Unions in the U.S. - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Unions in the U.S.

By Mike Haberle - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -- Jeff Kleiman is a professor at UW Marshfield/Wood County. He says he is not a union member.

His job is to educate students on history. And from that end he says collective bargaining rights date back to the late 1800's and early 1900's,when workers won the right to unionize.

"From a historical perspective, the role unions have played in raising the bar for wages, hours, and working conditions that really has lifted all our futures," Kleiman said.

Kleiman points to the Industrial Revolution, citing that workers began organizing in record numbers and gaining unprecedented bargaining power. In 1926, The Railway Labor Act was passed. It required employers to bargain collectively with unions. In the sixties President John F. Kennedy granted all federal government employees the right to unionize and collectively bargain with departments and agencies.

Historically speaking, Kleiman says Wisconsin has a history of being a progressive state when it comes to worker's rights. But if this bill goes through, he says that could come to an end.

"This is an attempt to undo almost a century's worth of struggle for people who work for a living. And if Wisconsin wants to be known as the home that turned back the clock that is for the people to decide," Kleiman said.

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