September 7, 2023

Legislators Introduce “Workers First” Bills to Restore Labor Rights

Legislators Introduce “Workers First” Bills to Restore Labor Rights Featured Image

During a September 7 news conference at the Capitol with many Wisconsin labor leaders in attendance, Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha), and Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) introduced a collection of 10 pro-worker bills they are calling the “Workers First” labor package. One of the bills is the Collective Bargaining Bill for Educators that WEAC has recommended and advocated for in recent years.

The package includes bills that prioritize many of the key issues impacting Wisconsin’s workers, including wages, benefits, workplace protections, and quality of life. Following a press conference announcing the Workers First bill package, the four Assembly representatives released the following statements:

Rep. Chris Sinicki stated, “Today, Democratic legislators, in partnership with Wisconsin’s labor community, outlined a legislative agenda that puts workers first by focusing on fair wages, good benefits, workplace protections, and a high quality of life. For too long, the majority party in the Wisconsin State Legislature has rolled back worker rights, undermined local control, and attacked the economic well-being of our working families.”

“Across the country and in every corner of Wisconsin, we have seen workers organize and win,” said Rep. Katrina Shankland. “From the historic UPS deal that the Teamsters secured to Local 662’s recently ratified contracts at Leinenkugel’s and New Dairy-Select Milk, they have shown us that workers will not back down from a fight. At the same time, strike actions are up by nearly 50% in our country, and an overwhelming majority of Americans support unions. This shows that people are increasingly recognizing the value of labor unions and understand that when workers win, everyone wins,” added Rep. Shankland.

“With the slate of bills introduced today, our goal is to ensure the needs of labor and workers are prioritized in the Legislature. We believe that as Wisconsin continues to experience a severe workforce shortage, it is crucial that the state government advance pro-worker policies to help recruit and retain a skilled workforce,” said Rep. Tod Ohnstad.

“As leaders, we stand ready to work with our colleagues across the aisle to pass these commonsense bills that would greatly improve working conditions for workers throughout the state. To put it plainly, it is well past time we put workers first in Wisconsin,” concluded Sen. LaTonya Johnson.