Wisconsin Ready for Right To Work Law


Rep. Chris Kapenga speaks with Nick Novak of the MacIver Institute about his plans to introduce a Right To Work bill in Wisconsin.

“To me it is the single most important thing we can do to help move this economy forward,” Kapenga said.

The possibility of passing Right to Work was given a boost on Thursday morning when Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) told Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes that the senate would be willing to take the lead on discussing the legislation. Fitzgerald has been a long-time supporter of Right to Work and said the legislation would come up early in the session.

“While we do not know what a state-specific version of Right to Work will look like in Wisconsin, we owe it to the people of the state to have a true public policy discussion on the issue,” Fitzgerald said in a statement following the morning interview. “That means examining the laws of the 24 other states that have already adopted some version of these protections and working with representatives of the private sector to determine the best fit for Wisconsin.”

Kapenga mirrored Fitzgerald’s sentiment that the legislature would be looking at versions of Right to Work that other states have passed. But, he said the essence of the bill would simply allow “people to choose their union status.”

Gov. Scott Walker has not said whether or not he would actually sign a Right to Work bill, however.

When talking with reporters in Milwaukee on Wednesday, Walker said it would be a distraction, but stopped short of saying he would veto it.

“Right to Work legislation, right now, as well as reopening Act 10 to make any adjustments, would be a distraction from the work we are trying to do that helps employers,” Walker said.

The governor said he would rather focus on policies including tax reform, education reform and entitlement reform.

While Walker is not calling for Right to Work, it seems like the momentum for passing a bill is quickly gathering. Fitzgerald’s comments on Thursday seem to point to the support from his caucus and Kapenga told the MacIver Institute that many of his colleagues are enthusiastic about passing the legislation.

The exact language of Right to Work legislation is yet to be determined, but Fitzgerald said it could include some exemptions for certain organizations like operating engineers and the pipefitters’ union.