The caller, it turned out, had worked at the company for about a decade but was never a union member because he didn’t see the need.

“It was too many people like you that thought, ‘Why do I need a union? This company will treat me right,’” Winklbauer told the man, adding he would need to have at least 90 percent of the employees on board before they could talk.
With Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in control of state government since 2011, there haven’t been many legislative victories for unions to celebrate. Act 10, the law eliminating most collective bargaining for public unions, drew tens of thousands of protestors to Madison, but Walker ultimately won the related 2012 recall election. A Dane County judge put right-to-work on hold, but an appellate court stayed the ruling and ultimately sided with the state. The latest state budget repealed prevailing wage, which set compensation on state construction projects, and Walker used his veto pen to make it effective immediately.

Act 10 was directed at public sector unions and Ken Kraemer, executive director of Building Advantage, a nonprofit that promotes the hiring of union construction contractors and tradespeople, pointed out prevailing wage will affect union and non-union workers, but right-to-work has the biggest potential to weaken private sector unions over the longer term.

“It takes numbers to make things happen and companies watch,” Winklbauer said.