Wisconsin was this year’s poster child for labor-related warfare in state capitols. Gov. Scott Walker, who already had whacked collective bargaining rights for most public sector workers in 2011, has rocketed to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates largely because of his anti-labor efforts. His rise is a vivid illustration of how strongly Republicans feel about the issue.
The battles this year over the legislation — perceived as free-market initiatives by proponents and anti-union by foes — reflect the tremendous power that Republicans have gained in state capitols following November’s elections and the declining political clout of organized labor in many states.
“The more states that pass right-to-work, the more pressure on the surrounding states to enact it,” said Michael Hough, a Maryland Republican state senator and director of ALEC’s Center to Restore the Balance of Government. “I think you’re going to see more of these bills. This is a trend.”
Labor Battles Heat Up in State Legislatures