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March/May 2013

Feature Story
Brave New World

Wisconsin chapter reinvents itself in the face of major collective bargaining changes.

JAMES EFFENHEIM HAD never been very involved in the work of the union, but when the events in Wisconsin surrounding Act 10—a measure that limited collective bargaining for most public employees in the state—began to boil over, he had a change of heart. “Gov. Walker tried to take away the voice of the middle class,” says Effenheim. “Someone has to speak for the middle class, and the union is that voice.”

The union, he adds, is “the counterbalance to the Scott Walkers of the world who create policies that favor the wealthy. It is the counterbalance to groups like ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council].”

Effenheim, a registered nurse who works in the emergency room of the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division and a member of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals chapter there, protested the loss of his collective bargaining rights by playing his accordion on the back of his truck dubbed “the recall wagon,” and gathering signatures to recall Gov. Walker.


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Healthwire covers news and information relevant to the nurses and health professionals represented by AFT Healthcare. It is published five times a year and is mailed to all healthcare members of the AFT as a benefit of membership. Single copies are free on request. Questions, comments and inquiries about Healthwire should be sent to its managing editor Adrienne Coles.  
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