FRI AM News: WisBusiness: the Podcast with Nick Novak, WMC; State-chartered credit unions add $2.3B in assets since start of year, report shows

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Nick Novak, vice president of communications and marketing for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. 

He discusses this year’s “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin’’ contest, an annual competition held by WMC and Johnson Financial Group. 

“We basically want to highlight the manufacturing industry here in Wisconsin,” Novak said. “The industry employs about one in six people in our state, contributes about $65 billion in economic output each year to Wisconsin, and overall is just a big, big driver in our state’s economy.” 

Along with recognizing the businesses and products that define manufacturing in the state, Novak said the contest also aims to elevate the people involved and put a spotlight on career opportunities in the industry. 

Nominations are being accepted through Sept. 9. The first round of voting will begin Sept. 19, with the top 16 nominees moving into a tournament-style bracket called Manufacturing Madness. 

“This places 16 Wisconsin-made products in head-to-head competitions up against each other, and we go from 16, to eight, to four,” he said. “And finally we have one more popular vote round for those top four products to determine what is the coolest thing made in Wisconsin.” 

The winner will be announced Oct. 19 at WMC’s Business Day in Madison event. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the full list of podcasts: 

— State-chartered credit unions in Wisconsin have added $2.3 billion in total assets since the start of the year, a release from the state Department of Financial Institutions shows. 

According to DFI, total assets for these 110 credit unions increased to $58.2 billion at the end of the second quarter. Meanwhile, net income for the first six months of the year was about $242 million. 

DFI Secretary-designee Cheryll Olson-Collins says financial indicators for the credit unions are “sound,” pointing to strong net worth and income, low loan delinquency rates and positive growth through the first half of 2022. 

“Overall, Wisconsin’s state-chartered credit unions are performing well and continue to serve their members by providing products and services they need,” she said in the release. 

See the release: 

— UW Health says a planned strike in September will “harm patients” after hundreds of nurses employed by the health system voted to hold a three-day strike next month. 

According to a release from the Service Employees International Union, the nurses are seeking recognition for their union and to engage in collective bargaining to address a “vicious cycle of understaffing and burnout and to win a union voice.” The labor group says the strike is planned for between 7 a.m. on Sept. 13 and 7 a.m. on Sept. 16 after nurses voted “overwhelmingly” in favor Wednesday night. 

Nurses involved in the effort say the rigors of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic have been compounded by a lack of support and resources from UW Health administration. The SEIU release shows over 1,500 UW Health nurses have signed cards in favor of unionization. 

“We’ve been suffering from extreme short staffing and cuts, and there’s a mass exodus of our talented nurses,” registered nurse Tami Burns said in the release. “Many of the nurses who’ve left have been medically diagnosed with PTSD, including myself. UW nurses must have a union so that we can stay in this essential profession we love and continue to be there for our patients.”

In response to the announcement, UW Health argues that it cannot legally collectively bargain under the state’s law created under Act 10 legislation in 2011. 

Attorney General Josh Kaul issued a formal opinion in June at Gov. Tony Evers’ request saying the health system could voluntarily engage with nurses in collective bargaining talks, though it’s not required to do so. SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin references that opinion in its release. 

But in a statement yesterday, UW Health said the Wisconsin Legislative Council, Legislative Reference Bureau and internal and external legal counsel agree with its position. 

“The Attorney General has said he believes we can, but by his own admission states that his opinion is not law and that only the courts or the legislature can provide a conclusive answer,” the health system said in a statement. “UW Health will not violate the law.” 

UW Health says the nurses have an alternate option — petitioning the state for recognition through “traditional channels” to avoid a strike. 

“While we hope SEIU reconsiders this unfortunate decision, we must take them at their word that a strike will happen … This strike will be unpleasant for patients and for our staff, but we will get through it and never lose sight of our shared mission to meet the needs of our patients,” the health system said. 

See Kaul’s opinion: 

See the SEIU release: 

See the UW Health release: 

— The Medical College of Wisconsin has announced a $5.9 million donation from the Paula & Rodger Riney Foundation supporting research into multiple myeloma. 

The funding will be used for cancer research efforts over the next two years, according to a release from MCW. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called plasma cells, causing damage to bones, the immune system and other parts of the body. 

“The scientific advancements we will make with this gift will yield much needed benefits for generations of patients and families facing a diagnosis of multiple myeloma,” Gustavo Leone, director of the MCW Cancer Center, said in the release. 

See the release: 

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— Gov. Tony Evers says a $900,000 Harbor Assistance Program grant for the Port of Manitowoc will help manufacturers boost production of cranes for the U.S. Navy. 

The guv yesterday announced the grant, which will be used to build new rail platform extensions. According to the release, a Finnish company called Konecranes and Manitowoc-based Broadwind Heavy Fabrications will benefit from the state’s investment. 

“With this most recent harbor assistance grant, I’m proud to continue our investments in the Port of Manitowoc, keeping Wisconsin at the forefront as we assist in our nation’s important naval operations and grow our manufacturing success,” Evers said in the release. 

See the agency’s release: 

— La Crosse is getting a $250,000 WEDC grant to redevelop a former fish lab into a new event venue, according to a release from the agency. 

The former U.S. Fish Control Lab in Riverside Park will be redeveloped into Hatchery, a venue with an outdoor terrace and lodging. It will include a space for events such as weddings and art shows, an outdoor patio with drink services and space for food trucks and an upstairs area with six lodging units. 

Funding for the project comes from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Community Development Investment Grant program, the release shows. According to WEDC, the program has awarded nearly $34.8 million in grants to 166 communities since launching in 2013. 

See more in the release:


# A federal appeals court says the state can’t tax tribal lands that once fell out of tribal hands

# Student loan forgiveness could aid over 700,000 in Wisconsin

# Medical College of Wisconsin gets $5.9 million donation for multiple myeloma research



– DATCP to host Global Dairy Symposium at World Dairy Expo


– CF parks director eyes minor pool repairs to keep it open next year


– Though promoted as a jump start for college, experts say the AP test leaves some students behind

– In rainforests of Panama, Milwaukee teachers learn lessons they’ll bring back to classrooms

– What’s a Pell grant? How it affects student loan forgiveness


– Amid outcry from artists, MMoCA says claims of racism are ‘unfounded’


– DNR announces changes to 2022 hunting season

– DNR investigating fish kill on Pierce County creek


– UW Health nurses vote to strike if management doesn’t recognize union


– Water works job fair connects jobseekers and industry employers to bridge labor gap


– Generac hires SunPower exec to lead energy technology business

– Generac names hire for new president of energy technology role


– Wisconsin Democrats call on GOP to back opioid settlement plan


– Goodwill donating north side property to Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy

– Florida-based REIT buys Jilly’s Car Wash properties for $19 million


– Regency Mall to be partially demolished for grocery store, apartments

– Regency Mall, caught in retail squeeze, to adopt Bayshore model with $113M remake


– Mexican Fiesta looks to set attendance record this year


– Evers, WisDOT announce $900,000 grant to build rail platform extensions at Port of Manitowoc


– Here’s how Wisconsin homeowners can save on heating, electricity bills from Inflation Reduction Act


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

UW Health: Statement on the reports of a possible nurses’ strike

Goodwill: Donates Northside facility to Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy