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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 10, 2011

Contacts:  Dave Blouin, Political Chair (608) 220-4040
Shahla M. Werner, PhD., Chapter Director, (608) 332-6079
Maggie Kao, National Press Secretary, (202) 675-2384

Sierra Club Decries Vote to Strip Workers’ Rights, Supports Recall of State Senators

Madison, WI – Last night, in apparent violation of open meetings law, 18 Republican State Senators voted for a bill to strip Wisconsin workers of their rights to bargain for fair working conditions and family supporting wages and benefits.

The loss of workers’ rights endangers Wisconsin's future by risking the brain drain of talented public employees who teach our children, protect our air and water, and manage threatened and endangered species.  It also puts the state in serious jeopardy of losing valuable forest stewardship council certification for sustainably harvested forest products.  What’s more, tens of millions of dollars in federal transit funds that create jobs, reduce pollution, and improve transportation in Wisconsin hinge on workers’ rights to bargain.

  Statement of Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter Director, Shahla Werner:

“We are appalled at the state legislature’s short-sighted actions and unprecedented overreach.  Their bold willingness to roll back the rights of working families in Wisconsin in the name of corporate greed is deplorable.”

To address this, the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter has voted to support the recall of eight of the State Senators who supported the amended version of the budget repair bill passed last night.

The Sierra Club has also voted to support the eight Senators who courageously fought to allow citizens and local governments to examine and speak out against this egregious bill.  Although their efforts were unsuccessful, the Sierra Club applauds their efforts to uphold democracy and support workers’ rights.

The Sierra Club is mobilizing our members to recall the senators who voted for the amended budget repair bill to vote in upcoming elections. Solidarity events will be held this Sunday in Oshkosh, Shorewood, Menomonie, and elsewhere (http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Calendar?id=150921&view=Detail).  The Sierra Club will also defend from recall senators with demonstrated records in support of workers’ rights and environmental issues.

We stand in solidarity with working families who have flooded our State Capitol and public squares throughout our state to defend their rights as union members, workers and citizens – and we will continue to fight for those rights for workers to bargain collectively for better lives for themselves and their families.”

       Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:

“The Sierra Club is deeply disappointed in the Wisconsin state legislature’s shameful disregard for the struggle of working families. Perhaps even more shameful is their willingness to trade the rights of Wisconsin workers for the favor of corporate polluters like Koch Industries.

Instead of fighting over the scraps that corporations and their friends in political office would leave us, we must move America beyond reliance on dirty, dangerous coal and oil, and create millions of good clean energy jobs in Wisconsin and throughout the nation.

The Sierra Club joins with our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin today and we will continue to fight for a more equitable, healthy and clean future for America.”

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