Wisconsin

Dem Legislator Spearheaded Support for Kohler Strikers

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During the recent union strike by Kohler Corporation employees, state Rep. Christine Sinicki (D) took it upon herself to use her state office to support the striking workers.

On November 16, the same day Kohler workers first began picketing their employer, Sinicki sent an e-mail to Legislative Assembly Democrats indicating that she along with Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D) would be coordinating action in support of the strikers. She also sent an e-mail to Minority Caucus Chair Andy Jorgensen indicating that she wanted to adjourn in honor of the strikers on behalf of the Assembly Democrats.

While support from the majority of the Assembly Democrats remained relatively small, Sinicki launched a campaign from her Assembly office encouraging people to bring items there as well as her home in Milwaukee.

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Sinicki took her support a step further and stood with the strikers on the picket line two separate times during the strike saying that the UAW union had always been there for her so it was her chance to be there for them. While she was not specific about when they were there for her it would appear she was referring to the protests surrounding legislation such as Act 10, Right to Work, and prevailing wage reform.

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UAW 833, which represents the Kohler workers, kept an updated list of “scabs” on their website, “meant only to let our union members know which of our union members have crossed the picket line.”

A Sheboygan Judge issued a temporary injunction barring picketers from interfering with traffic near the company headquarters the day after company security officer complained of being assaulted by picketers; picketers also caused a 2 mile long traffic jam on all roads surrounding the Kohler plant. Picketers later said they weren’t intending to cause traffic jams and they were simply trying to checks IDs to make sure union members were not showing up for work.

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