President Obama spoke to WTMJ in Milwaukee Feb. 16. Here’s a portion of his comments as they aired on the 5pm local newscast. More of the interview should air this evening and be on the station’s website at some point soon:
"I would say as a general proposition that everybody has got to make some adjustments to new fiscal realities. And I think if we want to avoid layoffs, which I want to avoid -- I don’t want to see layoffs of hard-working federal workers. We had to impose, for example, a freeze on pay increases for federal workers for the next two years as part of my overall budget freeze. I think those kinds of adjustments are the right thing to do.
On the other hand, some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems like more of an assault on unions. And I think it’s very important for us to understand that public employees, they’re our neighbors, they’re our friends. These are folks who are teachers and they’re firefighters and they’re social workers and they’re police officers. They make a lot of sacrifices and make a big contribution. And I think it’s important not to vilify them or to suggest that somehow all these budget problems are due to public employees."
The Workers’ Rights Center (WRC) has launched a project in partnership with the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice (ICWJ) focused on working conditions in central Madison restaurants. They have produced a guide to central Madison restaurants that informs customers and workers about the wages, hours, and working conditions for people who cook, prepare, and serve food.
The guide highlights employers who are going the extra mile to provide good quality, family supporting jobs in our community. It makes it easy for customers and workers to be able to compare and contrast the various restaurants in downtown Madison.