Workers & Community Summit set to teach labor rights Sept 30 in Neenah

United Auto Workers strike at the John Deere Des Moines Works, in Ankeny, Iowa, on October 20, 2021. USDA Photo Media by Lance Cheung.

Workers will unite in Neenah next weekend for the Worker & Community Summit to discuss collective bargaining and the current political landscape of workers’ rights.

The Workers & Community Summit, hosted by We Rise Fighting, a podcast that discusses labor, will discuss the current state of labor rights, especially around unions and collective bargaining, and the current political environment behind it. The summit will feature a potluck and panel with workers from public and private sectors to share lessons learned from labor struggles they faced.

“We started the podcast in January of 2022, and then we had been in contact with a variety of folks in the Fox Valley,” Bryan Pfeifer, one of the hosts of We Rise Fighting, said. “That event will be an example of how we portray our beliefs in terms of making sure all voices are heard — or especially ones that might not be heard sometimes.”

The podcast and the event turn an extra eye towards the communities that go unheard more than others. Part of the event will be educational on where the foundations of right to work laws come from. Pfiefer notes that right to work laws stem from the Jim Crow era as a way to keep white and Black workers separate. In 2015, Wisconsin was the latest state in the U.S. to pass a right to work law.

“Wisconsin, as you know, has had a lot of attacks on unions. A lot of these laws, like right to work for example, come directly out of Jim Crow and are not only antilabor, but are very racist and anti worker and anti-women as well,” Pfeifer said.

The summit will also promote upcoming labor and community events such as the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice Annual Assembly in Appleton on Oct. 28 and the Nov. 2 commemoration of the 1898 Oshkosh Woodworkers strike and Building Unity activities.

THe Workers & Community Summit will be held at 157 S. Green Bay Rd. in Neenah on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 12:00-3:00 pm. A suggested contribution of $20 is asked for attendees to cover costs but anyone unable to contribute will still be allowed to attend.