Wisconsin’s Proposed Right to Work Law

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

Flushed with the election victory of November 4th, the Republicans in Wisconsin are proposing a number of changes with laws that would affect working class Wisconsin residents. One of these changes is a right to work law. Under this type of law, workers will not be obligated to have part of their wages deducted to pay for the union in a unionized workshop. It may sound like a “fair” law in that those workers who do not wish to join a union should not be obligated to pay for the union. Fine, workers who do not join a union are not obligated to join a union. But there are some things that must be kept in mind about what paying for a union at a company means.

First, if a majority of workers join a union or form a union, this means that a company or business has to follow union rules. This means that workers cannot be paid less, cannot have their holiday hours deducted (as happens with right to work laws), and more important workers who have joined a unionized workshop shall benefit from the higher wages and benefits that the unionized workers get. If a right to work law were to be implemented in Wisconsin, then those workers not a part of a union and not willing to join a union will under this law not receive any higher wages and the benefits the union fought hard for all the workers. This means that the workers will be divided into two groups—one with union protection and one without. The problem here is that those without union protection can be treated any way the employer sees fit. Those in the union can be played against these non-union workers and the rights and protections under a union contract can be destroyed by right to work laws.

Interestingly enough, current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has indicated that he is not asking for a right to work law. That does not mean he will not sign such legislation if such a law is passed. He has eyes on the U.S. presidency, so one of the last things he wants now is a major, drawn out fight with the unions and another virtual shutdown of Wisconsin’s state capital if he himself is in full favor of a right to work law. That does not mean that the Wisconsin state Republicans will not force a fight. They feel that since the November 4th victory they can take such a fight as far as they can go. Maybe they can, but does the State of Wisconsin need to be embroiled in a major fight that just might shutdown the state government and cause dissension and chaos?

Comments are closed.