Friday, September 5, 2014


By Dominique Paul Noth

As tweeted by Wisconsin Jobs Now,
Gwen Moore under arrest in West Milwaukee.
The reason so many Milwaukeeans admire US Rep. Gwen Moore – while some loud 
GOP Wisconsinites on social media and talk radio openly hate her – was demonstrated September 4 in West Milwaukee when she along with dozens of fast food workers protesting for living wages were handcuffed and ticketed for entering a northbound lane of the Miller Parkway.

While President Obama and multiple senators and representatives support national pressure on the fast food industry to raise wages, Moore was the only member of Congress in the nation to put her body where her beliefs were and get arrested.

There was no advance planning in this – the only photo was tweeted by Wisconsin Jobs Now, a protest organizer.  

The plainclothes officer who handcuffed her during the noon hour protest was described by Moore as courteous and professional.  She was detained until about 3 p.m. and has been mailed a $691 ticket she intends to pay. Moore has participated before in union and political actions (some leading to jail).  She simply woke up that morning convinced that she had to show physical solidarity despite having broken her arm a week earlier (another reason the police officer handcuffed her gently in front).  Her aides are convinced the police  knew who she was though she was wearing a “Raise Up Milwaukee” T-shirt and blended in with the other predominately African American protesters.

Which raised an impossible question – impossible because it would be ideologically ridiculous to imagine that fellow area Congressional representatives Paul Ryan or Jim Sensenbrenner would agree with the protest much less join it.  It did raise the specter of whether well-dressed white men flanked by their inevitable aides-de-camp would be so treated.  But social media jumped into the speculation, by some avid supporters, that she was arrested because she was black or, by some extremist opponents, that she took “advantage  of being black" (their bizarre term) to get arrested.

Planned and a few spontaneous demonstrations went on that Thursday in some 150 cities as part of the nationwide Fight for $15 campaign to raise the minimum hourly wage of fast food employees along with other concerns, such as allowing unionizing efforts.   The Milwaukee events gathered workers from Taco Bell, Wendy’s, McDonald’s and other fast food chains, joined by supporters at several locations – including the McDonald’s outlet that drew Moore. In an MSNBC interview that afternoon, she spoke to how many adult workers she met who were “cobbling together” minimum wage jobs to help their families survive.

She called a higher wage floor inevitable “and I’m proud to stand up for it.”

About the author: Noth has been  a professional journalist since the 1960s, first as national, international and local news copy editor at The Milwaukee Journal, then as an editor for its famous entertainment Green Sheet, also  for almost two decades the paper’s film and drama critic. He also created its Friday Weekend section and ran Sunday TV Screen magazine and Lively Arts as he became the newspaper’s senior feature editor. He was tapped by the publishers of the combining Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for special projects and as first online news producer before voluntarily departing in the mid-1990s to run online news seminars and write on public affairs and Internet and consumer news.
From 2002 to 2013 he ran the Milwaukee Labor Press as editor. It served as the Midwest’s largest home-delivered labor newspaper, with its still operative archives at  In that role he won top awards yearly until the paper stopped publishing in 2013. His investigative pieces and extensive commentaries are now published by several news outlets as well as his culture and politics outlets known as Dom's Domain.  He also reviews theater for

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