Run for School Board. Yes, YOU!

Do you want to defend the common good and make sure all children have access to quality education? You need to run for school board! Despite all the attacks, public education is the last great equalizer in this country and being a school board member means you have the ability to protect that. Some people think schools should be run like a business, but children are not products to be mass produced. They are each unique and require quality schools and educators to nurture their talents. We are looking for people that understand the difference. If this is you, reach out today!

Kristin Lytie
Allouez
WEAC Region 3

Universal Health Care in the U.S.

By Clete Delvaux, Green Bay

Here are some sobering thoughts gathered from the introduction of T. R. Reid’s 2009 book The Healing of America.

“Government and academic studies report that more than 20,000 die in the prime of life each year from medical problems that could be treated, because they can’t afford to see a doctor…. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country. Hundreds of thousands of Americans go bankrupt every year because of medical bills. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country either.” Now you might say that 2009 was more than ten years ago. Do you think things have changed in 2020? Not on your life!

Another source says that in the United States system of health care, 160 million or roughly half the population receives their medical insurance through their job. The Covid 19 pandemic has resulted in a tidal wave of job layoffs which could mean that up to 43 million workers could lose their health insurance. That won’t happen in any other developed country either, for they all have some form of universal health insurance. Reid in his ensuing chapters looks at the health care systems of these other developed countries. They all differ in what they offer their citizens, but every citizen is guaranteed health care.

Reid continues, “Efforts to change the [U.S. health] system tend to be derailed by arguments about ‘big government’ or ‘free enterprise’ or ‘socialism.’” Another factor I see in the run-up to this year’s presidential election is cost. Even Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden says that we cannot afford a universal health system! How is it that the acclaimed richest country in the world cannot afford to provide universal health care for its citizens when the other developed countries on earth do provide medical care for any one of its citizens who gets sick?

The answer is that the other developed countries have answered a basic moral question: Should they guarantee medical treatment to everyone who needs it? Do their citizens have a right to health care? The U.S. has so far ignored this moral question. It’s time for the U.S. to come down on the side of health care for all its citizens.

One doctor’s perspective on COVID-19

By Dr. John Warren, Green Bay

We are all very tired of hearing and worrying about COVID-19 and are ready to have our lives return to normal as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we cannot wish this virus away. No one can predict the future, however physicians and scientists expect this virus to be around until an effective vaccine is developed. It clearly is not a “flu” virus as noted by the already 100,000+ deaths from this virus. 

The death rate is dropping, which is good. Medical doctors are getting better at treating this virus.  The infection rate is variable, obviously helped by the social distancing we all are doing. However, the basic facts persist.  This virus is still active throughout the USA and remains more deadly to older people and those with multiple health issues but may be lethal for anyone, regardless of age and health. 

Choosing lower risk activities when those options are available is the best choice for everyone.  This will be especially important this winter when we all congregate indoors again. No one expects the virus to disappear this winter. Voting absentee (Voting By Mail) is clearly a safer, lower risk, option for everyone.  We are fortunate to have this option in our state.  Please use it. 

Dr. John Warren

TO THE CLASS OF 2020: MAKE A DIFFERENCE NOW

Jarrett Brown is a factory worker, activist, and voter. He resides in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Those of you who are graduating high school or college right now are doing so at an interesting time. The experience you’ve had over the last several months during your senior year is unlike that of any class that came before you. Congratulations for being able to adapt to and overcome the circumstances in the pursuit of your goal.

As you start out toward your next goal you will encounter many more obstacles and inconveniences because of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout. There will be roadblocks along the path to wherever it is you are going in life. My message to you is very simple: Don’t stop trying to reach your destination, but don’t wait until you get there to make a difference. You don’t have to have an advanced degree, a fancy title, or a fat bank account to make a difference. If you look around you will notice that there are all sorts of problems right now. Use the gifts that you were born with to solve problems around you.

When I was in high school, I did really well academically. The assumption that most people had was that I would go to college and then move on to a professional career. However, going to college full-time and living the college life wasn’t an option for me because of my parents’ financial situation and the fact that I would have to provide for myself in every way from the moment I left high school. .

So, after I finished school I went to work full-time at a Taco Bell. After a few months, I took a job working for my uncle in the tile industry. It was a physically demanding job, but I found the energy to take night classes at the community college.

Honestly, I was proud that I could take care of myself, but I was disappointed, frustrated, and angry that I wasn’t going to have the traditional college experience. I felt like I had been robbed of my opportunity to be somebody and make a difference by virtue of the fact that my parents had limited funds.

After saving money for a few years I decided to see what else there was in the world and I went traveling. I ended up in Arizona and continued my education there. Then came the 2008 financial crisis which led into the Great Recession. I was forced to leave college and find full-time employment. Again, I was disappointed, frustrated, and angry because I felt like I had been robbed of my opportunity to be somebody and make a difference.

The low-wage jobs in Arizona didn’t pay well enough for me to support myself, so I decided to go to Kansas and work at a beef plant. I knew that the wages there were slightly above average and that no matter what I would have a job because people need to eat, even during a recession.

While I was working at the plant in Kansas I became acutely aware of issues facing workers. I saw people who were not being treated fairly and I wanted to do something about it, so I became a union steward. I spoke up about issues in the workplace, I taught my co-workers about their rights, I defended co-workers when they were wronged by management. When the union leaders didn’t fulfill their obligation to protect the rights of the workers, I gave the leaders an earful about it.

As a kid growing up in North Carolina, I never imagined that I would end up working in a plant. I saw myself becoming a reporter, lawyer, or professor. The life that I was living wasn’t what I had planned for myself, but I realized that I had a chance to make a difference and tried as hard as I could to do that. I spent my free time studying workplace issues and learning everything I could about the company, the union, employment law, and the relevant government agencies and regulations. For a year or so, I woke up early and worked for the local newspaper as a reporter. I wrote about different organizations in the community and the resources and services that they offered.

It took me a while to realize my own strength and have the confidence to use the skills that I had. Once I was able to see that my efforts could help others I poured my energy into it. Nearly a dozen years later I am still trying to inform workers about their rights and am trying to empower them by directly assisting them privately and speaking out very publicly. I like to think that I am somebody who is making a difference, which is all I ever really wanted to be.

The idea that I hope stands out most from this message is that you have gifts that you can use now to improve the lives of others. No matter what happens in the months and years to come, keep trying to go wherever it is you are trying to go in life, but don’t wait until you get there to make a difference. Now, more than ever, what you have to offer the world is needed.

Jarrett Brown

Generation of Opportunity

Generation of Opportunity

Paul Bartlett,  Allouez, WI

My wife and I are in our young 70’s and are fortunate to have been born into the generation of opportunity. With a little ambition, our futures were rosy. College tuition was generally well within reach; housing costs (own or rent) were affordable; unemployment was low; opportunity abounded.

We were not the generation of privilege, but the working class generation of opportunity. We were the children of the greatest generation. My dad and my wife’s dad served in WWII and made our futures possible.

How things have changed. The national economy and stock market have sucked-up all of this president’s attention and carved out my generation as non productive and marginally valuable.

Today, America’s seniors have become the expendable generation. Look no further than America’s senior group housing — a breeding ground for COVID19 — and a killing field. In many hospitals and nursing homes, senior COVID19 patients are separated and isolated, many left alone to die.

How sad. My generation created the opportunity for all that followed. This is a national disgrace. And the buck stops at The White House.

Together We All Rise

Letters to Everyone

Jarrett Brown is a factory worker, activist, and voter. He resides in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Employee Triumphs Over Large Company, Labor Union

In August of 2019, a lady was suspended without cause from a plant in Kansas. Later in the year, while still on suspension, she was fired. The company had absolutely no evidence of any kind that showed that the lady violated any rule, regulation, or law. She was apparently retaliated against because she organized her coworkers in the past to improve working conditions.

The labor union was not taking action on her grievance and didn’t even complete an investigation. The lady didn’t know what to do. She had heard about a guy who writes stuff about workers’ rights online so she started looking for him. It took her a while to find him because she didn’t know his name or anything about him.

The guy was me. After talking to her, I quickly realized what happened to her and I knew that she hadn’t been treated fairly. Over the next few months, I spent 100+ hours teaching her about workers’ rights, the grievance process, the union, the companies, and the government. I also translated documents and helped her compose correspondence with the labor union and company.

She prepared herself and took her case to the National Labor Relations Board. She filed Unfair Labor Practices charges against the company and the labor union.

All of a sudden, the company and the labor union wanted to resolve the situation. She settled her case after the company agreed to backpay her for approximately seven months of lost wages and return her to her position.

Before the lady called me I had never talked to her. I knew nothing about her. I helped her because she was wronged by one of the largest agricultural companies in the world. What happened to her wasn’t right and I wanted to help her win even though we live around 900 miles apart. She deserved justice and she got it because she was brave enough to fight and tough enough to not quit.

The moral of the story is that it is important to stand up for yourself and others. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, ”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” #Solidarity

Do the Right Thing

Decarceration Day of of Action Virtual Rally

By Mark Smith, Oconto

Stores out of numerous products. Churches and schools closed. Yet nationwide, there are a million+ people stuck in jails today, many only because they can’t afford bail. Another million+ are in prisons. Add in caged immigrants and asylum seekers. 10 million+ American citizens cycle through revolving-door jails every year, bringing big money to government and business. This is unsustainable, particularly in a world preoccupied by the worst pandemic since 1918.

These caged prisoners cannot self-isolate. Basic hygiene is limited. Proper soap, water, disinfectant, and medical care are often unavailable. Institutional food with inadequate nutrition is daily fare for this captive group with generally poor health. Prisons and jails are notorious for spreading disease due to close proximity and poor conditions.

Wisconsin has some of the highest incarceration rates in the country and just recently, efforts were made to lock up even more people in a 21st century where no one, let alone American citizens, should be in overcrowded cages anywhere. Into this environment comes COVID-19.

It is time for compassionate release of and expedited parole hearings for the elderly, the infirm, and the nonviolent with ridiculously long sentences. Nonviolent individuals not found guilty of anything except being poor should not be jailed, period.

For the few incorrigibly violent, we need ready access to free communication methods, news sources, no-fee financial accounts, profit-free items, and fully-staffed, proper medical care with waived copays. Basically, we need to treat others as we would treat ourselves.

What would Jesus do?

Manitowoc factory CEO: How Trump ‘trade chaos’ kills jobs in Wisconsin manufacturing Sachin Shivaram

Sachin Sevaram

“While a handful of primary metal producers benefited from trade protections, the rest of us further down the supply chain faced higher costs that hurt our competitiveness vs. rivals from countries that have lower metal costs.”

“Recession in the heavy manufacturing sector has dragged Wisconsin’s economic growth to among the slowest in the country.”

For USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinPublished 12:43 p.m. CT Jan. 15, 2020The manufacturing sector in the U.S. is in recession. Data released last week by the Institute for Supply Management showed that manufacturing activity has contracted for the fifth consecutive month, marking the worst performance since the depths of the Great Recession 10 years ago.

Here in Wisconsin the manufacturing recession is particularly palpable. Manufacturing accounts for over 15% of employment and nearly 20% of economic output. Employment in the sector has plunged in the past six months as demand for a range of manufactured goods has dried up. Indeed, in our business we laid off more than 10% of our employees late last year because we simply did not have enough orders to keep everyone busy.

Wisconsin manufacturers specialize in heavy equipment. Think tractors, mining equipment, engines — stuff that requires a lot of steel and aluminum. So, it may be especially surprising that Wisconsin manufacturers are not doing well even as President Trump has mounted a two-year campaign to protect the domestic metals and manufacturing industry through a host of trade barriers. The centerpiece of the president’s trade policy was a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum.

A groundbreaking paper published by the Federal Reserve last week confirms what many of us in manufacturing quietly suspected: Tariffs have hurt the very companies they were aimed to help. Only one of every six jobs in the metals industry is directly related to the primary production of metal — i.e. the people who melt raw materials and make new steel and aluminum. The other five jobs are related to using that metal to make things.

While a handful of primary metal producers benefited from trade protections, the rest of us further down the supply chain faced higher costs that hurt our competitiveness vs. rivals from countries that have lower metal costs.

But it’s about more than tariffs. It’s about uncertainty. From the vantage point of a small manufacturing business in Wisconsin, our national trade policy looks misguided and unreliable. It does not reflect how businesses actually make decisions. CEOs across America are increasingly worried about recession due to trade issues.

Businesses invest when they can calculate that they will earn a good financial return. A good investment project in our industry is one that returns 20% per year, which means that many good investments take five years or more just to recoup the initial cost. When uncertainty prevails, business investment seizes up.

The decline in business investment is a double whammy for Wisconsin. Like companies across the country, Wisconsin businesses have held back investments, which in turn reduces economic growth and employment. But even more importantly, when businesses invest, they buy precisely the types of capital goods that are our specialty here in Wisconsin: Air compressors, machines, cranes, turbines and the like.

Recession in the heavy manufacturing sector has dragged Wisconsin’s economic growth to among the slowest in the country.

So here we are, in the midst of the worst manufacturing environment of the past decade, not coincidentally following two years of the president trying to help us. Now we are seeing financial markets buoyed by headlines heralding a “Phase 1” trade deal with China, but details on what that means are scant other than that it has “great stuff in it.” The difficult realities of manufacturing in America have not materially changed.

If our aim is to create a better economy for American manufacturing, we must start by recognizing that the past two years of activity on trade policy has not meant progress. And we certainly should not celebrate the cessation of self-inflicted trade chaos as the end we were seeking

Conservative or Unconcerned?

The Second Amendment text

This Letter to the Editor ran in the Florence Mining News shortly after the County Board voted unanimously to make Florence County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. This effort was pushed by the newly elected Republican sheriff who was quoted as saying he loves God and the second amendment. The same article claimed they were protecting gun rights from a Democratic governor in Madison.  This letter to the editor was written by the parents of the new sheriff.  The general public did not know the county board was considering this action.  A group of NRA people did know and were at the meeting.