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Conservative CounterrevolutionChallenging Liberalism in 1950s Milwaukee$
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Tula A. Connell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039904

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039904.001.0001

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Public Interest vs. Public Employees

Public Interest vs. Public Employees

(p.148) 7 Public Interest vs. Public Employees
Conservative Counterrevolution

Tula A. Connell

University of Illinois Press

This chapter highlights the city's contentious debate over the right of public employees to bargain, strike, and otherwise enjoy the same economic and workplace rights as unionized private-sector workers. As the numbers of public employees increased throughout the decade, both blue-and white-collar city workers increasingly asserted their rights. Their efforts raised questions anew about the role of government and the extent to which workers should have control over their working conditions. The concerted push for public-employee bargaining rights that began in Milwaukee ultimately resulted in Wisconsin becoming the first state to adopt collective bargaining for public employees. Yet municipal workers unexpectedly encountered some of their strongest opposition in City Hall, where the mayor and some liberal members of the Milwaukee Common Council proved unlikely opponents.

Keywords:   collective bargaining, employee bargaining rights, public employees, municipal workers, economic rights, workplace rights, Frank Zeidler

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