Scott Walker Strongly Opposes Raising The Minimum Wage, So He Can’t Be Pleased About This

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, infamous across the country for his anti-union policies, is also an opponent of raising the minimum wage.

Unfortunately for him, he will share the November ballot with a minimum wage referendum in four of Wisconsin’s largest counties: Dane (home of Madison), Eau Claire, Kenosha, and Milwaukee (where Walker was once County Executive).

Due to a 2005 law, individual municipal units like cities and counties in Wisconsin can’t enact their own wage laws. (Thanks to one of Walker’s first acts as governor, the same applies to paid sick days laws). But counties can still put non-binding “advisory” wage-related referenda on the ballot. Dane, Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Eau Claire counties will all ask voters if they recommend raising the minimum wage to $10.10.

Despite staunch opposition from Gov. Walker and his legislative allies, an incredible 76 percent of Wisconsinites support raising the minimum wage above the current $7.25. To survive a tough race against businesswoman Mary Burke, who supports raising the wage, Walker might have to shift his position. “We do think that ultimately Gov. Walker’s position is going to need to evolve or he’s going to be negatively impacted by his position because it’s out of step with the majority of voters,” said Jennifer Epps-Addison of Wisconsin Jobs Now.

Wisconsin activists aren’t done, though. They also submitted signatures to get minimum wage increases on the ballot in Neenah and Menasha.

Photo by @WisconsinJobsNow on Twitter

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When It Comes to Sick Days, Michigan Republicans Love Big Intrusive Government

When someone tries to raise the minimum wage, improve our health care system, or generally try to fix anything, a chorus of conservative anti-worker bigwigs cries foul about big government intruding in their lives.

But when a state passes a law to preempt cities and towns from making their own decisions about allowing workers to earn sick days, those same voices are silent.

Case in point: Michigan.

Legislation recently approved by committees in the Republican-controlled House and Senate would prohibit counties, townships and cities from adopting policies that requires employers to provide paid or unpaid leave not required under federal or state law.

The bill is HB 4249 in the House, sponsored by Rep. Earl Poleski (R-Jackson), and SB 173 in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Mark Jansen (R-Grand Rapids). Both bills have been passed by their respective committees.

If you look closely at the bills, you’ll notice they are startlingly similar to bills introduced in Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Washington.

Why? You guessed it: it’s an ALEC model bill!

Not only is it an ALEC bill, it’s an ALEC bill inspired by Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who pushed and passed his own sick leave preemption bill in May 2011. It was one of his first acts as governor, and it overrode a sick leave ordinance that Milwaukee had passed overwhelmingly in 2008.

70 percent of Milwaukee voters want the policy? “Who cares?” says the preemption bill. It’s the very definition of big government intruding on local control that so many conservatives claim to hate.

PRWatch blogger Brendan Fischer describes what happened next:

Meeting attendees were given complete copies of Wisconsin’s 2011 Senate Bill 23 (now Wisconsin Act 16) as a model for state override. ALEC’s Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee at the time was co-chaired by YUM! Brands, Inc., which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Legislators attending the Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee meeting were also handed a target list and map of state and local paid sick leave policies prepared by ALEC member the National Restaurant Association.

As one Republican operative put it, these bills “deliver the kills shot” to efforts to allow workers to earn sick days. In addition to Wisconsin, such laws are already on the books in Louisiana and Mississippi.

We’re fighting back in Michigan, where we’ve sent almost 18,000 messages to state lawmakers. Join us: Tell the Michigan legislature to stand with the people, not ALEC.

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Pro-Working Family Candidate Unseats Entrenched Incumbent in Milwaukee

Source: facebook.com via Working America on Pinterest

The big news on the cable channels last night was the continuing battle for the Republican presidential nomination. But down the ballot in Milwaukee, amidst the unprecedented Scott Walker-inspired anti-worker fervor, a community organizer defeated a longtime Alderman in a nearly overlooked upset.

Pro-working family candidate Jose Perez challenged three-term Alderman James Witkowiak on a platform of economic fairness. A lifelong Milwaukee resident, Perez worked in real estate, economic development, and with the faith community as Executive Director of MICAH, a social justice coalition of city congregations. He took the incumbent Witkowiak to task for voting against policies working families need – and won.

“The people of District 12 went to the polls to make a change,” said Working America State Director Peter Drummond. “Yesterday, they united across demographic lines to get good representation for their families and communities.” Witkowiak used to be popular in this district, in which 49 percent of registered voters self-identify as Latino and 43 percent identify as white.

Working America supported Perez against Witkowiak—who became a symbol of candidates who take labor’s support for granted even as they undermine basic tenets of economic fairness. “Working people are tired of politicians who claim to represent their interests and then vote against minimum job requirements such as a decent wage or the ability to earn time off for maternity leave. That’s not who they want representing District 12,” Drummond said.

This victory would be significant on its own, but think about what’s going on in Wisconsin right now. After six straight months of job loss in the state, major figures like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are standing fast with the incredibly divisive policies of Gov. Scott Walker. Since he has no evidence that his policies are good for Wisconsin, Walker is relying on millions of dollars in attack ads against workers and their unions. “There is a lot of poisonous rhetoric coming out of the right-wing noise machine,” Drummond said, “but, as evidenced yesterday, working families in District 12 know who stands with them and who doesn’t.”

So despite the endless attack ads on the airwaves, the vicious anti-worker agenda coming out of the Governor’s office, and the contentious political atmosphere in the state, this was at the end an election about bringing pro-worker leadership to a city that needs it now more than ever. “We shared our vision of Honesty, Integrity, and New Leadership for our Neighborhoods and the people of the 12th District responded clearly,” Perez wrote last night, “Tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we get to work and begin bringing the leadership to City Hall that the people of the near south side truly deserve.”

The Milwaukee Area Labor Council, SEIU and We Are Milwaukee also played critical roles in this upset.

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