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Right-To-Work Vote Coming Next Week, Say Republican Lawmakers

Walker's Office Confirms Gov Will Sign The Bill

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Wisconsin State Legislature.

Republican leaders said Friday that the Legislature will convene next week to pass a right-to-work bill banning mandatory union shops in the private sector, and a spokeswoman for Gov. Scott Walker said Walker will sign it.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes Friday morning that he has the votes he needs right now to pass right-to-work.

“The theory is, when you have the votes, you gotta go,” Fitzgerald said.

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Fitzgerald said Walker had been supportive of his efforts behind the scenes.

“As a matter of fact, I talked to the governor earlier in the week about it just telling him ‘I think I’m very close.’ I said I’m literally down to one or two senators. And I told him, I said, ‘If we get the votes, governor, I have to go.’ And he understands that,” Fitzgerald said.

Walker has said repeatedly that right to work would be a distraction, but spokeswoman Laurel Patrick issued a statement Friday saying that “if this bill makes it to his desk, Gov. Walker will sign it into law.”

The Senate vote will take place in an extraordinary session. Fitzgerald explained that the decision to fast-track the process was made, in part, to forestall any attempt by opponents to kill the bill.

“It was in peoples’ minds that, you know, why are we waiting around and are we waiting for that to happen? Why don’t we go, we’ve got the 17 votes,” he said.

“Because otherwise, if we give the unions the opportunity to load … that changes the dynamics and I’m not going to wait around for that,” Fitzgerald added.

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO said the move would lower wages for all workers, calling it “an attempt to end unions as we know them.”

Top Democrats also spoke out against the bill. Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling called the extraordinary session “absurd,” while Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca charged that the move was an attempt by Republicans to deflect attention from the governor’s budget proposal.

Fitzgerald said Republican senators believe the lack of a right-to-work law is keeping corporations from locating or expanding in Wisconsin. He said the Senate will hold a public hearing Tuesday, the full Senate will pass it Wednesday and the Assembly will take it up the week after that.