Press Release: Parisi Betrays Dane County Workers

CONTACT: Matt Kozlowski, Co-Chair

(715) 571-1577 –



For Immediate Release:

Yesterday, November 20, 2014, in a late email to County employees, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that the County will cancel negotiated contracts for 2015 and 2016. This announcement, made after the County budget was adopted earlier this week, is a betrayal of trust for our union employees, and a violation of Dane County’s legacy of standing up for workers’ rights.

The email, copied below, cites legal concerns raised by the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling earlier this summer where the Court established the need for a firewall between labor unions and contract negotiations.

“This decision by Executive Parisi is clearly a betrayal of Dane County’s public employees and is an affront to our historic role of defending workers’ rights,” said Matt Kozlowski, Co-Chair of Progressive Dane. “Executive Parisi hasn’t received a court order or mandate to cancel union contracts and is giving up before he’s even fought for Dane County workers.”

From here, Dane County employees will be forced to quickly re-organize under the rules of the Dane County Handbook and scramble to get signed union cards to protect basic workers’ rights.

“The timing here couldn’t be worse. Executive Parisi waited until after the Budget was passed and until the weekend before a major holiday to drop a bombshell like this and announce major changes hoping no one would be looking” said Kozlowski. “Executive Parisi was given legal memos back in August of this year. If he knew this was coming, why didn’t he at least choose to work with our public employees and create a workable timeline? Instead, our labor unions will have to scramble during the holiday season in order to meet the deadline for the end of this year.”

This latest attack on organized labor also comes at the same time as the Madison Common Council rejected a proposal to provide pay equity and parity to Madison public employees using money left over in the City Budget. During the debate, Mayor Soglin asked “don’t you remember when we marched around the Capital?”

“What happened to the Madison and Dane County from a few short years ago? What happened to the community that took to the streets in order to stand up for workers’ rights? What happened to standing up to the Governor’s attacks on our public employees? Our elected officials are charged with standing up for the values of our community, and Executive Parisi has failed this charge” said Kozlowski.

Progressive Dane stands in solidarity with our workers and organized labor. 


Progressive Dane is the Progressive Political Party in Dane County, Wisconsin.

PO Box 1222, Madison, WI 53701


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