Just over ten years ago, the landscape for workers’ rights and organized labor in the state of Wisconsin changed dramatically. The passage of Act 10 under Republican Gov. Scott Walker was a hammer blow to the labor movement that essentially stripped collective bargaining rights from public sector workers, made it much more difficult for workers to organize, and forced unions to take massive concessions on healthcare, retirement benefits, and much more. Soon after, in 2015, Walker signed legislation that turned Wisconsin into a “right to work” state, issuing another blow to unions in a state once heralded as a bellwether of the labor movement. But all hope is not lost. In the wake of this coordinated assault on workers and unions, many are using the tools still available to them to build up their communities and rebuild working-class power in Wisconsin. This is precisely what we have been investigating in our special series of conversations with teachers, organizers, scholars, and activists in Wisconsin that TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez, Cameron Granadino (TRNN), and Hannah Faris (In These Times) recorded in the summer of 2021 as part of a special collaboration between The Real News Network and In These Times magazine for “The Wisconsin Idea.” In the latest installment in this series, we talk with Maricela Aguilar Monroy, an educator and organizer in Milwaukee who comes from an undocumented and mixed-status family. After moving to the US from Mexico, Maricela has spent most of her life in Milwaukee and is working to strengthen the community that has provided a home for her so it can continue to provide a home for others.

Additional links/info below…

Permanent links below…

Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org):

  • Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”

Pre-Production: Maximillian Alvarez, Hannah Faris, Alice Herman, Cameron Granadino, Eleni Schirmer (research consultant), John Fleissner (research consultant), John Yaggi (research consultant), Harvey J. Kaye (research consultant), Jon Shelton (research consultant), Adam Mertz (research consultant)
Studio: Cameron Granadino
Post-Production: Cameron Granadino, Stephen Frank, Kayla Rivara, Jules Taylor

The Wisconsin Idea is an independent reporting project of People’s Action Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and In These Times.


Transcript

The transcript of this interview will be made available as soon as possible.

Maximillian Alvarez

Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
 
Email: max@therealnews.com
 
Follow: @maximillian_alv