Skip to main content

Wisconsin debates right-to-work proposal this week

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Union rights are on the table again at the Wisconsin Legislature this week, and a bill being debated there could make the Badger State the 25th in the nation with right-to-work laws.

The Associated Press reports right-to-work laws don't allow labor deals between unions and business that require private-sector workers to pay union dues. Those in favor of the legislation see it as a way to boost the economy and workers' freedom of choice. Opponents believe it hurts unions.

The debate is bringing flashbacks to heated union talks in Wisconsin during 2011, when Gov. Scott Walker proposed and the Republican-controlled Legislature approved what was known as Act 10, restricting collective bargaining for public employee unions. The controversy led to the unsuccessful recall of Walker and several lawmakers.

Republicans are working to move quickly on the bill, due partly to the potential public backlash, the Associated Press reports. According to Reuters, leaders have talked about the proposal since December.

The Associated Press reports Walker, who is a potential presidential candidate, said recently he would sign the bill if passed. He actually sponsored a right-to-work bill in 1993 when he was in the Legislature.

Indiana and Michigan both passed similar laws in 2012, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Michigan saw a decline in union membership from 2013 - 2014, while Indiana saw an increase of members in the same time period.

Minnesota looked into right-to-work laws that year as well, but did not approve it.

A public hearing on the bill in Wisconsin is slated for Tuesday, followed by the Senate Labor Committee debate Wednesday. The Assembly vote is anticipated the first week of March.

Next Up

Winter scene snow storm snowfall highway driving traffic - Joe Nelson Feb 2022 4

Winter storm warning for Twin Cities: 6+ inches possible

The heaviest snow could move through the Twin Cities.

police lights

Carver man charged after standoff with police in Prior Lake

The man had been fleeing from police when he allegedly broke into a home and the standoff ensued.


41-year-old Sherburne County man killed after crashing car into ditch

The crash occurred Sunday night in Palmer Township.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 4.01.10 PM

Around 200 rescued after ice breaks free on Upper Red Lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.


Charges: Drunk driver almost struck Bemidji parade spectators

The man told police he was trying to attend the parade himself.


The SCHEELS Experience

Whether looking for reliable hunting and fishing gear or new clothing and shoes, Eden Prairie SCHEELS is a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family.


Charges: Man fatally shot ex's new partner as he dined at Bloomington restaurant

Criminal charges filed Monday detail an alleged motive in the shooting.


Metallica to perform 2 nights in Minneapolis on 2023-24 World Tour

The heavy metal rock band returns to the state for the first time since 2018.

snow, plow

Tuesday storm to dump plowable snow in Minnesota

Snow should reach the Twin Cities Tuesday morning and fall throughout the day.


Republican lawmakers propose right-to-work amendment

The constitutional amendment would not allow contracts to require employees to join unions or pay dues. Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville continues to stress the measure will not impact collective bargaining in Minnesota.