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Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

History of Gov. Walker's Record On Job Creation

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 25 March 2017
in Wisconsin

walkerGovernor Scott Walker talks a lot about jobs, but the real record does not back up his rhetoric.

GREEN BAY - From the day he took office as Governor, Scott Walker has been talking about jobs. He wants to be seen as the jobs governor, taking credit here for the economic turnaround nationwide after the disastrous crash of 2008. It seems that every time somebody hires more than three workers in Northeastern Wisconsin, Walker shows up to give a speech.

When he ran in 2010, he promised to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin during his first term, and it was an elusive goal. His strategy was tax cuts for the rich and union busting, with his own state employes and public school teachers his favorite targets. Now, well into his second term, Wisconsin still flounders behind our neighbor states and his jobs goal has not been met.

So, what is the real record on Walker and jobs? Below is a brief history of Gov. Scott Walker's record on job creation, courtesy of Brandon Weathersby of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin 2nd in U.S. in job losses last month, new estimates show
Wisconsin was second in the nation in total job losses last month, a somewhat surprising development considering the state’s unemployment rate has reached its lowest level since November 2008. Employers in Wisconsin shed an estimated 9,500 total public and private sector jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported late last week. Along with North Carolina (11,300 job losses) and Alaska (2,300 job losses), Wisconsin experienced a “statistically significant” decline in employment, according to a press release from the BLS.

Wisconsin suffers fourth-highest monthly job loss under Scott Walker in August
Even as its unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level since 2008, Wisconsin lost 4,300 private-sector jobs in August, according to preliminary estimates. It's the fourth-largest monthly jobs loss since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Employment Statistics program. The unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a point to 5.6 percent in August, but that figure and the monthly jobs change often can be disconnected.

Frustrated Wisconsin business owner moving company to Minnesota
The owner of a Wisconsin construction company said he's taking his business to Minnesota thanks to the passage of right-to-work. The Hoffman family has been in the Wisconsin construction business for a long time. "We like to say our company got started 100 years ago this year in 1915 when my great grandfather got his first road contract,” Jim Hoffman said..."I'm happy to offer the state of Minnesota a better alternative," Garofalo said. That alternative is a state that has no right-to-work law Hoffman said the move will keep his workers well paid and well trained.

Oscar Mayer plant in Madison will close; headquarters to move to Chicago
Madison’s Oscar Mayer plant — a fixture on the East Side for nearly 100 years — will close and its headquarters will move to Chicago, putting 1,000 employees out of work, parent company Kraft Heinz announced Wednesday. 
The loss of one of Madison’s signature companies is part of a plan by parent company Kraft Heinz to close seven factories in the U.S. and Canada, four months after the two food giants merged.

Wisconsin ranks dead last in startups
According to a report issued last week by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Wisconsin is now last in the nation in new startup activity. The state fell five spots, from 45th to 50th, the report said, putting it behind West Virginia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Alabama among the bottom five states. The top five states on the Kauffman list were Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, and Vermont.

Uncertainty growing after several Wisconsin companies announce job cuts, relocation
Almost 200 jobs are about to leave a company that has been a staple in Racine for generations. S.C. Johnson announced, Thursday, it is relocating 175 positions to Chicago. This comes after a number of other companies across the state recently announced layoffs. Joy Global in West Allis announced in September that more than 100 union and non-union workers would be temporarily laid off. Oscar Mayer is cutting nearly 1,200 jobs in Madison and General Electric announced in September it's plan to cut hundreds of jobs. When you have job loss anywhere, it's always a little uncomfortable at the onset. While not everybody is losing sleep, they may be feeling a little uncertain. Some of that uncertainty is growing in Racine after people learned of the jobs at S.C. Johnson moving to Chicago.

Wisconsin layoff notices topped 10,000 in 2015
Wisconsin employers notified the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) of 10,104 planned layoffs in 2015, a new high for Gov. Scott Walker's administration and the most in the state since 2010.

Manitowoc Company Moving To Pennsylvania, 528 Jobs Leaving Wisconsin
A major employer is closing its plant in Manitowoc, putting more than 500 employees out of work when it moves its crane manufacturing operations out of the state. The closure of Manitowoc Crane is the latest in a string of factory shutdowns that have affected the city. The company will remain open until it completes its current projects. It’s expected to close the manufacturing facility in stages beginning this year until it fully closes in 2017 when it moves. The company said it can save up to $30 million a year by leaving. It has been in Manitowoc since 1902.

Wisconsin lost 8,500 private sector jobs in September
Wisconsin lost more than 10,000 non-farm jobs in September, including 8,500 in the private sector. But the state’s unemployment rate also declined to its lowest level since early 2001, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state lost a seasonally adjusted 10,500 nonfarm jobs in during the month, including both the public and private sectors. Many of the jobs lost were in the leisure and hospitality industry with a drop of 4,000. The non-seasonally adjusted figures show the state losing 22,100 jobs in that sector alone as the summer tourism season came to an end. Labor force participation increased slightly to 68.4 percent with 3,132,300 people in the civilian labor pool. The unemployment rate was down from 4.2 to 4.1 percent, the lowest level since February 2001, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.

Why does Wisconsin lag at job creation?
It's a question that's dogged Scott Walker for years, and one that's sure to keep nipping at his heels as he runs for president: Why is Wisconsin in the bottom third of states when it comes to creating jobs? It's a perplexing question, and one that has had many observers scratching their heads. Unemployment is down, labor force participation is in line with other states. But despite his promise to create 250,000 jobs during his first term, Walker was only able to deliver about half that, leaving the Badger State with a dismal 35th place in private sector job growth rankings over the course of his first four years in office.

Wisconsin ranks 38th in private-sector job growth in 2015
Wisconsin has fallen to 38th in the country in yearly private-sector job growth. Preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates for December, released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that Wisconsin added 23,600 private-sector jobs in 2015 for 0.96 percent growth. By percentage, 37 states did better between December 2014 and December 2015, including all but two other Midwest states. Only Illinois at 45th (loss of 2,800 jobs, minus-0.06 percent growth) and North Dakota at 50th (loss of 18,700 jobs, minus-4.8 percent growth) were lower among the 10-state Midwest group.

Wisconsin ranks last again for start-ups
According to the report released Thursday by the respected Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, start-up activity in the U.S. overall rose in 2016 for the second year in a row. But among the 25 largest states, Wisconsin came in either last or second-to-last in each of the three categories the foundation evaluated.

Wisconsin ranks 33rd in job creation
As employment in Wisconsin's massive manufacturing sector switched into reverse, the state continued to lag the nation in the latest quarterly census of job creation. Wisconsin added 37,166 private-sector non-farm jobs in the 12 months from March 2015 through March 2016, a tally that includes non-manufacturing as well as manufacturing positions, amounting to a 1.58% increase that ranks the state 33rd among the 50 states in the pace of job creation during that period.

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Legislators Unveil Equal Pay Proposals

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 22 February 2017
in Wisconsin

women-workersEqual Pay Transparency Act tackles discriminatory practices that help create the pay gap in the first place by creating new protections for employees, wage transparency in the workplace, and a ban on employers asking job applicants for their salary histories.

MADISON – Senators Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) and Representatives Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) and Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha) unveiled the Equal Pay Enforcement and Transparency Acts Monday, two proposals that aim to narrow the wage gap in Wisconsin.

The Equal Pay Enforcement Act first became law in 2009, only to be repealed by the Republican Legislature two years later. It strengthened enforcement of our job discrimination laws with stronger penalties on employers guilty of discrimination. Under the Act, employers may be held liable for compensatory and punitive damages, rather than merely providing back pay or reinstatement to victims.

dave_hansen“Paying women less because they’re not men is a version of wage theft and without the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, our Fair Employment Law is like setting a speed limit without giving police the tools or officers to enforce it. It just doesn’t work,” said Hansen. “We need to strengthen enforcement and the penalties for people and businesses that break the law. And our Equal Pay Enforcement Act does just that.”

“The Equal Pay Enforcement Act made a difference for Wisconsin’s working families,” said Rep. Ohnstad. Wisconsin’s wage gap for women narrowed from the 37th widest in the nation to only 25th under our 2009 law. Companies work harder to avoid discriminating if they face stiff consequences for breaking the law. Gov. Walker should never have repealed the law, but he and the Legislature now have the opportunity to correct that mistake by supporting this common-sense proposal.”

The Equal Pay Transparency Act tackles discriminatory practices that help create the pay gap in the first place by creating new protections for employees regarding information about their wages.

christine-sinickiThe bill creates wage transparency in the workplace, by first of all requiring employers to allow voluntary discussions of salaries among their employees. “Employers often forbid their workers from discussing wages or salaries with each other, and some enact penalties for doing so,” said Rep. Sinicki. “The Equal Pay Transparency Act helps employees find out if and when their pay is lower than that of co-workers doing equal work.”

The Equal Pay Transparency Act also includes an important ban on employers asking job applicants for their salary histories. “Many employers set salaries for new hires using past pay as a baseline,” said Sen. Ringhand. “If this happens to women in their early jobs, then their initially lower wages can follow them through their entire careers, cementing in for a lifetime and lowering their Social Security accounts and pensions.”

The Equal Pay Enforcement and Transparency Acts would protect Wisconsin workers of either gender and also cover veterans, people with disabilities, minorities and other groups that may also be subject to pay or other types of employment discrimination.


Legislative writer Jay Wadd contributed this story.

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We Owe Donald Trump Nothing But A Job

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 15 November 2016
in Wisconsin

trump-rncIn January, Donald Trump will start his new government job. He can expect no more loyalty or support than President Obama received. It will be his job to win us over using only the dull tools we give to our President in a democracy.

GREEN BAY – On November 8th, we held an election for the job of President of the United States and Donald Trump won. In January, barring anything unforeseen at the Electoral College in December, he will start his new government job.

The current holder of the job, President Barack Obama, has met with Trump and begun the process of showing him the ropes. About half of people with a vote in the selection process are happy with the choice, and the other half are not. We will see how he works out.

Despite all of the talk in the media about electing a world leader and the most powerful man on earth, it is important to remember that it’s just a job and a government job at that. We did not elect a King, and Trump Enterprises did not buy a controlling interest in the U.S. government.

Working in government is quite different than the private sector and often frustrating. In any Executive job, like President or Governor or Mayor, you have a lot of bosses and they are the people you serve. Our founders set it up that way.

Donald Trump will probably get real frustrated in his new job fast. He is used to being his own boss, the king of his domain, who can hire and fire and pretty much do what he likes. That’s the private sector model we still use based on the days of lords and kings.

Most successful businessmen understand the difference, and that’s why most are not interested in running for any government job. They don’t need the hassle, and for what?

Donald Trump has a new job, and being successful in it will require a whole set of skills he has yet to demonstrate. Can he convince bosses he cannot fire that his idea is the one they should follow? Can he rally their loyalty? Can he convince foreign leaders that his word can be trusted? Can he do the job?

President Obama started his new government job with very little support from nearly half of the American people and even less from the opposing political party in Washington. Donald Trump should expect no more.

It will be his job to win us over using only the dull tools we give to our President. Will he appoint people we can trust to his cabinet? Will be propose policies we agree with and can follow? Will he demonstrate he is there to represent us and not promote himself?

If not, we have the power to fire him, and not just by waiting four years and voting him out. That is our right, and responsibility, as our founders envisioned.

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Donald Trump Wins Presidency With Stunning Victory In Wisconsin

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 09 November 2016
in Wisconsin

donald-trumpBusinessman turned politician wins state with 48% of the vote after all the political professionals, pollsters, and national media under estimated an appeal that did not fall into the comfortable patterns of past campaigns. Victory sweeps along GOP politicians down the ballot.

GREEN BAY - Republican Donald Trump won a stunning upset victory Tuesday in Wisconsin, part of a series of Rust Belt victories that propelled him to the White House.

The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Trump just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, immediately triggering a projection that Trump would win the national election after he was already declared the winner in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

With 3615 of 3620 or 99% of Wisconsin's Precincts Reporting, Donald Trump had 1,404,869 or 48% of the vote, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton followed with 1,377,880 or 47% of the vote.

To say that these results are stunning is an understatement. As little as two days ago, the Marquette Law School poll had Clinton holding a six-point lead. Based on polling, most political observers thought she was positioned to win the state's 10 electoral votes despite becoming the first major-party nominee since 1972 not to set foot in the state.

UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said Clinton's decision not to visit or invest heavily in the state proved to be a mistake.

"This is one of the only states where the Trump ads outnumbered the Clinton ads," Burden said. "This may have been the only state where her ads were drowned out by his."

Trump campaigned hard in the state, making five visits over the past three months. In the final month his campaign spent nearly $2 million on advertising in the state. Clinton spent nearly $3 million in the state during the last week, but it was too little too late.

The Trump surge across the state also swept along GOP politicians down the ballot. Incumbent Senator Ron Johnson defeated Russ Feingold in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race, and in NE WI's 8th Congressional District Mike Gallagher easily defeated Tom Nelson with a vote of 227,732 (63%) to 135,648 (37%). Green Bay's Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen was an exception with a win.

It is clear that all the political professionals, pollsters, and the national media under estimated the appeal of the businessman turned politician in Wisconsin and across the nation. Trump managed to grab the mantel of change in the minds of many, and the statistical models used by pollsters were based on trends of the past. Donald Trump surprised many, because he was a new media phenomenon that did not fall into the comfortable patterns of past campaigns.

Democratic Party insider loyalty to Clinton had given her the nomination, but never gave her much grass roots support in Wisconsin, where Independent Bernie Sanders had won 71 of 72 counties in the primary.

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Republican AG May Investigate Leak of John Doe Documents

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Friday, 16 September 2016
in Wisconsin

walker-recallJust weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to review the Wisconsin decision that squashed the investigation, Republicans scramble over 'the apparent violation of the secrecy orders'.

MADISON, WI - Attorney General Brad Schimel is considering investigating the recent leak of sealed documents from the halted John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign.

The Guardian US, an arm of the British-based newspaper, on Wednesday posted more than 1,300 documents related to the investigation into whether Walker’s recall campaign circumvented state campaign finance law. The documents were supposed to be held under seal by a Wisconsin Supreme Court order, which previously had ordered them destroyed.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and other top Assembly Republicans had asked Schimel to consider appointing a special prosecutor to investigate “this apparent violation” of the Supreme Court’s order and state law earlier in the day.

But, why all the concern about documents from an investigation that Gov. Scott Walker has repeatedly claimed was ‘baseless’?

The documents posted Wednesday provide the most complete record yet of how Walker raised millions of dollars for a supposedly independent, tax-exempt group during the 2011 and 2012 recalls — activity that prompted the John Doe investigation. Walker, Assembly Republicans, and several of the Supreme Court Justices themselves directly benefited from the campaign activities of that very same group.

brad_schimelSchimel “is very concerned about the apparent violation of the secrecy orders issued by the court in this case, and is currently reviewing the available options to address the serious legal questions raised by the leak and publication of these sealed documents,” Schimel’s spokesman Johnny Koremenos said in an email to the Wisconsin State Journal.

“Should this potential crime go unprosecuted it runs the risk of undermining the integrity of our courts and judicial system,” said Vos in a letter Thursday to Schimel.

But Republican lawmakers — including Vos — have not previously publicly called for an investigation into apparent leaks to other publications, including the Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page.

For example, Wisconsin Club for Growth director Eric O’Keefe acknowledged in 2014 in an interview with conservative radio show host Vicki McKenna that the subpoena he received during the 2012 John Doe investigation included a gag order, which if violated could result in a contempt of court ruling.

Later Thursday, at another stop in the state, Walker said he is no longer raising money for Wisconsin Club for Growth, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The document disclosures come just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider a petition by prosecutors to overturn the Wisconsin Supreme Court 4-2 decision quashing the investigation.

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