Local 562

"We All Live In Wisconsin"

Council 4 members show their support.

With chants of "We Are One!" punctuating the air, nearly 700 supporters turned out Feb. 23 for Council 4's "We All Live In Wisconsin" solidarity rally on the State Capitol steps in Hartford.

Wisconsin is the birthplace of American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees, but all that has been built in the last 75 years could be jeopardized by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s radical legislation that would deny nearly 200,000 union members their full collective bargaining rights. 

"All who labor in this state should be able to raise a family, get health care and retire with dignity. But this country is moving in the opposite way. Nowhere is that more obvious and evident than in Wisconsin, the birthplace of our union," said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano.

Gov. Dannel Malloy kicked off the rally by affirming the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively.

"There is no reason for a full assault on the right to organize, the right to negotiate," said Gov. Malloy. "I am proud to stand with you and with the workers in Wisconsin and with the workers across this state."

Workers clapped respectfully for Gov. Malloy, even though they are aware he's asking public employees to give up $2 billion in concessions to balance the state budget.



Guest speakers included Dawn Tyson of AFSCME Local 538, who read a note of thanks from Wisconsin worker Mark Mills; David Roche of the Sheetmetal Workers Union; Sharon Palmer of AFT-CT; John Yrchik of the Connecticut Education Association; John Olsen of the Connecticut AFL-CIO; Jeffrey Matchett of the Connecticut Council of Police/AFSCME Council 15; and the Rev. Henry Morris. Clarke King of AFSCME Local 1716 (City of Hartford) served as Master of Ceremonies.

"It brings me great pride that students, teachers, nurses, policemen, firemen, steelworkers, painters, sheetmetal workers, women's groups, clergy and many others around this great country are standing together today. When we come together, politicians will have to listen," Palmer said.

State Senate President Don Williams and House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey also spoke and praised the labor movement as a force for positive good and pledged to stand with us against any attacks on our rights.

"The gulf between the rich and the poor in this country grows wider every single day. It is not what America is about," said Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr.

Luciano said Wisconsin workers are leading a fight that will galvanize workers nationwide.

"Those who try and inflame resentment, who pit private-sector workers against public sector workers, are trying to divide and destroy the middle class. And they will not succeed, because we all live in Wisconsin, and we’re not leaving."

That's a sentiment shared by many, including David Drzal of Local 2663 (State Human & Social Services), who traveled to Wisconsin last week, and was awed by the magnitude of solidarity and support he witnessed at the State Capitol in Madison, WI.

"What's happening in Wisconsin is a huge attack on the middle class. Absolutely. This is pivotal," said Drzal. "If employees lose their collective bargain rights, it undermines the entire middle class of this country.


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