Governor Scott Walker may have said right-to-work legislation is not something he plans to pursue next session, but that’s not stopping advocates of such a law from trying to advance that agenda. A group calling itself “Wisconsin Right to Work” officially launched a grassroots effort on Monday to “aggressively promote sound public policies and individual freedoms” and to give “Wisconsin workers the freedom of choice in whether or not they join a union.”
A right-to-work law would prevent private sector employees from being required to join a union or pay dues.
The group’s executive director is Lorri Pickens, who is also listed as the Associate State Director of Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin, a conservative political advocacy group.
In a statement, Pickens said “Wisconsin’s public employees have already demonstrated their strong desire for their right to choose as evidenced by the sharp decline in enrollment in the teacher’s unions since the passage of Governor Walker’s Budget Repair Bill.”
That law, known as Act 10, requires many state employee unions to hold annual recertification votes in order to continue being recognized. While unions that have held votes have recertified, many have chosen not to. The law also prevented many state unions from automatically collecting dues from members.
In a statement, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO called the formation of the group “just another way for CEOs and multinational corporations to weaken unions and stack the deck even more in their favor, all at the expense of our middle class. It’s a power grab by the same people who ship our jobs overseas and offshore their profits to avoid paying taxes, shifting the burden to the rest of us – the same people who oppose raising the minimum wage and support privatizing Social Security.”
AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt said that they “expect the Legislature to focus on critical issues like creating good-paying jobs and reviving our sluggish economy.”