Evers Takes Aim at Right-to-Work Law, Seeks Prevailing-Wage Protections

Democrat Gov. Tony Evers has called for the repeal of Wisconsin's right-to-work law and the restoration of prevailing-wage guarantees in public-works projects...

Gov. Tony Evers has called for the repeal of Wisconsin's right-to-work law and the restoration of prevailing-wage guarantees in public-works projects, despite critics' concerns that those proposals could become a drag on the state's economy.

The governor's February budget blueprint supports the elimination of the state's right-to-work statute, which restricts private employers from entering into agreements that compel union membership as a condition of employment or mandating the payment of dues to a labor union.

Evers also supports the restoration of the prevailing wage on state and local public-works projects to ensure that workers are not underpaid in comparison to employees performing similar tasks in the region.

Among the groups expressing concerns about the new Democratic governor's proposals is Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin, whose state director said the proposals would overturn protections on worker freedom and increase the cost of doing business in Wisconsin.

"Wisconsin's economy is roaring because of numerous pro-growth reforms over the last decade, but the labor reforms in this budget put that growth at risk," Eric Bott said in a prepared statement.

Not only would repeal of the right-to-work law limit worker choices about union affiliation, but it could be a drag on the state's ability to attract job creators, he said.

"Right to work lets Wisconsinites keep more of their paycheck, so that they can invest their hard-earned money in the things most important to them, like their families, local businesses and communities," Bott said in an email.

And Evers' support for a prevailing wage would be a bad deal for taxpayers, he said.

"The governor is supposed to stretch our tax dollars, not shrink them," Botts said. "Restoring prevailing wage would drive up the cost of every public-works project and pass those costs on to taxpayers. … Let's be clear, this doesn't benefit the average Wisconsinite. This benefits special interests."