Assembly Democrats are asking for an extraordinary session on jobs, a request almost guaranteed to disappear without a trace in the Republican-controlled legislature. Citing recent layoffs at places like Johnson Controls and Oscar Meyer, Representative Andy Jorgenson (D-Milton) said Democrats have plenty of ideas about how to grow jobs and the economy. “We’re not just standing here being ultra-critical. We have solutions, we have put ideas on the table. We just want the other side to be able to take a look them.”
Assembly Minority Leader, Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said that’s more important than the recent extraordinary session called by Republicans. GOP lawmakers passed a major rewrite to campaign finance law in Wisconsin, and a measure to dismantle the Government Accountability Board. “What a horrendous agenda for Wisconsin,” Barca said. “We’re not wedded to our ideas, but . . . there’s just absolutely no urgency on the part of the Republicans on a situation that is really a very dire and serious one.”
Mike Valentine, a union representative at the Oscar Mayer plant in Madison, accompanied the Democrats during their press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday. Valentine said only a fraction of the 1200 workers who will lose their jobs at the plan will be able to have jobs at a new Kraft Heinz plant in Davenport, Iowa. “It’s frustrating,” Valentine said. “A lot of people are hurting at Oscar Mayer right now. Most of them will be leaving without pensions or benefits. It’s a real tough situation.”
Valentine said any help offered by the legislature would be appreciated by workers. A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he had no statement on the Democrats request for a session on jobs.