Assembly to Discuss Right-To-Work Legislation Monday
By Kevin Carr, WSAW-TV (Channel 7)
Saturday's protests in Madison brought a message loud and clear-that right-to-work laws may become reality, but not without a fight.
"The teachers are right-to-work employees in the state and I've seen what it's done to them," Janesville Education Association President David Groth said. "In Janesville we have not had any significant movement for three years in our contracts."
The commotion isn't just felt outside the state capitol-it's felt within, too. Last Wednesday, the bill sparked hours of fierce debate among Senate Republicans and Democrats before being passed. Now, it's the Assembly's turn; and much like the Senate, representatives are divided with their position on right-to-work.
"It's a go forward basis, not a go backward basis," 86th District Representative John Spiros (R) said.
"I know without a doubt I will be opposing it on the floor," 71st District Representative Katrina Shankland (D) stated.
Spiros says right-to-work laws will free workers from paying union dues.
"The biggest thing is freedom of choice," Spiros explained. "And that's basically what keeps resonating. And I see that quite a bit and I hear that quite a bit. I've heard that from businesses, I've heard that from those who are in union, I've heard that from others who are not."
But Shankland says right-to-work laws would be a harsh blow to the middle class.
"In right-to-work states, the average wage for workers is $5-6,000 less than in states like Wisconsin," she argued. "And they want to keep the quality of living high here. They want to make sure that everyone who works hard has a fair shot."
A taste of what is likely to be heated debate in Monday's discussion on the Assembly Floor.