MADISON (WKOW) -- A proposal to do away with a requirement of state approval of any arrangement to have factory workers put in a seven day work week was the subject of debate at a state Senate committee hearing.
Bill author Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) says workers are more often putting in seven day work weeks, sometimes cobbling together several jobs to do so. Grothman says his proposal would remove a barrier to manufacturing workers getting a seventh day of work at a higher, industrial wage, instead of picking up the extra work day in lower-paying fields such as retail.
But Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) expresses concerns that without requiring state sanction of seven day manufacturing work weeks, employees being asked to work a seventh day may be intimidated by employers into agreeing to extra shifts.
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce representative Chris Reader says only eight complaints have been filed with the state in the past year over what workers claimed was forced, seventh day work shifts. And Reader says the more than one hundred sixty , seven day work weeks proposed last year were all approved by the state department of workforce development.
Teamster Local Union 200 Secretary-Treasurer Thomas Millonzi says workers have more protections under the current requirement of state approval of any seven day work weeks. Millonzi says Nestle's factory in Burlington is an example of management and labor working together to forge a multi-year agreement on seven day work weeks, with the currently required state oversight.
Historian Will Sandstrom warns Grothman's proposal could lead to factory worker conditions evolving into something resembling work conditions in places such India and Malaysia. But Grothman says more than thirty states already allow employers and workers to arrange for seven day work weeks without state intervention.
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