Wisconsin unions struggle under So-Called “Right to Work” Laws

Roofers and Waterproofers Local 96 Business Agent Nick Brenner joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the struggle Wisconsin union contractors face after state legislators removed Prevailing Wage laws and instituted So-Called “Right to Work” laws during the reign of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Roofers and Waterproofers Local 96 operates in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North and South Dakota, said Brenner. He noted many areas of these areas are not friendly to unions. 

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did all he could to hurt unions, he said. While Wisconsin is now led by Governor Tony Evers, the ramifications of Walker’s policies remain. The ban on Project Labor Agreements has made it nearly impossible for union contractors to land government projects in the state of Wisconsin, he said.

Brenner also talked about how the signatory contractors of Local 96 are holding up in the midst of the supply crisis. The roofing and insulation industries remain extremely busy, but contractors have been hit hard by material shortages. Many projects are not canceled but have been delayed. As a result, contractors have ongoing work that is booked out a year or two in advance, he said.

Lastly, he spoke about the apprenticeship program sponsored by Local 96, which continues to grow and expand. A new apprenticeship training facility was recently built, more than doubling the training space of the previous facility. The three-year program with 144 hours of classroom instruction trains workers in roofing, tile installation and insulation.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more about these topics:


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