Ashley’s Assignments: A Union Rally Crosses Sectors to Celebrate Solidarity

Ashley’s Assignments: A Union Rally Crosses Sectors to Celebrate Solidarity

'What's disgusting?' 'UNION BUSTING!'

Hi friends! Welcome to a series called ‘Ashley’s Assignments,’ where I’ll be sharing some of the work I’ve been writing for my journalism grad school course (and which I think will resonate with Boss Barista’s readers).

Today I’m sharing an audio story I made about a union rally in Madison. It’s short—about four minutes—but the stories are so impactful and the audio is so rich and I’m really proud of this one. I hope you enjoy. Transcript is below:

“What’s disgusting? UNION BUSTING!” “What’s outrageous?” “POVERTY WAGES!”

Ashley: This is just one of the chants called out during a union rally happening outside Wisconsin’s state capitol in Madison on November 6th, 2023. This chant is being led by Norm—he’s part of the Forward! Marching Band, a local group that comes to support protests and rallies like this. And there are chants like this called throughout the rally. 

“When I say ‘union,’ you say ‘power!’





Ashley: There’s also singing and music playing

“Solidarity Forever” singing 

Ashley: This is coming from hundreds of people, all representatives from different unions—SEIU, that’s the union for service employees, UFCW, they represent a local bakery called Madison Sourdough—and nurses, who have been negotiating for a union contract since 2019. 

COLIN: “Union representation is a human right.” 

Ashley: That’s Colin Gillis, he’s a night shift nurse, works on an internal medicine unit at a hospital in Madison.

COLIN: “And, we're nurses. We, we care for our patients. And we care for the health of our community. And in order to take care of our patients, and to give our community the healthcare system it deserves, nurses need a union voice. And they need the power. To protect, uh, their patients and each other, uh, in their workplace.

And the only way you can really have that power is through a union.”

Ashley: Colin is part of a group of four people—they’re holding a sign that says “Stronger Together.” As people start to gather around to hear speeches from workers, organizers, even state legislators, the message behind the rally is clear: we’re stronger together. 

FRANCESCA: “When shit doesn't get done in there, shit gets done out here because of you all!”

Ashley: That’s Francesca Hong, she’s a state representative—she represents parts of Madison. 

FRANCESCA: “It's labor, it's unions who are showing that regardless of what sector you are in, whatever your race is, whatever zip code you are in, when we come together as labor, as a movement, we get things done.” 

WILLIAM: “ We're coming together collectively for this rally to make it clear that these aren't isolated incidents with our individual companies. 

Ashley: That’s William Franks, chairperson of the NAACP in Dane County

WILLIAM: “None of us are alone. And when we stand together to fight for workers rights, that's how we win.

That's how we win.”

MAEVE: “Solidarity got said how many times today?” 

Ashley: That’s Maeve Perkins, they’re part of Starbucks Workers United. 

MAEVE: Like, it really boils down to like, workers are stronger together, and we are in a fight alongside so many other workers, and it feels great to be in their presence, and to learn from them, and to, to all be together in this fight.”

Band plays “Solidarity Forever” to fade

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