When many of us think of holiday stress we picture the rush to buy and prepare all the food for our visiting families; the cost and complications of travel to go away to family; the stress of shopping for holiday presents and the strain to our pocketbooks. You may have a roadmap already for your “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” shopping, in an attempt to alleviate post-holiday debt through the sales.

Workers in the retail, grocery, and restaurant industries have all those stresses and more; they wonder if they will even see their families on the holidays. Stores that open at midnight on Black Friday or even after Thanksgiving dinner, staying open late on Christmas Eve for those last-minute Santas, plus the higher influx of customers during this season, means longer and less predictable hours for workers, as well as tougher work on days that are set aside to be times of family gathering, vacation, and religious commitment.

Black Friday brings an opportunity to renew the effort to improve conditions for workers. Join with Walmart workers and affiliates of Interfaith Worker Justice to press Walmart store managers and owners to treat their employees with dignity and respect.
Many protests and vigils will be held at Walmart stores around the United States, as concerned individuals and organizations deliver letters to store managers asking for higher wages and full-time employment for Walmart workers.

You can participate by signing and delivering  This Letter to a Walmart store near you. The letter can be tailored to your location and organization.
Mail a copy of your letter to: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, Walmart Corporate Office Headquarters, 702 SW 8th St. Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

Publicize your solidarity. Use #WalmartStrikers on Black Friday to post pictures outside of the stores with signage saying “We stand with Walmart workers.”

More resources, information, and suggestions HERE


Economic Justice Film Series

Hosted by WI Faith Voices & ICWJ

Event(s) Flyer

WhyPovertySeveral Films will be shown between Oct. 16 and Dec. 10. Click the link above for venue information.

Refreshments served

Pictures & Quotes

from religious leaders who demand a living wage in Wisconsin

With Wisconsin Jobs Now, ICWJ is publishing faces and voices on the web of the growing number of people in Wisconsin who demand a higher minimum wage for just treatment of workers. ICWJ is collecting statements from religious leaders on how their faith and social witness interact in the issue of workers’ wages. Keep an eye on our page for new faces and voices in the campaign.

Kelly Schaeffer, United Methodist Missionary, Servant Community:

As a young adult missionary serving in agriculture, I have worked alongside those who labor to grow food for others, while hardly making enough money to put food on their own tables. I have also participated in charitable organizations that provide food for those in need, and a surprising majority of the people who require that assistance do have jobs, yet are not compensated sufficiently to afford food for themselves and their families. My faith compels me to take action in the face of injustice and suffering. Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is essential to the health of all people.

Raise Your Voice to Raise the Wage:

Write to Organizer@WorkerJustice.org

Other Voices:

Reverend Jerry Folk

Sister Isabel Rafferty

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch

Pastor Amanda Stein

Pastor Ron Adams

Saturday, October 18, 7:00pm
First Unitarian Society of Madison
900 University Bay Drive, Madison, WI 53705

*Tickets will be available at the door. Advance ticket sales have ended.*

Join us in an evening of music and celebration. Sister Maureen McDonnell celebrates 50 years of vowed Sinsinawa Dominican life and has chosen to honor ICWJ with a benefit concert as her Jubilee event.

Lou & Peter The Prince Myshkins Prince Myshkins


Hear activist musical storytelling duo The Prince Myshkins, as well as Madison locals Lou & Peter Berryman (No Relation!).
Andy Gricevich and Rick Burkhardt of The Prince Myshkins met at the University of Illinois and have have made music together since 1995. They have performed at labor and anti-war rallies, as well as street corners and house concerts. Andy and Rick are members of the North American Traveling Musicians’ Union and reside in Madison, WI.

The Prince Myshkins Website

Lou & Peter Berryman Website

Event Flyer

Tickets (only at the door from 10/15 on)

$25 at the door

Additional Donations to ICWJ at any level:

$25, 50, 100+
are accepted in advance or at the Jubilee.

* Owing to serious illness in Charlie King’s immediate family, he is unable to be with us on Oct. 18. He has arranged for The Prince Myshkins, Andy Gricevich and Rick Burkhardt to perform in his stead. Well known to Madison music fans, their musical storytelling is in the same tradition as Charlie’s. We are grateful they are able to be with us, and we offer heartfelt support to Charlie and his family. *

ICWJ celebrates Labor Day, 2014, at the following Labor in the Pulpit Events. We will focus on the “Strike for 15″ fast food movement and low-wage retail workers who are standing up against poverty level wages. At many of these events workers will give personal testimonies. Please join us:

August 31:
9:00 am Worship at First Unitarian Society of Madison
9:30 am Worship at Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church
10:00 am Worship at Lakeedge United Church of Christ
11:00 am Worship at First Unitarian Society of Madison (second service)
5:00 pm Forum at Madison Mennonite Church
5:00 pm Worship at Monona United Methodist Church, Spanish Language (Alabanza en Espanol!)

September 7:
9:00 am Worship at Holy Wisdom Monastery – Rabbi Renee Bauer, ICWJ director, will give the sermon, followed by…
…10:30 am Conversation with the social justice group

September 13:
10:30 am Service at Congregation Sha’arei Shamayim (location: First Unitarian Society of Madison)

Tabling at Labor Fest 2014:
12:00noon – 5:00pm Monday, September 1, Labor Day
Labor Temple, 1602 South Park Street.

_______________What’s the History of Labor Day?_______________

We’re moving!

June 10, 2014

in Uncategorized

On July 1, 2014,  the ICWJ office will move to to the Center for Change.

Our location and mailing address will be:

 612 West Main Street
Suite 200, Office #212
Madison WI  53703

 Our new phone number:

608-819-4740 Ext.  220


JUST DINING: A Guide to Restaurant Employment Standards in Downtown Madison

Produced by ICWJ and the Workers’ Rights Center.  

A first in Madison:  JUST DINING is a guide to downtown restaurants that informs customers and workers about the wages and benefits of people who cook, prepare, and serve food.                      

Download a PDF of the  2013 JUST DINING GUIDE 

Get the Interactive App! in the App Store

Just Dining App 

Worker Justice and Ethical Kashrut

by Rabbi Bonnie Margulis

 Once it happened, as Passover neared, that Rabbi Israel Salanter (founder of the Jewish Musar (ethics) Movement) came to a matzah factory to judge its fitness to receive a kosher certificate.  Without that certificate, the matzah factory would be out of business.  The owner of the factory wasn’t worried, however. He was certain his factory would be certified kosher for Passover. He had instituted new protocols of efficiency that he was sure would impress Rabbi Salanter.  Rabbi Salanter came in and observed the process in action.  When the matzah was finished and the owner proudly presented it to Rabbi Salanter, the rabbi told the owner the matzah could not be certified as kosher.  The owner was shocked. “Why, what’s wrong with my matzah?”. Rabbi Salanter replied, “The matzah has blood in it, and nothing with blood in it can be certified kosher.”  “Blood?  There’s no blood in my matzah!” exclaimed the factory owner. “The way you press your workers and the demands you place on them to be ever more ‘efficient’ in their work, shows that their blood is in every piece of matzah they produce, and therefore I cannot consider this matzah kosher.”

Workers’ rights and welfare has always been paramount in Jewish law and ethics.  From safety issues, to fair working hours, to living wages, to being treated with dignity and respect, all these are integral to the ethical underpinnings of Jewish law on how we treat our workers.  Last week, (the week of March 16) Jews around the world read the Torah portion in Leviticus that lists the animals that are considered kosher and those that are considered treyf (unkosher).  Today many Jews still follow those ancient laws of kashrut, keeping kosher. Others look to the kosher laws and imbue them with new meaning – ethical kashrut. For some, this means eating vegetarian or vegan. For some it means eating locally.  For some it means eating organic. And for many Jews today, ethical kashrut includes paying attention to who grows our food, who picks our crops, who works in our food factories.  It means caring about farm and food industry workers being treated fairly, making a fair wage, working in safe conditions, and being able to support their families in dignity.

Today our state, and our country, is facing a situation where economic injustice is rampant. CEO’s make wages hundreds of times greater than their workers.  Low-income workers are forced to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet.  Food stamps and unemployment benefits are cut just when people need them most.  As we approach this Passover, as Jews all over meditate on the meanings of slavery and freedom, of having enough to eat or not having enough, let us all pledge to work together to build a fairer, more just, and more equitable society.

Rabbi Bonnie Margulis
President, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice

Come celebrate spring at a benefit for the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice (ICWJ)

 Multicultural Party for


 Worker Justice


Thursday, May 8, 5:00-8:00 p.m.


Neighborhood House Community Center
29 S. Mills Street (one block south of Regent St.)

Food, music and dancing to the multicultural tunes of
DJ Lasisi

$20 suggested donation/$10 for students

Information about Neighborhood House Community Center:

Established in 1916, Madison’s only settlement house served the predominantly Italian immigrant population of the Greenbush neighborhood a few blocks south of the University of Wisconsin campus. Today Our community center is almost 100 years old and continues to serve our neighborhoods and the greater neighborhood of Madison.  Neighborhood House is home to a very large number of multi-cultural groups that include the African Association, United Nigerians in Madison Association,  Ghana Association, Muslim Women’s Group, Caribbean Club, Boliviamanta Group, Oak Apple Morris Dancers, Liberian Group, Danza de Todos Los, Japanese TAIKO Drum, and many other cultural groups.  Our diversity and commitment to community has been a constant at Neighborhood House for almost 100 years.

Print and Share the flyer!     MULTICULTURAL PARTY 

Alternative flyer featuring Neighborhood House Info!    May8.Flyer.DK

(Scroll down for information about the Faith-Labor Breakfast, including links to information about keynote speaker Dalia Mogahed.) 

Follow the links below to take action for economic justice:  

  • Raise the minimum wage in Wisconsin!  Learn more and speak out to support currently proposed legislation.

  •  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)  is poised to become the largest trade agreement ever, with little public information.   Protect service sector jobs.   Read more.

Increasing Our Compassion Footprint: A Muslim perspective on economic and worker justice

Keynote Speaker:  Dalia Mogahed

January 23, 2014  8 to 10 am.

Photo of Dalia Mogahed

Hosted by the South Central Federation of Labor 

at the Madison Labor Temple, 1602 South Park Street

List of Sponsors 


CONTACT:  organizer@workerjustice.org.


2014 Faith Labor Breakfast flier (includes speaker bio)

A Jewish Comic and a Muslim Researcher Walk Into a Party

Function Over Form:  Mogahed Huffington Post commentary

Who Speaks for Islam?  What a Billion  Muslims Really Think



The fight against Act 10 is not over.

UW Hospital and Clinic employees were included in the anti-union legislation of 2011, even though UWHC is an independent authority that receives no direct taxpayer support.    UWHC is one of this area’s largest employers, and a standard-setter in health care.  This has all been accomplished during thirty years of collective bargaining.

When current contracts expire – beginning in early 2014 – UWHC nurses and other healthcare workers will lose all rights to act collectively, including protection from retaliation when they speak out for quality of care.  They will have less rights than Walmart workers.

The Dane County Board and the Madison Common Council have passed resolutions asking executives at UWHC to preserve collective bargaining.  This is possible, even under the law of Act 10.

Worker voice at UWHC can be saved.    UWHC executives can continue to recognize current unions as the voice of the employees and commit to continue policies embodied in collective bargaining agreements. Management and employee representatives can set up a cooperative independent structure to insure workers have an independent voice.

Join ICWJ on December 4 for a public rally at  1 pm, outside the UW Hospital on Highland Avenue.

Speak out online:  Go to www.5000Strong.net to sign a petition or send an email to the CEO of UWHC.

Faith Leaders:  email Rabbi Renee Bauer to join a letter from ICWJ to UWHC CEO requesting a meeting.

Email ICWJ with questions or to  support this vital campaign!