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Right to Work
In the past month, I have heard from constituents across the
17th senate district on all sides of the Right to Work issue.
After considering this input, I supported the proposed Right to
Work law and voted for it. If you would like to read the exact
language of the bill and the non-partisan Legislative Reference
Bureau (LRB) analysis that will tell you exactly what the bill
does – please follow this link:
Why did I vote for SB 44? - I am a strong believer in
workplace freedom. Workers should have the ability to choose
whether or not it is in their best interest to belong to a
union. If individuals believe that the union organization
adequately represents them, it should be the choice of the
employee to voluntarily pay dues to the labor organization.
There are many unions in our state that serve their members
well, including several in the 17th senate district. These
unions provide cutting-edge training, fair representation for
all workers and positive working relationships with employers.
However, there are some unions that do not provide these types
of services and there are workers who would prefer to speak for
themselves rather than being forced to pay dues without a voice.
I truly believe that the unions that are providing high quality
services and have positive relationships with their workers and
employers will continue to flourish in our state. I also firmly
believe that every worker should have a voice and a choice when
it comes to their employment.
Right to Work is also a jobs issue. Surveys have shown that the
majority of businesses consider Right to Work as an important
factor in their site selection processes. The 17th senate
district borders the state of Iowa, which is a right to work
state. The state of Iowa Economic Development Authority lists
its status as a Right to Work state as a benefit on their
website. Right to Work states experience higher economic growth,
wage increases, and manufacturing GDP than forced union states.
One of my priorities is bringing businesses with good-paying
jobs to Wisconsin. I believe that by passing Right to Work laws
in Wisconsin, we are creating a better place to foster economic
growth and giving power back to the individual worker.
Addressing concerns about the bill - Following are the common
concerns that have been shared with me about this legislation
over the last several days:
1. SB 44 is Union Busting – This is incorrect. SB 44
allows a worker to decide whether or not they want to join a
union at their workplace. It removes union-membership as a
condition of employment. In other words – you don’t have to be a
member of a union and pay dues to work in a place where a union
represents the workers.
If workers WANT a union – they are able to be members and form a
union in any company. If workers want the services provided by
the union and want a union to continue representing them, there
is nothing in this law that prohibits this practice to continue.
SB 44 does not dissolve unions. SB 44 does not make unions
illegal. SB 44 does not make unions less influential. SB 44 does
not take away the rights of unions to represent workers. SB 44
simply makes union membership optional.
2. SB 44 is government intrusion into private industry –
Actually, SB44 removes government from a person’s relationship
with their employer when it comes to forced union membership. By
giving a worker the choice whether to be a part of a union or
not, this legislation actually increases the private nature of
the relationship between a worker and their employer.
Under current law, companies with unions are forced – by the
government – to ignore the individual voices of workers and
defer to unions. Companies are forced – by law – to extract dues
from a worker’s paycheck. SB 44 gives the individual the choice
whether they want to pay dues or not.
3. SB 44 is an attack on the middle class – This
legislation provides a choice to workers (of all income levels)
to make their own decisions with regard to union membership.
Members who do not choose to continue membership in a union will
not be forced to continue paying dues. I fail to see how giving
a worker the freedom of choice is an attack. If anything, SB 44
gives able-bodied, educated, literate, intelligent people a
choice and a voice to speak for themselves if they so choose.
4. SB 44 gives companies the advantage and will allow
companies to hurt their workers. – This legislation does not
dissolve unions. It does not give a company new rights or
advantages over workers. SB 44 gives the WORKER a choice whether
to be a part of a union or not. If the worker has an advantage
by being a part of a union, they can remain as such.
However, there are many workers who do not feel that they are
being served by the union that they are currently FORCED to pay
dues to. SB 44 gives these workers the choice to be a member –
Some unions may decide to create new programs, improve
initiatives and provide better customer-service to retain
membership. This is up to them. As I said before, there are many
good unions in our state who are already providing extreme value
to their members and they will not have to re-tool in order to
5. SB 44 will decrease the pay of workers in our state –
Again, this legislation does not impact existing contracts,
relationships between unions and employers or relationships
between unions and workers who choose to be members. If workers
at a specific company choose to be part of a union – and
negotiate contracts together – they can do so. However, if an
individual worker chooses NOT to be a part of the union, they
will be able to negotiate their pay on their own. If a worker
believes that the union will do a better job in negotiating
their pay, it is their choice whether they will remain a member.
6. SB 44 forces unions to represent “free-riders” (those who
do not pay union dues) – This legislation does not force
unions to represent those who are not members. If, however, a
union seeks exclusivity in a company, they may choose to
negotiate this item in their agreement with the company. If,
however, a union does not negotiate for exclusivity, workers may
bring another union into a company or represent themselves and a
union may choose to avoid this potential competition.
Ultimately, the breadth of representation is purely up to the
It is my hope that the information in this response will help
you to understand why I voted for the legislation and how it
will truly impact residents of our state.
In the District
88th Anniversary of the Dodgeville Kiwanis Club
On Monday, I had the opportunity to present the Dodgeville
Kiwanis Club with a proclamation celebrating their 88 years of
service to the community and also join them in a celebration of
the 100th anniversary of the Kiwanis International Club. Thank
you for all of the work you do for the community!
*Pictured are: Myself, Dodgeville Kiwanis
President (and Iowa County Sheriff) Steve Michek, and
Representative Todd Novak.
Length of Time to Earn a Degree at the UW System
I found it interesting to see the average number of
semesters it took students to earn their degree at each of the
UW System schools. While there has been a lot of attention paid
to tuition increases over the past decade, a larger variable
impacting our students’ education cost is the number of
semesters it takes to earn a degree.
The below table shows the average number of fall and spring
semesters in which students who graduated with bachelor’s
degrees in 2011-12, the most recent year for which data was
readily available, enrolled.
The total cost of the degree to the student would depend on a
number of factors including whether the student took any time
off (which would mean the student started earlier and thus paid
a lower tuition rate in his or her first semesters), whether the
student enrolled part-time in one or more semesters (which would
mean the student paid less than the full-time tuition rate), and
whether the student lived on campus, off campus, or with family
Semesters to Degree for 2011-12 Graduates
Semesters to Degree
|UW System Total
*Source: Legislative Fiscal Bureau
Revenue Numbers: January 2015
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) recently released a
report detailing the general purpose revenue (GPR) taxes
collected by the agency for the month of January. Year to date
collections are for the first seven months of the fiscal year
ended June 30, 2015.
Collections to Date
|General Sales & Use
*Source: Wisconsin Department of Revenue, February 2015
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