Photos: Ian's Pizza on State St.
For over a week union supporters in Wisconsin have been protesting outside the capital in an attempt to protect public employees from a bill that would eliminate their collective bargaining rights. Although union representatives have agreed to the financial concessions Gov. Scott Walker (R) wants in exchange for keeping their collective bargaining rights Walker has remained unwilling to compromise on the bill and told the local Fox News affiliate that "We're willing to take this as long as it takes because in the end we're doing the right thing."
Tens of thousands of people have made their way to the capital and union supporters from Wisconsin and the rest of the country have flooded the streets of Madison in protest. Those people are hungry for dignity, justice and pizza.
Less than one block away from the state capital is Ian's Pizza By the Slice on State St. Ian's, a small four-location franchise with locations in Wisconsin and Illinois, has long been a favorite pizza place for cheese heads in Wisconsin. They have recently made national headlines by taking orders from all over the world and delivering pizza to protesters.
Since the protests started they have been so inundated with orders from around the world that they have had to accept on line orders and their three phone lines are ringing constantly. They have pulled employees from locations in Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago to help fill orders and friends and family of employees are volunteering as well.
Ian’s has even specially tailored a menu and delivery system for people ordering pies for protesters. For $20 you can send a large pizza (chef’s choice) and drinks to be delivered to the food pantry located on the second floor inside the capital building. Protesters can stop by the pantry and pick up a slice and a drink for free (courtesy of supporters from around the world) along with donuts, coffee and other items being donated from other local businesses/donors.
Jack Thurnblad, 23, Assistant Manager said that so far Ian’s have dished up well over 30,000 slices (over 3,700 large pizzas) Ian's has received pizza orders for protesters from supporters in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico , six continents and nearly 60 countries and counting including, Morocco, Finland, South Korea, Afghanistan, Haiti and Italy. A lot of buzz has come to Ian's via various social media networks. This week Ian's Pizza on State St. started with 3,000 Facebook friends and now they have over 12,000.
Thurnblad is excited about the business and the show of solidarity from other places around the world. "I never thought something like this would happen in Wisconsin," he said. Thurnblad also said that they are doing their best to keep up with all the orders but they have never been this busy before.
As for the state of collaborative bargaining at Ian's, it is still un-unionized. According to their website all full-time employees get 100% paid healthcare and employees at the two biggest stores have 401K benefits with match. Ian's has also made a commitment to power their State St. location with 100% renewable energy and vowed to be 100% plastic-free in 2011. All locations are owned by former Ian’s employees.
If you would like to order pizza for the protesters in Wisconsin call 608-257-9248, and then press 1. Order on line through badgerbites.com and campusfood.com and 115 State Street, Madison, WI as the delivery address. Add in the notes that you would like to help feed the protesters.
You can also show solidarity for workers in Wisconsin by attending a local protest . To find a protest near you enter your zip code at MoveOn.org. To RSVP to the protest in Virginia click here. I'll be there representing the Industrial Workers of the World Richmond General Membership Branch.