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“Right-to-work” legislation becomes law in Wisconsin

03.31.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

“Right-to-work” legislation becomes law in Wisconsin

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 3rd- The State of Wisconsin legislature passed and the Republican Governor Scott Walker signed into law legislation that will make the badger state the twenty-fifth in the nation to ban employers and labor organizations from agreeing to union security language within their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the two parties. The legislation is commonly known as “right-to-work”.

A new wave of legislative bills that are intended to weaken the numbers of members of labor unions is expected this year after the pro-business Republican party gaining seats in legislatures across the United States.

New right-to-work legislation is expected to be proposed by anti-union pro-business Republican statehouses across the nation including the pro-union state of Maine and Pennsylvania.

Democratic Pennsylvania first-term Governor Tom Wolf made it clear during last years political campaign that he would veto any right-to-work legislation that passes the Republican controlled General Assembly. Mr. Wolf has been called the “fire-wall” between the anti-union members of the Republican party and the labor community. Should have Republican Tom Corbett regained the governors seat, most if not all anti-union legislation would have become the law of Pennsylvania.

Recently union workers held a “right-to-work” legislation protest at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison. Media reports indicated that only several thousand union members participated in the event because it is believed legislation banning the mandatory payment of union dues in Wisconsin will likely pass and be signed into law by the anti-union Walker, a possible Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2016.

In Pennsylvania the issue of banning union security clauses in labor agreements, or what the labor community often calls “no-rights-at-work,” was front and center during 2013 after billionair Dick Yuengling Jr., leader of the D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. brewery, said Pennsylvania should become a right-to-work state.

Before Wisconsin legislation was signed into law, there were 24 states that banned union security clauses, which makes workers join the union after working a probationary period. The clause is a term of collective bargaining and must first be agreed to by the union and the employer and ratified by the membership.