Daily Events

Obama, Walker in war of statements over right-to-work

Obama, Walker in war of statements over right-to-work

This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.

MADISON, Wis. — A war of words on right-to-work broke out Monday evening between President Barack Obama and Gov. Scott Walker, who just made Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state in the nation and looks like he wants to be the next occupant of the White House.

Obama fired first, sticking up for his big labor pals who stand to lose again when Wisconsin law ends forced union membership and payment of union dues as a condition of employment in the private sector.

The rise of the middle class, Obama asserts, coincided with the rise of labor 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 said in a statement.

“So I’m deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy,” Obama said. “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 fired back, saying the “Freedom to Work law,” as the governor calls it, “continues to put the power back in the hands of Wisconsin workers by allowing the freedom to choose whether they want to join a union and pay union dues.”

“It also gives Wisconsin one more tool to encourage job creators to continue investing and expanding in our state.  Freedom to Work, along with our investments in worker training and our work to lower the tax burden, will lead to more freedom and prosperity for all of Wisconsin,” Walker  said in a statement.

He pointed to Obama’s recent veto of the Keystone pipeline legislation, a project that “would have paved the way to create thousands of quality, middle-class jobs.”

“(T)he president should be looking to states, like Wisconsin, as an example for how to grow our economy,” Walker said.

The left, led by big labor, has accused Walker of doing the bidding of corporate interests and pocketing big donations from donors with a vested interest in union busting.

Organized labor, meanwhile, has pumped in hundreds of millions of dollars in the previous two election cycles to re-elect Obama and back the president’s union-friendly Democratic Party friends.

In the 2012 election cycle, big labor contributed more than $141 million to campaigns and committees, nearly double the almost $76 million contributed in the 2008 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org.

“The labor sector, which is made up of public sector, transportation, industrial, building trade, and other unions, has historically given more to Democrats than Republicans and the 2012 election cycle was no different — 91 percent of the industry’s contributions went to Democrats while only 9 percent went to Republicans,” the campaign-finance tracker states in a report.

“Union dollars played a major role in helping to elect President Barack Obama in 2012. He secured more than $519,000 from employees of a collection of labor organizations, which also spent millions on independent ads in support of him,” Open Secrets notes.