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Friday, February 23, 2024

Right-to-work bill moves to State Assembly amid protests

The state Senate voted 17-15 to pass the right-to-work bill Wednesday amid two days of protests. The state Assembly is now poised to debate the proposal. 

The next step for the contested bill is a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Labor Monday at 10 a.m. 

The Senate public hearing ended early, leaving many unable to voice concerns. Democrats in the Assembly looking ahead hope to “ensure every effort is made to allow for public input on this extremely damaging bill for Wisconsin working families,” Assembly Democrats said in a joint statement.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, believes it will be an economic boost for the state, making Wisconsin a more competitive atmosphere for business.

State Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, said in a statement the bill “will drive down wages, hurt job creation, harm our economy and further divide our state.”

“Gov. [Scott] Walker is using so-called ‘Right to Work’ as a smokescreen to distract the public from his disastrous budget while he runs around the country courting Republican primary voters,” Sinicki said in the statement.

Opposition to the right-to-work bill drew thousands to the state Capitol Saturday.

Although the tone of the rally was similar to those organized earlier in the week, Saturday’s protest, organized by the Wisconsin chapter of the AFL-CIO, had a greater sense of urgency after the bill passed in the Senate.

“The real question is who wants this,”said John Schmitt, President of the Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council. “This isn’t good for Wisconsin. Make no mistake: right-to-work is designed to divide us.”

The Assembly is the last step for the new right-to-work bill before going to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk, who has pledged to sign it.

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