Wisconsin Unions Rally in Support of Striking Machinists

More than 2,500 union members from across Wisconsin rallied to support striking IAM Local 516 members at Manitowoc Cranes in Manitowoc, WI. (photo by Sue Ruggles, American Federation of Teachers)

More than 2,500 union members from across Wisconsin rallied in the small town of Manitowoc, WI, to support striking Machinists at Manitowoc Cranes. IAM Local 516 members have been on strike since mid-November because of the company’s last minute “Scott Walker” style union busting proposals.

GVP Phil Gruber speaks at the rally

IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Phil Gruber addresses the rally.

The state AFL-CIO and its many affiliates in attendance all pledged unanimous support for the Local 516 members. Many donated money, food and gifts for the children of striking members going into the holiday season.

“I would like to thank all the other Unions and their members that are supporting the Machinists Union’s effort to win the best wages, benefits and working conditions possible for our Local 516 members at Manitowoc Cranes,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “Manitowoc Cranes decided to hire a union buster just like Scott Walker to do their negotiating for them. The company’s ‘freedom of choice’ proposal would allow new employees the option of not joining the union, current members could opt out of membership and dues check-off isn’t part of their proposal. Our members have spoken clearly with their vote, 183-2, rejecting the company’s union-busting proposal. The IAM continues to stand ready to sit down at the bargaining table day or night. However, the ‘freedom of choice’ proposal will not be part of it.

“Our members’ votes show they believe, as I do, that if you enjoy the benefits of a union contract, you join the union and pay your fair share just like everyone else,” said Gruber. “The facts are clear, ‘It Pays to Belong’ to a union.”

For more information about the strike, or to find out how you can help, visit: www.iamawd10.org or www.iamlodge516.org.