Collective bargaining allows workers to advocate for better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions. Unions are responsible for 40-hour work weeks, and wage increases keeping pace with inflation.
Wisconsin was made into a right-to-work state in 2015, which removed union membership as a condition of employment, and significantly weakened labor unions’ abilities to negotiate contracts with employers. But there are still some labor unions serving workers in Dane County, which may be used as templates for collective bargaining efforts in other fields. These include:
- Local 464, a construction workers’ union,
- Madison Teacher’s Union, which also includes support for administrative staff and substitute teachers,
- Workers cooperatives where the business is owned and decisions regarding budgeting, business, and working conditions are made collectively by the employees. In Madison, this includes Four Star Video, Willy Street Coop, Union Cab, and more!
Why is this sustainable?
Unions help hold employers accountable for fair treatment of their workers, including paying a living wage and providing sufficient time off. This allows more workers to be able to afford basic needs, including food and shelter, to patronize local businesses, and to be more engaged with other community efforts, including voting. Sustain Dane believes strongly that sustainability efforts are all interconnected, and provides more information on many of these action items here.
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