On Saturday, Feb. 24, the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees, (AFSCME) and Friends, rallied in Solidarity at the Capitol of Wisconsin in Madison.

This Rally was part of a National Day of Action where Labor Unions and their Supporters gathered across the Country in a show of Solidarity. The themes echoed what one might expect to see, i.e., “…Unrig the System”, “It’s about Economic Justice!” and the like.

I’d guesstimate a few hundred folks joined in the activities and chanting. I was taken aback at seeing a lot of the same folks I saw during the Uprising circa 2011 in the Wake of the passage of Act 110 and Act 32. These were the pieces of Legislation that curtailed Collective Bargaining and a host of other sanctioned activities under our agreements we previously negotiated with the State and the University.

Buses of people thronged into the Capitol and gathered at the junction on the State Street side.

A variety of people spoke for the next couple of hours, including the President of Madison Teachers Incorporated (MTI), an AFSCME presenter and supporting organizations. A couple of “Dreamers”, one a student and the other a County Worker, spoke in support of DACA and their discomfort as vulnerable persons at present.

I thought it was a great event and was elated to once again be in the presence of my Sisters and Brothers on the Trade Union Movement. I acknowledged Kevin Gundlach, President of the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL).

Finally, as the event was winding down, I greeted members of my Local, AFT-W 4848 and other Wisconsin State Employee Union (WSEU) Retirees with whom I had worked for many years. A representative from the Wisconsin Association of Retired Americans took some pictures of AFSCME Retirees and National Officer Gary Mitchell. I expect that picture to be posted to the WIARA Website soon. Can’t wait for the next opportunity to rally.

(William A. “Bill” Franks, Jr. is a member of Protect Our Wisconsin Retirement System (POWRS), Retired Chief Steward, AFT-W 4848

Chair, Labor and Industry Committee, NAACP of Dane County, Branch 36AB.)