Walker signs Wisconsin ‘right to work’ bill

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Maybe now businesses will notice that Wisconsin is “Open for Business.” In the New York Times, Monica Davey reports that Gov. Scott Walker has signed the “right to work” bill that was fast-tracked through the legislature. The effects of the laws on unions are hard to gauge: “In Michigan, the percentage of workers in unions has dropped to 14.5 percent from 16.6 percent before the changes. Yet in Indiana, the percentage of union members actually grew to 10.7 percent from 9.1 percent in 2012 … In Wisconsin, the percentage of workers in unions has dropped to 11.7 percent in 2014 from 14.2 percent in 2010, before Mr. Walker took office.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva and Rep. Keith Ellison have an op-ed in the Guardian opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  They’d like to see a new standard for these big trade deals: “The US must stop using trade agreements as investment deals for the world’s wealthiest corporations and instead prioritize higher wages, safer work and environmental standards and a healthier world economy. Trade agreements should improve the bottom lines of all Americans, not just of American corporations — or else we shouldn’t enter into them at all.” 

Have you noticed that it’s nice out? It might be getting even nicer. Per the Pioneer Press’ Andy Rathbun, the latest forecast for the Twin Cities shows temperatures above 60°F on Tuesday and Thursday. “If Tuesday’s high reaches that milestone, it would be 22 degrees above the 30-year average high for the day and the first 60-degree day since Oct. 27.”

But what’s good for human sanity is bad for ice caves. If you didn’t get out to the Lake Superior ice caves in the last couple of weeks, you’ve only got till 7 p.m. before they are closed for the season, according to Jennifer Brooks in the Star Tribune. For a short season, this is pretty impressive: “In the nine days the caves were open and accessible to visitors this season, 36,000 people trekked across the slippery surface of Lake Superior to marvel at the glittering caves. This weekend alone, the park service saw 17,000 visitors.”

Is Tom Emmer the new voice of reason in Congress? MPR’s Bob Collins finds the 6th District Republican, successor to Michele Bachmann, “has distinguished himself as the practical kind of politician people insist they want in Washington.”

In other news…

The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the decision to throw out the most serious charges against the Waseca school attack plotter. [KSTP]

A St. Paul coin dealer has been charged with bilking clients out of $750,000. [Star Tribune]

Mesabi Daily News executive editor Bill Hanna talks to Rep. Rick Nolan about his daughter Katherine’s battle with cancer. [Mesabi Daily News]

Dan Kraker reports from Chippewa National Forest on the way climate change may accelerate the spread of emerald ash borer. [MPR]

Behold, the hockey hair:

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/09/2015 - 02:18 pm.

    Right To Work

    And here all this time we were worried about Minnesota becoming a cold Mississippi. Well, no matter how bad it gets at least we can say we’re not Wisconsin!

    • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 03/09/2015 - 07:28 pm.

      Minnesota liberals….

      seem to know so much about the southern states, especially Mississippi. Since few of them here have lived elsewhere, I wonder how they know so much.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 03/09/2015 - 08:36 pm.

        And I wonder

        how you arrived at the assertion that “Minnesota liberals” have never lived anywhere else?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/09/2015 - 11:21 pm.

        Lived there

        Convinced me that I never want to return to the South, even for a visit. Only took three months, living in a small backwater town to realize that for those folks, Jim Crow never ended, and never will. If I hadn’t needed the work experience, I’d have left after a week. For reference, I was about thirty minutes east of Greenville, about dead center of the Delta. Scary, depressing place, and frightening as a point of pride for conservatives.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/09/2015 - 11:24 pm.

        But then

        I’m a refugee Wisconsin liberal, looks like I’ll have to remain such for the rest of my days, as I’ll never go back with conservatives in power.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/09/2015 - 04:58 pm.

    We welcome Wisconsin to the land of free association!

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/09/2015 - 08:27 pm.

      Free association


      Also lower wages and “at-will” employment.


    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/09/2015 - 08:36 pm.

      Or More Correctly

      The Land of the Free Riders. Back in the day, conservatives hated when someone got something for free (like union representation and union-negotiated benefits) while someone else picked up the costs. My, how times have changed.

      And if conservatives were so high on “free association”, they’d be all in favor of coming down hard on employers who fire an intimidate employees who are engaging in union organizing activities. Alas, they fight hard to keep current labor law, which is virtually no impediment to such harassment.

      Few people know that while illegally fired employees are paid back wages if and when (after much legal foot-dragging) they are reinstated, the criminal employer is allowed to deduct any wages said employee has earned in the mean time.

      So what say you, Mr. Swift, will you join progressives in reforming labor law to impose real penalties on employers that prohibit “free association”? Seems like the thing to do in a democracy.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/10/2015 - 03:47 pm.

      The real mean household income in WI

      Is already around $8000 less than in MN. The spread will only get larger now. Welcome WI to the land of nothing.

  3. Submitted by jason myron on 03/09/2015 - 08:35 pm.

    Free association with what?

    Poverty? The right to not be protected against employer bias or retaliation? The right to be paid lower wages and benefits? Thanks, but no thanks.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/09/2015 - 09:24 pm.

    Yup the “Right to Work

    for Peanuts,”…

    or whatever else we want to pay you.

    As the economy in Wisconsin circles the U-bend,…

    I suspect surrounding states, including Minnesota, will be only too happy to welcome those seeking well-paying jobs with benefits,…

    or a decent education for their children (at every level),…

    or some reasonable level of intelligent governance.

    The departure of those who know enough to do so will leave behind a work force far less desirable to ANY business enterprises that might be attracted to Wisconsin,…

    and their influx into surrounding states will further lift the economy of Minnesota (among others).

    I’d suggest that the last person to leave Wisconsin should turn out the lights,…

    but I suspect that state will long since have cut taxes to the point where it could no longer pay the light bill for the lighting on those “Wisconsin, open for business” signs by that time (within the next year or so).

  5. Submitted by Larry Piumbroeck on 03/10/2015 - 04:02 pm.

    A sad day for Wisconsin

    The reason Wisconsin is so familiar with this union busting southern strategy is that it is proven legislation that comes to them courtesy of ALEC. Walker, ALEC, Koch Brothers. What Democracy? What we now have is a combination of Fascism and Oligarchy.

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