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State Union Workers Nervous



Madison, Wi (WSAU)Union employees in the state Commerce Department are concerned about their futures. Governor Scott Walker wants to turn the agency into a public-and-private venture aimed solely at creating jobs – and his office released a bill yesterday that spells out the details. The 340 commerce workers would no longer be state employees. Scott Spector of the American Federation of Teachers says he’s worried that some members will lose their jobs – while others could lose benefits and civil service protections. The union has about 100 workers in the department. Secretary Paul Jadin says he’s looking into the question of how the proposed re-organization affects unions. Jadin said he would meet with the employees on Monday, and he believes he can address a lot of their concerns. Walker says the current Commerce Department is hog-tied in its job-creating mission by other duties – like inspecting carnival rides. Under his proposal, those duties would be transferred to other agencies like Regulation-and-Licensing – although the bill does not spell that out. By making Commerce semi-private, Walker said it would have more flexibility to act quickly to employers’ needs. It’s one of the economic bills Walker wants lawmakers to approve by the end of February.