Janesville, WI, December 29, 2022: Building Unity in Rock Co. – A Potluck Gathering for Justice & Democracy

Event: https://fb.me/e/35VMfl5mb

Event by Building Unity

Join us for a chance to connect with Rock County justice & democracy activists who are committed to building a better world. We will be sharing the recently created and released “Wisconsin Plan for Justice and Democracy” with hopes that Building Unity – Rock County play a major roll in the Plan!

Optional: Bring a dish, dessert, snack, or beverage to share.

Plant-based and gluten-free food will be available.

To get more details and a more personal invitation to this event, please call or text Timothy at 608-630-3633.

Why I strike at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: For my son & family

The question has often come up since the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh went on strike Oct. 18:

To paraphrase, “Why did you decide to walk out the door?” The answer really comes down to two inescapable aspects of my life.

The first is my family history. One of my grandfathers was president of his local railroad workers union, while the other, like my father, was a union laborer. When I asked my uncle, a member of United Steelworkers, for advice upon the inception of my guild’s strike he simply said, “If your local tells you to walk out the door, you walk out the door.”

The second is my son.

Anyone who has ever met me has witnessed firsthand that I am the type of nauseating parent — in the tradition of Kathie Lee Gifford — who can’t help but talk about their progeny within seconds of any encounter.

If you’ve met Jack, whose mother is an American Federation of Teachers member, you understand.

When I went on strike, I wanted to show Jack what it meant to stand up to a bully, what it meant to have courage to do something that seemed like it was coming against insurmountable odds.

What I realized within hours of being on the line is that each and every member of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh would be the ones to teach him that lesson.

My union siblings have stood on the line in horrendous weather conditions, many dealing with serious health issues. They have built a strike publication, the Pittsburgh Union Progress, which rivals any news organization in our region. Those same professional journalists and peaceful union members have taken part in strike actions that saw their supervisors still working for the Post-Gazette unjustly call the police on them. I’ve witnessed my union siblings display sincere empathy toward the feelings of those who cross a picket line and can’t yet comprehend the courage it takes to fight for their rights against a determined and unjust owner of their beloved newspaper.

I am in awe of the members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh every day, and they need your support.

Here’s how you can help us:

Donate to our strike solidarity fund, supporting all striking workers at the PG

Subscribe (for free) to the Pittsburgh Union Progress — our striking worker-run publication

Sign our petition demanding C-SPAN remove Allan Block from its board of directors

You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram and join us on the picket line, set up daily at the North Shore offices of the PG at 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15212.

Thank you for your support.

In Solidarity,

John Santa

Post-Gazette copy editor and page designer on strike

Ukraine’s Zelensky Comes Begging to Congress

By David Sole, December 23, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flew to the United States Wednesday, December 21, 2022 for a quick meeting and press conference with President Joe Biden and an appearance before the U.S. Congress. He did not need to make the trip to convince top U.S. officials to continue funneling tens of billions in weapons and military supplies to Ukrainian forces. U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders are fully committed to having Ukrainians fight to the bitter end against the Russian Federation in this proxy war.

No, Zelensky’s arrival is a carefully staged public relations stunt designed to convince the U.S. people to keep supporting this endless financial commitment. It is reported that President Biden will announce another $2 billion in military aid, which will include advanced Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries.

However much more is pledged to Ukraine, it will not be enough. Recent reports by the New York Times about the relationship of forces in the battle for Bakhmut give the Russians a six-to-one advantage over the Ukrainians in artillery. Other media have reported for many weeks that Ukraine’s needs for 155 mm artillery shells cannot be met by its western backers.

Ukraine has appealed for tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers and other heavy weaponry which are not available. The number of Ukrainian soldiers being trained in the west cannot keep up with the losses suffered by the Ukrainians. The battle for Bakhmut that has been  going on for many months has been described as a “meat grinder.” The easy advances made in the Kharkiv region and Kherson province ended when the Russians finished withdrawing from weak forward positions and established strong new defensive lines.

Much attention has been given to the Patriot missile batteries to be delivered  to Ukraine. Some reports state that two of these advanced and complex systems will be provided. But training of Ukrainians inside Germany for the Patriot system will take several months to complete. Are the U.S. and NATO planning to set up and operate the Patriots in the meantime? That would be a serious escalation from providing weapons to putting troops into forward combat positions.

And even these Patriot missiles will have minimal impact when Russia is launching many hundred long range missiles and drones at Ukrainian targets each week. Ukraine’s national electric power grid has been systematically degraded and is on the verge of collapse according to a top Ukraine general.

All Ukrainian talk of driving the Russian Federation from the four provinces they recently annexed as well as Crimea seized by Russia after the 2014 CIA sponsored right wing coup in Ukraine, is pure fantasy.

It is unlikely that the Ukrainians can sustain attacks on the Russian defensive lines or can hold up Russian offensive operations. Unless the U.S. and NATO reverse their position and send in large numbers of troops and combat aircraft, the only other alternative is a negotiated settlement. So far the western powers and their Ukrainian puppets are unwilling to discuss this embarrassing possibility.

UAW 180 & 807 Solidarity Day Rocks In Racine! Labor-Community Members Travel From Throughout the Midwest to Support Fellow Workers!

By David Sole, December 21, 2022

Several hundred labor and community activists poured into Racine, Wisconsin on December 17 to show support for UAW Local 180 strikers. These workers, along with sister Local 807 in Iowa, have been on strike since May 2, 2022 against Case New Holland corporation, maker of agricultural machinery and construction equipment. 

Delegations of supporters started arriving at the UAW Local 180 hall in the morning. They came from all across Wisconsin, from Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and as far away as Detroit. A steady stream of boxes of food, water and holiday presents were hauled into the union hall giving concrete expression to the term “solidarity.” One UAW local from Kokomo, Indiana also brought a monetary donation of over $6,000 to aid the strikers. The community organization Building Unity, brought its RV called the Unity Mobile and organized delegations from Madison, Janesville and other locations with the assistance of the South Central Federation of Labor. 

Many local unions were represented, and not just from other auto workers. As the crowd gathered for a 2 PM rally in the bitter cold banners and solidarity signs from many other sectors of organized labor such as the ATU Local 998, AFSCME, the National Writers Union, the Machinists, the NEA, the Teamsters and Steelworkers were raised. Especially notable were the many educators in attendance including the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. Other educators from Kenosha, Racine, Madison and other locations participated. Union retirees were also critical to the success of Solidarity Day. 

The broad participation of community organizations that responded to this call to action was especially notable. In addition to many labor speakers were representatives of groups championing immigrant rights and youth. Voces de la Frontera and We Rise Fighting! Labor Podcast played an important role showing that there should be no borders in workers’ struggles – a lesson not always understood in the U.S. labor movement. Voces is in contact with many farm workers across the state of Wisconsin to defend their labor rights and many of these workers use equipment made at Case Holland by UAW members. 

Students from University of Wisconsin, Madison caravanned in for the rally. Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES), the youth arm of Voces de la Frontera were especially eloquent.

Speakers included the President of UAW 180, Yasin Mahdi. A representative of the Family Farm Defenders whose members use equipment made at Case Holland spoke. Others speakers included leaders of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Care Professionals-AFT, the Madison Teachers Union, UFCW, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, the Racine County Labor Council, Building Unity, the Postal Workers Union and Wisconsin Bail Out The People Movement. The Railroad Workers United officially endorsed Solidarity Day and had a representative on site. 

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO helped publicize Solidarity Day as did several local central labor councils in Racine, Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Madison and Neenah. Region 4 UAW pledged continuing support for the embattled locals as did the President of UAW 578 in Oshkosh who participated and helped to promote the event. The driving force behind the event, however, came from two veteran labor and community activists who produce the labor podcast “We Rise Fighting!” https://www.facebook.com/werisefightinglaborpodcast/ 

Following the rally, strikers and supporters got into dozens of vehicles, many with large “car-topper” solidarity signs with slogans such as “No Borders In the Workers’ Struggle,” “Kicking Ass For The Working Class,” and “Si Se Puede” attached. Caravans then snaked through Racine. As they passed by people got onto their porches to cheer and wave support. The caravans ended up at the Case New Holland factory gates where strikers have been walking the line for almost 8 months. Over one hundred people then continued the solidarity action into the evening. 

Before the Solidarity Day, members of Building Unity and We Rise Fighting! co-sponsored a Strike Solidarity School the week prior at the UAW 180 hall. At the bustling union hall, Art Builds took place with strikers and their loved ones, retirees and community members made signage for the rally and cultural presentations. Meals and media interviews also took place. 

It is hoped that this kind of labor-community solidarity will continue to build against union busting and all the other anti-people attacks that the working class of Wisconsin and across the U.S. have been subjected to for many years.

David Sole from Detroit, Retired is a former UAW Executive Board member at UAW Local 15 (Fisher Body Fleetwood Plant) and Co-Chair of the Stop Plant Closings Committee of the local. He served as President of UAW Local 2334 from 1995 to 2008. Sole is also a Co-Founder of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI)

Bryan G Pfeifer, Ric Urrutia and Gerry Scoppettulo of We Rise Fighting – Labor Podcast contributed to this report.

More photos and videos:






Labor-Community together at UAW 180 and 807 Solidarity Day in Racine, Wisconsin December 17, 2022. / Photo: Joe Brusky