Union and community members from across Wisconsin are showing support for the men and women on strike at Manitowoc Cranes. The company has pushed the workers out at a difficult time of the year for many working families.
Thankfully, in keeping with the Wisconsin holiday spirit, working people across the state have come together to support the workers with donations of food and toys. Hundreds of toys and 3 truckloads of food were delivered to the Machinists Union Hall.
“The support from the community has been overwhelming and much appreciated,” said Ben Elizondo, of the Machinists Union. “There is never a good time for a strike but during the holidays, when people are suppose to be coming together, it is a shame that Manitowoc Cranes have pushed these workers out. Thankfully, the Manitowoc and Wisconsin community realizes that this is a fight for all working people. This is the fight to be able to put a check on corporate greed, a fight to be able to join together with your co-workers for a better workplace.”
On Wednesday, December 21 striking workers and community members gathered at the Machinists Local Lodge 516 Union Hall on Conroe Street to distribute the donated toys and food to the striking families of Machinists Local Lodge 516.
“While the CEO of Manitowoc Cranes rakes in a paycheck of $5 million a year, these workers simply want a fair contract, void of all union-busting language,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Our holiday hope is that we can get back to the table, negotiate and get the Machinists back on the job.”
Since Nov. 15 nearly 200 workers at Manitowoc Cranes have been on strike. At issue is not wages or benefits but the basic right to have a union. At the last minute, the Company slipped union-destroying language, similar to Gov. Walker’s union-busting bill, into a contract proposal.
The workers at Manitowoc Cranes have made their choice with an overwhelming vote of (180-2) to reject the language. The community has stepped up and supported the workers who are standing up for the middle class by donating food and toys so that the children of the striker’s can have a Christmas.
On Dec. 10 thousands of working families came together in Manitowoc to support the workers by walking the picket line and rallying in solidarity. The labor movement stands firmly behind these brave workers as they fight for their union rights.
• Manitowoc Herald Times, Children of Striking Workers Receive Toys
• NBC 26: Striking Workers Get Holiday Help
• WBAY: Union: Manitowoc Crane Strike Could Last Months
• Manitowoc Herald Photo Collection