Cheers for Wisconsin NOW in Fighting for Women’s Union Organizing

By Renata Maniaci, Government Relations Intern

Today Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law the disastrous bill that undermines union workers’ rights. Despite this enormous injustice, it’s heartening to note the many activists who stood up for the people. Wisconsin NOW strongly opposed Walker’s efforts and called attention to the fact that the bill targets unions comprised largely of women.

The new law preserves bargaining rights for occupations filled predominantly by men, such as law enforcement officers and firefighters, while stripping those rights from occupations filled mostly by women. For example, the bill eliminates collective bargaining rights for teachers, nurses, home care providers and child care workers — fields where, by far, the majority of workers are women. Indeed, the 2010 statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction report that 44,000 public school teachers are female, while just 16,000 are male.

Whether intentional or not, Walker launched this attack on Wisconsin’s women, whose involvement in unions is core to the survival of the labor movement. Encouragingly, the male-dominated unions, such as the police, stood in solidarity with the women-dominated unions.

Thanks to Wisconsin NOW for its efforts, including an online petition that helped educate constituents about the real impact of the bill. Even though the bill is now law, there is still much work to be done in Wisconsin and other states where similar efforts are underway. Find your state or local NOW chapter and get involved today!

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