In the past month, I have heard from constituents across the 17th Senate District on all sides of the Right to Work issue.
After considering this input, I supported the proposed Right to Work law and voted for it.
Why did I vote for Senate Bill 44? I am a strong believer in workplace freedom. Workers should have the ability to choose whether or not it is in their best interest to belong to a union. If individuals believe that the union organization adequately represents them, it should be the choice of the employee to voluntarily pay dues to the labor organization.
The Right to Work bill removes union-membership as a condition of employment. In other words — you don’t have to be a member of a union and pay dues to work in a place where a union represents the workers.
There are many unions in our state that serve their members well, including several in the 17th Senate District. These unions provide cutting-edge training, fair representation for all workers and positive working relationships with employers.
However, there are some unions that do not provide these types of services and there are workers who would prefer to speak for themselves rather than being forced to pay dues without a voice.
If workers want a union, they are able to be members and form a union in any company. If workers want the services provided by the union and want a union to continue representing them, there is nothing in this law that prohibits this practice to continue. This legislation does not impact existing contracts, relationships between unions and employers, or relationships between unions and workers who choose to be members. If workers at a specific company choose to be part of a union — and negotiate contracts together — they can do so.
However, if an individual worker chooses not to be a part of the union, that worker will be able to negotiate their pay on their own. If workers believe that the union will do a better job in negotiating their pay, it is their choice whether they will remain members. This legislation does not force unions to represent those who are not members. If, however, a union seeks exclusivity in a company, the union may choose to negotiate this item in its agreement with the company. Ultimately, the breadth of representation is purely up to the union’s discretion.
I truly believe that the unions that are providing high quality services and have positive relationships with their workers and employers will continue to flourish in our state. I also firmly believe that every worker should have a voice and a choice when it comes to their employment.
Right to Work is also a jobs issue. Surveys have shown that the majority of businesses consider Right to Work as an important factor in their site selection processes. The 17th Senate District borders the state of Iowa, which is a Right to Work state. The state of Iowa Economic Development Authority lists its status as a Right to Work state as a benefit on their website. Right to Work states experience higher economic growth, wage increases, and manufacturing GDP than forced union states.
One of my priorities is bringing businesses with good-paying jobs to Wisconsin. I believe that by passing Right to Work laws in Wisconsin, we are creating a better place to foster economic growth and giving power back to the individual worker.