Editor’s note: Since this article was originally published, Gov. Scott Walker signed the right-to-work law in Wisconsin.
My first job as a teenager back in 1976 was working as a blue-suited Andy Frain usher at sporting events at places like Wrigley Field in Chicago. When I took the job, I was required to join the local union and pay dues. My co-workers and I used to endlessly complain that the union was snatching money from our paychecks even though we were only paid the minimum wage. “What has this union ever done for us?” we all raged.
I think about that unpleasant experience a lot in the context of the debate raging in a handful of states over whether to adopt right-to-work legislation. On Friday, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed the legislation and will become the 25th state with a right-to-work law when Gov. Scott Walker signs the bill as promised. Wisconsin will join Michigan and Indiana as recent Midwestern, blue-collar states that have adopted this employee rights law.
Unions and the think tanks they fund are in an understandable panic. History shows that when workers aren’t forced to pay union dues and fees, they usually choose not to.