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Gov. Scott Walker Says He Won't Pursue or Reject Right-to-Work

Despite first authoring a right-to-work bill 20 years ago, Gov. Walker said pursuing the legislation now would be a distraction, but he also wouldn't reject it if a bill came across his desk.

**Updated 2:40 p.m., Dec. 12

Legislators in Michigan Tuesday passed right-to-work legislation, and folks on both sides of the issue here in Wisconsin were watching closely.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder told NBC News that he supports collective bargaining, but forcing employees — public or private — to join a union and/or pay union dues was taking away workers' freedom of choice. The two bills he signed bans making union membership a condition of employment for both public and private workers.

Protests in Lansing certainly looked familiar to Wisconsin residents. With shouts of "Shame on you" aimed at lawmakers and crowds clogging the state capitol, some Wisconsinites probably experienced a sense of deja vu.

Here in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker told reporters Wednesday in Pewaukee that he will not actively pursue right-to-work legislation here because it would be a distraction away from focusing on job creation.

In an email to Patch Thursday, a spokesperson for Walker confirmed that RTW takes attention away from the governor's agenda.

"Governor Walker is focused on his budget priorities: creating jobs, developing our workforce, transforming education, reforming government, and investing in infrastructure. Anything outside of that is a distraction from the agenda the Governor has laid out," Deputy Communications Director Julie Lund wrote.

Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is Speaker of the Assembly and he said he has no plans to introduce right-to-work legislation when lawmakers return to Madison in January.

Recovering from the recall elections is another reason Walker isn't interested in rocking Wisconsin workers' boat right now, and he defended Act 10 as standing up for state taxpayers.

"We really didn't target unions, what we did was stand up for taxpayers," he said during a Tuesday visit to Grand Chute.

Maureen Martin is a senior fellow for legal affairs with the Heartland Institute and is a Wisconsin resident. Overwhelmingly, top staffers there support right-to-work.

“And all of the taxpayers in this country paid for the destruction to the Michigan auto industry brought to its knees by union overreaching. Despite these subsidies, GM still went through bankruptcy and has not yet recovered," she wrote in a written statement from the Institute. "Yet automakers in right-to-work states are thriving. The handwriting is on the wall; the teachers evidently can’t read.”

Wisconsin state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, opposes right to work legislation because, he said, employees can benefit from a union's representation without paying for it.

"Unions work to get a fair deal for the employees they represent so if workers aren't paying dues, they aren't paying for representation they benefit from," he said.

Plus, he added, arguments supporting right-to-work prove empty when fair share rules are in place so that employees only pay for collective bargaining.

"There's no good argument to be had then for right-to-work," Lehman added.

morninmist December 17, 2012 at 07:15 PM
constant lies coming from @GovWalker does not make WI a state condusive to business. Monday, December 17, 2012 Forbes Ranks Wisconsin 42nd For Business Two years of Scott Walker's "Open For Business" slogans, corporate tax breaks and ideological scapegoating of public employees haven't been building a business climate in the state, finds Forbes. The magazine ranks the state 42nd nationally. http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/
morninmist December 17, 2012 at 07:25 PM
walker is NOT good for WI. @Progress2day @GovWalker Wisconsin's top jobs agency faces scrutiny from audit, Senate panel jsonline.com/news/statepoli… #wipolitics #wiunion
morninmist December 18, 2012 at 09:49 PM
@Progress2day @GovWalker Economic Destruction Corporation – Another Scandal Brewing http://www.politiscoop.com/us-politics/wisconsin-politics/1639-walker-s-economic-destruction-corporation-another-scandal-brewing.html … #wipolitics ....This is the same department Walker has been counting on to help create 250,000 new jobs, a number that is now acknowledged as impossible to attain. The Wisconsin State Journal Reported: The problems at WEDC are so serious, said Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, that if its problems can't be fixed over the next year, it should be dismantled, and the state should return to its previous Department of Commerce. "I still think WEDC can be successful," Barca, a WEDC board member, told the Senate economic development committee during a meeting Monday about the agency. "But I think WEDC needs a short leash. Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate released this press statement: "Scott Walker continues to lie around the state about his failure to reach 250,000 jobs. Now we find his pet agency to create jobs is a $19 million failure, complete with bid-rigging and allegations of outright corruption. Scott Walker is hoping that if he repeats his lies enough, the press and the people will believe them, but with each passing day, we see that not only is he corrupt and extreme, he also is incompetent,"
morninmist December 19, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Good news. Michigan GOP governor's approval rating PLUMMETS after signing anti-union legislation http://huff.to/XF8uZq
morninmist December 19, 2012 at 06:15 PM
http://voicesnewspaper.blogspot.com/2012/12/more-walker-disinformation-missing-19.html .............Even though credit cards charges were regularly made without approval and many accounting journal entries were made with absolutely no documentation and other irregularities, both situations usually taken as a red-flag for fraud, Scott Walker today proclaimed of his troubled WEDC: The vast majority of the people at the WEDC are doing good work. We've just got to make sure that the other things are corrected so that stays the focal point now and in the future. Coming from a man like Scott Walker who regularly uses doublespeak and deception, it makes no sense that the media wants to prop this up -- but they continue to do so. This misleading pronouncement came at the same meeting where Walker's DOA mislead that they were going to take over assignment of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) -- what actually happened is HUD withheld any more monies after Walker's signature quasi-private board illegally gave money out previously. Not only did HUD force DOA's hand, there was actually no money being released to Wisconsin for WEDC to disperse, but the feds are investigating the grants that were given out in violation of federal and state rules, regulations, and laws. It appears likely Wisconsin will have to pay money back and, if laws have been broken, there could be other action as well. ...

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