At a media event today at the State Capitol, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, State Representative Mandela Barnes and State Senator Dave Hansen announced legislation banning employment discrimination against the long term unemployed. With Wisconsin’s private sector job growth ranked 37th in the nation, this bill helps provide the long term unemployed with an equal opportunity to secure employment.
The bill’s introduction on the same day of Gov. Walker State of the State speech brings attention to an issues that will likely be ignored by the Governor tonight - that many workers are facing unfair barriers to employment that are limiting their freedom to work and support their families.
Gov. Walker unfairly blames the unemployed for a lack of job skills rather than address the significant and documented shortage of jobs in Wisconsin. This job shortage accentuates the discrimination the long term unemployed face when seeking jobs. Nationally, the rate of long-term unemployed is the highest it has even been since the Great Depression and research establishes that people who have been unemployed more than 6 months face severe employment discrimination even when they have appropriate training and experience.
“People are trapped in an economy broken by Wall Street and the big banks, often not able to secure employment no matter how hard they try,” said Anita Johnson, community organizer for Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Every Wisconsin worker ought to have the freedom to work, the freedom to support their family and to strive for a better life. When we guarantee opportunity for all Wisconsin workers, we spur growth and prosperity for everyone.”
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