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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

 1:49 PM 

Unions rally against right-to-work



Chanting “What’s disgusting? Union-busting,” union members from across the state gathered outside the state Capitol today to protest so-called right-to-work legislation.

The state Department of Administration estimated between 1,800 and 2,000 people attended the rally, at which union leaders called on legislators to abandon right-to-work and focus on improving public schools, raising wages, rebuilding roads and making health care more affordable.

“This will end up being one of the darkest chapters in organized labor’s history if Wisconsin becomes the 25th state to succumb to a right-to-work law,” said Phil Gruber, of the machinists union.

Wisconsin’s adopting right-to-work, which would prohibit unions from requiring workers pay union dues or fees, would bring about unnecessary change that would hurt workers, said John Drew, international servicing representative for the United Auto Workers, adding that no one has been forced to join a union since 1947.




“Everything about right-to-work is a lie,” he said. “It’s a political attack on labor dressed up as worker freedom.”

And it is an attack that will succeed, said Tim Johnson, who traveled to the rally from Pewaukee and is a retired member of Laborers Local 113 in Milwaukee.

Johnson said he had more than one reason to attend the rally. He said he has two children in the University of Wisconsin System, which faces a $300 million cut through Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget, and his wife was in a union and hopes to retain her pension.

Still, Johnson said, right-to-work will pass in Wisconsin no matter what union members say.

“Hopefully, we’ll open other eyes to what’s going on,” he said, “not necessarily here, but in the rest of the country.”


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