VICTORY! Milwaukee Bans the Box on City Applications

9to5 Wisconsin is proud to announce the successful passage of the Ban the Box ordinance by Milwaukee Common Council on October 11th! Championed by 9to5 National Board Member and Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, this ordinance is a major step towards the goal of ending employment discrimination against the formerly incarcerated. We celebrate this victory as part of 9to5’s ongoing work to lift up the stories and leadership of Wisconsinites to win the workplace solutions we need. More information on the ordinance here from the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.


Read on for more information from our October 4 Press Release announcing plans to introduce the ordinance:

After successful campaigning by 9to5 Wisconsin and its community partners, a press conference announcing the October 11th introduction of “Ban the Box” ordinance was held at Milwaukee City Hall.

The ordinance disallows questions related to previous convictions or criminal charges on applications for City employment, codifying what is already considered best practice by the city. It also develops a uniform procedure for conducting pre-appointment background checks.

Shantel Carson and Chantia Lewis, btb press conference small
9to5 member Shantel Carson at the podium, with 9to5 National Board Member and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, who introduced the ordinance.

The ordinance was introduced by Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, who is a 9to5 Wisconsin and 9to5 National board member.  The ordinance is also sponsored by Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton and Alders Jose Perez and Milele Coggs.

That box on employment applications effectively bars nearly 70 million people nationwide who have an incarceration record from finding a job.  An estimated 60 to 75 percent of Americans released from prison cannot find work throughout their first year back home, and the national recidivism, or return to prison rates, are close to 70%. Women and families of color are hit particularly hard by this, with women making up the fastest growing segment of the prison population. Nearly 65% of incarcerated women have minor children, and 1 in 14 black children have at least one parent incarcerated. In states that have ‘banned the box,’ the recidivism rates drop to 40%.

“Banning the box will remove a huge barrier to employment and provide job seekers with opportunities to find family supporting jobs which will grow our local economy, strengthen our communities and reduce poverty,” says 9to5 Wisconsin member Rhonda Willette.

9to5’s Georgia chapter has victories to ban the box at the city, county, and state level.  9to5 has brought the voices of its members, directly impacted women, into the national Ban the Box movement and campaigns in Colorado as well as Wisconsin.

“It’s time for Milwaukee to address workplace disparities and ‘Ban the Box’, not just for women and families, but for the economic security of our city,” states Astar Herndon, 9to5 Wisconsin State Director. “9to5 Wisconsin is proud to lead this fight.”

Learn more about 9to5 Wisconsin’s Ban the Box campaign and how you can get involved here.

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