January 11, 2018
A gang of business, banking, rightwing ideological, and other powerful special interests are backing GOP bills that would prohibit local governments from passing a variety of labor-related ordinances.
The bills would:
Forbid local governments from setting higher minimum wages for contractors they do business with;
Prohibit local governments from enforcing employment discrimination standards;
Prohibit local governments from using labor peace agreements where employers agree not to interfere with attempts by labor unions to organize workers;
Forbid local governments from setting licensing regulations that are tougher than state standards;
Prohibit local governments from establishing minimum requirements for employment benefits;
Forbid local governments from handling wage claims or passing ordinances that prohibit employers from asking about a worker’s salary history.
Support for the bill is being led by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the state’s largest business group, and the rightwing Americans for Prosperity, a secretive outside electioneering group created by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.
WMC, which is among the largest special interest spenders on outside electioneering activities, has doled out an estimated $18.6 million since January 2010 to support GOP and conservative legislative and statewide candidates. Americans for Prosperity has spent an estimated $5.7 million since 2010 in Wisconsin to support conservative and GOP legislative and statewide candidates.
Thanks to their help, Republicans currently control the Senate by an 18-13 margin and the Assembly by a 62-35 margin.
The bills are opposed by Democrats, local governments, and unions, who claim they hurt worker pocketbooks and attack local control.