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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

 1:54 PM 

Trade union leaders say wages, training would suffer under right-to-work

Terry McGowan, president and Business Manager for Operating Engineers Local 139, noted that the union puts $4 million annually into training without taxpayer money.

He said should wages stagnate or drop under right-to-work, union members may decide to stop funding those programs.

Mark Reihl of the Wisconsin State Council of Carpenters said that wage for carpenters are lower in right-to-work states.

He pointed out that hourly rates for carpenters are $10.48 lower per hour in Fargo, N.D. than in Madison.

He equated union membership as a condition of employment similar to mandatory overtime that potential employees consider when choosing where to work.

“Paying for the representation is just one of those decisions,” Reihl said.

He also said it is hard to attract people to the trades and good wages and benefits are part of what brings people in.

McGowan noted that there is a shortage of trades people in Iowa, which has right to work, because wages are too low to make a living. He said that Wisconsin contractors have to bring in Wisconsin workers when they win contracts due to lack of a local labor pool in the trades.


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