Economy & Business

The Corner

Wisconsin Ready to Pass Right to Work

Last month, I noted that Wisconsin’s Republican legislature was prepared to make it the 25th state to approve a right-to-work law.

Private-sector workers would no longer be forced to join a union or pay union dues to get or keep a job. A vote on the law could be planned for next Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Wisconsin senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald said he expected Governor Scott Walker to sign the bill even though he has received no direct assurances. Governor Walker has strongly supported right-to-work laws in the past.

As I wrote last month:

Right-to-work makes sense for Wisconsin. Studies show that it can attract jobs and enhance business formation — especially if it’s combined with the kinds of reforms Walker has already implemented. It’s also popular — a new survey by a University of Chicago professor found Wisconsin residents favoring the idea by 62 percent to 32 percent. AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka boasts that politicians who oppose Big Labor will “pay a steep political price,” but it turns out that labor-law reform is popular. In Indiana, Republicans picked up legislative seats after right-to-work passed there in 2012. Ditto for Michigan after its law passed in 2012.

That said, don’t expect the unions and their allies to give up with a fight. Look for protestors to swamp the state capital of Madison again. However, the record-breaking cold may certainly curb their numbers.

UPDATE: Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick writes in an e-mail: “Governor Walker co-sponsored right-to-work legislation as a lawmaker and supports the policy. If this bill makes it to his desk, Governor Walker will sign it into law.”

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