A business coalition opposed to right-to-work legislation is moving forward with its efforts, even as the state’s largest business lobby says its latest survey shows widespread support for right to work.
Scott Manley with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce said 81% of 308 executives who completed WMC’s semiannual survey expressed strong support for right-to-work. “The business community is speaking with a very strong voice on this issue. They see it as one of the most important factors we can do to improve our business climate,” Manley said.
“That’s a little bit different from the report they put out in July of this past year, that found that only 15% of their members called right to work their top priority,” said Steve Lyons, spokesman for the Wisconsin Contractor Coalition. “So it’s a very small minority in WMC that makes this a top priority.”
The recently formed coalition, which is opposed to any right-to-work legislation or changes to Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law, has 350 members – 50 have joined in the past month – and has also named members to an Executive Board.
WMC’s Manley said putting right-to-work in place would improve the state’s business climate. “Unlike cutting taxes, which obviously has a fiscal impact and effects our budget and our state’s bottom line, enacting right-to-work wouldn’t cost a nickel. It’s one of those things the legislature could do to overnight improve our business climate and put us back on the map in terms of economic development investments.”
But Lyons said passing right-to-work would send the wrong message. He said workers would make less and receive less attractive benefit packages, even as state employers indicate they are having difficulty finding qualified employees to fill job openings.
“The economics of it don’t make sense, because we’re asking people to either stay here, or to move here,” he said. “If you’re going to make less money, less benefits and less retirement, why would you do that? That’s why we agree with Governor Walker when he calls it a distraction. We agree with editorial boards, all of these people scratching their heads and saying ‘this is a solution in search of a problem.'”