Right to Work in Wisconsin
By State Representative Jesse Kremer
There has been a lot of rhetoric and many a heated comment over the past two weeks regarding the recent introduction of "Right to Work" legislation in Wisconsin. As a new, conservative legislator, I would like to share two primary reasons why I support this issue: Right to Work will reinforce workers’ freedom to associate and will help our economy continue to grow.
It should come as no surprise to my constituents that I am in full support of this legislation. I ran for office with strong support for Right to Work, spelled it out in my flyers plain as day and was elected by a hefty majority. I do not feel that anyone should be coerced into joining a union, regardless of whether they are employed or will be employed by a union shop. This is simply a matter of freedom.
Concerning our state’s economy, I believe Right to Work will enhance Wisconsin’s attractiveness to potential new businesses and strengthen our middle class. According to state employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Right to Work states added more jobs and experienced faster job growth from 2004 - 2013 than non-Right to Work states. Wages also grew at a higher rate in Right to Work states; from 2003 – 2013, Right to Work states experienced an average growth rate of 15.1 percent compared to 8.2 percent in non-Right to Work states. Anecdotal evidence also shows that many businesses strongly favor Right to Work states over their union shop counterparts when considering where to locate and expand.
Let me be perfectly clear. I am not a union defender or antagonist. I have worked in two separate union organizations for over half of my adult life, and even voted for union representation at a previous employer that was taking advantage of its employees. However, I believe that employees should have the right to choose whether or not they wish to be represented by a union. If employees feel they can bargain for better wages or benefits on their own, more power to them! The freedom to associate is a fundamental American right, one that should not be abridged. Simply put, Right to Work is about worker freedom. I look forward to helping preserve and strengthen that freedom here in Wisconsin for generations to come.
Representative Jesse Kremer