Opponents of Right To Work Upset Hearing Ended Early

WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/24/2015) – Opponents of the controversial Right To Work legislation Wisconsin Republican lawmakers hope to pass, are upset over the Senate Labor Committee hearing being closed down early tonight (Tuesday). They fear lower wages would result, if the bill is passed, which would cause hardship for families and, ultimately affect the economy, because people wouldn’t have as much discretionary money to spend.

Supporters of the proposed legislation disagree. For example, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty President Rick Esenberg suggests the proposed law is not about interfering with, what he calls, “a private free market arrangement”.

“The government has already interfered by forcing businesses to recognize and bargain with unions and by preventing employees from objecting to union representation,” Esenberg said.

There are others who disagree. They claim, the nation wouldn’t be as successful as it has become, without unions. They feel, the strength workers found when unions sprung up around the country is precisely why the economy boomed. Workers and their families are what keeps the economy rolling along.

Those opposed to a Right To Work law in Wisconsin believe, if the law is passed and signed by Governor Scott Walker, it ultimately will kill the power unions have to make working conditions, compensation and benefits, fair for their members. It is also feared that passing the law will bring about lower household income, causing a domino effect.

State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) says the Right To Work proposal is “an effort to force through a vote on controversial, highly partisan legislation that attacks Wisconsin’s working families.

“Unfortunately we have seen bad ideas like this come out of the Republican playbook before,” Senator Larson said.

“Instead of a fair process that lets experts and the public testify so that we, as Senators, can make informed decisions, Republicans shut down debate, silenced the voices of those who waited for hours to be heard, and forced a vote on a bill that creates less freedom for workers and hurts us all”, Senator Larson continued.

On the other hand, Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty’s Rick Esenberg notes, the way things are without a Right To Work law, union member workers can’t easily decide they don’t want to belong to a union at the place they chose to work.

“Objecting employees are not free riders, Esenberg said. “They are prisoners who can escape only by giving up their job. Right to work laws simply free those people who are being compelled to pay for something they do not want”, he said.

State Senator Chris Larson says, “the facts are in, and it was made clear today that RTW laws reduce worker wages, diminish worker health and safety, and, at the same time, increase poverty and workplace fatalities”.

“The reality is that eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates are RTW states, and by WMC’s own admission, less than 7% of their members came out in favor of this regressive legislation”, State Senator Chris Larson said.

“Wisconsin businesses recognize how dangerous this bill is. Today we actually heard from a coalition of more than 400 local businesses, who know firsthand the value of working with private labor groups, who oppose this law,” Senator Larson pointed out.

“We also had a woman drive 5 hours from Hayward Wisconsin to have her voice heard. We had a pro-union business owner fly in from Florida to testify. We had a gentlemen wait nine hours, who was willing to be late for his 2nd shift job just to be able to be heard,” State Senator Larson said.

“Yet once again, Republicans have decided to fast-track legislation”, Senator Larson added.

Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) says “Senate Republicans abruptly moved to silence Wisconsin workers, veterans and business owners who waited hours to testify at a public hearing on Senate Bill 44 today” by ending the meeting earlier than the allotted time.

“Wisconsin workers, veterans and business owners have taken a backseat to the powerful out-of-state special interests that are driving the Senate Republican agenda”, Senator Shilling said.

“It is deeply concerning that honest, hardworking Wisconsin taxpayers have had their voices silenced by Republican Senators who are unwilling to listen to the overwhelming opposition to this divisive bill,” Senator Shilling said.

“Senate Bill 44 will lower wages for all Wisconsin families, cut funding for worker training programs and interfere with private business contracts”, Senator Shilling insists.

“Senate Democrats are strongly opposed to this bill and are proud to stand with Wisconsin’s workers, veterans and local business owners,” Shilling added.

Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) released the following statement after Republicans shut down a committee public hearing on their so-called “Right to Work” bill:

“I am deeply disappointed that Senator Nass and Republicans did not at least live up to their promise of holding the public hearing until 7:00 tonight. Slamming the door on public testimony and silencing the hundreds of people who have come all day to testify is just another abuse of power by Republicans and an affront to our Wisconsin values of open, honest and transparent government,” Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca stated.

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