Prison inmates have replaced union workers in Racine County, Wisconsin, thanks to the changes to the states collective bargaining laws that went into effect at the end of June.
The Journal Times reported prison inmates will now be able to do tasks such as landscaping, painting, and shoveling sidewalks in the winter that were previously performed by unionized employees.
Inmates are not required to do any work for the county, but can receive time off their sentence if they do. Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig said the use of prison labor would not result in any public works staff reductions.
“We’re gonna have them do landscaping at county buildings, have them pick up trash on the roads,” he told local Fox News 6. “So we can use some of the county personnel to do difficult tasks, such as putting in a parking lot at the park.”
Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a non-fiscal version of his budget plan into law in March that stripped nearly all collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin public workers, giving officials the power to make many changes affecting workers without formal negotiations.
(H/T: Alex Seitz-Wald)