The Wall Street Journal reports that Wisconsin Republicans plan to move forward with right-to-work legislation, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is now on record saying he’ll sign the legislation should it pass.
Via National Journal: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said this week that he will sign right-to-work legislation if it gets to his desk.”
In a statement issued Friday, Walker press secretary Laurel Patrick said: “Governor Walker continues to focus on budget priorities to grow our economy and to streamline state government. With that said, Governor Walker co-sponsored right-to-work legislation as a lawmaker and supports the policy. If this bill makes it to his desk, Governor Walker will sign it into law.”
While Walker first rose to prominence among Republicans by taking on public sector unions in his home state, he elected to not make right-to-work a priority. He did however support similar legislation when he was in the Wisconsin legislator.
After Walker took on the public unions, he faced national protests from big labor and even had to endure a recall effort. He beat that back and also went on to win re-election.
What remains to be seen is what kind of opposition to the effort the Left may muster. It at least presents the potential to put Walker in the national headlines on that specific issue, which went a long way to building up his reputation with the GOP’s conservative base back in 2011.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, Republicans have backed similar efforts in other states with limited success in terms of passage. The passage and signing of similar legislation now would most likely bolster Walker’s role as a national leader on an issue popular with most Republicans.
Such laws have been popular among Republicans — seen as way to curb the political power of unions and their support for Democrats. Wisconsin is one of several states taking up such legislation after the GOP expanded its control in state capitals last fall. Twenty-four U.S. states already have such “right-to-work” laws, but only three have passed them in the last two decades: Oklahoma in 2001 and Michigan and Indiana in 2012.