Midwest Memo: Green light for Detroit’s light rail, controversial Wisconsin law takes effect

Three stories making news across the Midwest today:

1. Controversial Wisconsin law takes effect today. After months of passionate protests and debate, a controversial law that limits collective-bargaining rights of public employees in Wisconsin goes into effect today. The law cuts wages by approximately 8 percent, and strips employees of almost all bargaining leverage. Wisconsin AFL-CIO secretary treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale tells our partner station WBEZ the unions aren’t done fighting. “This union-busting measure will not go unanswered,” she said.

2. Green light for Detroit’s light rail. Detroit leaders and federal officials have reached an agreement on the route of light-rail service from the city’s center up Woodward Avenue. Officials from the city administration tell the Detroit Free Press the route is a “compromise” and some financial backers of the $500-million project may not be happy. Officials say the route combines the need for speed and neighborhood development.

3. Help wanted in Ohio manufacturing sector. Ohio has lost more than 350,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade, but some companies still looking to hire say they can’t find qualified workers. The problem? One human resources director tells our partner Ideastream that workers must multitask and need new training. Ned Hill, a dean of Cleveland State’s Levin College, says “the notion that someone can just walk in and learn a machine in a few hours and be up to speed … if that happens, that’s the exact job that’s going to be automated and disappear.”

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