Wisconsin Becomes the 25th Right-to-Work State in the Country
MacIver News Service | March 9, 2015[Brown Deer, Wisc…] Gov. Scott Walker signed 2015 Act 1 on Monday in Brown Deer, making Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state in the country.
Right-to-work laws make it illegal to force an individual to join a union or pay the associated fees as a condition of employment. With the new law in place, workers will now have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union and pay dues.
Walker said on Monday the law would be one more reason for businesses to expand in and move to Wisconsin.
The governor signed the law at Badger Meter, Inc. – a company that is expected to hire additional people thanks to right-to-work. Badger Meter’s president and CEO, Rich Meeusen, said last week that his company would move more than 100 jobs out of Wisconsin if right-to-work did not become law.
“This legislation puts power back in the hands of Wisconsin workers, by allowing the freedom to choose whether they want to join a union and pay union dues,” the governor said. “This also gives Wisconsin one more tool to encourage job creators, like those here at Badger Meter, to continue investing and expanding in our state. Freedom to Work, along with our investments in worker training, and our work to lower the tax burden, will lead to more freedom and prosperity for all of Wisconsin.”
Meeusen said he now plans to add a production line for a new water meter in Milwaukee, instead of the company’s plant in Nogales, Mexico thanks to the passage of right-to-work.
Republican legislators – who passed right-to-work in recent weeks – were quick to celebrate Walker’s signing of the bill.
“I would like to thank Governor Walker for signing the right-to-work bill so quickly,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact that right-to-work will have on Wisconsin workers and our economic future.”
Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) said it would spur increased economic growth in the state.
“States such as Indiana and Michigan have seen increases in the number of manufacturing jobs after passing right-to-work laws. So there is evidence it will help attract new businesses and additional jobs to our state,” Vukmir said. “As companies consider where they might move or grow, Wisconsin needs to be an integral part of the conversation so we can bring more good-paying jobs to the hard-working people of the Badger State.”
Wisconsin joins three other Midwest states that have right-to-work laws, including Indiana, Iowa and Michigan. Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-Illinois) is pushing to make Illinois more worker friendly, as well, with the announcement that he will pursue right-to-work zones in his state.
Wisconsin’s legislature will now turn its eyes to the state budget, which was proposed by Walker in early February. The Joint Committee on Finance held agency briefings last week and announced a round of public hearings scheduled for later this month.