Voting along party lines and following nearly 24 hours of continuous debate, the Wisconsin Assembly on Friday approved anti-worker legislation that bans labor contracts requiring workers to pay union fees.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a presumptive 2016 presidential candidate whose assault on organized labor is ongoing, said he "looks forward" to signing the bill on Monday.
As Common Dreams previously reported, Wisconsin Republicans called a surprise "extraordinary session" in late-February in order to fast-track the so-called "right-to-work" bill. The Center for Media and Democracy, a Madison-based watchdog organization, has revealed that the proposal was taken verbatim from model legislation crafted by the right-wing, corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Outcry from those who opposed the measure—saying it would depress wages, weaken unions, and pit workers against bosses—came immediately on Friday.
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"Passing this bill is a sad and outrageous statement on the state of our politics in Wisconsin—where a destructive bill that undoes 75 years of labor peace is rammed through in less than two weeks," said the Assembly's minority leader Peter Barca in a statement.
The Wisconsin AFL-CIO declared on its blog: "Right to work will drive down wages and benefits, decrease safety standards and weaken the middle class. Republicans are clearly more concerned with advancing the rights of out-of-state special interests who write their campaign checks than protecting the rights and protecting the wages of hard-working Wisconsinites."
But labor advocates also vowed that "the fight is not over."