Wisconsin becomes 25th Right-to-Work state
Wisconsin is now the 25th state to give private sector workers the choice of paying union fees. Governor Scott Walker signed the right-to-work bill Monday morning at Badger Meter in Brown Deer.
The 110-year-old company is the largest maker of water meters in the North America and the location in Brown Deer was the only one where union workers didn't have the freedom to choose to join.
Now that they do, Badger Meter's CEO said the company can add jobs, something it hasn't done at its Brown Deer facility for 10 years.
In front of a crowd of supporters, Governor Walker said that's the power of right to work. It sends a message worldwide that Wisconsin is open for business and will be a big tool to boost the state's economy.
So, pen by pen, he signed his name to the controversial bill, making it official.
The governor's support for right-to-work is a turnaround from statements he made in December when he called such a bill \"a distraction.\" But when Republican legislators felt they had a chance to get a bill passed, they jumped at the opportunity. The fast-tracked bill took only a couple of weeks to pass through the Republican-controlled State Assembly and Senate.
Walker credited the hard work of fellow GOP leaders, who took charge on making right-to-work a reality, just as he did with Act 10.
\"We're a team and we get things done,\" said Walker. \"A lot of people talk about fighting for things. We fight and win for the hardworking taxpayers and you only do that if you've got a team, and I'm proud of the team we have in Wisconsin and we'll continue to fight and win for the hardworking taxpayers.\"
In a statement, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Phil Neuenfeldt said, “By signing Right to Work into law, Gov. Walker continues his crusade on the hard-working, middle-class families of Wisconsin.”
Supporters praised the Governor. Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir said in a statement, \"the law will improve our business climate and trigger economic growth.\"
Right-to-work won't have any immediate impact on union members at Badger Meter because their current contract doesn't expire until 2016.