Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Get well soon!

As was published in the Oshkosh Northwestern, 54th Assembly Rep. Gordon Hintz has been hospitalized. Get well soon Gordon, the Labor Chicks miss you!

Hope it is wasn't the chili on Sunday!


More on the forum--guest blogger!

Below are some comments from one of our union brothers. I apologize, I have done some editing to avoid to much controversy, but, I think you still get the drift of the misinformation being given out by Mark Reiff candidate in the 54th Assembly race.... my comments are in RED


Mark Reiff proposes to help solve the energy issue by lifting the moratorium on new nuclear plants in Wisconsin. He proposed new generation plants, and if the nuclear waste is an issue had the following suggestion....

northern Wisconsin to be a nuclear dumping site (for the benefit of 9 billion dollars of federal funding flowing into it). ...

As far as Reiff's wrong assertion on 400 excess COs working in the Department Of Corrections with nothing to do

I cornered him after the debate and took him in the back and quizzed him where he had gotten the information he was fronting Hintz on. Reiff stated that he had been "invited"/ "walked in" to a Guards Union Meeting and at that meeting..... He started stuttering at this point and became hesitant; profusely explaining that he, IN NO WAY, was calling for cuts of employees (in the Prisons) if they were not needed... I pressed him on the meeting and information he supposedly received. Reiff stated that at this meeting he was told by the "Guards" that were there that the DOC was over staffed to the tune of 400 security employees and they had nothing to do...

I told Reiff... OK now I am going to set you straight... The DOC (as Gordon had told him in the debate) had received hiring authority for 150 some positions... 50 some of those positions were to make corrections "whole" due to the refusal to rid the DOC of mid management positions and the other 100 were for, among other things, the abatement of Overtime. Reiff started nodding eagerly and started snuddering about how yeah mandatory overtime was a bad thing. I told him further that it is almost certain that the DOC has in fact hired positions above and beyond this position authority to cover expected retirements and purposed expansions...I also told him that these efforts have generally reduced overtime across the board and (for the most part) across the state.,,,, Anyway I told him that if he continued to run around the district and tell people that the DOC had 400 some COs working with out anything to do he was headed for deep trouble... He again started spitting and stuttering about he has no interest in cutting needed security positions.

I finished by telling him that if he needed to fact check himself he should contact (Marty) Beil or he could contact Raimmish who is a dam Republican anyway LOL.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Randy Hopper---get the facts

Last night, the Chicks went to the local political version of the Superbowl, the Oshkosh League of Women Voters Forum. This is always a great event, giving candidates and the community the chance to hear from the candidates in an hour long interaction. The forums last night were for the 53rd Assembly, 54th Assembly and 18th Senate races. We're going to concentrate on the 18th Senate right now.

The is the second forum where Randy Hopper, the Republican candidate for the open 18th Senate district referred to Legislative Sick Leave benefits, his desire to eliminate them and the "cash" payouts. He also discussed this at Oshkosh Northwestern "Under the Dome" forum several weeks ago. At that one, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, with him not being a State Employee, the benefit is confusing. State Employees, including Legislators, Judges and all elected officials have the opportunity to accumulate sick leave. At retirement, whatever is accumulated is converted to a cash amount that is put toward health insurance. No one sees the cash--NO CASH RANDY! The majority of State Employees have to account for their time, and are required to report to someone when they are using sick leave. This is also accounted in some way, shape or form to payroll departments. Because of the nature of the legislature, they do not report when using sick time, and as result, many have accumulated large amounts of sick leave, especially those who have had a long tenure. Illnesses and hospitalizations have been reported, but, no sick leave used. So, there is some question about this benefit for elected officials. It should be added that the Republicans have enjoyed the benefit in the past just like Democrats. In fact, the benefit was created during Tommy Thompson's tenure as Governor.

Randy Hopper brought the issue up again last night. I thought it was time to correct him. After the forum, I introduced myself and told him where I worked. I asked him how he understood the benefit to work. He proceeded to tell me how Shirley Abramson and long term legislators have all this sick time built up. I told him that I understand the benefit, but, that he had some parts of it wrong, ie., NO CASH PAYOUT RANDY! I told him that it works the same for all state employees. Instead of letting me explain it, he asked me if I would agree with anything he said, then said that it was late and he wanted to go spend time with his family. His "handlers" immediately swarmed around him and he snottily walked off.


If I wasn't fired up about this race before I am now. I guess I'm wondering if this is how Mr. Hopper intends to treat constituents should he, God forbid get elected. When someone talks to him about issues and they don't agree, perhaps he will kick them out of his office like a former State Representative did. Randy, here are some facts-- there are at least 2100 State Employees in the 18th Senate District. You will have to talk to us. And regarding your snotty behavior last night, at least 4 of them saw it.

Randy, it's time to take off the blinders and get some information outside of your carefully crafted Republican script. A State Senator needs to think on his feet, not expect handlers and staffers to take care of doing the work. Too many of your answers are either vague, scripted or you don't know, but I'll get to it with an answer on my web page. So is that answer posted on your web page really from you, or a staff person?

Also, legislator hours aren't very regular and you may have to spend long hours down in Madison. If you don't want to deal with an issue, are you just going to leave because its late?

This sure doesn't sound like a legislator I want to deal with and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure Jess King gets elected for State Senate in the 18th Senate.


Monday, September 08, 2008

New Page rally report

LC2 and I attended the rally on Saturday afternoon for the employees of New Page in Kimberly, WI who as of this morning have all lost their jobs.

I believe that the reason the plant closed is pure corporate greed. New Page wants to control and compress the market for coated paper (used in magazines, catalogs, etc.) and doesn't want any competition, so that the prices will rise because of less of this type of paper on the market and they will profit. I also believe that they had this in mind from the moment they bought the plant. Unfortunately this means the loss of around 500-600 family supporting jobs from the area. The plant is located in the heart of Kimberly--apparently the town was built around the plant.

At the rally, there were lots of area politicians--not surprising since it is an election year. The gist of the political speeches (we left after an hour and a half) was that the Democrats all talked about how bad this was for the city and vowed to do what they can to help the people of Kimberly fight this. The Republicans pretty much held up their hands in defeat and told the crowd there's not much they can do and that they should let the market work and maybe the plant will come back online. Interestingly, the group of Republican politicians there all left the stage en masse before the rally was over.

Now, I don't know how much interference any politician could have run on a private company to derail this kind of decision, but at least they could try and not give up and go home. It's stupid to even look that way in front of a crowd of about 3000 people who are there to support these folks in their hour of need. Geez, at least fight a little.

I was really happy to hear on the local news this morning that a group of now former New Page employees are on their way down to corporate New Page headquarters in Dayton, OH to see what they can do about it. Godspeed, my fellow AFL-CIO brothers and sisters.

All we hope is that the voters of the area keep this sort of thing in mind when they vote tomorrow and on November 4.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Do I hear an echo?

I had a recent encounter with Michelle Litjens, former Winnebago County Republican Chair and now Vice Chair of the Wisconsin Republican 6th Congressional District. Let me begin by saying, she is a very nice person and I admire anyone who puts into action what they believe. Unfortunately, some of those things she believes are misguided and just wrong thinking.

For example, she was talking about how she just loves her health savings account (HSA) and fervently believes that we should "let the market work" with respect to health insurance. I don't know about letting the market work--isn't that how we got into such a mess now? It's all well and good that she and her husband have the money to put into an HSA. Not everyone does. Some people are just scraping by and making it from paycheck to paycheck. She proceeded to denigrate the "Healthy Wisconsin" plan that is endorsed by the AFL-CIO in Wisconsin. (Read about the Healthy Wisconsin plan here: )

She made it sound like it would be a handout of health care to everyone--she apparently didn't read the fine print or is just echoing the Republican legislator point of view. She then went to to give personal reflections on her advice to some of her tenants (she and her husband run a home rental business) who have no health insurance. She has guided them to go and apply for Badger Care. Now, excuse me for pointing this out, but if we are painting the proposed health care reform system as a bad thing and a government handout(which it really isn't), then why would you in the next breath guide people to another health care program that is, at least in the Republican mind as best as I can figure it out, a government handout program. I don't get it.

I'm trying to understand what Republicans want with respect to health care. Michelle is a proponent of personal responsibility, some tenets which I actually agree with. She carries the idea a little too far for me and a lot of others. Are Republicans truly following the call of their churches with respect to the idea of caring for the poor? Last week in our church bulletin, there was an interesting insert on "Faithful Citizenship". I hope Michelle and other Republicans at church read this thoroughly. I know I did. I also went to the website for the Catholic church to read more about it:
In the website, the document with the title of "Forming consciences for faithful citizenship" tells the reader multiple times in many different ways that everyone should have the right to health care, that it is our moral responsibility to make sure that everyone does. If we "let the market work" as the Republicans echo, will everyone have health care or will only the wealthiest amongst us end up with health care?


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A little history....

From the DC AFL-CIO This week in Labor History (scroll down)
During the Great Depression, the Seattle Library Board announces it will fire married women if their husbands have jobs and can support them. Nine are fired; 14 others keep their positions by submitting affidavits and swearing to the fact that their husbands earned less than $100 a month (8/23/1932)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good read---especially for Library folks

Perusing the AFSCME Library update today, I found the following:

Anatomy of the 88-Day Vancouver Library Strike Last Year
Library Journal Insider
July 28, 2008

So, what was it like during the lengthy strike last year against the Vancouver Public Library, BC? An Indomitable Spirit: The Eight Hundred of CUPE 391," (PDF) by Anita Galanopoulos et al., first appeared in the Winter 2007/2008 issue of Progressive Librarian. LJ covered the strike off and on, and the local news media did so as well, but these reflections by workers on strategy, solidarity, pay equity, and professional commitment are worth a read.

I read a bit of this and was especially amused at the paragraph about the Knit Picketers, Knitting in Solidarity. LC1 and I would have definitely fit in with this group.

I guess this is a great way to come out of the warm, fuzzy knitting world we've been hiding in, stay tuned for some summer updates, Labor Day, and of course, the Chicks always interesting viewpoints on politics and the upcoming elections


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Interesting video

Here's a thought-provoking video on voting Republican:



Monday, May 19, 2008

Thought for the day....

If you're interested in more of this stuff, look on Alisson Burda's website...
It's HI-larious.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Organizing Roadtrip

Last week, LC2 had the opportunity to go out of state to help with an organizing drive at a university in New England. I'm not being real specific about the place, since management is making the union sound like we are a marauding pack of thugs trying to take the money from their poor, defenseless employees. There has been a concerted effort to make the employees believe that they will be taken care of by the administration, with their best interest in mind. Needless to say, there are horror stories out there amongst the employees, and even though they are well paid, their benefits, especially health care are starting to be eroded. There are also issues with policy interpretation, explanations change from one hour to the next and folks really have a hard time with classification issues. It shouldn't be a surprise to know that with this kind of atmosphere, the "pseudo" process on campus for employee greivances is not very functional. Despite these issues, the employees are scared, many not wanting to be seen talking to a person from "da union". More on that....

Anyhow, to avoid being googled and this being spread all over, I'll just use this photo to tell you what state I was in:

I arrived on Wednesday and met the folks I'd be working with for the next few days. The group included 4 of us from midwest universities, coming to spread the good news of the union. The governor recently signed an exec. order allowing for organizing on campuses. The requirement is to be able to get 50% + 1 of the employees to sign a union card. As a result, there are two international unions working on organizing the campus. As a result, there is even more pressure being put on the employees to sign cards and back one union or addition to being fed misinformation by the administration. Here's the office for the union I believe will best represent the employees!

The campus is beautiful with flowering trees and bushes, old buildings mixed with new, construction going on. The perfect picture of a thriving campus. But, yet, the employees are being told that there is not a lot of money to pay for generous raises AND the health insurance they have grown used to. One of the stories an HR manager used in an email to employees stated, "she didn't know how she would find the $32 a month to pay union dues, as a single parent, she'd have to make her daughter give up dance lessons". Needless to say, organizers who were single parents had real issues with that. Being a single parent trying to make ends meet is about more than dance lessons that cost a whole lot more than $32 anyhow. Another "tale" being spread by the HR department is that the union would "take away" their benefits. Hmmmmmmm......... Guess those health insurance increase don't count as taking benefits away. But, that is what the union is up against here.

The building to the left in the above photo is the library. LC2 did go there. There is support there (of course, library workers are usually pro-union). I had a great conversation with a librarian at the reference desk. The Faculty ARE represented on this campus, and the one I spoke with believed that the staff need a union. The Faculty just finished a prolonged contract negotiation, but, came out with a good settlement, both economic and benefits. This will be a great tool for the staff organizing drive.

In previous Organizing experiences, I've encountered folks who were against joining a union. This was the first time I experienced folks who were scared to even talk. We spent time leafletting the first day. This was our first taste of the problems we would face. Talking to folks as they left the parking lots (oh ya, parking fees are also a big issue), we encountered reluctance to talk with us. That reluctance grew as the day went on. Spending time in an area with the shops and IT department, we encountered real resistance to our message. At one point, we spotted employees watching out a window. It was close to quitting time, yet no one came out of the building.....until we left. The same thing happened when we tried again to talk at break time the next morning. After we left, folks came out. In the shops, usually a pretty easy place to go and talk to folks, our two blue collar brothers from the midwest were met with a very cold shoulder by their colleages.
I went into the IT building and had a conversation with an employee tearing down a computer lab. Making small talk and IT chit chat, I started having a pretty good conversation, including talking a bit about the union. As soon as another employee came in however, she clammed up, and the other employee started in on the "who is that, they aren't supposed to be in here". Oh, well, you gotta try!
In the same complex as the facilities shops, the IT building, the HR Dept. had their offices. This is a site 1 mile off the main campus. So much for HR being where the employees can deal with them face to face. Guess they have to hide out so they don't have to face the folks they're messing with.
That evening, an event was held at the union office to allow employees to come and meet the organizers off campus. That was where I heard some horrow stories, but, also had some very fulfilling conversations with folks with questions about the union. At least we were able to give them real answers, and not the misinformation that HR is spewing out.
There is some tough work that needs to be done here, but, fortunately there are some leaders coming out of the employees who are willing to be upfront about supporting the union. My concern is that management will use one of them as an example and give them grief for supporting the union. When something like that happens, it can either help the cause, or scare other supporters away.
The second day produced successes and more frustration. We traveled around campus talking to employees and trying to get the truth out. The group I was with got to ride with one of the pro-union employees to an off campus site on the water. Although the employee out there was not willing to support the union, she understood the need "others" probably had for one. It was interesting talking, since she did not have the spector of HR hanging over her head.
After debriefing, the local organizers got ready for a "summit" the next morning. This was going to involve planning between the organizers, the local supporters and those visiting from other campuses. Unfortunately, most of us from the midwest had to make our planes to return home and weren't able to participate. Hope it went well.
In between a lot of walking and talking, there was some time for some great seafood meals in the evening (this was New England after all). We also had some time for really kicking back on Friday night at a bar serving micro-brew. This is called a "Paddle" and features 10 samples of the various brews. LC2, was one of two who finished every glass.

Other then meals, there was little time for sightseeing. But, I took a backroad to the airport to see Derry, the location of many Stephen King novels. LC1 is a big fan. Note, the play that is being done at the Derry Opera House soon---Little Shop of Horrors.

Good luck to the employees, know that the union is your best avenue for gaining a voice on campus.
Stay tuned for a report on the WCLC Labor Dinner and the Chicks contract.
In Solidarity.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

......Holy Pic update.....

Went to our Labor Council meeting this evening. Apparently our labor council president was asked to be there--the night before (he had offered himself up a month before, with no takers). Of course, he's been really busy working on the movie stuff right now, being the IATSE business agent for the region which stretches from roughly the Fox Valley to the Michigan/Wisconsin border and halfway across the state, so he was not able to come pose for pics as the token union person on such short notice. But the pictured folks did ask him for information on how the money stuff positively influenced the community, yadda yadda and gave him no credit for such information. As a fellow union person, I can relate--we don't really appreciate being trotted out as token people and then told to go back to doing grunt work with hardly any recognition of organized labor and ordinary folks contributions. Kinda gets to you after while.


Posin' for Holy Pictures

This picture appeared in the photo gallery on the Oshkosh Northwestern website detailing the set teardown in Oshkosh's downtown after the departure of the movie making people for "Public Enemies". While the Labor Chicks political bent is of the Democratic Party and everything and we don't want to not give these people in this photo any credit for helping in whatever small way they did with facilitating the way for the movie being made here, we have one small thing we would like to point out. Where are the union members in this picture, particularly IATSE members who worked their butts off getting everything set up, built, painted, and torn down for this shoot in Oshkosh? This makes this Labor Chick feel a little steamy under the collar (so what if it's a pink collar--ya wanna make somethin' of it?). The IATSE people actually did work hard to help get the tax break legislation in place in our state and had to actually convince the AFL-CIO that it was a good thing as well.

And....what were IATSE members doing during the Holy Picture shoot?

See for yourself:

'Nuff said.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

1930s era gangster violence hits for real in Detroit

I read in the New York Times this morning about a melee which occurred at the Labor Notes conference last weekend in Detroit. The story in a nutshell (which was not easy to find) is essentially that the California Nurses Association has been attempting to organize nurses in Ohio. SEIU is not pleased and sent a contingent of SEIU protesters to the Labor Notes conference to disrupt it.

I am appalled that some amongst the labor community would like to bring back the mob-style tactics of the past. We don't need that sort of thing going on. I'm not suggesting we all join hands and sing kumbaya, but for heavens sake, knock off the violence and disruptive tactics and TALK TO EACH OTHER.

Read more about the goings on here:


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Love your library workers!

Happy National Library Week! Today is an especially good day because it is National Library Workers Day.

Have a book mark!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Welcome to Oshywood

Filming for "Public Enemies" started on Friday at Pioneer Airport. It starts downtown tomorrow.

Here's a job related sign we saw in a fake soup kitchen on the "set":

Yow--who could live on money like that? Of course, collective bargaining and unions weren't really in full swing until the late 1930s, or you would never have seen something like this. Women's work wasn't valued as highly then. Hey, wait a minute, is it now? Men still get paid higher wages.

More pics from downtown, which was a crazy scene today.

Hey, IATSE 470, could you keep the fake billboards up? They are much better looking than that fountain.

Main Street never looked so good.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hollywood comes to Oshkosh

The Labor Chicks took a trip to the monthly Gallery Walk. It was crazy downtown....normally the Gallery Walk brings a lot of people, but, it was especially busy tonight with a lot of folks down to see what is going on with getting the area ready for filming for Public Enemy. The first photo is normally the Exclusive Company, but it will be a Walgreens drug store during the filming.

The New Moon is a restaurant for the movie--notice all the folks on the street! The transformation is amazing thanks to the hard work of the members of IATSE 470....painting, props in windows, replacing windows.

The filming for this movie, last month in Columbus, this month in Oshkosh and also Manitowish Waters is the result of a tax incentive now being offered to film companies for using Wisconsin locations. IATSE was one of the promoters of the legislation to allow this, with a great deal of support from Lt. Gov. Lawton. The Winnebago County Labor Council also promoted the legislation.
The result is, if nothing else, folks from around the state discovering downtown Oshkosh and seeing that there is something going on down there (besides the filming.)

Kudos IATSE, for your work on getting the legislation, and for your hard and skillful work in bringing downtown Oshkosh back to another era.

After all....doesn't every downtown need a hosiery store!

Friday, March 21, 2008

American Library Association Honors Russ Feingold

Since libraries are an important part of the LC's lives (as they should be for anyone interested in facts and information), we were happy to see ALA recognizing Senator Russ Feingold. See the ALA press release below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 19, 2008Contacts: Zach Lowe (202) 224-8657
American Library Association Honors Feingold with the 2008 James Madison Award American Library Association President Dr. Loriene Roy presents Senator Russ Feingold with the 2008 James Madison award on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Washington, D.C.

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has been awarded the 2008 James Madison award from the American Library Association for his work to champion, protect, and promote public access to government information. Feingold has been a Senate leader on strengthening the Freedom of Information Act, reforming lobbying disclosure rules, restricting data mining and the use of National Security Letters, and seeking greater public access to court proceedings. I am honored to receive this award from a group that is dedicated to enhancing learning and ensuring access to information, Feingold said. When the workings of government are transparent, the American people can more readily hold their public officials accountable. Our government will better respond to the concerns of the American people if it is open for public scrutiny.

It is an honor to extend the congratulations and sincerest gratitude of the American Library Association to Senator Russ Feingold, a true public servant for openness and public disclosure of government information during his long and distinguished career, ALA President Loriene Roy said.

Feingold has been a leader in supporting legislation improving transparency in government. Feingold is a cosponsor of legislation to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by ensuring that agencies act on FOIA requests in a timely manner and empowering citizens to track their FOIA requests. Feingold also spearheaded legislation that improves lobbying disclosure and bans gifts from lobbyists to members of Congress. In addition, Feingold has introduced legislation requiring federal agencies to report to Congress on data mining programs, which are capable of analyzing millions of records on every American, as well as legislation cutting back on the overbroad authority granted to the FBI in the USA Patriot Act to use National Security Letters to obtain sensitive information about innocent Americans without judicial review.

WCLC Solidarity Dinner

Below is information on the annual Winnebago County Labor Council Solidarity Dinner. This annual event is held in conjunction with Workers Memorial Day to honor workers who have died in work related accidents or work related illnesses. This event also celebrates the acheivements of local labor. All are welcome to attend.


6:00PM TILL 10:00PM
Guest Speaker
Senator Dave Hansen
- -
Additional speakers include
-State Representative Gordon Hintz-

Name: ________________________
# of tickets______________________

Address: ______________________________________________________

Union: ________________________
Total Enclosed: $ _________________

Please Mail by April 18th, 2007 to WCLC 2211 Oregon Street, Suite A3 Oshkosh, WI 54901

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blog rant

LC1 has chastised me for my posting, but, I'm sorry, when I see misinformation and rude comments, I can't help it. I've got one thing to add to what I wrote, unless my post doesn't make it to Kent Monte's blog, which, mine usually don't because I'm not just spreading foul thoughts and misinformation. (note-3/20/08--just to keep the record straight, Kent did allow my posting to be published---I feel so special). Whoever made the crack on there about AFSCME being a union for lazy folks is full of @#$!. Make all the smart comments you want, but, like I said, who do you think is dealing with all the beautiful potholes in our fair city. Who picks up your smelly garbage, plows the snow? Who works in the Correctional Institutions to watch the people convicted of crime--having crap thrown at them,etc? Who cleaned up Oshkosh after the wind storm in 2001. Who helped in the recovery and clean up after 9/11, who ran the last ferry to help folks get out of New Orleans during the hurricane? It was AFSCME members. Don't call us lazy damn it!

(LC1 editing here--

Watch this colorful language video on YouTube for more information:

You got that a$%*(^#? )

In addition to that, AFSCME probably represents more employees in Winnebago County then the UAW (oh shudder). If you add the state employees here to the city/county group, we're a pretty formidible number. AFSCME is one of the only unions in the country that has grown over the past decade because we work hard at organizing.

That's all I'm going to say about that.


Defending our honor

LC2 just told me she descended into the evil maelstrom of Oshkosh blogdom and posted on one local blog (you figure out which one), defending our honor on one of the more toxic blogs in the city.

Why is local politics, especially the blog scene, so horrible in this city? Is it that the combination of stupidity and a big speaker via the internet is a really dangerous combination?

Keep in mind that I have a big knitting bag full of pointy sticks. They can go up against the pointy heads in this city any time in a more creative way. At least I'm making something useful with my knitting. The uncreative narrow minded blogs, not so much.


I am armed with pointy sticks

I am armed with pointy sticks--don't piss me off. Perhaps it is better when knitting to not discuss politics or any other hot button issues since the participants in said discussion are armed with potential weapons. All I'm saying is.

Now, be that as it may, I have to report that we knit with some folks who don't share our political persuasion. Perish the thought, I know, but we try to not discuss any politics there because believe it or not, Republicans and Democrats can be friends. Pick yourself up off the floor now--it's not that bad. Honestly, we're all people. However, that doesn't mean that perhaps our good vibes and stuff may turn our friends back to our side. You never know. I'll take what I can get.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Buh bye, Carol

It must be the election cycle for those named Carol to retire. Carol Roessler just announced she's not running again. Woo hoo. This should up the amount of money others running in the race have to come up with. Bummer.

It will be interesting seeing what kinds of yahoos come out of the woodwork to run now. (Jess King who already announced, is not a yahoo, for the record).


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Endorsement go'round

Apparently the Chicks have been kinda busy and intent on ignoring the world while we are absorbed in the kindler, gentler world of knitting. Unfortunately, that world crashed down yesterday afternoon when I heard about the flap going 'round in Oshkosh blogland over the WCLC endorsements (see previous post). I just have a few short comments. Short, because if I start going on and get worked up about this again, LC1 will kill me and feed me to the cats for supper. Ha, I'd probably end up giving the cats the chirpy's after they eat. Anyhow....

It constantly amazes me when someone running for political office says that endorsements don't mean anything. Yet, the discussions and hand wringing over the endorsements and the press release associated with them makes me think that is not true. If WCLC endorsements are baseless and meaningless, then why are you whining about not getting endorsed? Hmmmm??????

Second comment about the process, then I'm done. No, WCLC did not send out questionaires to the candidates. Since OEA is a participant in WCLC, we based our endorsement on the questionaires and interviews that they did. This isn't the first time that the Labor Council has used the work done by our affiliates to assist in our endorsement process. Two AFSCME Council 24 locals regularly sponsor candidate forums for state offices. The council helps put the event together and helps get them on cable, but, the organization mostly done by Local 579 and 48. Many of the questions are pertinent to State Employees mixed with some general labor questions. However, the Labor Council endorsement is made based on those forums. Labor folk are busy with work, union work and trying to have a life. Sometimes we try to work together with our affiliates and other "friends" to all get to the same base.

So, if you're not a WCLC member or affiliate, don't whine about our process. If you are a candidate and didn't get endorsed, either ignore it and move on with your life...get over it.

'nuf said.....


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Winnebago County Labor Council-Spring 2008 Endorsements

At the Winnebago County Labor Council meeting last night, the following endorsements were made for the Spring General Election on April 1.

Wisconsin Supreme Court
Louis Butler (former AFSCME member)

District 2 Court of Appeals
Lisa Neubauer

Winnebago County Board
District 14
No endorsement

District 15
Travis Swanson

District 18
Bill Wingren

Oshkosh School Board
John Lemberger
J. Thomas McDermott

Recommendations for local offices were based on responses to questionaires sent out earlier this year. Endorsements of other candidates was based on information received from the campaigns.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Working at the Polls

Well, LC2 has been down with a cold and busy just keeping up with shoveling snow and getting through this "old fashioned Wisconsin winter". I wanted to share the joys of working at a voting poll on Feb. 19.

It's a long day, you get there at 6am (well, after dealing with the overnight snow and putting the garbage out, it was more like 6:15 for me). We had to rush to set things up because the location of our poll within the building was changed. So, we had to move tables and figure out a configuration before we could set up the voting stations, including the TSX touch screen. Our poll chair has generally let me take care of that, and it has been interesting, since I realize after setting it up and shutting it down, that there isn't any weird stuff going on, at least at our polling place. My feeling is our chair, a pretty conservative guy, figures he'll have the liberal chick take care of that, and no one will question our results. OK, that's cool strategy.

The polls open at 7am and we had folks waiting. The day was pretty constant, there weren't a lot of lolls in the voting as we've had in the past. My only break away was to go on a run to Starbucks to get coffee for a couple of us. Other than that, we all pretty much ate lunch and worked (we do a pot luck at our poll, I made chili, which was perfect for the cold day). There were a lot of registrations and we all rotated jobs this time to get experience at everything.

Our location did have over 1000 voters between both wards, which I thought was good. It took us about 1 1/2 hours to close things out after the voting. As a poll worker, we have to go through the optical scan ballots to look for write ins. Folks, if you're reading this, if you want to do a write in on a ballot, please do it on the Touch Screen electronic station, which records it and prints it out at the end, making it really simple for the poll workers. Having to go through every paper ballot is really tedious and just opens the possibility of error handling all those ballots. If you want to vote for Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse, please use the Touch Screen.

Every ballot has to be accounted for, used or unused. We had major problems with folks on the paper ballots voting for two president, one in each party. Folks also voted for too many candidates in the school board primary. Obviously folks don't read the ballots or listen to our instructions. Of course, if you vote for to many, your ballot is rejected in the Op. scan and we have to issue you a new ballot. That involves recording the voter number, time, etc. in order to account for the destroyed ballot (the voter rips it up and throws it away).

The day ended about 9:30pm for the workers. The chair has to deliver the equipment and results and ballots to the City Clerk's office. I'm sure that's not a quick process.

I'll be doing 2 more elections this year, but, decided because of my campaign work, that it wouldn't be appropriate for me to work at the November election.

BTW, WSEU members, if you're interested in working at the polls, we have contract language that allows us to be away from work to do that and not have to use vacation. It works very similar to jury duty. Check your contract or with your local reps. if you're interested and then contact your City Clerk!

Oh ya, the best part of the day Obama won!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oshkosh is gonna be jumping on Friday

Wow, Oshkosh must be living right. On Friday we will be graced with two Presidential candidates. That should drive local law enforcement crazy. John McCain will be appearing at EAA and possibly Oshkosh Corp (they recently dropped the "truck" part). Wonder how the UAW folks there feel about that visit. Whoopee! Although UAW isn't endorsing until after the primaries. Smart move in a way.

Even more exciting is that Barack Obama is going to be on the UW Oshkosh campus in the afternoon. I've had a gut feeling since last week that we'd be seeing him in town. I probably won't attend,I'll either be at the SEPAC meeting, or home dealing with this @#$! cold that I came down with yesterday. Even if I was here and healthy, I probably wouldn't go. I've seen Obama twice, ALA and also at the AFSCME convention in 2006. Saw both Hillary and Obama there. I would love to just people watch folks going in and coming out, the campus kids are going to be so pumped for this! I've asked someone who is going to give a full report, she's already pumped for it. The other reason I wouldn't go is the fact that I voted yesterday. It's a done deal. Since I'll be working at the polls on Tuesday, I usually vote after our training session. The City Clerk is expecting pretty good crowds. We'll see.

Needless to say, LC1's discussion on shooting the bull with Caroline Kennedy a few years ago did indeed influence my decision. Hey, she's only a month younger than me! Another rockin' 50 year old!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Don't ask, don't tell

It's no secret our union, AFSCME is supporting Hillary Clinton. I just can't support her, because I don't think she can win. I know that sounds fickle and I am very excited that a woman is finally being taken seriously as a presidential candidate, but why oh why does it have to be Hillary? The Republicans are rumored to be secretly funneling money into her campaign.

I have heard Barack Obama speak at the American Library Association convention when it was in Chicago a few years ago. He is a fantastic speaker. I think he'll do a really good job. The clincher for me was when Caroline Kennedy endorsed Mr. Obama. My mother told me that when I was a little girl (I'm dating myself, I know) and they talked about or showed her on television, I would stop whatever I was doing and watch her in fascination. A couple years ago when LC2 and I were helping with Gordon Hintz's campaign (it was also a presidential year), Caroline Kennedy was speaking at the UAW Labor Hall in Oshkosh in support of John Kerry. Well, we were making phone calls for Gordon in one of the rooms there, and, long story short, we had a very nice chat with Caroline Kennedy. It was surreal, to be sure. Anyhow, I am supporting Barack Obama. Sorry AFSCME, I can't go with you blindly on this one.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Countdown to the Primary

The machines of the Democratic candidates are moving into the state to coordinate activities leading up to the Primary on February 19. It appears things might be heating up (political, not temperature). I'd love to really see the national media have to come here and freeze their "arses" to cover things. Everytime they talk about upcoming primaries, they glance over Wisconsin. I think they really would like to avoid being here and would rather stay in those warm "southern teir" states.

Anyhow, here is what we know....

AFSCME is setting up an office in Appleton to coordinate their activities in support of Hillary Clinton and local races that are having primaries. If you're an AFSCME member and interested in working, you can contact the AFSCME International office in Madison 608-836-6666 (that's not a joke--it's the real number) for details.

Ran into folks who are setting up operations for the Obama campaign this morning. There will be an office in downtown Oshkosh and the promise of "a lot of activity". Hmmm....that sounds interesting.

We'll keep you updated!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards drops out of Presidential race

I just read about John Edwards dropping out of the Democratic Presidential race. This makes me sad, because I truly believe that he was the only candidate who was speaking about the real problems we're facing, and not worried about spin or the media. I'm really in a dilemma about who I will support now. I think Hillary is trying to speak on the issues, but what she is trying to say gets lost in the hoopla of "Bill and Hill". I know she is a smart and intelligent, but, can she beat McCain, who appears to be the Republican frontrunner. Recent polling said no. I think Obama is a very motivating and inspiration speaker, but, I'm not really sure where he stands on a lot of things. Guess I have some work to do before February 19.

Stay tuned.....


I am very sad as well. Who will I support now?


Monday, January 28, 2008

Food for thought

Just something I've been mulling over today.... if you were someone who primarily leaned toward a Democratic philosophy, and decided to run for office, would you run as a Republican just because you feel that you could not get elected as a Democrat in that area. I just have a really tough time dealing with this kind of attitude from would be politicians----what kind of scruples does a person have who could do that? Would I want them for my elected official? No way!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well, vote anyhow

Picture I found on another blog:


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Early candidate likes

We want to go on the record saying we don't agree with our union on their early pick and subsequent endorsement for President. We like John Edwards. Whatever.

We also like (in no particular order):

Jess King for the 18th Senate district in Wisconsin.

Roger Kittleson who's running against Tom Petri.

Gordon Hintz for 54th Assembly district in Wisconsin.

Mark Westphal for 55th Assembly district in Wisconsin.

Any Democrat who will do a good job in the 53rd Assembly district. All you have to do is be able to stay awake during Assembly sessions and you will be doing better than the incumbent, who's said she's not running again.


Hey, we're not dead--we're still peeping!

Yes, there's no excuse for our absence. Laziness, you name it.