Sen. Moulton Column: Right to Work Bill
Over the past few weeks, people have been debating whether or not the Right to Work bill is the best choice for Wisconsin. After careful consideration, I decided to vote for the bill and today I’d like to explain why I believe that Right to Work is right for Wisconsin.
Under current law, private-sector businesses can contract with a union to represent their employees. Individuals who are hired by these businesses are required to join the union and pay union dues. Right to Work gives hardworking Wisconsinites the freedom to choose whether to join a union or not. The Right to Work law does not make unions illegal or change the employer’s obligation to collectively bargain with unions. The Right to Work law does not require unions to represent employees who choose not to join the union.
One of the main concerns I’ve heard about Right to Work is this so-called “free rider” problem. Right to Work opponents are worried that unions will be forced to represent all employees, even non-union members. This is not true. The union can avoid the “free rider” problem by placing a “members-only” representation clause in their contract. The union chooses which employees to represent under current law and Right to Work does not change that.
Worker safety and training is another concern. The safety of our workers and quality of our workforce is important to me and Right to Work won’t reduce either of those things for Wisconsin workers. I’ve heard concerns that without mandatory union dues, unions will not be able to afford to train workers. The truth is that 95% of funding for union member training comes from the employer, not the union.
Opponents of Right to Work also think it will hurt our economy. The reality is that, between 2004 and 2013, the US Department of Labor reports that Right to Work states added more jobs, experienced faster job growth, and saw wages grow at a higher rate than non-Right to Work states. Jobs in Right to Work states grew by 5.3% during this time period, while non-Right to Work state job growth was just 2.1%. Additionally, wages in Right to Work states grew 15.1% during this time, while wages in non-Right to Work states grew 8.2%.
Right to Work also makes Wisconsin more attractive to businesses. Studies have shown that 75% of businesses consider locating in a Right to Work state as important or very important and about 50% of businesses won’t even consider locating in a non-Right to Work state.
Hundreds of union members and non-union members from across west-central Wisconsin shared their thoughts on Right to Work with me. I personally researched both the evidence and the arguments on both sides of the debate. After considering all of this information, I decided to support Right to Work because I believe it will help move Wisconsin forward.
As always, if you have questions or comments about any state-related issues you can contact me at www.SenatorMoulton.com