Empower Wisconsin | Feb. 18, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Nearly five years ago, Wisconsin became the 25th Right to Work State.
Now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats have passed a bill that would kill this vital worker freedom law and deliver generous gifts to their Big Labor friends.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would return nationally the kind of unchecked power unions have enjoyed in Democrat-controlled states, sharpening the teeth of the National Labor Relations Board to levy punitive fines against employers that don’t toe the union line.
It also aims to do what the Evers administration is looking to do in Wisconsin: make it more difficult for employers to classify workers as independent contractors, even if that is what they are. That could be a big shot in the arm for union membership, which has declined from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to 10.3 percent last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
And Pelosi’s PRO Act would effectively eliminate the authority of states to enforce their right-to-work laws that give private-sector employees the power to decide whether they want to be in unions or have portions of their pay checks confiscated by an organized labor group.
As MacIver News Service recently reported, union membership in Wisconsin has plummeted from 15.3 percent of the workforce to 8.3 percent over the past decade.
Passage in the House bill came after a long delay, but it appears to be going nowhere at present. The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to take it up. Still, the PRO Act is a big, sloppy wet kiss to big labor, and shows where the Dems’ allegiance ultimately lies.
The top 20 organized labor groups have dumped more than $50 million into the 2019-20 election cycle thus far — the vast majority of that money to liberal lawmakers and candidates.
Union money talks. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka threatened Democrats before the House passed the bill that he would withhold campaign cash from any Democrat who opposed the bill.
“Do not ask the labor movement for a dollar or a door know,” Trumka said, according to Politico. “We won’t be coming.”