The so-called “right to work” bill being fast-tracked through the Republican Legislature will move the state backward and “drag everyone down to the bottom,” WEAC President Betsy Kippers said Tuesday in prepared testimony before the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform.
Here is her testimony:
My name is Betsy Kippers. I am a teacher from Racine and currently I am serving as the President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, which represents educators across the state and advocates for the 865,000 children in Wisconsin public schools.
I am here today to testify in opposition to Senate Bill 44, commonly referred to as Right to Work, but we know that it is really “Right to Work for Less.” Why? Because other states that have gone down this path have seen the averages wages of all workers decline, depressing local economies. It is a priority for all of us to re-energize the state’s economy and create jobs. Senate Bill 44 would do the exact opposite, moving our state backward, not forward.
Educators know firsthand the devastating impact of legislation like Senate Bill 44. Following Act 10, many experienced educators made the heartbreaking decision to retire from a profession that they loved. Fewer college students are seeking to become educators. The educators of today are not as involved in decision-making affecting their students, the profession, and professional development. We all lose when the voices of those who work every day educating our children are excluded from these conversations. If Senate Bill 44 becomes law, those in the private sector will surely experience what we have seen in the public sector as a direct result of Act 10 – less support, less collaboration and lower morale.
Let’s not drag everyone down to the bottom with SB 44, but rather lift everyone up by pursuing policies and strategies that will lead to higher wages, more family-supporting jobs, and a growing economy. Wisconsin is counting on you to do the right thing and vote “no” on Senate Bill 44.
Also among those testifying Tuesday was Kim Schroeder, vice president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. Among Schroeder’s comments in prepared remarks:
“This bill is just another attack on the working families of Wisconsin. Unions help all workers, whether they are in a union or not, by creating a standard of living in Wisconsin that is much better than in so-called “right to work” states. When Republicans reduce unions’ power, wages will go down for all workers of Wisconsin and that is what this bill is really about – keeping more money in the pockets of the corporations and CEOs at the cost to the Wisconsin working class.”