Laura Dresser, a labor economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told WLRN that SB 256 appears to be stronger than Wisconsin’s law, and predicted that its impact might be more widespread and immediate.
The High Road program is an improvement compared to many other workforce programs, which often prioritize training people for jobs regardless of the quality, said Laura Dresser, the associate director of the High Road Strategy Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She helped coin the term “high road” and served as a consultant to California’s workforce programs in 2017.
Low-wage workers have found it especially hard to afford higher housing costs, even before a spike in prices in 2022, explained Laura Dresser, associate director of the High Road Strategy Center (formerly COWS, a left-leaning think tank) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Laura Dresser, associate director of the left-leaning COWS economic think tank at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said state policies like Act 10 and Wisconsin’s “right to work” law have played a major role in the decline.
In the 2023 State of Working Wisconsin report, the High Road Strategy Center (formerly COWS) found that Wisconsin workers experienced strong job growth and low unemployment. However, most workers’ wages didn’t grow fast enough to stay ahead of high inflation. Guest host Bert Zipperer talks author of the report Laura Dresser to help us understand the state of labor as we kick off the new year.
“So, that $7.25 really matters, but it’s less binding today than it was in the past,” said Dresser. “But for the workers who really have those constraints on opportunity because of their concerns about immigration status, concerns about physical mobility – employers can really take advantage of that.”
“In ’21, and ’22, workers’ wages were increasing, at the median in the state of Wisconsin, not fast enough to keep up with the very rapid inflation of 2022,” said Laura Dresser, associate director of COWS. “I think the picture that’s emerging for 2023 is wage growth that is above the rate of inflation.”
“Wisconsin is part of a shrinking number of states using the federal standard to establish the wage floor,” COWS associate director and report co-author Laura Dresser said in a press release. “And while many workers have seen raises in recent years, we show that a stronger wage floor would reach hundreds of thousands of workers in the state.”
“This is a very pressing issue for many people in Wisconsin,” said Laura Dresser of the Center for Wisconsin Strategy, which has published “Can’t Survive on $7.25,” a report that explores the impact and issues of low wages for Wisconsinites.
“With a minimum wage of just $7.25, Wisconsin is part of a shrinking number of states using the federal standard to establish the wage floor,” said Laura Dresser, report author and Associate Director of COWS. “And while many workers have seen raises in recent years, we show that a stronger wage floor would reach hundreds of thousands of workers in the state.”