Striking Prisoners in Negotiations with Minnesota Department of Corrections Over Conditions, Guard Abuse

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115 workers in factory inside walk off the job

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12.5.18

Contact: Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee – call 612-405-0347 or email tc.iwoc@gmail.com to be connected to in-prison press contacts Antonio Williams and Demetrius Dobbins

Striking Prisoners in Negotiations with Minnesota Department of Corrections Over Conditions, Guard Abuse

RUSH CITY, Minn. — On Friday, November 30, 115 inmates inside Rush City Correctional Facility went on strike. The inmates, who work at the Anagram balloon factory inside the prison, stopped work for a day to demand that the prison administration come to the negotiating table around delays in canteen distribution and lack of accountability for abusive correctional officers.

For the past several weeks, inmates have experienced delays in the delivery of items ordered from the prison canteen – items including basic toiletries, over-the-counter medications, and food. Last week, Rush City officials notified prisoners of a sudden policy change under which necessities from canteen would be delivered two weeks after they’re ordered, rather than one.

“They just keep taking things away – privileges, flag time, then they overcrowd the prison and treat us like animals,” said F, a prisoner at Rush City. J, also in Rush City, said their collective action was “a message of unity between inmates, and across all the races.”

Their unity was not ignored. The prison’s warden, Jeff Titus, and an official from the Office of Special Investigations came to the prison this weekend to negotiate with prisoners, and again on Monday. Prisoners report that the Department of Corrections (DOC) officials acknowledged that this was a “peaceful protest” but asked participants to bring complaints about specific staff to them “directly prior to things getting to this point.”

Abuse by guards with no recourse for prisoners has been an ongoing problem at Rush City, strikers say. On Thursday, inmate Antonio Williams was sent to solitary confinement for speaking to new prisoners about the importance of knowing their rights in the face of guard abuse.

Guards have alleged an increase in assaults over the past year, but many prisoners claim the increases are manufactured. They see assaults as caused by ongoing abuse from guards without accountability, combined with steadily deteriorating, overcrowded conditions.

Monday’s negotiations came to a close with prison administration officials saying they would inform prisoners of their decision on canteen policy by December 12th, and without clear movements on improving accountability for abusive guards. Late Monday evening, more than half the workers on Anagram’s night shift went on strike for a second day.

Prisoners we spoke with see the initial negotiations as a start, but feel the DOC is dragging their feet on the canteen policy retraction. “It took them no time to take it away and should take no time to restore it,” said F, citing lack of access to over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen as a major issue stemming from canteen delays. Still, participants look forward to further negotiations.

“Prisoners need to be at the table for any decisions made about prisoners, because we’re the ones who have to live with it,” F says. For J, it’s a question of fairness. “There has to be accountability from correctional officers too, and not just us.”

Wisdom’s Madison Action Day 2019

Madison Action Day 2019

On Tuesday, March 26th 2019, over 1,000 people from across the state of Wisconsin, all a part of WISDOM, will gather at the State Capitol to advocate and educate representatives about issues in the proposed state budget! We will be having several buses leaving from all over the state to go to the Capitol! Please save the date. There will be more details to come on how to GET ON THE BUS!

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La Crosse, December 18, 2018: La Crosse: Budget Listening Session/Sesión Sobre Presupuesto

La Crosse: Budget Listening Session/Sesión Sobre Presupuesto

El gobernador electo Tony Evers y el vicegobernador electo Mandela Barnes anunciaron su gira estatal “Construyendo el Presupuesto Popular.”

La sesión en La Crosse se llevará a cabo el 18 de diciembre de 12:00 a 1:30pm en el American Legion Post 52 (711 6th St. South).

Cada sesión está abierta al público y les dará a los participantes la capacidad de compartir sus prioridades para el presupuesto estatal directamente con el gobernador electo Evers, el vicegobernador electo Barnes, y el personal del equipo de transición.

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Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes have announced their statewide “Building the People’s Budget” tour.

The listening session in La Crosse will be held on December 18 from noon to 1:30 pm at 711 6th St. South. 

Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

Wausau, December 12, 2018: WI Budget Listening Session/Sesión Sobre Presupuesto

Wausau: Budget Listening Session/Sesión Sobre Presupuesto

El gobernador electo Tony Evers y el vicegobernador electo Mandela Barnes anunciaron su gira estatal “Construyendo el Presupuesto Popular.”

La sesión en Wausau se llevará a cabo el 12 de diciembre de 12:00 a 1:30pm en el Wausau Labor Temple (318 S. Third Ave).

Cada sesión está abierta al público y les dará a los participantes la capacidad de compartir sus prioridades para el presupuesto estatal directamente con el gobernador electo Evers, el vicegobernador electo Barnes, y el personal del equipo de transición.

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Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes have announced their statewide “Building the People’s Budget” tour.

The listening session in Wausau will be held on December 12 from noon to 1:30 pm at the Wausau Labor Temple (318 S. Third Ave). 

Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

Milwaukee, December 19, 2018: WI Budget Listening Session

Milwaukee: Budget Listening Session/Sesión Sobre Presupuesto

200 W Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, 4:30 – 6 P.M.

El gobernador electo Tony Evers y el vicegobernador electo Mandela Barnes anunciaron su gira estatal “Construyendo el Presupuesto Popular.”

La sesión en Milwaukee se llevará a cabo el 19 de diciembre de 4:30 a 6pm en el edificio de United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County (200 West Pleasant St).

Cada sesión está abierta al público y les dará a los participantes la capacidad de compartir sus prioridades para el presupuesto estatal directamente con el gobernador electo Evers, el vicegobernador electo Barnes, y el personal del equipo de transición.

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Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes have announced their statewide “Building the People’s Budget” tour.

The listening session in Milwaukee will be held on December 19 from 4:30 to 6 pm at 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee.

Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

Waukesha, December 21, 2018: Voces de la Frontera Waukesha Membership Meeting / Junta de membresía de Waukesha

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Waukesha Membership Meeting / Junta de membresía de Waukesha

ENGLISH BELOW

Junta de membresía del capítulo de Waukesha
viernes 31 de agosto, 6pm
oficina de Voces de la Frontera en Waukesha
305 E Main St, Waukesha, 53186

¡Acompáñanos para la próxima junta de membresía de nuestro capítulo en Waukesha! Tendremos un taller conozca sus derechos y platicaremos sobre nuestros esfuerzos para luchar por las licencias de conducir y contra las políticas anti-inmigrantes como el 287g. Tendremos las juntas de membresía cada 2 semanas.
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Waukesha Chapter Membership Meeting
Friday, August 31, 6 p.m.
Office of Voces de la Frontera in Waukesha
305 E Main St, Waukesha, 53186

Join us for the next membership meeting of our chapter in Waukesha! We will have a Know Your Rights workshop and discuss our efforts to restore access to driver’s licenses to immigrants and the fight against anti-immigrant policies like 287g. We’ll have membership meetings every two weeks.

Milwaukee, January 23, 2018: Community Forum on Excessive Supervision in Milwaukee

Community Forum on Excessive Supervision in Milwaukee

3020 W Vliet Street, African American Women’s Center, Milwaukee, 5 – 8 P.M.

Join us for this special event that will include a presentation on Columbia University Justice Lab’s paper on mass supervision in Wisconsin and a panel discussion featuring people who have been directly impacted by Wisconsin’s horrific, racist system of mass supervision.

The community forum will be followed by a state budget advocacy training led by organizers with WISDOM, EXPO, JustLeadershipUSA, and the ACLU of Wisconsin.

Supper will be served after the community forum.

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