Prison guards could vote next year on new union

Guards consider breaking away from Wisconsin State Employees Union

Wisconsin’s prison guards could vote as soon as next year in whether to break away from the Wisconsin State Employees Union.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported it’s a bitter fight over election setbacks, discontent with labor leaders, and anger about working conditions a year after the state all but eliminated public sector union rights.

Brian Cunningham, a guard at the Waupun Correctional Institution, said he’s filed more than 1,900 signatures demanding a new union for about 5,800 prison workers, game wardens and other state employees classified as security and public safety workers.

WSEU director Marty Beil said the guards are in for a rude awakening if they succeed in forming an independent union with lower dues and a smaller staff, because they would lack sufficient resources to serve members.