Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Participants march in a rally against a "right-to-work" proposal, on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Madison, Wis. Thousands of Wisconsin union workers rallied at the Capitol Saturday to protest a "right-to-work" proposal that would outlaw the mandatory payment of union dues. (Wisconsin State Journal/Steve Apps)

Wisconsinites Rally to Stop ‘Right-to-Work’ Bill

'I am not a terrorist' is common theme at Saturday's protest against 'right to work' bill.

Common Dreams staff

On Saturday, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO is rallying thousands of workers from around the state at the state capitol against the impending adoption of the law that would ban private sector workers from being required to join a union or pay dues.

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO says the protesters will also demand an apology from Governor Scott Walker after he said fighting against 100,000 protesters during the Act 10 debates in 2011 prepared him to battle terrorists as president. Walker made the comment at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday.

Late Wednesday night, the Wisconsin Republican-led state Senate voted 17–15 to advance a "right to work" bill that has been widely criticized as harmful to the working families of the state. Thousands rallied in Madison outside the Wisconsin Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday in opposition to the legislation.

The bill would make Wisconsin the 25th state to adopt a so-called "right-to-work" law. It is supported by Governor Scott Walker, a likely GOP presidential candidate.

Walker became a favorite of the Republican Party in 2011 when he pushed for a law to limit the power of public sector unions shortly after becoming governor. He survived a union-backed recall election in 2012.

Saturday's rally comes four years to the month after massive demonstrations at the state capitol by workers opposed to the limits then under consideration covering most unionized public sector workers.

Union members chanted "shame" as senators voted narrowly to approve the law on Wednesday and moved it to the state Assembly, also controlled by Republicans, where a public hearing is scheduled for Monday.

State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D) summed up the effects of the bill: “This bill is going to drive down family wages. Period.” UAW member John Drew condemned the legislation as “a political attack on labor, dressed up as an issue of worker freedom. They want to beat us down, brothers and sisters. This is politics, pure and simple.”

Republican leaders couldn't even convince all of the members of their own party of the merits of the legislation. State Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R) voted against the bill: “I am not convinced that the supposed benefits of passing this bill will materialize and offset a potentially disruptive impact on our economy.” He was the only Republican who stood and spoke in support of the legislation. The public wasn't convinced, either. More than 1,750 Wisconsinites submitted comments or registered to speak against the bill at the hearing. Only 25 were in favor.

The full Assembly is expected to vote on the measure within a week and Walker's office has indicated he will sign the bill.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Bush and Warren Lead New Bill to Protect Renters Nationwide From Eviction

"This pandemic isn't over, and we have to do everything we can to protect renters from the harm and trauma of needless eviction, which upends the lives of those struggling to get back on their feet."

Jessica Corbett ·


Campaign Slams Vaccine Makers for Fueling 'Unprecedented' Human Rights Crisis

"Covid-19 vaccines must be readily available and accessible for all. It is up to governments and pharma companies to make this a reality."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sunrise Movement Targets Kyrsten Sinema for Obstructing Build Back Better Act

"Who do you work for? Do you work for the young, BIPOC, and working people who put their lives on hold to elect you? Or do you work for ExxonMobil and fossil fuel corporations?"

Brett Wilkins ·


UN Chief Tells World Leaders To Their Faces That Vaccine Apartheid Is 'An Obscenity'

Persistent inequality represents "a moral indictment of the state of our world," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said.

Julia Conley ·


Global People's Summit on Food Systems Kicks Off to Challenge 'Corporate Agenda' of UN Meeting

"The people are hungry for real change, and are willing to do whatever it takes to fight for and reclaim their land, their rights, and the future of food systems."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo