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Policy: Labor

Scott Walker: No need to pursue 'right to work' in Wisconsin

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Wisconsin,Analysis,Scott Walker,Right to work

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker said Friday he had little interest in pursuing a right-to-work law for his state.

This was partly because state employers said his public sector union reforms had already created too much turmoil to do so, at least for now. But Walker said the main reason was that his public sector reforms had already done so for most unionized workers in the state.

Walker made the comments to reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. Walker had previously said he was not interested in pursuing a statewide right-to-work law, which would bar workers from being required to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment. Asked by the Washington Examiner why, Walker responded:

I supported it when I was in the legislature. I just have said in the past that there was so much attention, so much focus from the last time that what I heard from my employers — big or small or anywhere in between — in the state was that things needed to cool down, things needed to get focused in the state. While they appreciated it, they said that in the larger context, we need to get things back on track. People liked what happened [regarding the reforms], but there were a certain amount of employers who were just frozen during the protests, frozen during the recalls. They wanted some sense of stability in terms of what was coming next.

Now, beyond that, in Wisconsin [there is] a very small percentage of private-sector unionized employers to begin with. And so the vast majority of people who would be affected by [the] right-to-work [law] if it were statewide are already covered because in our state, the 300,000 or so public servants do have that right to choose whether they want to be in a union or not — and it has worked quite successfully for them.

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