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Chicago event raises money for striking Kohler workers

By staff |
December 6, 2015
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Kait McIntyre, emcee of the event, presents Koene with “The ‘Big’ Bill Haywood C
Kait McIntyre, emcee of the event, presents Koene with “The ‘Big’ Bill Haywood Class Struggle Award. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Chicago, IL - A crowd of 100 people from all walks of life gathered in Chicago for an annual event, the People’s Thanksgiving. A fundraiser for Fight Back!, the event raised almost $1600, half of which was donated to the striking Kohler workers of UAW Local 833.

Eric Koene, a striking worker from the Kohler plant in Wisconsin and education director of UAW Local 833, said of their strike which started Nov. 16, “Kohler Company doubled its value from $3 billion to $7 billion in a year. So, we’re demanding an end to the two-tier wage scale.” Thinking about his future, he continued, “I have 22 years in the plant. My son, or grandson could come to work there someday, and I’d be working alongside them making a good wage, and they’d be making less than half of it.”

Dan Ginsberg, a trade unionist with the Milwaukee United Workers Organization introduced Koene. “Over 2000 workers are striking Kohler. All people concerned with economic justice, who are fed up with greedy billionaires taking more and more, need to be supporting this strike. Kohler workers and their union are igniting the next wave of struggle needed to revive a fighting workers’ movement in the U.S.”

Kait McIntyre, emcee of the event, presented Koene with an award called, “The ‘Big’ Bill Haywood Class Struggle Award.” The subtitle of the award: “The working class and the employer class have nothing in common.” This is the opening line of the preamble of the constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the fighting labor union from the early 1900s. “Big” Bill Haywood was the head of the IWW.