There’s good and bad here.
Vos expressed reservations about attempting to rush right-to-work legislation during the next session. He did say, however, that people need to show how it would benefit the state before any proposals move forward.
“If the business community wants it, if activists want it, if employers want it, they need to make the case why having right-to-work in Wisconsin is good for growing jobs, bringing more companies here, having our economy grow and thrive,” Vos said.
Vos went on to say that he would not support an exemption for trade unions as a component of right-to-work legislation.
“Either you say people have the right to join the union or you don’t. Is it worth it or not?” he said.
The good is that Vos is making it clear that Right to Work is an all or nothing proposition. It sounds like he won’t stand for carve outs and exclusions.
The bad is that Vos is laying out a framework in which the only justification for passing Right to Work is is it will demonstrably improve the economy. If evidence from other states is any guide, it might – depending on what you are measuring. Right to Work tend to have a more dynamic economy and add jobs more quickly, but it is one piece in a much larger economic puzzle. Bearing in mind that only 12% of Wisconsin’s private workforce are members of unions, Right to Work will likely have a relatively small impact on the economy. But, as I said, judging from other states, it certainly won’t hurt.
As a conservative, which Vos generally is, he should also know that the more pressing reason for Right to Work is a moral one – not an economic one. No person should be forced to pay dues to a third party group as a condition of their employment. Period. It is immoral and unnecessarily restrains the liberty of the individual. There are rare times when there is a compelling state interest to restrict individual liberty, but this is not one of them. The only beneficiaries of a closed shop state are the unions who gain more dues. The state has no compelling interest to force people to give their hard-earned money to unions any more than to any other private organization.
Let us hope that Speaker Vos chooses to accept arguments outside of the rigid framework he expressed here.