Scott Walker, a Republican politician and current governor of Wisconsin, is spearheading a sneaky budget move in his state that will effectively strip workers of their right to a “living wage” and even their weekends.
As Wisconsin state legislators, who already missed their July 1 budget deadline, scramble to vote on a budget, they will also be considering a package of budget modifications that propose a number of shady measures that include but are not limited to barring reporters and the public from accessing the state’s open records (the only measure to have been removed so far), provisions that censor information on police shootings, and redefining a worker’s right to a “living wage” by replacing it with “minimum wage,” which currently sits at an unlivable $7.25 an hour.
In addition, one particularly alarming measure (that has already passed the finance committee) would take away a factory worker’s right to one day off a week, completely eliminating any chance of having a weekend for some.
The section reads:
- One Day of Rest in Seven. Include the provisions of 2015 AB 118 to permit an employee to state in writing that he or she voluntarily chooses to work without one day of rest in seven. Specify the provision first apply to union contracts on the day the collective bargaining agreement expires, or is extended, modified, or renewed, whichever comes first. [Currently every factory or mercantile employer must allow each employee 24 hours of rest in every consecutive seven days, except for certain emergency circumstances. The requirement does not apply to janitors, security staff, bakeries, restaurants, hotels and certain dairy or agricultural plants]
Gawker reached out to the unionized labor community of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO for their thoughts on the modification, and they responded with a comment from Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale:
“In a blatant and shocking blow to the democratic process, Republicans took away the weekend in a late-night budget maneuver. All workers should have the right to a day of rest. It is a basic American ideal… The Wisconsin AFL-CIO calls for this budget item to be immediately removed.”
Will the freedom of information, a living wage and weekends prevail? Or will Wisconsin politicians actually come to their senses? At least one of those seems impossible at this moment.