Wisconsin public employees file lawsuit challenging constitutionality of law banning collective bargaining
State statute unconstitutionally violates workers’ freedom to negotiate, unlawfully creating a disfavored class of public sector employees, says a new lawsuit filed by workers.
MADISON, Wis. – Today, Wisconsin public employees filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law which eliminated the freedom to engage in collective bargaining for most public sector workers.
Union members are filing the lawsuit now because of the dire situation that exists in our workplaces. Low pay, staffing shortages and worsening working conditions are hurting our ability to deliver public services to the communities that count on us every day. Just this week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on toxic work culture where workers face regular harassment with little protection and the Wisconsin Policy Forum released a report on falling teacher pay, a leading factor of staffing shortages in schools.
With worker organizing on the rise, and public support for unions growing, workers are calling out Wisconsin law for what it is – blatant discrimination that limits workers’ freedom to earn a fair wage, provide for their families, advocate for safety on the job and enjoy a secure retirement.
“State-employed workers, such as graduate assistants like myself, should be guaranteed the same rights as public safety workers. We contribute so much to our communities, and we deserve a voice on the job,” said Maddie Topf, a graduate assistant at University of Wisconsin Madison. “Legal action to restore collective bargaining rights to all state employees is one way to secure the livelihood of working people in Wisconsin,” said Nina Denne, a graduate assistant at University of Wisconsin-Madison. They are co-presidents of AFT-Wisconsin’s Teaching Assistants Association.
“WEAC stands in solidarity with our union partners in restoring negotiation rights,” said Betsy Ramsdale, a teacher and co-president of the Beaver Dam Education Association. “For over a decade, the deck has been stacked against educators like me. Teachers and support staff work in partnership with parents to teach students about compromise and collaboration, but school districts aren’t required to do the same. It’s frustrating and demoralizing, and a huge reason Wisconsin doesn’t have enough staff to meet student needs.”
“I’ve worked as a Building Service Technician for almost 17 years, helping maintain around 30 school buildings in Racine. My co-workers and I have lived and worked under Act 10 for twelve years now and have been forced to recertify our decision to organize a union each year. The end of Act 10 would mean that we would have a real say again in our retirement plans, healthcare and time off — without the threat of loss of our union every year,” said Wayne Rasmussen, a member of SEIU Wisconsin who works for the Racine Unified School District.
“The Teamsters Union stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our labor allies in the fight to secure collective bargaining rights for all workers. Wisconsin’s public sector workers deserve a seat at the table, to be able to bargain for good wages, benefits, and working conditions,” said Larry Wedan, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 695 in Madison.
NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.
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