In Wisconsin, Republicans led by Scott Walker has done an amazing job of destroying public unions and handing all power over the workplace back to business interests. Now, with little fanfare, they want to take away the right for workers to have a single day off.
Wisconsin state legislators are preparing to vote on a budget, and a controversial package of modifications has already passed the finance committee and will soon be up for a vote by the legislature. This new package of provisions has already drawn criticism for its inclusion of measures that would decimate the state’s open records laws, protect state politicians from media scrutiny, and gut the Wisconsin definition of “living wage.” But one additional measure is worth gaping at, perhaps above all others: section 56, which would take away workers’ right to a weekend—even a one day weekend.
56. 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]
We reached out to the Wisconsin AFL-CIO to see how the labor community felt about this potential new opportunity for workers to voluntarily work seven days a week, forever. They sent us this 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.”
Eh, sleep and human relationships are overrated.
To Wisconsin—and productivity!
[Photo of Scott Walker: AP]