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Author: Wisconsin Examiner

Twelve years of stagnation: Wisconsin’s essential workers continue fighting for $15 minimum-wage

Years ago when he was working for the discount retailer Kmart, Gary Lemke saw the cost of low wages: high employee turnover. Lemke estimates as many as half the workers would leave in a year. That meant more than just having to hire and train new people. He is convinced it harmed the bottom line. “You don’t just lose workers — you lose customers as well,” said Lemke. “If you’re losing 50% of your employees every year, you’re losing a lot of potential business.” That’s why Lemke’s landscaping business in the Calumet County village of Potter pays its staff...

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Performative Patriotism: Legislation would require National Anthem at youth sports events in Wisconsin

State Senator Kelda Roys (D-Madison) was struck by the absurdity that, under a bill currently pending in the Senate, her three-year-old’s T-ball team will need to play the National Anthem before every game. The bill, authored by State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), would require the Star Spangled Banner be played before any sporting event taking place at a facility that was built with taxpayer funds. This includes professional stadiums such as Lambeau Field, American Family Field, and Fiserv Forum, but also the public parks and school fields that most of the state’s youth sports are played on. “It’s...

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Republican Representatives from Wisconsin vote to preserve monuments to Confederate leaders

The U.S. House voted on June 29 to remove from the Capitol a bust of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, a Marylander who wrote the despised Dred Scott decision — as well as evict statues and busts of men who fought for the Confederacy or served in its government. The legislation passed on a vote of 285-120, with all the nay votes from Republicans and 67 of them voting with Democrats. Wisconsin Republicans were divided, with Representatives Scott Fitzgerald and Glenn Grothman voting nay and Representative Bryan Steil voting in favor. Representatives Mike Gallagher and Tom...

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President Joe Biden details bipartisan deal on infrastructure during trip to Wisconsin

During a June 29 trip to the swingiest congressional district in the swing state of Wisconsin, President Joe Biden detailed a bipartisan deal on infrastructure, focusing on how it would help families and workers across Wisconsin and the country. Speaking from the municipal transit utility in La Crosse, Biden discussed the ways the infrastructure deal will help Wisconsinites with some of the state’s most pressing problems. Biden said the deal will include the removal of harmful “forever chemicals” known as PFAS from waterways — a problem that drove the state to provide free bottled water to residents of nearby...

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Wisconsin’s labor market: The many problems with hiring people to fill jobs existed long before COVID-19

More than a year ago, Wonderstate Coffee was developing its third Wisconsin café, a location on the Capitol square in Madison. And T.J. Semanchin, the owner of the Viroqua-based coffee roaster and purveyor, was contemplating how to improve the workplace for employees. “We were in the middle of revisiting our benefits in early 2020, as part of a project to acknowledge that we wanted to pay our staff better and provide better benefits,” Semanchin said. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The two existing Wonderstate Cafés in Viroqua and Bayfield shut down, reopening after a two-week hiatus to offer curbside...

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Waukesha Republican seeks deployment of National Guard troops to occupy Milwaukee’s Black community

A Waukesha County Republican said that armed troops patrolling the streets of Milwaukee is necessary for residents to feel like they don’t live in a “warzone-like setting.” State Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R–New Berlin), concerned about recent increases in violent crime in the state’s largest city, said in a news release on June 15 that despite his frequent attempts to introduce solutions he considers sensible — like making it easier to revoke parole or send children to detention facilities — Milwaukee is becoming too dangerous. Sanfelippo called on Governor Tony Evers to activate the Wisconsin National Guard to patrol Milwaukee...

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