Racist stickers on a workers lunch box caused an uproar in Milwaukee.
A picture of the lunchbox with a KKK sticker and a Confederate battle flag sticker were posted on Facebook.
The worker with the racist stickers was working for a private contractor on a public works project for the city of Milwaukee in an African American neighborhood.
After seeing the picture on Facebook, a coalition that included the Young Workers Committee of the Milwaukee Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, the Milwaukee Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), and the Dr. Martin Luther King Justice Committee called for the city of Milwaukee to fire the contractor.
“No worker can be both a unionist and a fascist,” read a flyer published by the coalition. “White Supremacists are the enemy of organized labor and the entire multi-national working class. The KKK is a White Supremacist terrorist group responsible for killing African Americans, LBGTQ people, trade unionists, and others. Unions stand for economic and social justice. We condemn and actively fight against white supremacy and fascism in the workplace and society.”
The coalition called for a rally on December 11 to demand that the city fire the private contractor that employed the KKK supporter. The NAACP called a press conference on the same day to demand action from the city.
Between the time that the press conference took place and the rally was to be held, American Sewer Service, the contractor for the project, announced that it had fired the worker with the racist stickers on his lunch box.
The lunch box incident isn’t the first time that American Sewer Service has come under fire for the actions of racist employees.
On November 30, a picture of three armed American Sewer Service employees on the same public works project was made public.
Two of the employees were wearing holsters with pistols in them, and a third was holding a pistol in his hand.
Subsequent explanations for why they were carrying firearms said that they did not feel safe working in a predominately African American neighborhood.
After the photos were published, representatives of American Sewer Service were summoned to meet with the head of the city’s Department of Public Works.
After the meeting, American Sewer said that it had disciplined the two workers with holstered weapons and fired the employee with the pistol in his hand.
The two incidents have raised questions about whether the city should hire companies like American Sewer Services that are headquartered in the suburbs to work on public works projects in Milwaukee.
The Young Workers Committee, CBTU, and the MLK Justice Committee called on the city to stop using private contractors on public works projects and instead use city of Milwaukee employees for these jobs.
“We call on the city of Milwaukee to immediately end all contracts with American Sewer Service. Furthermore, we call on the city of Milwaukee to employ union represented city employees at prevailing wage. Finally, we call on union brothers and sisters to build the trade union movement to smash bigotry, fascism, and economic and racial oppression,” said the coalition in its leaflet calling for the rally.