiana. The worker-loyal Democratic legislators left the state in order to prevent a vote on a Right to Work (for nothing) Bill.

In Ohio, newly elected Republican Gov. John Kasich has also waged war against workers. Like Wisconsin and Indiana, Republicans control both branches of the legislature and the governor’s seat. A bill that will literally gut state employee’s collective bargaining rights has passed the Ohio State Senate, but still must pass the State House before Kasich can sign it.

Rozanne (left back) and Judy (right back) brought MN DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to Madison on a rally sign. Here Judy and Rozanne relax after a Madison rally with new union friends from New York. (Photograph submitted by Judy Carlson.)

After losing DFL majorities in the Minnesota State Senate and the Minnesota House of Representatives last fall, and considering that Gov. Dayton won election by only 9200 votes, workers in Minnesota are mighty glad that Mark Dayton is our governor! Minnesotans are only 9200 votes away from being in the same bad spot as Wisconsin…or Indiana…or Ohio…

Michael Moore was in Madison last Saturday, and gave great remarks to a wildly receptive audience. When Moore said, “Madison is only the beginning…,” he said pretty much what we were all saying in Hudson two weeks earlier. Moore is dead on. And even more dead on when he said, “Thank YOU, Madison!” The trade union movement, the labor movement, middle class workers in America—this is the beginning of something. We can’t let it be the beginning of the end. Madison is the shot-in-the-arm we need for a union revival in America. We do need to thank Madison for that.

Mark Froemke called me last week and asked if I would “be ready to take off next Tuesday morning. We’ll be like Charles Kuralt as we hit the road.” This required an answer, “That’s a pretty lofty goal, Mark. But I do want to make the road trip.”

Recapping or trying to keep up with all the inside baseball of what is going on politically in the class warfare zones of the Midwest, or trying to be a “Charles Kuralt” are formidable tasks that neither myself nor Mark Froemke are up to. We’ll leave all that to the younger and more ambitious activists. What we are up to, though, is to take you with us while we go On the Road Through the Working Family Class Warfare Zones of the Midwest. I want to make it clear that “working family” means the family of workers who are all sitting at the same table, as well as individual family units or households—all of whom are trying to survive in a world where what gets put on the table keeps getting less.

A unique way to send a message at a rally in Madison. (Photograph by Judy Carlson.)

Through photographs, some interviews, and some writing, we will try to show you what we see as we take a little road trip to the capital cities and capitol buildings of Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. We hope to be in Madison by Tuesday afternoon of March 8, 2011, Indianapolis on Thursday, March 10, over to Columbus, and back in Madison on Saturday, March 12 for tractorcades and rallies, et. al…  So check back later and all this week!

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