Right to Work Works its Way Through Wisconsin Legislature


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Wisconsin is poised to become the 25th State in the nation to pass a right to work (RTW) law, joining other Midwest States Iowa, Michigan and Indiana in banning workers having to become a member of a union or pay union dues as conditions of employment.

This will be yet another blow to the former stranglehold unions have traditionally held in the Midwest, as the Wisconsin Senate narrowly approved the RTW bill and sent it on to the State Assembly for a vote next week. Republican Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill if and when it reaches his desk.

The bill will make it unlawful for an employer and labor organizations to require, within a labor agreement, that employees either become or remain members of a labor organization as conditions of employment. The bill will continue to allow individual employees who wish to pay union dues or assessments to have that money deducted from their paychecks.

The bill does not ban unions, collective bargaining, the rights of individuals to form or refrain from joining a union, or apprentice or training programs in place with employer and union cooperation and support.

As private sector unions continue to experience significant losses of members and clout, RTW bills are currently also in play in other states, including West Virginia and Missouri. So far recent laws have passed only in states with Republicans in control; but as I’ve blogged on recently, there is a small movement (specifically, in Kentucky) to localize the RTW laws to bypass Democratic-dominated state legislatures who fail to see the importance of free choice in the individual’s right to join a union and pay union dues.

We will continue to keep our readers posted as this most recent RTW winds its way to the Governor’s pen.

Hilary Atkins

Posted In: Government, Legal

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