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News from around Wisconsin at 5:28 a.m. CST

  • Associated Press
  • January 13, 2014 - 6:35 AM

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin manufacturing and retail workers could volunteer to work seven days straight without a day off under a bill two Republican lawmakers are circulating on behalf of the state's largest business group.

The bill promises to ratchet up tensions between the GOP and Democrats and their organized labor allies, who are still stinging after Republicans passed Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip most public workers of nearly all their union rights in 2011.

The measure's authors, Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend and Mark Born of Beaver Dam, say the bill brings Wisconsin in line with federal law, gives workers a way to make extra money and employers a way to boost production. But Democrats and labor leaders insisted bosses would use the bill to force their employees to work longer and effectively erase the weekend.

"Even God said rest on the seventh day," said David Reardon, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 662, a union that represents about 10,000 workers across various industries in west-central and east-central Wisconsin, including manufacturing, truck driving, public workers and food service workers. "I would hate to see that Republican bill pass. Some employers would really take advantage of that."

Current Wisconsin law requires employers who own or operate factories or retail stores to give their workers at least 24 consecutive hours off every seven days. Under Grothman and Born's proposal, workers could volunteer to work seven straight days without a rest day.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state's largest business organization, brought the idea to them, the two Republicans said. The organization was doing a study on discrepancies between federal and state law and discovered federal law imposes no such limits on consecutive work days as long as minimum wage and overtime payment requirements are met, Born said.

In an email to lawmakers seeking support for the bill, Born and Grothman said they had heard from businesses with employees who want to work the additional time. But when asked for names Born said the only people he met with to discuss the bill were from WMC.

BALSAM LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding a pickup truck that struck and killed two people in Polk County of western Wisconsin.

The sheriff's office says the pickup was southbound on Polk County Highway E through the Round Lake Native American Community when it struck and killed two males around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Authorities say the driver stopped briefly before continuing south.

The sheriff's office says the two males were involved in a fight at a nearby residence that carried over onto the roadway just before they were struck. Their names have not been released.

Authorities are looking for a dark-colored pickup, possibly a Ford, that might have had amber warning lights. Witnesses reported a blue barrel in the box of the truck and at least two occupants.

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — A Waukesha County deputy was injured while trying to rescue a suicidal man at a rock quarry in Pewaukee.

The sheriff's office says the incident happened late Saturday night at the Waukesha Lime and Stone Co.

Family members told authorities the 23-year-old man was at the quarry and suicidal. When deputies arrived, they found he had rammed his car through the fence and was standing at the edge of the quarry. Capt. Michelle Larsuel tells WTMJ-TV (http://bit.ly/1hLIQAVhttp://bit.ly/1hLIQAV ) that deputies tried negotiating with him but he jumped off the edge into the quarry.

Due to icy conditions, deputies had trouble reaching the man. One deputy slipped and injured his ankle.

The man who jumped was flown to Froedtert Hospital with serious injuries.

CALEDONIA, Wis. (AP) — Authorities say speed and alcohol were factors in the death of a snowmobiler who crashed into a tree in Racine County in southeastern Wisconsin.

Juan Gomez of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/JS7t0chttp://bit.ly/JS7t0c ) the DNR got a call about 10:30 a.m. Saturday that a body had been found in Caledonia.

The man, in his 50s, was last seen by family members around 9 p.m. Friday on his snowmobile. He was found by a family friend sometime before 10 a.m. Saturday.

Toxicology reports are pending, but Gomez says investigators confirmed the man had been drinking. He was not wearing a helmet. His name was not immediately released.

While icy conditions may have played a role, Gomez says, speed and alcohol were the main factors.

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