Highway Builders Veer Left While GOP Hews Right

An interesting little article popped up in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning. Apparently a fair number of Wisconsin union firms including construction and highway builders aren’t that excited about the misnamed Right to Work bill being wined and dined by the GOP in Madison:

Some 300 construction and contracting businesses Wednesday joined their workers’ unions in opposing so-called right-to-work legislation.

The businesses that make roads and buildings around the state said they oppose a proposal that would prohibit them from reaching contracts with unions to require their workers to pay labor dues.

The formation of the Wisconsin Contractor Coalition highlights a split in the business community in the state, where manufacturers appear poised to push the labor measure through the Legislature and builders and unions are scrambling to try to stop it.

Steve Lyons, a consultant serving as the coalition’s spokesman, said the group had gathered members in a matter of days as it became clear that momentum is building to pass the union proposal in the Republican-dominated Legislature. More are joining, he said.

“In 10 days, 300 private businesses have said we don’t want right-to-work,” Lyons said.

The reason, he said, is that unions act in some ways like staffing agencies for construction businesses, providing training to workers, screening them for drugs and ensuring that enough of them will show up to work when a contractor wins a bid on a project and needs workers to carry it out.

Companies in the coalition include Miron Construction Co. Inc. of Middleton, Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc. of Plain, and Riley Construction Co. of Kenosha.

Lyons declined to say which labor unions were part of the coalition and which businesses or unions are paying for the coalition’s work. He said no decisions have been made yet about whether the coalition would pay for ads to counter messages being broadcast by a group favoring the change.

And it also sounds like they aren’t ready to accept the hypocrisy of the GOP who suggested that some unions would be exempted from the law:

Lyons said his group flatly opposed a right-to-work bill, even if it contained an exemption for construction unions such as the one floated by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) this month.

AND part of their rationale is support of small government…something the GOP is willing to forgo at the drop of a buck or two:

“Government shouldn’t get involved in a contract between two private entities,” he said.

Not all marriages of convenience are meant to last!


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1 thought on “Highway Builders Veer Left While GOP Hews Right

  1. Compare these businesses to the WMC crowd. The difference? These businesses are more likely to actually see their employees in person on a regular occasion, and see them as something other than profit centers.

    It’s also funny to see WMC try to claim Wisconsin is losing people to work-for-less states, and then see Wisconsin’s wages are already as low as those other states already. Maybe the C folks are just bad businessmen who need to have GOP legislators slant the field for them in order to get by, unlike everyday business owners.

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