Erik Gunn

Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.

Wisconsin Capitol and the Forward statue wearing a protective face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Nazan Gillie

Wisconsinites respond to Supreme Court tossing out Safer at Home

By: , , and - May 13, 2020

Late Wednesday afternoon, at the request of Republicans in the Legislature, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home plan, which was ordered by Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. Responses came flooding in from local government, elected officials, businesses and groups responding to the chaos created by the late-in-the-day […]

Meat at a grocery store in Fairfax, Virginia. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

AG Josh Kaul, unions seek stronger meatpacking safety rules

By: - May 12, 2020

Attorney General Josh Kaul and union leaders are calling for tougher regulation of the meatpacking industry after President Donald Trump issued an executive order  to keep packing companies operating despite  the fact that thousands of workers have been infected by COVID-19. Kaul is one of 20 state attorneys general who signed a letter from the […]

A collection of open signs in different languages

Small retailers open up with restrictions under new state order

By: - May 11, 2020

Small retailers are getting the go-ahead to reopen for in-person shopping, so long as they impose limits of five customers at a time and require people to follow physical distancing guidelines, state officials announced Monday. The newest executive order represents “another turn of the dial” on the Safer at Home order imposed March 25 and […]

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

State publishes guidance for businesses anticipating eventual reopening

By: - May 8, 2020

Signaling that the state is moving toward gradually reopening businesses shuttered before the Safer at Home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 took effect March 25, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) released a series of guidelines documents advising industries on ways to change their operations to keep employees and customers safe from the […]

"Unemployment" by Philippe Lhote picturing a mural of headless workers in uniform on the wall of an abandoned factory in Völklingen, Germany

Unemployment: Trust fund shrinking, Wisconsin misses out on $25 million federal boost

By: - May 8, 2020

With claims reaching record levels, Wisconsin’s unemployment trust fund could run out as soon as October, the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) said Thursday. The trust fund balance — financed by unemployment insurance tax payments made by employers — stood at $1.86 billion as of Wednesday, DWD announced. The department released data projecting three […]

YouTube Screen Grab of Gov. Tony Evers

Pummeling the straw men

By: - May 8, 2020

It’s probably not the metaphor that anyone involved in its creation would appreciate, but the public discussion of Wisconsin’s Badger Bounce Back plan for economic recovery from COVID-19 bears some resemblance to a famous Victorian-era illustration.  From one angle, the image looks like a woman sitting at her dressing table, cosmetics arrayed before her. From […]

ACA backers reiterate warning of threat to health law

By: - May 7, 2020

On a day marked by developments in two Affordable Care Act lawsuits before the Supreme Court, backers of former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare plan renewed their call to stop litigation that could crash the 10-year-old law. On Wednesday, lawyers argued in the high court over a Trump administration rule allowing employers claiming religious grounds […]

Open sign

Is ‘Back to Business’ ready for its close-up?

By: - May 7, 2020

In the face of a lawsuit by state Republican legislative leaders to overturn the extension of the Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Safer at Home order, Gov. Tony Evers has more than once asked, “What is their plan?” Indeed, neither Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) nor Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has specifically embraced […]

meat in vat for scooping, Ground beef, USDA photo

Baldwin calls out meatpacking CEOs on worker safety

By: - May 6, 2020

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) has written to the chief executives of three major meatpacking companies, charging that the industry’s “unwillingness to implement recommended safety precautions in a timely manner has led to death and the spread of illness from COVID-19 that was preventable.” Baldwin’s letter is addressed to CEOs of JBS USA Holdings, the largest […]

Voting Cancelled sign via Flickr

Report counsels reforms to guard against election meltdown

By: - May 5, 2020

Political polarization and intense partisanship in media and social media have laid the groundwork for distrust about the fairness of the 2020 elections, and the COVID-19 pandemic seems likely to escalate those problems. Those are the conclusions of a new report released last week from a group of academics and voting-rights advocates, recommending a series […]

Nursing Home worker

State launches testing sweep of nursing homes

By: - May 5, 2020

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is ramping up a statewide sweep of nursing homes this month, aiming to test every longterm facility resident for the virus that causes COVID-19 by the end of May, officials said Monday. Nursing homes, along with factories, especially meatpacking plants, as well as prisons and jails have been […]

Carcasses in a meat processing plant

Senators to Trump: Rewrite meatpacking order to promote safety

By: - May 4, 2020

More than a dozen Democratic senators, including Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), sent a letter calling on President Donald Trump to tighten up his executive order last week compelling meatpacking plants to keep operating in the face of outbreaks of COVID-19. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act last week to keep the plants open, even as […]