About two dozen union supporters marched in downtown Rhinelander Thursday evening, in opposition to the Right-to-Work bill currently working its way through the Wisconsin legislature.
Jackie Cody, president of the Northern Wisconsin Center for Working People said the legislation will affect those seeking employment now and in the immediate future. “The workers we see at the center hope to be part of a union,” she said. “That dream just got short-circuited.
Fr. Dean Einerson of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church recalled the historic struggles of labor unions in the early days, saying the corporations that support Right-to-Work don’t want to admit that without labor, they wouldn’t have their businesses or wealth.
“In spite of the thugs and the cops and the National Guard who clubbed and shot and jailed the organizers and the militants of the past, they can hear a voice that says, ‘labor creates all wealth’.”
Representative Rob Swearingen says he supports Right-to-Work, saying it will help the economy.
“It will help spur economic development, attract new businesses to the state, and grow wages in Wisconsin similar to the 24 other Right to Work states that have enacted similar legislation around our nation,” he wrote in an email to the Star Journal. “This legislation is a continuation of the positive government reforms pushed by the state Legislature.”
Swearingen also said the bill is about personal freedom. “Opponents would argue that this bill destroys unions, however, this legislation is neither pro-union nor anti-union, and it focuses on protecting and promoting worker freedom.”
The bill passed in the Senate on Tuesday. The Assembly is expected to take up the bill in the coming week.