As Legislature takes up “Right-to-Work,” demonstrations extend from Madison to Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Legislature has set an "extraordinary session" to debate so-called "Right-to-Work" legislation. This, as union leaders prepare for big rallies -- and protests on this issue won't be exclusive to the Capitol in Madison. A rally to stop Right-to-Work in Wisconsin was held Zeidler Union Square in Milwaukee on Monday evening, February 23rd. This, as labor leaders from across the state are planning big rallies at the Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We are going back to the Capitol, and it's standing together that's gonna turn things around," Christine Neuman-Ortiz with Voces de la Frontera said.

A public notice was posted outside the Senate chamber at the Capitol on Monday -- the first step in the process -- proclaiming the Legislature has called itself into an "extraordinary session" to deal with Right-to-Work. This, as about 200 people rallied against Right-to-Work in Milwaukee Monday evening.

"We have no voice in our workplace anymore," Andrew Urban said.

"It's just being pushed through and their rights are suddenly gonna vanish," Babette Grunow said.

The bill would ban contracts between businesses and unions in which workers are required to pay union dues. Twenty-four other states currently have Right-to-Work laws in place. Wisconsin's measure would go an extra step -- making it a crime punishable by nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Organizers of Monday evening's rally in Milwaukee are calling the Right-to-Work legislation an attack on the working people of Wisconsin. They say it will weaken their ability to bargain for better wages and decent working conditions.

They also believe it will result in lower pay and fewer health benefits.

Advocates of Right-to-Work say it's a policy that gives the workforce more freedom and makes businesses more competitive. The president of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is pro-Right-to-Work. In a statement, he says:

"The Legislature needs to move swiftly to pass Right-to-Work to provide freedom to workers and improve our business climate."

As part of Monday night's rally, demonstrators were asked to contact their local legislators, and with help from police, they also marched through the streets of downtown. There's even talk of a general strike next week.

"I think the people that are drafting the Right-to-Work legislation are picking a fight, and I think they're gonna get one," Cas Schwerdtfeger said.

"It`s about waking up the working class in Wisconsin to the issue. That`s what this is all about," Ginsberg said.

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  • Chris Multerer

    This is how stupid the non-educated, union, humanoids are. It’s all about not being forced to pay union DUES !! What part of this don’t they understand ? Best part is, no dues, no revenue for the unions, they dry up and blow away. You don’t need a union to speak for you today. It’s 2015, not 1915. They brainwash the ham and egger’s with their bull$#%%. Get a clue.

  • Michael

    Right to work Legislation? Think about that people. You unemployed? You that have to pay Union due’s, yet seeing the Union doing nothing for you. Union’s are on the side of, You don’t have a right to work, unless they say so. I worked ten years for a Unionized shop. The only use they were was to keep slack off’s. People that shouldn’t have a job cause their incompatent, employed. A majority of the time the Union sided with managment We’d take wage concesion’s, and then we’d get told Union Due’s had to rise so Union leaders could nagociate better contract’s. What? My daughter is right now learning how usless Union’s can be. She is working through a Employment agency for a Mortgage company in Milwaukee that is Unionized. . She has been told she is putting out to high a quality work, and it is making the Union worker’s look bad. One of her job’s is to check for mistakes on applications for Mortgage. She has told me that about 2% of the applications are comming through correct. When brought to the attention of the store manager. Who so happens to be head of the Union. My daughter is told “mind your own business. Nice. No wonder the Mortgage industry is screwed up. So what good is a Union? Price’s have jumped because of Unions, and they don’t care if you pay more. Fuel prices are on the rise. Part of the reason. Union’s are striking the refinneries. GREAT! How is that helping? People think before you back these fool’s. Mamy of you aren’t working because of Unions.

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