Say Yes to Freedom

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

hesitateWisconsin residents strongly support the right to join a labor union.

So do we,— along with the equal and opposite right to refuse to join one. So do most Wisconsin residents, according to a recent survey by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI).


Well, the principle that employees should have the freedom to join or not join a union clearly has majority support statewide; no one prevented from joining, no one forced to join. That principle would be codified in the Wisconsin Statutes if right-to-work legislation is enacted, ending the legal reality in many workplaces where people are forced to either join a union or fore go the job.

So it’s dismaying to see Wisconsin’s top elected Republicans playing a sort of prevent defense against union retaliation by hesitating to give the people of this state what a solid majority of them say they should have: the freedom to decide whether union membership is good for them individually.

Ironically, in most public-sector jobs, where unionization is far stronger than in the private sector, that freedom has existed since the 2011 Act 10 reforms. The heaviest lifting has already been done.

Now, more than 58 percent approve of Wisconsin labor unions, but nearly two-thirds say no one should be forced to join.

Conservatives who try to tiptoe away from right-to-work subject themselves needlessly to considerable risk for little or no reward. The segment of the electorate who would oppose them over a right-to-work law can’t possibly detest them any more than it already does. The somewhat larger segment that supports them—if election results over the past four years have any meaning—could start to question the Conservative commitment to individual liberty and a growth agenda.


Nothing will be successfully defended by begging those questions.

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