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Wisconsin Taking Another Step to the New Gilded Age

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Conservatives’ vision of the future of American work

Scott Walker’s Wisconsin really is vanguard of the New Gilded Age. Republicans have introduced a new bill, almost certain to become law, that will get rid of a state law requiring employers to give workers 24 hours in a row off at least once every 7 days. I know, quite the imposition upon the freedom of workers to work whenever they are compelled upon risk of termination want! But hey, workers have the option to opt out, by which conservatives mean the same as Gilded Age conservatives did in 1895 that workers had real options–do what we say or find another job. But no one is compelling them!

Conservatives say that workers will only have to forego their rest days if they volunteer, but the law’s opponents argue that businesses could create environments that are hostile to workers who insist on their rights. Workers who take their mandated rest days could be skipped over for promotion, denied privileges allowed to workers who work a 7-day week or could see sharp reductions in their schedules until they no longer have enough hours to make ends meet, financially.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce said that it conceived of the law when it noted that the federal government does not have a rule mandating that workers receive a certain number of hours off per work cycle.

Lawmakers Grothman and Born told reporters from the Journal that they had heard from a diverse array of businesses that support the 7-day work week, but when asked to provide examples, they were only able to provide the names of groups belonging to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce network.

“Here’s an opportunity for folks to work together to get things done in a positive way for the employer and the employee,” Born said. “It just seems like a win all the way around.”

All the way around. Indeed. All the way around to the conditions of 1895.

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