The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) launched its “Reclaim Wisconsin” tour yesterday in La Crosse. In the coming weeks the tour will make stops in several cities across the state, and will arrive at the capital on March 9. There will be a candlelight vigil that night to recognize the one year anniversary of the passing of Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining bill. A rally will be held the next afternoon.
The tour participants will be speaking to Wisconsinites about the local effects of Gov. Walker’s policies and aims to rally the 99 percent. AFL-CIO President Phil Nuenfeldt believes the tour is poignant now more than ever. “We believe the time is right to inspire a new generation to fight for justice and prosperity for all workers,” he said.
Organizations on campus are in the process of getting the word out about Reclaim Wisconsin. Gerry Zastrow, president of the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point’s chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and affiliate with AFL-CIO, said that he would try to attend the events scheduled for March 9 and 10.
On March 8 of last year, the state was in the middle of debates over the budget stalemate. Fourteen Senate Democrats were still at large in Illinois, and debates had reached a stalemate. This was the epitome of high tensions, and Scott Walker became so frustrated with the situation he was quoted as saying, “Eventually, if any of them come back, this bill will pass.” This is where much of the distrust and disapproval from the people of Wisconsin comes from.
Other protest movements have also begun. On Valentine’s Day, a group of protestors gathered at UW-Madison’s Memorial Union Hall and marched to the Capitol Rotunda. The group gathered peacefully, sang protest songs and allowed individuals to voice their disappointment in the state government.
The Reclaim Wisconsin tour will more than likely gather much support from small-town Wisconsin families in the coming weeks. AFL-CIO proponents urge followers to mark the dates of these important events and to visit the tour locations nearest them. More information about the tour will be available once it is in full swing.
Reclaim Wisconsin Dates & Locations
• Wed., Feb. 15: La Crosse - Copeland Park - 1130 Copeland Park Drive, 5:30 p.m.
• Wed., Feb. 22: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple - 318 S. 3rd Ave, 5:30 p.m.
• Thurs., Feb. 23: Eau Claire, Phoenix Park Pavilion, Riverfront Terrace, 5:30 p.m.
• Mon., Feb. 27: Kaukauna, UA Local 400 - 2700 Northridge Drive, 5:30 p.m.
• Mon., March 5: Racine, Monument Square - Main & 5th Street, 5:30 p.m.
• Wed., March 7: Milwaukee, Serb Hall - 5101 West Oklahoma Avenue, 7:00 p.m.
• Fri., March 9: Madison, Capitol - Candlelight Vigil 6:00 p.m.
• Sat., March 10: Madison, Capitol, "Reclaim Wisconsin March at the Capitol" – Rally 1:00 p.m.