Wisconsin Assembly Sends Right To Work To Gov. Walker
WISCONSINREPORT.COM (03/06/2015) – After turning down Democrat amendments, the Republican controlled Wisconsin Assembly passed the controversial Right To Work bill today. The legislation provides for voluntary union membership, and does not change existing contracts until the contract ends. Senate Bill 44 allows the employee the freedom to choose whether or not to belong to a union.
The bill now goes to Governor Scott Walker for his signature. Walker, who Republicans are courting as a potential Presidential nominee, has said that he will sign the legislation into law if it reaches his desk. He is expected to sign it early next week. When he does, Wisconsin will be the 25th State to have Right To Work on the books.
An Assembly Representative from Central Wisconsin, John Spiros (R-Marshfield), who voted for the bill, says he went into the Assembly Committee on Labor’s Public Hearing with an open mind.
“After 12 hours, I was happy that everyone who registered to testify had an opportunity to be heard. While listening to the testimony, it was clear to me that this piece of legislation is about choice,” said Repesentative Spiros.
“I also appreciated hearing from my constituents on this matter via email, phone calls and office visits,” Spiros added.
“Right to work promotes competition within the marketplace, and would only make Wisconsin a more attractive state for businesses looking to locate to here,” said Spiros.
“Research shows that right-to-work states are seeing better job growth, higher wages and new businesses. In fact 7 of the top 10 best states for business are right to work states,” Wisconsin Assembly Representative John Spiros said.
After a marathon 24-hour session, the Wisconsin State Assembly voted to pass Senate Bill 44, commonly referred to as the Right-to-Work legislation.
After passage, Representative Mary Czaja (R-Irma) stated she cast her vote in favor of the legislation for two reasons:
“First, this is an issue of worker freedom. Right-to-Work protects the right for Wisconsin workers to freely associate and preserves their ability to pay membership dues voluntarily rather than by force,” Assembly Republican Mary Czaja said.
“I firmly believe it is the right of the worker to make that choice, and I will always stand up for personal freedoms,” Czaja said.
“My second reason for supporting the bill is to help Wisconsin remain competitive with both our neighboring Midwestern states and the global economy,” Czaja continued.
“Just this week we heard testimony in the Joint Finance Committee that 70% of employers consider the Right-to-Work status of a state when deciding where to invest and grow jobs. The state of Wisconsin and our northern economy cannot afford to be left out of that equation,” Czaja said.
Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) says Right to Work is among the important factors considered by companies thinking about locating in any state. Other reasons are tax policy, skilled labor, transportation, utilities, and a stable economy. Up until Senate Bill 44 is signed into law, twenty-four states across the country have an edge over Wisconsin because they are Right to Work.
“For Wisconsin to keep pace and compete for those jobs, passage of Right to Work is critical,” stated Representative Hutton. He says, “Right to Work states consistently outperform non-Right to Work states in economic and job growth.”
When Governor Scott Walker signs the law into action, Wisconsin will join neighboring Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan. Additional states across the country, including Ohio and Missouri, have also signaled that they plan to introduce Right to Work legislation in their respective states.
Senate Bill 44 passed the Assembly by a vote of 62-35.
Representative LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) responds to the Republican controlled State Assembly’s passage of the so-called “Right-to-Work” law:
“I spent my childhood in Tennessee, a state that passed so-called “Right-to-Work” legislation in 1947, so I have seen what the future holds for Wisconsin’s hardworking families, lower wages, fewer healthcare benefits, dangerous working conditions, and higher poverty”, Representative LaTonya Johnson said.
“If not for the good-paying union job that my grandfather was able to secure at A.O. Smith in Milwaukee, I would not have escaped poverty nor been able to realize my dream of going to college,” LaTonya Johnson went on.
“Unions, and their ability to give working people the power to bargain for better pay and working conditions, raised millions of American families into the middle class, and their decades-long decline has directly mirrored the stagnant wages and benefits that have jeopardized the American Dream for so many working families”, Milwaukee’s Assembly Representative Johnson said.
“Why, in the face of skyrocketing income inequality, Wisconsin Republicans think that our workers deserve lower wages and weaker bargaining power defies comprehension,” said Democrat Johnson.
“So-called “Right-to-Work” puts Wisconsin into a disastrous race to the bottom and ensures the further disintegration of the strong middle class that made our state a shining beacon of hope to those seeking a life free of poverty and workplace exploitation,” Assembly Represenative LaTonya Johnson stated.
On the other hand, leadership of the state’s chamber of commerce, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, is calling the Assembly action a bold leap forward for the state. The official stance of WMC is that it will make Wisconsin more attractive to the world of commerce and signify that Wisconsin Is Open For Business.
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