Shortly after Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed right to work legislation into law in Wisconsin Monday, President Obama condemned the legislation, expressing how “disappointed” he was and encouraging Walker to raise wages and offer paid leave.
Wisconsin became the 25th state to sign right to work legislation into law, barring language in labor agreements that forces workers to join unions. “I’m deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy,” Obama said in his statement Monday responding to the new law.
Wisconsin is a state built by labor, with a proud pro-worker past. So even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I’d encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans — by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them the security of paid leave.
“That’s how you give hardworking middle-class families a fair shot in the new economy — not by stripping their rights in the workplace, but by offering them all the tools they need to get ahead,” added Obama.
Walker, widely viewed as a potential candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, responded to Obama shortly thereafter. “The Freedom to work law continues to put the power back in the hands of Wisconsin workers by allowing the freedom to choose whether they want to join a union and pay union dues,” he said in a statement of his own.
Freedom to work, along with our investments in worker training and our work to lower the tax burden will lead to more freedom and prosperity for all Wisconsin.
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.