Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said legislation that will weaken labor unions and burnish his image as a Republican presidential candidate wasn’t his brainchild.
At a bill-signing Monday, Walker said the push for the right-to-work bill, passed last week by the legislature, came from lawmakers themselves.
“Our leaders here led,” Walker, 47, said during a ceremony in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. “It was the leadership you see here who drove the train on this.”
The measure allows employees in union workplaces to opt out of dues and membership. Wisconsin becomes the 25th U.S. state to enact such a law, joining neighbors Iowa, Indiana and Michigan.
Before Walker’s November re-election, he’d said that he didn’t expect right-to-work to be taken up this legislative session, even calling it a “distraction.” After the Republican-controlled legislature began moving the bill, saying it would draw business, Walker said he’d sign it.
The signing was held at Badger Meter Inc., a suburban Milwaukee manufacturer of flow measurement and control technology. Chief Executive Officer Rich Meeusen last week threatened to move jobs from the state if the legislation didn’t pass.
“This is one more tool that will help grow good-paying, family-supporting jobs here in the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said. “It’s a huge incentive.”