Saturday, December 6, 2014

Don't be fooled -- Gov. Walker is "playing coy" with right-to-work

Walker is showing reluctance for a right-to-work bill, but his record and past statements suggests he's all for it

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Where exactly does Gov. Scott Walker stand on right-to-work in Wisconsin? In recent days, it would seem that the governor doesn’t care all that much about it. Don’t be fooled -- his past record says otherwise.

  • Walker, as a freshman legislator in the Wisconsin Assembly, supported right-to-work legislation. He went so far as to co-sponsor SB 459, the bill that would have instituted right-to-work as law in the state in the early 1990s.

  • In 2011, Scott Walker was asked if he’d bring right-to-work legislation to the state by billionaire donor Diane Hendricks. In a video of their conversation, Walker told Hendricks, who has given more than half a million dollars to the governor in campaign funding, assured her that we’d someday become a right-to-work state:
    Hendricks: Any chance we’ll get to be a completely red state? You know, work on these unions...

    Walker: Oh yeah.

    Hendricks: ...and become a right-to-work? What can we do to help you?

    Walker: Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all the public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.
  • And now, Walker is avoiding the topic altogether, even as the state senate plans to go forward with right-to-work. He calls the proposal a distraction, and would rather lawmakers wouldn’t focus on it right now. Yet he hasn’t said he would veto such a bill either.
So would he sign a bill implementing it if it comes to his desk? You should disregard Walker’s attempts at being coy, and assume that yes, he will sign such a bill into law.

A bill would be a distraction, and one that a potential presidential candidate like Walker wouldn’t want on his front lawn. Indeed, protests could again come to Madison if right-to-work is passed or even proposed.

Walker is trying to stifle the fallout that would come from putting forward a right-to-work bill himself. He’s learned from his attacks on collective bargaining that he shouldn’t make himself the target. Instead, he’s going to pretend like he doesn’t want the law least now. Let Sen. Scott Fitzgerald take the heat. As long as Walker doesn’t have to deal with it directly, it will be fine.

It’s a move that worked for Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder. In the days leading up to his state passing right-to-work, Snyder said it wasn’t a priority for him to pass...and then he signed the bill hours after it was sent to his desk.

Snyder won re-election to his office this year.

Let’s not kid ourselves here -- Walker is going to do the same thing, should right-to-work make it to his desk. “I didn’t ask for this,” he’ll say, “but since it’s here, I might as well.”

Don’t fall for it -- understand that Walker has always been a proponent of right-to-work laws, which limit workers’ rights and cuts workers wages, as well as increases the likelihood of workplace accidents and deaths.

We don’t need that in Wisconsin -- and we need to tell the governor, as well as our other elected leaders, to put an end to right-to-work (for less) in our state.

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