Walker signs right-to-work bill in Wisconsin

Boilermakers rally against right-to-work in Wisconsin.

State becomes 26th with anti-union law

IN ANOTHER BLOW to American labor, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed right-to-work legislation into law March 9. The bill cleared the Republican-controlled legislature in Madison along party lines. The state Senate narrowly approved it February 25 by a 17-15 margin; the state Assembly passed the measure March 6 by a 62-35 vote to bring the bill before Walker.

Thousands of union members and other opponents of the bill — including Boilermakers from Local 449, Local 696 and Local 697 — rallied on the Capitol steps and in the rotunda as the Senate met to consider the legislation. Every Senate Democrat and one Senate Republican voted against the bill, but the tally fell just short of defeating the measure. In the Assembly, where the GOP holds a much larger majority, passage was all but certain. Wisconsin becomes the 26th right-to-work state.

Right-to-work is a misnamed and misleading effort to undermine union solidarity by allowing workers to opt out of joining the union or paying dues. Under this arrangement, unions are still legally bound to represent workers who are not members.