Labor

Right to Work: Coming Soon to Wisconsin?

And will it be another boost for Gov. Scott Walker as a possible presidential candidate?

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But what does he think about Beyonce?
Credit: Gage Skidmore / photo on flickr

Wisconsin's Republican-controlled (barely) Senate approved a right-to-work law yesterday, sending it to the state's also-Republican-controlled Assembly. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, possible candidate for president (or at least getting enough buzz to be asked what he thinks of evolution and President Barack Obama's commitment to Christ), has promised to sign it into law if it passes.

Wisconsin would be the 25th state to have a law forbidding businesses from requiring workers join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Passage would also burnish Walker's reputation as the politician who takes on unions and wins, having survived both a recall effort and re-election after reducing the power of public sector employee unions to engage in collective bargaining and requiring them to pay more into their pensions and health plans.

We are in the stage of presidential primary pre-candidacy where a media reference to a statement or action of a potential candidate is obligated to include a baseless assertion that it may affect his or her potential campaign in some fashion. Certainly, Walker's history of taking on the unions will serve him well in the presidential primaries, especially compared to somebody like Gov. Chris Christie. I'm reluctant, however, to speculate that political or public attitudes toward unions are going to play a major or even minor role in a national election with so much else going on. More likely his battle with the unions will be spun on the right as a fight to contain wasteful government spending and on the left as an attack on the middle class. The actual details of collective bargaining and right-to-work laws will not matter. That's my guess. Once you start delving deeply into wonky capital city subjects like public employee pensions and union power on a regular basis, it becomes harder and harder to evaluate how much the issues impact the average voter's choices. (Having said that: Check out our recent poll results on how Americans view the public employee pension crisis!)

Walker is currently a top dog in a poll of likely Iowa caucus voters, which means absolutely nothing at all and everybody knows it, and everybody knows that everybody knows it, but yet here we are. Walker will be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this evening.

For some different perspectives on "right-to-work" laws, read Shikha Dalmia's defense of such laws as libertarian here, while Jerry Tuccille argues they're actually just another example of the government inserting itself into the marketplace here

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  1. Two degrees in be-bop/
    A PhD in swing/
    He’s a Master of Rhythm/

  2. Giving people a right to get a job without joining a union and getting extorted for union dues? Outrageous assault on human rights!

    Here’s a summary of the comments about this from HuffPo:

    Sky King ? Top Commenter
    People of Wisconsin, You had 4 years of Walker, You all know his agenda. He is a tool of the Koch brothers and the Right Wingnuts.

    All the other comments are some variation on that. So now we know why right to work is bad, Mmkay?

    1. Guy I know here in Texas was going on about how Walker was selling the middle class down the river, Wisc. was shooting itself in the foot, how much worse it would be for the workers, etc.

      I reminded him Texas was RtW.

      Yeah, and Texas was just as bad. Didn’t even have a decent minimum wage.

      I asked him why he moved here.

      Quote: “I found a job.”

      [sigh]

      1. “I asked him why he moved here.
        Quote: “I found a job.””

        And those issues bear no relation to his job, either. If you don’t believe it, ask him!

    2. Pretty humorous how the side that believes a woman should have unrestricted right to choose to have an abortion doesn’t believe the same woman should have the right to choose whether she wasn’t to join a union or not.

  3. Cyril?

  4. Wisconsin would be the 25th state to have a law forbidding businesses from requiring workers join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

    This implies that this legislation would not affect govt sector employees. Please clarify Rusty.

    1. It is, indeed, only covering private sector employees.

      1. Since they already did this for public sector employees, right? (Possibly with the cop exemption in Wisconsin, unlike in Ohio, where the cops promptly got voters to repeal it.)

        1. Oops, yes. It was part of the previous set of Walker reforms. The collective bargaining change got all the attention.

          Here’s a watchdog.org piece on the impact of that: http://watchdog.org/95888/publ…..wi-act-10/

  5. This is almost certainly a plus for any hypothetical Scott Walker presidential candidacy. First, it’s a political win, which is always better than a loss. Second, it’s a win in a long running battle with the pro-union groups, which have generally come off as unsympathetic in this plight. And Thirdly, it’s millions worth of free advertising due to the national reporting on the story.

    1. Makes it harder for him to try to split the private and public unions in a general elex, though. GOP has kind of wanted to divide and conquer, as seen with Keystone XL. This keeps the private sector unions firmly on side (as most of them would be anyway, so maybe that was perennial fool’s gold.)

    2. Walker is pretty much the worst possible Republican presidential candidate. Which makes it even money that they will hand him the nomination.

      1. I would take Scott Walker over Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum or almost any Democrat. His social stuff isn’t great, but he is fighting and winning against unions. I don’t think he’s a libertarian, but he could actually win and likely wouldn’t institute more social welfare programs. I’m not voting, but the last two republican candidates or last 2 presidents show it can be a lot worse than Scott Walker.

      2. Walker is pretty much the worst possible Republican presidential candidate.

        From a libertarian perspective, he’s marginally better than your average Republican. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement, but there’s still, you know, the average and worse than average candidates to consider.

  6. “getting enough buzz to be asked what he thinks of evolution and President Barack Obama’s commitment to Christ”

    Because we know that those will be among the key issues facing the country from 2017 to 2021. How can we choose someone as President without knowing where he stands on these important matters?

    1. Unconstitutionally, at least in spirit.

      Article VI:
      “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

  7. States are given very little room to maneuver under the NLRA. This is essentially one of the only choices they can make. (Well, there’s also Pennsylvania’s “essentially any violence done by unions is legal” law.)

  8. …at least getting enough buzz to be asked what he thinks of evolution and President Barack Obama’s commitment to Christ

    Truly the hard hitting issues of our day… /sarc

    1. And of course, for the knock-out, hard-hitting, investigative journalist:
      Coke or Pepsi?

  9. I just got paid usd6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over usd 9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,,,,,,
    http://www.work-mill.com

  10. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

  11. How nice that he recognizes the right not to be extorted by union thugs.
    Now if only he would recognize the right not to be extorted by any thugs.

    Too bad his salary is basically the proceeds of extortion.

  12. I think unions can be good for wages and benefits but it is ludicrous that it ever came to the point that you are forced to join a union just to work somewhere. I have lived in a RTW state all my life and we get along just fine.

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