MADISON (AP) — Governor Scott Walker says President Barack Obama should look to his state as an example of how to improve the economy, rather than criticize his signing of a Right-to-Work bill into law.
Obama issued a statement Monday night, March 9th after Walker signed the bill, saying Right-to-Work "will weaken, rather than strengthen workers." Obama says Walker, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, should do more to help working-class Americans "by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them ... paid leave."
President Obama's full statement reads as follows:
"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. 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.
So I’m deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy. 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. 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 says in his statement that the law prohibiting private-sector workers from having to join a union or pay dues gives them the power to choose and provides the state with "one more tool to encourage job creators to continue investing and expanding."
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, a group that advocated for the law has also weighed on on Obama's statement. WMC President/CEO Kurt R. Bauer said:
"It's disappointing that President Obama has come out against a policy that gives workers freedom of choice in the workplace. The fact is, right to work states grow jobs and wages twice as fast as forced-union states do. By contrast, the President supports a wage policy that the Congressional Budget Office said will likely kill 500,000 American jobs. Gov. Walker remains focused on providing freedom and economic opportunity to workers."C
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