Friday, September 18, 2009


hat tip: Counterpunch

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The State of Working Wisconsin

From a recent report released by the nonpartisan Center on Wisconsin Strategy:
  • Wisconsin has lost over 137,000 jobs, almost 5 percent of its pre-recession job level
  • Nearly half of those jobs, 66,100, were in manufacturing.
  • Manufacturing employment is down 13 percent from pre-recession levels and down 25 percent since 2000
  • Wisconsin's 9.0 percent unemployment rate is twice its pre-recession level
  • Wisconsin's real (inflation corrected) median wage is now $15.48, below the $15.74 national median and only 32 cents above its 1979 level, despite a near doubling in worker productivity
  • While improving, the gender gap in Wisconsin wages persists. Women's median wage is 82 percent of men's. If men's wages hadn't fallen over the past 30 years, the gap would be 72 percent.
Read the full report here.

From the conclusion:

On this Labor Day, working Wisconsinites have little to celebrate about the economy. Despite a few “green shoots” and a slowdown in the rate of job loss, the state of their state’s economy — and the region’s — is grim.

What Wisconsin’s workers need is a real strategy for economic development. This strategy needs to follow from a sober and disinterested assessment of our current challenges, resources, weaknesses, strengths, needs, and viable opportunities. To actually raise living standards, it needs to be “high road” — competing on value rather than price, taking sustainability seriously, sharing created wealth more equally, friendly to any business that will do the same. This strategy needs to be clear in its policy priorities, implied investments, and funding sources. It needs to gain support from a critical mass of key actors — business, labor, state and local government, education, our Congressional delegation, the general public — whose cooperation and contribution are critical to its success. And it needs to be articulated forcefully and clearly by diverse champions — not just elected leaders — and widely and generally understood. This is a considerable organizing challenge.

Wisconsin can meet this challenge. We have more than enough intellectual resources, leading firms, progressive labor leadership, dedicated public servants, and good citizens to build a high road economy in our state. But will we?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Friday: Amina Figarova Sextet Live At The Time

In Oshkosh, the Grand Opera House is not the only historic theater in need of restoration. Just a few blocks from the Grand, at 445 N. Main St. community activists are trying to raise the funds necessary to restore the historic Time Community Theater. According to the Community Theater Group website: "We began our meetings in March 2007. The concept of the Time Community Theater was crafted by people interested in developing a place for community activity and creating a platform for local talent to perform. In order for this opportunity to take shape, a lot of reconstruction work needs to happen. Funds are needed to make the space performance-ready."

This Friday (September 4th) the Time features the Amina Figarova Sextet, an internationally acclaimed modern jazz troupe. They play in Minneapolis on Thursday and Chicago on Saturday;Time organizers are thrilled that the band to make a stop in Oshkosh on Friday.

The show starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door.