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Wisconsin UE Members
Demand New Legislative

Delegates with State Sen. Gwendolynne Moore  

Ollison  with Berry
Two weeks before the UE Wisconsin Political Action Day, Local 1193 Pres. Laverne Ollison was taking care of an important piece of political action on behalf of her co-workers at St. Mary’s Nursing Home in Milwaukee. Together with home administrator Mike Berry and UE Field Org. Mindy Williams, she testified before the state legislature to support legislation that would make it easier for nursing homes to improve wages of support workers. Pres. Ollison is pictured here with Berry.

Delegates pose with State Sen. Gwendolynne Moore. The Fourth District Senator met with Milwaukee area delegates; for the second consecutive year, her office provided assistance to the UE Political Action Day in Madison. From left, Donna Gary and Cornell Brown, Local 1193, Shirley Harrison, Local 1135, Tom Dunne, Local 1172, Felicia George, Sen. Moore, Laverne Ollison, Local 1193, and Field Org. Mindy Williams.

UE Delegation ...  
The aggressive, energetic delegation from around the Badger State that met with lawmakers in Madison on March 28.  


Wisconsin UE’s second annual Political Action Day brought representatives from seven locals to the State Capitol on March 28 to meet with legislators on a range of issues of vital importance to their co-workers and neighbors. They insisted on a new set of priorities, placing the needs of working people before those of big business.

  • Support of Senate Bill 320. When Milwaukee-based Steeltech Corporation declared bankruptcy and shut down in October 1999, more than 40 UE members were owed back pay and vacation pay in excess of $100,000. Current Wisconsin law gives banks first claim on the assets of companies like Steeltech, leaving the UE members high and dry. Senate Bill 320, sponsored by Sen. Judy Robson, (D., Beloit) would fix this disgraceful "bankers first-workers last" situation by moving the claims of workers against bankrupt companies to the front of the line.

  • Action to Save Manufacturing Jobs. Lawmakers must investigate the gutting of Wisconsin's manufacturing base — and propose solutions that help protect and retain these jobs.

  • A Solution to Wisconsin’s Nursing Home Crisis. With our senior population rapidly increasing, the legislature should recognize that quality care cannot be provided with worker wage and benefit levels at current sub-poverty levels. The legislature must craft a comprehensive plan to provide the funding needed in order to bring all nursing home positions up to minimum "living wage" levels.

  • Health Care Reform. Assembly Bill 793/Senate Bill 308 would require health insurers to cover mental health as well as drug and alcohol dependency treatment at the same benefit levels as other medical treatments.

  • Skills Training for Wisconsin Residents. Growing numbers of working people are being brought to Wisconsin from all over the world to help fill certain "shortages" of skilled labor. The legislature should examine whether this practice of importing skilled workers is used by business to obtain a ready-made workforce, without having to create comprehensive training programs for tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents.

Union members also raised the issue of prison labor, too, in line with UE policy — and in response to Gov. Thompson’s call to turn prisons into factories.


Due to the impact on UE members at Steeltech, the banking bill was an emotional issue for the union delegation. Delegates agreed to urge co-workers back home to call their senators and urge support of Senate Bill 320.

Half of the UE delegates had been present last year, creating a good mix of those with experience and those ready for an education in political action.

The delegates had 26 appointments in all, 16 with representatives and 10 with senators. Most lawmakers were present. Some delegates came ready to raise issues with their legislators.

Milwaukee area UE members met with Rep. Spencer Coggs and Sen. Gwendolynne Moore, both of whom have addressed UE National conventions and are proven friends of working people. Both indicated they support the UE positions on the bills of concern to union members.

The UE delegates found Sen. Gary George much less forthcoming with commitments or full answers.

Before meeting with lawmakers, the UE delegates heard from District 11 Pres. Carl Rosen, who discussed the importance of state-level political action, and Political Action Dir. Chris Townsend, who reviewed the issues.

The delegation was also addressed by Jim Cavanaugh, president of the South Central Wisconsin Labor Council, and Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine. Cavanaugh gave a report on AFL-CIO legislative work on the state level, and applauded UE’s rank-and-file-style of political work. Rothschild spoke to the importance of an independent, honest, fighting news media, and brought copies of the magazine for everyone.

In attendance were representatives of Locals 1111, 1112, 1121, 1135, 1161, 1172 and 1193.

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