Walker: Right to Work bill a distraction

WiG and AP reports

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said this week that he hopes Republican leaders in the state Legislature do not focus on passing a so-called right-to-work bill.

Walker made the comments on Dec. 3, a day after Republican Rep. Chris Kapenga of Delafield said he planned to introduce right-to-work legislation during the upcoming session.

Walker did not say whether he would sign a possible bill, but reiterated that he is discouraging legislative leaders from taking up the issue.

He said it would be a distraction from priorities like balancing a budget, tax reform and other steps to help the state’s economy.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in July he didn’t intend to pursue the issue in 2015 but on Dec. 1 issued a statement saying he looked forward to discussing the benefits of becoming a right-to-work state.

In a statement earlier this week, in reference to a group lobbying for the bill, Wisconsin AFL-CIO president Phil Neuenfeldt said, “So-called Right to Work means fewer Wisconsin jobs, not more. Right to Work is a policy that attacks Wisconsin’s workers, our wages, our safety on the job and our middle class. Right to Work is nothing more than an attempt by corporate special interests to drive down wages and erode the middle class.

“The formation of this group is just another way for CEOs and multinational corporations to weaken unions and stack the deck even more in their favor, all at the expense of our middle class. It’s a power grab by the same people who ship our jobs overseas and offshore their profits to avoid paying taxes, shifting the burden to the rest of us — the same people who oppose raising the minimum wage and support privatizing Social Security.”

He said the Legislature should “focus on critical issues like creating good-paying jobs and reviving our sluggish economy.”