Right-to-work could be coming to Wisconsin nextRepublican legislative leaders in Indiana announced late in November they will seek to pass a right-to-work law next year. They told reporters it would help create jobs in the Hoosier state.
By: By Matt Pommer, Superior Telegram
Republican legislative leaders in Indiana announced late in November they will seek to pass a right-to-work law next year. They told reporters it would help create jobs in the Hoosier state.
The proposed legislation would ban private-sector labor contracts that require workers to pay union dues. If successful, it would be the first time in a decade that a state has adopted the concept.
The Indiana news came in a week in which the U.S. Labor Department released job figures for October. The federal report showed Wisconsin had lost 9,700 jobs in the month, the most in the nation. Wisconsin was one of only five states to lose jobs in October, according to the federal report.
Wisconsin saw gains in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Job losses occurred in manufacturing, trade, transportation, utilities, professional and business services, education, health services and government, the report said.
The Republican move in Indiana and the job loss in Wisconsin seem to provide an opportunity for business leaders to push for the anti-union right-to-work in this state.
In his days in the Assembly, Gov. Scott Walker co-sponsored a bill that would have created the right-to-work provision in Wisconsin law for private-sector labor contracts. Leaders of the state AFL-CIO knew about Walker’s backing of the bill during his successful run for governor in 2010.
The governor has described his union-busting efforts in the state and local government employment as a surprise “bomb” on unions. Pushing for curbs on union membership in the private sector would not be a surprise.
Labor leaders contend that Walker’s success in curbing public employee unions seems to have encouraged private corporations to seek to end union shops in their plants. One bargaining idea would be to exempt new employees from being required to join the plant union.
Walker’s promise in the 2010 gubernatorial election was that he would create 250,000 additional jobs in the next four years. Certainly, he could argue that those curbing private sector unions would help him in the drive for added jobs.
Earlier this year, Walker vowed to encourage companies to leave Illinois, a state that raised its personal income tax rates and is facing fiscal pressures. The federal report indicated that Illinois added 30,000 jobs in October.
Walker is facing a potential recall election, although it is uncertain whether the petition-circulators will be able to get the 540,000 signatures required for such an election. Lengthy legal challenges could delay any vote even if enough signatures seemed to have been gathered by the mid-January deadline.
State law allows Walker to raise unlimited funds for such a political fight. There are no limits on how much any person or corporation may give to a Wisconsin public official facing a recall contest.
The governor will also have the political support of the pro-gun folks thanks to giving his approval to the carrying of concealed weapons in Wisconsin. Also in his political corner are the influential anti-abortion forces. The pulpits will be full of talk that any gubernatorial election is about abortion. Whether union folks in the pews agree will be something else.
Failure to get enough signatures or a Walker recall win, could certainly open the door to a push for an anti-union, right-to-work law in Wisconsin.
All in the name, of course, of creating jobs.