“Right to Work” legislation stirs up debate among lawmakers, local businesses

Mar 02, 2015

Chippewa Valley (WQOW) – “Right to Work” legislation is stirring a debate between Wisconsin lawmakers and businesses.

Republican lawmakers and Wisconsin businesses are clocked in for discussion on proposed legislation.

“To be honest, we’re a little concerned about the unintended consequences that of ‘Right to Work’. Initially, there’s going to be a distraction instead of our people taking care of our clients,” President of Market & Johnson Jerry Shea said. “They could potentially be focusing on the effects of this.”

“Right to Work” laws prevent private-sector employers from forcing workers to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment.

Steven Dye, the president of Senasys, said It does give people the option to say, ‘I don’t want to be a member of the union at all, and I don’t want to give any money to that group because I don’t agree with that’.

Supporters say it’s about worker freedom and keeping dollars in the hands of workers while opponents argue it will drive down wages and harm the economy.

“I don’t believe it’s right to take money from people and force them to give it to a union or any other group that they don’t want to give it to,” Dye said.

Local businesses, like Market and Johnson, say they rely on their long standing labor union for support. “We depend on the trade unions to work with us for training, pension and with health care issues,” Shea said.

Possible changes have some democratic lawmakers concerned about Wisconsin’s future, including Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) ”Just the term, ‘Right to Work’, it’s a misnomer. I think that the legislation that’s being proposed is a frontal assault on unionized labor,” he said. “And, you got to remember that the states that have passed ‘right to work’ legislation, by and large, their residents have made $1,500 less per year than states that don’t have “Right to Work’.”

Republican state senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, said debate of “Right to Work” needs to occur during consideration of the state budget.

Gov. Walker has said many times it is not one of his priorities. However, he is also a longtime supporter of “Right to Work” and has never said he would veto such a bill if it passes.

Source: WQOW

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