Labor Supporters March Against Right To Work Bill
About two-dozen picketers took to the streets of Rhinelander Thursday to protest the Right To Work measures moving through the Wisconsin legislature.
Speakers at the rally felt the bills would largely set Wisconsin on a path to lower wages, benefits and working conditions. The state Senate passed the bill largely along party lines with Republican Jerry Petrowski joining 14 Democrats opposed to the bill.
Kevin Koth is a union officer at the PCA Tomahawk Mill...
"....the fight is not going to be over. We are going to continue and we're going to be stronger coming out of this vote, I'm sure the Assembly has the votes to pass it but that doesn't mean this is going to be over...."
Koth says union wages often set the level for all non-union workers as well...
".....this bill affects everyone in this great state. It's not just the union workers. Wages are figured off the union wages that there is. This affects everyone at McDonald's or where they work this is not just a union busting bill..."
Other speakers said the Wisconsin legislature is marching to the tune of the national think tank American Legislative Exchange Council..
Northern Wisconsin Center For Working People President Jackie Cody said the idea of Right to Work started in Texas and should Wisconsin join, it would be state number 25. She says it continues a trend toward a lower standard for workers...
"....it lowers the bar for workers to earn a living wage, to have benefits, safe working conditions and a reliable retirement...."
Dean Einerson said Right to Work helps return Wisconsin to the days when big business controlled everyone's lives...
"....Right To Work means unions won't be able to build up strike funds, which takes away the one real tool unions have. Unions won't be able to train shop stewards and and local leaders to protect the rights and safety of the rank and file..."
Supporters of the right-to-work measure contend it could attract more businesses to the Midwestern state.
The Assembly is set to take up the bill next week. Representative Rob Swearingen indicated he will back the right to work bill.