Walker says no to right-to-work in Wisconsin

GRAND CHUTE — At a "Talk with Walker" event at Surface Mount Technologies in Grand Chute, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he doesn't believe right-to-work legislation such as that which recently passed in Michigan is a good idea for Wisconsin.

"I just think it would be a huge distraction right now."

Walker says people are ready to move past the divisiveness of the Act 10 changes made in 2010, which curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees. The Republican said the right-to-work movement is different than what the Wisconsin Legislature passed.

"We really didn't target unions, what we did was stand up for taxpayers," he said.

State Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton) says she doesn't believe that means right-to-work won't still come up in the Legislature.

"Their passing this and they way they did it is not good from my perspective. I think Michigan being the first state in the Midwest to do it could give other states 'oh well maybe we should think about this, maybe we could do this.' I don't think it's a good idea, I don't support right-to-work laws."

Walker did not say he wouldn't sign right-to-work legislation if it crossed his desk, just that he wouldn't push it as part of his agenda.

"Every state is a little bit different. For us, we did what was right for Wisconsin," Walker said. "If other states have taken bits and pieces from our success - I mean, if any state, whether it was them or anyone else, looks at Wisconsin, it is because of our success," he said.

Still, Bernard Schaber says she and other Democrats will be ready for the possibility.

"There is a chance, there are other legislators who want right-to-work to happen here, so we have to pay close attention to it and if it's not the right thing for Wisconsin, then we have to make sure we don't allow that to happen," she said.

Something many people in this state and others will be watching when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

The Legislature's first day back in session will be Jan. 7. Republicans will hold a majority in both the Assembly and Senate.

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Wisconsin (change)

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
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Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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