By Alex Lasry
This week, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson once again refused to stand up for Wisconsin workers, this time by saying he thinks 1,000 good paying union jobs should go to South Carolina instead of Wisconsin. If that wasn’t enough, Johnson then went on to say he thinks that we already have too many jobs in Wisconsin.
I have spent the last year traveling the state, talking to voters about what they think Wisconsin needs. This is the first time I have heard anyone, let alone our United States Senator, say we don’t need more good paying union jobs in Wisconsin.
Throughout Johnson’s two terms, he has failed to bring jobs and investment back to Wisconsin, and that is exactly what is happening once again. Johnson is rejecting more than a 1,000 good union jobs at Oshkosh Corporation. This increase in jobs would have a cascading effect throughout the region and into the Milwaukee area, as the current workforce at Oshkosh already draws from 14 different Wisconsin counties.
Johnson is already backtracking. He knows he screwed up and that his stance won’t fly with Wisconsinites. So now he is making excuses and trying to blame everyone but himself for his own words. But Johnson’s antics have just become tiresome. Wisconsin needs another senator who will fight for us, not one who just keeps spouting off craziness and makes excuses.
The worst part of this is that Johnson actually believes everything he said. He thinks that there are too many jobs in Wisconsin and not enough workers. The problem as he sees it is that when there are more jobs than workers, employers have to compete for employees through higher wages and better benefits.
Raising workers’ wages and benefits is what Johnson is really opposed to here.
The real truth is that Wisconsin needs many more jobs, especially in areas with persistent unemployment and underemployment. We all know neighborhoods that are in desperate need of more good jobs and opportunities.
When we built the Bucks Arena, we made sure that people often left out of major construction work got a chance to expand skills, find jobs, and build wealth. We required that 40% of workers on the project consist of people underemployed or unemployed for the previous five years, and at least 25% of service contracts were awarded to minority and/or disadvantaged businesses.
These were ambitious goals, but we surpassed them — reaching 43% and 30% respectively. We also made sure that 80% of the materials and services for building Fiserv Forum were sourced from right here in Wisconsin.
We know that Wisconsin has the best trained and most efficient workers in the world, and we have the necessary facilities to get the job done. If the U.S. Postal Service wants the best trucks, done on time, and on budget, those jobs should be brought right here to Wisconsin.
I want to go to Washington to be a partner for Sen. Tammy Baldwin to fight to bring investments like these good union jobs to Wisconsin. I know I can do it because I have done it before. I have a proven record of raising wages, bringing jobs and investments to our state, and building things right here in Wisconsin. That’s exactly what I’ll do as Wisconsin’s next U.S. Senator.