Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the state's latest anti-worker salvo into law Monday, affixing his signature to legislation that makes it a misdemeanor to require workers to pay union dues.
Opponents argue that such laws keep wages low, make workplaces less safe, and undermine organized labor's muscle by decreasing bargaining power. As the legislation zoomed through the state legislature, local unions and their supporters held rallies to demonstrate their opposition.
"By signing Right to Work, Gov. Walker continues his crusade on the hard-working, middle-class families of Wisconsin," Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, said in a statement on Monday. "By enacting Right to Work, Gov. Walker continues to tip the scales against working class families in favor of his millionaire and billionaire buddies who fund his campaign."
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At an invitation-only event at the Badger Meter facility north of Milwaukee, Walker said the new law "sends a powerful message across the country and around the world."
To that end, the president of the National Right to Work Committee said the action now puts pressure on other Midwest states to follow suit. "Every worker deserves freedom of choice when it comes to union membership and dues payment, and if states like Michigan and Wisconsin can pass Right to Work then Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio can too," Mark Mix said in a statement.
Wisconsin is now the 25th state with a so-called "right-to-work" bill on the books. The Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy revealed last month that the measure was taken verbatim from model legislation crafted by the right-wing, corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).