Capitol Ideas

CSG Knowledge Center

Research Services

MLC Policy Resolutions

Stateline Midwest



‘Right to work’ law takes hold in another Midwestern state

by Tim Anderson ~ March 2015 ~ Stateline Midwest »
The third Great Lakes state in four years has passed so-called “right to work” legislation, a trend that has captured national headlines because of the region’s tradition as a union stronghold. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed SB 44 into law in March.
Indiana was the Great Lakes region’s first state to ban employer-union agreements in which individuals are required to become a member of a labor organization and pay dues to it. The proposal in Indiana sparked protests at the Statehouse and led Democratic members of the legislature to stage a weeks-long walkout of the 2011 session.
But the measure became law in 2012, and two years later, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality. Michigan became a “right to work” state in late 2012. (Opponents of these measures often dub them “right to work for less.”)
This year, the Wisconsin Assembly’s passage of SB 44 came after a marathon session of floor debate that lasted 24 hours, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The measure ultimately passed both chambers on near party-line votes. (One Senate Republican voted against it.)
In the Midwest, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio are now the only states that allow for employer-union agreements. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed this year to allow local communities to create “right to work zones” within the state.