Union Workers Replaced with Jailed Laborers in Walker’s Wisconsin

July 2011

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Wilson stripped collective bargaining rights from nurses, teachers, and other public workers in his state earlier this year, he also paved the way to replace some unionized jobs with prison labor.

The Madison Capital Times reported, via the Think Progress blog, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.”

As of the first week in July, Racine County was already using inmates to do painting, landscaping, and other basic maintenance work formerly done by county workers.