Statewide Network Comes to Oshkosh April 6
Labor, Peace and Environmental Activists to Discuss Wisconsin's Future
On Sunday, April 6, from 2 to 5 pm, the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ) will host its spring meeting at the UAW Hall, 2920 Oregon St in Oshkosh.
Joe Priesler, President of Oshkosh UAW Local 578, will address the meeting. The theme is "Peace is good for workers (and other living beings)," referring to how decreasing the U.S. military budget would benefit local economies.
From 2000 to 2010, military spending in Wisconsin ballooned from $765 million to $8.8 billion. Since then, military contracts in the state have declined sharply. The economic pain has spread beyond the contractors themselves, to supply chain manufacturers and local businesses.
Oshkosh, home to military contractor Oshkosh Truck and its suppliers, has lost more than 1,200 jobs over the past year. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently proposed sharp cuts to the Navy's littoral combat ship programs. The cuts could mean hundreds more layoffs at the Marinette Marine shipyard.
"Losing military contracts is difficult for local communities, but we can build a more resilient economy, focused on domestic needs and priorities," said Diane Farsetta, WNPJ's Executive Director. "Military spending is one of the worst ways to create jobs. Per dollar, spending on health care, education and clean energy creates twice as many jobs as military contracts do."
WNPJ (www.wnpj.org), a network of 150 member organizations statewide, supports establishing a Council on Wisconsin's Future. Similar to Connecticut's Futures Commission, the Wisconsin Council would bring together business, labor, environmental and community representatives. It would develop strategies to increase the number of sustainable, living wage jobs in Wisconsin.
WNPJ has helped pass six local resolutions calling for a redirection of military spending, to benefit local economies and community needs. These include resolutions by the Milwaukee City Council, Dane County Board, South Central Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) and American Federation of Teachers - WI union.