MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Legislature has set an "extraordinary session" to debate so-called "Right-to-Work" legislation. This, as union leaders prepare for big rallies -- and protests on this issue won't be exclusive to the Capitol in Madison. A rally to stop Right-to-Work in Wisconsin was held Zeidler Union Square in Milwaukee on Monday evening, February 23rd. This, as labor leaders from across the state are planning big rallies at the Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We are going back to the Capitol, and it's standing together that's gonna turn things around," Christine Neuman-Ortiz with Voces de la Frontera said.
A public notice was posted outside the Senate chamber at the Capitol on Monday -- the first step in the process -- proclaiming the Legislature has called itself into an "extraordinary session" to deal with Right-to-Work. This, as about 200 people rallied against Right-to-Work in Milwaukee Monday evening.
"We have no voice in our workplace anymore," Andrew Urban said.
"It's just being pushed through and their rights are suddenly gonna vanish," Babette Grunow said.
The bill would ban contracts between businesses and unions in which workers are required to pay union dues. Twenty-four other states currently have Right-to-Work laws in place. Wisconsin's measure would go an extra step -- making it a crime punishable by nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Organizers of Monday evening's rally in Milwaukee are calling the Right-to-Work legislation an attack on the working people of Wisconsin. They say it will weaken their ability to bargain for better wages and decent working conditions.
They also believe it will result in lower pay and fewer health benefits.
Advocates of Right-to-Work say it's a policy that gives the workforce more freedom and makes businesses more competitive. The president of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is pro-Right-to-Work. In a statement, he says:
"The Legislature needs to move swiftly to pass Right-to-Work to provide freedom to workers and improve our business climate."
As part of Monday night's rally, demonstrators were asked to contact their local legislators, and with help from police, they also marched through the streets of downtown. There's even talk of a general strike next week.
"I think the people that are drafting the Right-to-Work legislation are picking a fight, and I think they're gonna get one," Cas Schwerdtfeger said.
"It`s about waking up the working class in Wisconsin to the issue. That`s what this is all about," Ginsberg said.
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