The Republican controlled legislature has fast-tracked a bill, AB 750, that would prohibit localities from adopting "living wage" laws. What this will mean is a substantial wage CUT for many workers in cities like Madison and Milwaukee, where there have long been living wage laws in effect. And it will prevent Milwaukee County from implementing a new living wage law that is just about to be enacted.
Wisconsin Jobs Now explains the bill this way:
"The bill would ensure ongoing poverty by making it illegal for municipalities to set living wage standards. The measure passed on a party-line vote. This is misguided and unfortunate, but not shocking. With barely 48 hours between the bill’s introduction and adoption in committee, Assembly Republicans continue to strong-arm widely-unpopular legislation through the Capitol, only breaking to allow the bare minimum in legally-mandated public input." [Wisconsin Jobs Now, February 13, 2014]
To see just how difficult it is to live in Wisconsin with wages below a living wage, visit MIT's Living Wage Calculator for Wisconsin. The same site shows the average hourly wages for various occupations. Here is what those wages look like for Milwaukee County (the figures in red fall below a living wage standard for an adult with one child).
|Occupational Area||Typical Hourly Wage|
|Business and Financial Operations||$26.27|
|Computer and Mathematical||$31.00|
|Architecture and Engineering||$29.82|
|Life, Physical and social Science||$25.51|
|Community and Social Services||$19.72|
|Education, Training and Library||$21.22|
|Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media||$18.13|
|Healthcare Practitioner and Technical||$27.88|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related||$8.77|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and maintenance||$10.94|
|Personal care and Services||$9.70|
|Sales and Related||$11.05|
|Office and Administrative Support||$14.49|
|Farming, Fishing and Forestry||$12.16|
|Construction and Extraction||$21.46|
|Installation, Maintenance and Repair||$19.49|
|Transportation and Material Moving||$14.18|
February 13, 2014: Kevin Kane, Citizen Action of Wisconsin
In this presentation, Kevin Kane argues that ultimately the state of Wisconsin will accept federal funds to expand BadgerCare. The financial advantages to the state are huge, he explains, and the results of the failure to do so are devastating to tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens. You can view his slides here or you can watch and listen to his entire presentation, including the question and answer period of his webinar.
On February 6, 2014, Mike Wilder,Community Coalition Organizer for Wisconsin Jobs Now, held a webinar entitled "Why Raising the Minimum Wage Will Help Economic Growth." You can view the slides from his presentation here:
You can access the entire presentation -- both the slides and the audio, including the question and answer period.
Republican legislators, using the rhetoric of “accountability,” are aiming for the jugular of public education. A fast-track bill going before the Wisconsin Senate calls for the wholesale privatization of public schools in the state, in particular Milwaukee.
The bill’s consequences are obfuscated by bureaucratic double-speak, arcane details and complicated loopholes. Fundamentally, however, the bill is a frontal attack on public schools, on democracy, and on poor children. It undermines the Wisconsin constitution’s guarantee of a free and public education to all children.
On January 30, 2014, Molly Swank, Legislative & Advocacy Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, presented a webinar in our ongoing series Information for Activation. You can view her slides here and you can hear the complete presentation, including the question and answer period, on the AnyMeeting site.
Information for Activation is a weekly program that provides Wisconsin activists important information about key issues. You can see the upcoming topics and speakers on our calendar, where you can also register for these free information sessions.
In the third webinar in our Information for Activation Series, Jon Peacock, Project Director of the Wisconsin Budget Project, presented "The Collision between the War on Poverty and Recent Tax Policy Choices." You can view his powerpoint presentation below:
You can also listen to and watch the recorded presentation. You may want to fast forward through the first 1.5 minutes because there was some lag while Jon waited for participants to complete the log in process.
In the second of our series of webinars, Kim Wright, Executive Director of Midwest Environmental Advocates, Inc., presented "Citizen Voices Matter for Environmental Protection." Here is her powerpoint presentation:
You can also see a part of the presentation with Kim's commentary. We managed to capture the presentation and the question and answer period that followed starting on about slide 16, or about 2/3 of the entire program. (You will need the Flash player to view it.)