Wisconsin unions plan to bus workers in from around the state to demonstrate at the state capitol on Saturday against the impending adoption of a law that would ban private sector workers from being required to join a union or pay dues.
The bill, which was approved by the Republican-led state Senate on Wednesday, would make Wisconsin the 25th state to adopt a so-called “right-to-work” law. It is supported by Governor Scott Walker, a potential Republican presidential candidate.
Walker became a favorite of some in the Republican Party in 2011 when he pushed for a law to limit the power of public sector unions shortly after becoming governor. His support grew when he survived a union-backed recall election in 2012.
The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is organizing Saturday’s rally, which comes four years to the month after massive demonstrations at the state capitol by workers opposed to the limits then under consideration covering most unionized public sector workers.
Union members chanted “shame” as senators voted narrowly to approve a right to work law on Wednesday and moved it to the state Assembly, also controlled by Republicans, where a public hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Opponents cast the bill as an assault on organized labor and blue-collar workers that would limit union revenue and further erode the political power of organized labor. Supporters contend it could help to attract more jobs to Wisconsin.
The full Assembly is expected to vote on the measure within a week and Walker’s spokeswoman has indicated he will sign a bill if it gets to his desk. The measure as written would take effect upon the governor’s signature.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Bill Trott)