Obama Calls Out Walker For Ending Mandatory Union Dues

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President Barack Obama called out Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Monday for signing legislation that ends mandatory union dues in the state.

The policy, known as right-to-work, is now law in 25 states with Wisconsin being the latest and several others considering it. While supporters argue that workers should have the right to choose whether they want to be in a union, opponents often claim it hurts the middle class by giving employers too much power over their workers.

“It’s no coincidence that the rise of the middle class in America coincided in large part with the rise of unions — workers who organized together for higher wages, better working conditions, and the benefits and protections that most workers take for granted today,” the president declared in a statement Monday evening.

Many on the left oppose right-to-work policies. In January, the president reaffirmed his commitment to organized labor by calling for laws that strengthen unions.

“So it’s inexcusable that, over the past several years, just when middle-class families and workers need that kind of security the most, there’s been a sustained, coordinated assault on unions, led by powerful interests and their allies in government,” the president continued.

“So I’m deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy,” he went on to say. “Wisconsin is a state built by labor, with a proud pro-worker past.”

“So even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I’d encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans — by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them the security of paid leave,” the president concluded. “That’s how you give hardworking middle-class families a fair shot in the new economy — not by stripping their rights in the workplace, but by offering them all the tools they need to get ahead.”

Walker’s team was quick to respond to the criticism. In a fundraising email, which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Team Walker called out the president for his comments.

“The instant Governor Walker took on the Big Government Labor Bosses again, you knew there would be trouble,” the email declared. “A mere hours after Governor Walker’s historic signing of ‘Right to Work’ legislation, President Obama used his ‘bully pulpit’ to attack Governor Walker and smear our latest conservative reforms.”

“Governor Walker’s bold stroke is a victory for workers, giving them more freedom and more opportunities — that is why Governor Walker calls it ‘Freedom to Work.’” The email continued. “Now, if workers want to join a union, they can; and if they don’t, they are no longer forced to do so. It’s a win for workers, but a loss for the Big Government Labor Bosses President Obama is looking out for.”

The executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF), Matt Patterson, also argues the policy if good for workers.

“Right-to-Work means more jobs and, more importantly, more freedom,” Patterson noted. “When unions are forced to attract workers with persuasion instead of force, they become more responsive to their members.”

Research by CWF has found that between 1977 and 2012, employment growth in right-to-work states outpaced the national average, 105 percent to 71 percent. In a study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, economists Richard Vedder and Jonathan Robe found that wages actually go up after a state passes a right-to-work law.

Wisconsin Policy Research Institute found in a recent poll of Wisconsin citizens that the state overwhelmingly approves of the policy. The poll found 62 percent would vote in favor of such a law, 32 percent would not and 6 percent didn’t know.

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