Labor

Posted by Rebekah Wilce on June 04, 2012

Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold told reporters and supporters of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett this afternoon, "If we get anywhere near [the election turnout in] 2008, or even halfway there, we're going to win. ... The momentum is exactly where we want it."

Feingold for BarrettSenator Feingold made three stops at "get out the vote" events in Wisconsin today to support Mayor Barrett in advance of the recall election against Governor Walker on Tuesday. He spoke in Madison on his way to Milwaukee and Kenosha.

In Madison, he spoke at the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union headquarters. Wisconsin's public sector workers were hit hard by restrictions on their rights in the past 16 months.

When asked if election turnout in the southeast corner of the state (Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, etc.) would be key to the results of the election, Feingold responded, "It's going to be huge. The working people of that part of the state were attacked by the governor. They know it."

Posted by Brendan Fischer on May 31, 2012

An out-of-state Tea Party organization recently called a "GOP front group" by a Texas judge is again intervening in Wisconsin's recall election and perpetuating unfounded fears of "voter fraud," a spectre also raised by right-wing media, Governor Scott Walker, and most recently, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Reince Priebus.

With polls showing the recall election between Walker and his challenger Tom Barrett tightening to a dead heat (49-49 in a recent survey by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake), Republicans have been invoking fears of "voter fraud" to cast doubt on a potential Barrett victory, despite repeated investigations finding no evidence of in-person electoral wrongdoing.

Posted by Mary Bottari on May 29, 2012

Many are wondering if making Wisconsin a "Right to Work" state is next on Governor Scott Walker's agenda if he wins the recall election on June 5. Right to Work laws weaken unions by allowing members to opt out of paying dues. Workers get the benefit of working in a union shop (higher wages, better benefits), but are not required to pay their fair share for union representation. Right to Work laws have been used effectively in the South to bust unions and keep wages low, which is why they are dubbed "Right to Work for Less" laws by opponents. The recent push for this legislation is emanating from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where corporations and right-wing legislators vote as equals behind closed doors on "model" legislation.

Posted by Brendan Fischer on May 24, 2012

Two Wisconsin newspapers published front-page stories this week about the state's recall elections, suggesting that both Democrats and Republicans are evenly matched financially, and have even received the same level of support from out-of-state donors. But what is the real story?

Posted by Brendan Fischer on May 01, 2012

With the recent publication of additional American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) documents, new questions are being raised about the source of certain provisions in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's controversial collective bargaining legislation. Some of those provisions may be adopted by ALEC for introduction in other states.

Posted by Mary Bottari on April 25, 2012

states with statistically significant employment changes from March 2011 to March 2012The banner headline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning "State posts largest percentage job loss in U.S. over past year" underscores a serious problem that folks living in Wisconsin are already familiar with. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin was the only state in the country to have statistically significant job losses in the past year. Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012. The majority were government jobs, but that number included 6,100 private sector jobs, the most private sector jobs lost in any state.

Posted by Jonathan Rosenblum on April 20, 2012

When all is said and spun, some will judge the veracity of Governor Scott Walker's administration by a single number it released in March 2011.

The "Wisconsin Uprising" hit its stride in February-March, 2011 with more than 100,000 protesters rallying outside the Capitol and thousands more inside, including hundreds who occupied overnight for up to three weeks. When the administration was seeking to limit public access to the Capitol during the protests, the Wisconsin Department of Administration's chief counsel Cari Anne Renlund, told a judge hearing the access case that the cleanup would cost $6 million to repair damaged marble inside the Capitol, $1 million for damage outside and $500,000 for costs to supervise the damage. The estimates (which were the same as the original cost of the entire construction of the Capitol nearly a century ago) were based largely on alleged tape residue damage from signs. Protestors countered that they had consulted with preservationists and used marble-safe blue painter's tape. Their militant adherence to the blue tape was visible to every Capitol visitor.

Posted by Brendan Fischer on March 30, 2012

A federal judge has struck down key provisions of Act 10 -- Governor Scott Walker's controversial legislation limiting collective bargaining -- on grounds that the arbitrary, possibly politically-motivated distinction between "public safety" and other public employees violated equal protection and First Amendment rights.

Posted by Jonathan Rosenblum on March 20, 2012

Justice David ProsserIn the nearly 40 years since Wisconsin created an ethics panel to try judges for misconduct, charges had been filed only twice against members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justice David Prosser became the third on March 16, when the Wisconsin Judicial Commission announced that wrapping one's hands around the neck of another justice would establish probable cause of judicial misconduct. Under normal procedures, the complaint would now go to a three judge panel picked by the Court of Appeals who would then make a recommendation to the Supreme Court itself for final action. However, in his most recent move, Prosser has demanded his fellow justices recuse themselves from any final action.

Posted by Harriet Rowan on March 12, 2012

picture of the crowd at the Wisconsin Capitol"Change is in the air and I'm not just talking about the weather," Lori Compas told a crowd of an estimated 50,000 people gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol last Saturday on a sunny and unseasonably warm afternoon. "I'm talking about an awakening all across Wisconsin. A renewed sense that all of us matter, [that] all of us have a voice, and by working together we can bring our state back to its best traditions." The mass rally at the Wisconsin Capitol, marking the anniversary of the passage of Governor Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill, displayed a sense of celebration rather than protest.

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