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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law anti-union legislation that prohibits union workers from being required to pay union dues. The so-called right to work law is an effort to reduce the power of unions in the Midwestern state and is one that will give Walker additional conservative bona fides in his likely presidential bid.
Walker refused to indicate during his reelection campaign in 2014 if he would support the legislation. His signature Monday morning makes Wisconsin the 25th state to implement the ban that was passed by the Republican legislature earlier this month.
Opponents of the bill say it will decimate unions and have a ripple effect of suppressing the ability of workers to organize while supporters, including Walker, say that this will lead to economic growth.
“Adjusted for cost of living, employees in forced unionization states have almost $2,000 less in disposable income. Bottom line, this reform is pro-freedom and pro-work for Wisconsin,” Walker wrote in a recent opinion piece for the conservative website Red State.
This is the second major anti-union legislation that Walker has supported. In 2011, he ushered through highly controversial legislation titled Act 10 that reduced the bargaining power as well as health care and pension benefits of public sector unions. The move led to a recall election, which Walker won.
Walker’s union-related actions are receiving praise in Republican circles and is sure to give him additional credentials nationally if he vies for the Republican presidential nomination.
Walker’s signing ceremony comes on the heels of a weekend trip to the early presidential nominating state of Iowa where he spoke at an agriculture summit and attended a fundraiser. A couple dozen union members protested two events he attended Saturday in Iowa.
- Leigh Ann Caldwell