Wisconsin Senate Sends Right To Work to State Assembly
WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/26/2015) – The Wisconsin Senate sent the Right To Work bill to the State Assembly for further action last night when the Senate voted 17 to 15 to pass it. Senate President Mary Lazich says Senate Bill 44 allows employees to be employed without being required to pay union dues. Opponents say that will destroy Unions and bring wages down.
“This is a freedom action on behalf of Wisconsin workers and continues Wisconsin on the path to economic recovery following the recession,” according to Senator Lazich, who represents parts of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth Counties in the State Senate.
“Wisconsin’s right-to-work law ensures Wisconsin residents’ personal freedoms are not trampled upon,” Republican Senator Lazich continued.
“Right-to-work laws do not prevent workers from organizing a union and encourage union leaders to be more responsive to their paying members,” Lazich said.
“The Wisconsin legislature sends a message to businesses that unions will not call the shots to the detriment of the state and the detriment of individual rights,” Senator Lazich went on.
“By approving right-to-work, Wisconsin increases its competitive economic position while providing individuals’ rights,” Senate President Mary Lazich added.
Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) doesn’t see it that way. Senator Shilling feels this is the time to raise wages, not lower them.
“Just this week, it was reported that Wisconsin had another year of below-average and sluggish job creation. It’s clear that the policies of the past four years aren’t working, and we need a better plan to grow the economy, raise family wages and invest in our communities,” Senator Jennifer Shilling said.
“It is concerning that they fast-tracked this harmful legislation without listening to the thousands of workers, veterans and family owned businesses who expressed their united opposition to this bill,” Senator Shilling continued.
“At a time when Wisconsin is facing a massive $2.2 billion budget deficit, this misguided and divisive legislation is a harmful distraction from the important issues facing our state,” Shilling complained.
“Rather than creating economic uncertainty for Wisconsin families and businesses, we should work together and find commonsense solutions to create jobs, invest in our future and strengthen our communities,” Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling said.
If the Assembly votes “yes” also, and Governor Scott Walker signs it into law, as he has said he will, Wisconsin would become the 25th state in the nation to pass private sector Right to Work legislation.
The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce organization, sometimes referred to as the State Chamber of Commerce, has been promoting the Right To Work idea all along.
“Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) deserves the highest praise for his visionary leadership and courage for passing Right to Work in the Senate,” said WMC Vice President of Government Relations Scott Manley.
“Every Senator who voted yes voted to improve our business climate and provide freedom for workers to keep their job without coercion,” Manley said.
The Right to Work bill now goes to the Assembly, where a hearing will be held early next week and the bill sent to the floor. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has said he expects the Assembly will vote on the bill next week, and pass it and send it to Governor Scott Walker.
“The Assembly needs to move swiftly to advance the bill to the Governor,” Manley said. “Right to Work states consistently grow jobs and wages faster than forced-union states. This bill will send another signal to the world that Wisconsin is indeed open for business,” WMC’s Scott Manley said.
Union management doesn’t see it that way. Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO is saying State Senate Republicans are not looking out for all Wisconsinites, just the special interest groups who drive the Republican Party.
“With out-of-state special interests calling the shots, Wisconsin citizens get left behind. Right to Work is a continuation of the destructive policies of the Scott Walker Administration that have cost Wisconsin jobs and economic opportunity,” Neuenfeldt said.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has hopes of riding his Republican Party admiration and national publicity into becoming the party’s favorite to run for President of the United States. Some say pushing through Right To Work will help seal the deal during the nomination process. However, opponents to Walker policies in Wisconsin doubt that his actions in the state will play very well among the nation’s Presidential Election voters, overall.
“Despite hours and hours of testimony on how Right to Work will lower wages, increase workplace deaths and erode the base of the middle class by crippling the ability of workers to team up and join together through their unions for a strong voice in the workplace, Republican Senators rammed Right to Work legislation through the Senate in a disheartening move to democracy,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.
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