WISCONSIN – Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that a conservative group has begun a new effort to establish a Wisconsin right to work law. The group, called Wisconsin Right to Work, was created “a month after Gov. Scott Walker won a second term and Republicans, many of whom support right-to-work laws, increased their majority in the state Legislature.” (AP)
Right to work laws stop “unions from compelling workers to pay union dues. There’s debate on whether such laws help the economy.” (Journal Sentinel) The implementation of these laws are often portrayed as liberating to workers from unions, helping workers to be unshackled from socialism. In truth, right to work laws hurt working families, limit (if not prohibit outright) collective bargaining rights, and dump money into the coffers of corporations and interest groups that lobbied for their institution.
Interestingly, conservative politicians in that state have shifted slightly in their readiness to pursue a Wisconsin right to work law. Governor Walker mostly dodged right to work questions on the most recent campaign, often explaining a Wisconsin right to work law was off the agenda and his spokesperson saying making Wisconsin a right to work state was a distraction. And, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has said a number of times that a Wisconsin right to work law would not be sought in 2015.
Now, Mr. Vos and Mr. Walker are much more open to a Wisconsin right to work law, Speaker Vos issuing a statement Monday saying he “looked forward to discussing the benefits of becoming a right-to-work state.” (Star Tribune) Many times, Mr. Walker has not said he would veto a right to work bill if it came across his desk, and we ought not forget his signature legislation – Act 10 – has already effectively ended collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin workers.
As the debate over a Wisconsin right to work law unfolds, we’ll update you with everything you need to know right here.