From my email inbox:
MADISON – State Representatives Chris Taylor (D-Madison), Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) and Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) announced today they will introduce a bill to reinstate the collective bargaining rights Governor Walker and legislative Republicans stripped from public workers last legislative session.
“I helped implement collective bargaining in the 1959 legislative session and it worked, resulting in over 50 years of labor peace in Wisconsin,” said Risser. “What Republicans did was unprecedented, spiteful and contrary to our Wisconsin values.”
The Workers’ Rights Restoration Act would repeal the anti-union provisions of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, which essentially eliminated public employee unions and their right to their collective voices. The bill includes provisions detailing union certification, the collection of union dues and the ability to collectively bargain for working conditions.
“The wage gap between the rich and hard-working middle income families has never been greater,” said Taylor. “With middle-income wages stagnating, this bill benefits all workers in helping establish family supporting wages and benefits.”
The bill takes into account concessions public workers publicly made with regards to paying into their health care and pensions. While the concessions were made publicly, they were not part of a negotiation with Walker, as he refused to come to the negotiating table with labor.
“Each and every day, Wisconsinites rely on public workers for all kinds of services that make our state great,” said Hesselbein. “This bill will help ensure these dedicated public servants are treated fairly and have a seat at the table.”
While the bill was unlikely to advance under current Republican leadership, the authors are optimistic the bill will provide a strong framework for efforts to restore public workers’ rights moving forward.
While I certainly appreciate Reps. Taylor and Hesselbein and Sen. Risser taking the initiative to attempt to restore collective for public employees, their latest attempt to restore collective bargaining rights for public employees is most certainly dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled legislature.