Scott Walker signs a right-to-work bill into law Monday at
Badger Meter in Brown Deer. The new law, which takes effect
immediately, makes Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state
and the first to do it since Michigan and Indiana in 2012.
BROWN DEER - Wisconsin Gov. Scott
Walker on Monday signed into law a measure that prohibits
requiring a worker to pay union dues, four years after the
state effectively ended collective bargaining for
Walker, a likely presidential candidate
fresh off a weekend visit to Iowa, signed the right-to-work
bill affecting private-sector workers at an invitation-only
ceremony at Badger Meter north of Milwaukee. The company’s
president was one of the few business owners who publicly
supported the measure, which went through the Legislature in
less than two weeks.
His sleeves rolled up and his suit jacket
off, the Republican governor sat at a table with a banner
that said ‘‘Freedom to Work’’ as he signed the bill that
makes it a misdemeanor to require workers to pay unions
Just before the signing, Walker said the new
law ‘‘sends a powerful message across the country and around
Supporters have argued the law will help
keep and attract new businesses to the state who were wary
to spend in Wisconsin before. But opponents say it will
drive down wages and make the workplace less safe.
A coalition of more than 400 businesses
formed to oppose the bill and upward of 3,000 union members
and others gathered at the Capitol in a failed attempt to
block its passage.
Walker was surrounded Monday by Republican
lawmakers who shepherded the bill through the process,
including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority
Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Representatives from the state
chamber of commerce, along with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch,
were also on hand.
Badger Meter’s chief executive and chairman
Rich Meeusen said because of the law the company will place
a $2.5 million piece of new water control equipment at the
Brown Deer facility and that will lead to 30 to 50 new
manufacturing jobs in the state.
Walker left without taking questions.
The new law, which takes effect immediately,
makes Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state and the first
to do it since Michigan and Indiana in 2012.