â€œRight to Workâ€ legislation stirs up debate among lawmakers, local businesses
Mar 02, 2015
Chippewa Valley (WQOW) â€“ â€œRight to Workâ€ legislation is stirring a debate between Wisconsin lawmakers and businesses.
Republican lawmakers and Wisconsin businesses are clocked in for discussion on proposed legislation.
â€œTo be honest, weâ€™re a little concerned about the unintended consequences that of â€˜Right to Workâ€™. Initially, thereâ€™s going to be a distraction instead of our people taking care of our clients,â€ President of Market & Johnson Jerry Shea said. â€œThey could potentially be focusing on the effects of this.â€
â€œRight to Workâ€ 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, â€˜I donâ€™t want to be a member of the union at all, and I donâ€™t want to give any money to that group because I donâ€™t agree with thatâ€™.
Supporters say itâ€™s about worker freedom and keeping dollars in the hands of workers while opponents argue it will drive down wages and harm the economy.
â€œI donâ€™t believe itâ€™s right to take money from people and force them to give it to a union or any other group that they donâ€™t want to give it to,â€ Dye said.
Local businesses, like Market and Johnson, say they rely on their long standing labor union for support. â€œWe depend on the trade unions to work with us for training, pension and with health care issues,â€ Shea said.
Possible changes have some democratic lawmakers concerned about Wisconsinâ€™s future, including Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) â€Just the term, â€˜Right to Workâ€™, itâ€™s a misnomer. I think that the legislation thatâ€™s being proposed is a frontal assault on unionized labor,â€ he said. â€œAnd, you got to remember that the states that have passed â€˜right to workâ€™ legislation, by and large, their residents have made $1,500 less per year than states that donâ€™t have â€œRight to Workâ€™.â€
Republican state senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, said debate of â€œRight to Workâ€ 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 â€œRight to Workâ€ and has never said he would veto such a bill if it passes.