Wisconsin's Middle Class

Wisconsin’s strong and vibrant middle class didn’t just happen. It was built brick by brick by the hard work of our parents and grandparents and the strength in numbers that came from the unions that represented them. From the first unemployment compensation law in the U.S. in 1932 to the first public employee collective bargaining act in the nation (1959), Wisconsin’s unions made sure that as our nation's wealth and productivity grew, so too did the economic prosperity, security, and resiliency of the people who worked hard to create that wealth. For decades, the unions of Wisconsin’s workers guaranteed that prosperity was widely shared and that communities flourished—wages increased and more employers provided their workers with health insurance, pensions, and paid time off.

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