MADISON, Wis. — State Senator Glenn Grothman, a close confederate of Gov. Scott Walker, convened a legislative committee hearing today on legislation he authored to repeal a nearly century-old day of rest requirement for manufacturing industry employees. In testimony to the committee opposing Senate Bill 508, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross suggested several positive alternatives, if the goal is to truly help workers bring home a bigger paycheck.
Ross commented, “While Sen. Grothman may be determined to do the bidding of the big business lobbyists and add the weekend to the list of things he’d like to repeal, like the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and myriad voter rights, hopefully his colleagues will have the common sense to apply their efforts elsewhere and actually try to help the people they represent.”
Since the early 20th century, Wisconsin had a state law on the books requiring workers in the manufacturing sector be given twenty-four hours of consecutive rest in every seven days of work. Senate Bill 508, introduced by Grothman and State Assembly Representative Mark Born would repeal this worker protection
In public statements that were later found to be misleading, Sen. Grothman claimed that, “all sorts of people want to work seven days a week.” Subsequently it was reported that Grothman and co-author Rep. Mark Born were approached by the state big business lobby, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and encouraged to author their bill to repeal the weekend.
Ross noted that pro-active measures like taking up legislation to increase the state minimum wage, undo the cuts made by to the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2011 or restore the state equal pay law repealed by Gov. Walker and the Republican majority legislature would be more effective ways to help state workers.
He concluded, “While things like boosting the minimum wage, restoring equal pay protection or rescinding a Republican tax hike on working families may not be on the to-do list for the big business lobby, any one of them would do a lot more for the working people in this state than repealing this modest protection of the weekend.”