We Are Seeds: #10 of 10
Action Item 10: Unionize!
Collective bargaining allows workers to advocate for better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions. Unions are responsible for 40-hour work weeks, and wage increases keeping pace with inflation.
Wisconsin was made into a right-to-work state in 2015, which removed union membership as a condition of employment, and significantly weakened labor unions’ abilities to negotiate contracts with employers. But there are still some labor unions serving workers in Dane County, which may be used as templates for collective bargaining efforts in other fields. These include:
- Local 464, a construction workers’ union,
- Madison Teacher’s Union, which also includes support for administrative staff and substitute teachers,
- Workers cooperatives where the business is owned and decisions regarding budgeting, business, and working conditions are made collectively by the employees. In Madison, this includes Four Star Video, Willy Street Coop, Union Cab, and more!
Why is this sustainable?
Unions help hold employers accountable for fair treatment of their workers, including paying a living wage and providing sufficient time off. This allows more workers to be able to afford basic needs, including food and shelter, to patronize local businesses, and to be more engaged with other community efforts, including voting. Sustain Dane believes strongly that sustainability efforts are all interconnected, and provides more information on many of these action items here.
Thank you so much for participating in We Are Seeds, the sustainability-conscious scavenger hunt by T.L. Luke here in Madison, WI! This event is part of Winter is Alive! a cooler world carnival (a city-wide, multi-disciplinary event fusing art and spectacle to revision climate change and activate a global relationship) in an effort to educate the community about local sustainable action items and to highlight 50 local small businesses who have gone above and beyond during this pandemic.
This event will be going on from February 12th - March 7th, 2021.
- Willy Street Co-op (East) - Marquette Neighborhood - You may be a co-owner of this Madison staple! You can get all your household foods and products here, but have your number ready.
- Willy Street Co-op (North) - Berkley Oaks Neighborhood - You may be a co-owner of this Madison staple! You can get all your household foods and products here, but have your number ready.
- Anthology - Downtown Neighborhood - "Union people love buttons!" at this store, whose name comes from the Greek word for "flower gathering."
- Fromagination - Downtown Neighborhood - We all know it pairs with wine, but did you know it pairs just as well with beer, chocolate, and tea? Find out how here!
- Four Star Video Rental - Downtown Neighborhood - Cooperatively saving you from rewinding your old Disney movies with a pencil!
Heads up, some of these decals have been stolen off of storefronts throughout the hunt. You may have even guessed our clues accurately but still didn't find the decal, and that sucks! But, it's not the businesses' faults, so please still show them your support! Thank you!
Illustrator & We Are Seeds Organizer: T.L. Luke
We Are Seeds Collaborator: Madison's Central Business Improvement District and City of Madison
Winter is Alive! Organizers: Tamsie Ringler, Bethany Jurewicz, and Karin Wolf
Sustainability Wisdom: Sustain Dane
Decal Fabricator: Billy Goat Graphics (Madison, WI)
T.L.'s Executive Assistant & Researcher: Eli Watson
"They buried us, but they didn't know we were seeds." - Dinos Christianopoulos