Walker denies wanting to make Wisconsin a right-to-work stateGov. Scott Walker is denying claims by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett that Walker wants to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state for private sector unions.
By: By Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Gov. Scott Walker is denying claims by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett that Walker wants to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state for private sector unions.
Twenty-four states have right to work laws that ban mandatory union shops in the private sector. Many are in the South or the West in states without deep union roots. The notable exception is Indiana, which passed a right to work law earlier this year. Advocates say the laws give workers freedom, but opponents say the real motive is union busting.
Barrett never broached the subject of right-to-work when he ran against Walker in 2010. But he's hit on it aggressively in recent days, saying Walker's collective bargaining law was just a first step toward making Wisconsin right to work.
"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that what Gov. Walker did -- and again using his words, not mine, dropped the bomb -- that that was the beginning of a divide and conquer strategy that was intended to make Wisconsin a right to work state,” Barrett said.
Walker was asked about Barrett's comments on Wisconsin Public Radio. He issued his sharpest denial to date.
"I have no interest in a Right to Work law in the state,” Walker said. “We're not going to pursue that in the remainder of our term and we're not going to pursue it in the future."
To be clear, Walker was specifically asked whether he would sign or veto a right to work bill if the legislature sent it to his desk. The governor did not answer that question.
Walker has a history on this issue. He co-sponsored right to work legislation as a freshman state legislator in 1993. Efforts by some Republicans to revive the issue this past legislative session went nowhere.