After 12-hour hearing, Assembly expected to take up right-to-work Thursday

Dem lawmakers finished off an Assembly public hearing on right-to-work by demanding a committee vote on the bill.

But all signs point to the Assembly taking up the Senate version of the legislation on Thursday and skipping a committee vote.

The Assembly Labor Committee heard nearly 12 hours of testimony yesterday, going two hours longer than expected.

Gerald Miller, a member of United Steelworkers Local 1343 at Caterpillar Global Mining in South Milwaukee, opposed the bill, saying it would, among other things, damage safety efforts at work and charity programs in the community.

“I think this is an overreach,” Miller told Assembly Labor Committee members, “and there are going to be repercussions to that overreach you haven’t seen yet.”

Miller said his union donates to Little League, parades, abuse shelters and local police events, among other things.

“If we have membership drop-off,” Miller said, “we have less funds to put in the community.”

He said a drop in membership also would diminish safety efforts the union has undertaken at Caterpillar, which he said has a state-of-the-art safety program.

But Terry Bowman, president of Union Conservatives, argued right-to-work is pro-worker because it forces union leaders to be more attentive to their members’ needs.

Bowman, who said he has been a dues-paying UAW member for more than 18 years, said forced unionization gives labor officials a monopoly over workers and no incentive to spend members’ money wisely because they’re required to financially support them regardless of the job they do.

Right-to-work, he said, puts power back in the hands of workers.

“Forced solidarity is a contradiction. It is no solidarity at all,” Bowman said.

See more from the hearing in Quorum Call blog