Wisconsin Wave

Uniting Wisconsinites for democracy and shared prosperity

This is an archived version of the Wisconsin Wave website.



This is just the tail end of Mike Elk’s article on a strike in Pennsylvania and it is what will make you go back and read the whole thing. The workers at this Hershey warehouse are guest workers who are forced to stay in inflated rental housing–buying their housing from the “company store” – -and they wind up taking home only $40-$140 a week. :

…about six weeks ago a guest worker walked into a local legal aid clinic and asked what they could do about the situation. The legal aid clinic put the student and other upset students in touch with local labor leaders and community allies. Community allies, upset that 400 jobs that could be going to Central Pennsylvania residents were instead going to exploited guest workers, vowed to stand by the guestworkers and fight deportation if workers went on strike….

We are seeing a very real shift happening. The solidarity between a group of essentially captive guest workers and American workers is unusual, and gets right at the heart of both global labor patterns and the hallowing out of the American economy,” says Boykewic, who added:

“There was something iconic about Wisconsin and there was a new infusion of energy. Before there was a national conversation happening at kitchen tables about the individual problems workers were having, but not at national discourse in the media. Wisconsin was the catalyzing moment that created an energy of people thinking about these connections between each other. …”

The strike and protest at the Hershey factory and other recent dramatic actions indicate that we may be in the early stages of a wave of dramatic worker action.

Workers, it seems, may have reached a breaking point as corporations lower wages and governments cut important social services. As workers around the world from London to Chile to Greece protest corporate abuses and government cuts, it appears that things in the United State may finally be boiling over.

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