MADISON, Wisc.—Wisconsin Republicans are pushing a bill that would prohibit local governments from setting stronger labor standards than the state’s,
including enacting or enforcing measures against discrimination, project-labor agreements that require public-works contractors to pay prevailing wages, and labor-peace agreements that prevent contractors from blocking union organizing. The bill’s sponsors say these provisions fill loopholes in the state law that bars local governments from raising their minimum wage. “This bill attacks workers, our rights and our democratic processes,” Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer for the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, told the state Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform Committee Jan. 10. “This bill is about power, the power to overreach and tell citizens in their own communities that they don’t know what’s best for them.” Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobbyist Scott Manley testified that with 1,924 units of local government in Wisconsin, the bill would create a “fair, consistent and predictable climate for employment regulation.” Other supporters included restaurant and staffing-agency trade groups and the Koch brothers-backed group Americans for Prosperity. The bill’s lead sponsor is Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield).