Sunday, March 25, marks the 1-year anniversary of what has affectionately come to be known as the Double-U Cat – the Washtenaw Community Action Team.
In the last year, we have stood in solidarity with our local union sisters and brothers; helped lead the effort to put Public Act 4 on the 2012 ballot; spoke out against a broken immigration system that threatens the deportation of our neighbors; and held a social forum and a teach-in on the possibility of another workplace, another education, another world; and much more.
Responding to the call of embattled Wisconsin workers last year, 9 members of the Graduate Employees Organization, President of the Ann Arbor Education Association , and a member of AFSCME came together to plan for a solidarity rally on Ingalls Plaza. The rally would celebrate the legacy of civil rights leader and working people advocate – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
That day, firefighters, lecturers, graduate students, nurses, teachers, custodial workers, persons of faith and community members turned out in the hundreds to voice opposition to cuts in public services and education rushed through by Governor Snyder and the Republican Legislature.
The rally finished with a winding march through the City of Ann Arbor into Liberty Plaza. Along the way, the crowd – young and old – sang songs from the bygone era that put Ann Arbor on the map and chanted slogans created in the days leading up the rally.
The catalytic Brit Satchwell summed it up nicely when he said, “I always knew when it comes and hits the fan like this, we’d meet all kinds of new family members.”
Indeed, the greatest achievement of the WCAT thus far has been the creation of a small but thriving community that works towards social and economic justice each week.
But the attack on workers by Governor Snyder and the Republican legislature has intensified as have the consequences for Michigan communities of Snyder’s 1.6 billion bailout of big business.
We have witnessed vulgar and retaliatory attacks in the passage of a pair of bills that compromise the collective bargaining rights of Michigan workers. Our graduate student research assistant allies have been denied the right to vote on a union and our public school brothers and sisters are no longer able to bargain for a contract allowing payroll deduction of dues.
Just as we were in 2011, the WCAT will be a leading voice for the rights and welfare of working people in Michigan.
We are already hard at work collecting signatures to put the question of a constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining rights on the 2012 ballot.
[Visit: Protect Our Jobs or e-mail CATvolunteers@googlegroups.com to join the campaign.]
We are also working to keep our neighbors in their homes through Washtenaw Foreclosure Defense.
We need your talent, your passion, your commitment, your voice. Join us as we work for a more just and equitable Michigan – a Michigan where all workers are treated with dignity.
Join us for our weekly meetings at 330 E. Liberty (3rd Floor) – 7:00-8:30pm, Thursdays.