Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Press Release

Wisconsin Manufacturing Wages Declining

Manufacturing Wages in Milwaukee Area Decline $1,037

By - Sep 1st, 2016 01:48 pm
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Statewide: Leading into Labor Day 2016, Citizen Action of Wisconsin released data today which shows dramatically declining wages for Wisconsin manufacturing workers in every metro area.

Citizen Action was joined on a media call this morning by State Senator Dave Hansen, WI AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale, State Representative LaTonya Johnson, and State Representative Evan Goyke. (audio recording here).

Earlier this week, Citizen Action of Wisconsin showed that the outsourcing Wisconsin jobs is continuing at an alarming rate.

Another impact of rigged global trade and state economic development programs shown dramatically in the data released today is shrinking wages for jobs that remain in Wisconsin.

Labor Day weekend is a good time to focus on the fact that when Wisconsin workers are forced to compete with low wage countries, where the right to form unions is brutally suppressed, the jobs that stay here pay less and less,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin looked at the latest federal data, and found a startling decline in manufacturing wages in every Wisconsin metro area. Real wages (adjusted for inflation) are going down for manufacturing workers in every Wisconsin metro area. On average, annual wages declined $1,430 between 2010 and 2015.

Annual Average Wages for Manufacturing/Production Workers in Major Wisconsin Metropolitan Areas

Metro 2010 2015 Change since 2010
Wisconsin, Statewide $37,880 $36,450 -$1,430
Appleton $39,993 $38,022 -$1,971
Eau Claire $34,688 $33,301 -$1,387
Fond du Lac $34,960 $34,840 -$120
Green Bay $38,452 $36,254 -$2,197
Janesville-Beloit $41,853 $35,298 -$6,555
La Crosse-Onalaska $36,275 $35,339 -$936
Madison $38,089 $35,589 -$2,500
Milwaukee-Waukesha $39,517 $38,480 -$1,037
Oshkosh-Neenah $40,719 $37,378 -$3,341
Racine $37,590 $35,880 -$1,710
Sheboygan $39,472 $38,355 -$1,117
Wausau $38,044 $35,693 -$2,351

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, inflation adjusted annual average wages in 2015 dollars)

“Declining wages may be good for multinational corporations who have no loyalty to any country, but they are a disaster for Wisconsin’s economy,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Declining wages damage small business because workers have less to spend at the local grocery store, supper club, coffee shop, and dry cleaner. The result is less employment, and a further drag on local economies.”

“People are feeling like they have less in their pockets, and this data proves they are right,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “When families are not able to put that kind of money into their pocket, the whole community suffers. Smaller paychecks not only impact the immediate family but the entire local economy.”

“What would you do with an extra $1,034? That’s the difference in Milwaukee for a manufacturing worker’s wages from 2010 to now,” said State Representative Evan Goyke. “Think of the places in your community you would spend that money, and the economic impact of taking that money out of the local economy.”

“We’re seeing the state lead the way in a bad way, leading at having the largest drop in the middle class of all states, and the worst place to raise an African American child,” said State Representative LaTonya Johnson. “We’ve seen communities lose manufacturing jobs, and go from middle class economics to places where families are forced to do without the basics.”

“We in the Legislature can and should make sure that the hard earned tax dollars of Wisconsin workers don’t get funneled to companies that turn around and outsource Wisconsin jobs,” said Senator Dave Hansen. “The bill we brought forth last session would ban companies that outsource jobs from receiving any state tax break, loan or grant for 5 years.”

This data also directly challenges Governor Walker’s constant assertion that a co-called “skills gap” is the cause of Wisconsin’s economic woes. If manufacturers were really having problems finding skilled manufacturing workers, they would be raising wages, not lowering them.

The decline is further proof we need to stop rigging the economy by scrapping bad trade deals which stack the deck against workers and economic development policies that reward companies engaged in outsourcing and lowering the wages of their workers. Wisconsin needs bold new strategies to re-rig the economy in favor of workers.

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