By State Representative, Leon D. Young
The second salvo of Governor Scott Walker’s infamous reign of terror has begun in earnest.
Granted, his second term hasn’t commenced quite as explosively his first tour of duty.
Nevertheless, the state now finds itself on the cusp of the next legislative apocalypse.
When queried earlier in the year regarding his thoughts about passing right-to-work (RTW) legislation, Walker repeatedly said that he thought it would be a “distraction,” and appeared uninterested in having this bill advance through the Legislature.
But apparently, things have changed.
To say that this legislation is being steamrolled through the Legislation would indeed be an understatement.
The RTW bill was just released on last Friday (2/20), and a daylong public hearing before the Senate Committee on Labor and government Reform was already scheduled for Tuesday (2/24).
If that’s not fast enough, a full Senate vote was also pending and the Assembly plans to take up the measure early next week. To date, Right-to-work laws have been adopted in 24 other states.
Specifically, these laws prohibit private employers from negotiating a union contract that requires all workers to pay dues.
Republicans view this legislation as a necessary part of its draconian plan to revitalize the state’s economy.
Moreover, Republicans strongly contend that becoming a RTW state will make Wisconsin more competitive and will prompt hordes of new companies to move here creating new jobs. But, this is a pipe dream, at best.
In reality, RTW legislation in Wisconsin will trigger two negative outcomes: First it will weaken private unions (and their ability to collect membership dues), and second it will lower wages and benefits for all workers.
This current rush to pass RTW legislation is so Walker-esque.
Four years ago, one of his first orders of business was to strip collective bargaining rights for most state employees –without notice.
Now, he’s back and eager to sign a RTW bill that’s been fast-tracked through the Legislature with little (to no) public input.
Republicans have repeatedly shown that they have one approach when it comes to job creation: A willingness to make wholesale concessions to accommodate employers, while manifesting a blatant “take it or leave it” mindset forwards labor.