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A big win for voters: Wisconsin court upholds Milwaukee voter-approved paid sick days law

March 25, 2011

Via Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce:

It’s been a long fight, but the will of the voters has prevailed in Milwaukee – for now. Yesterday, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld Milwaukee’s voter-approved paid sick days ordinance, nearly two and a half years after its initial passage.

Passed by a 69% majority (and now affirmed by the courts), the ordinance will soon allow 120,000 working people in the city of Milwaukee to earn between five and nine paid sick days per year, depending on the size of their employer.

Despite overwhelming support from the Milwaukee electorate in the November 2008 election, the ordinance was challenged in court by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC).

The MMAC, Milwaukee’s chamber of commerce and a powerful business lobby, found no statutory flaws in the ordinance, so they instead challenged it on shaky procedural grounds. A lower court granted an injunction, and implementation of the voter-approved ordinance was put on hold.

On Thursday the Wisconsin Appellate Court found against all six challenges made by the MMAC, vacating the injunction and ruling in favor of 120,000 working people in Milwaukee.

However, the fight continues in Milwaukee as business interests are again trying to take away the voice of the voters. Wisconsin’s State Senate recently passed AB41, which would again attempt to overturn Milwaukee’s voter-approved law by stripping some legislative powers away from cities.

A recent study from San Francisco – which has a similar requirement – proves paid sick days result in benefits for workers and business alike, with minimal negative impact.

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