Governor Scott Walker Signs Freedom to Work Legislation
New law makes Wisconsin 25th state to give workers power to choose
Brown Deer – Governor Scott Walker joined job creators, local officials, and legislators today at Badger Meter in Brown Deer, to sign Special Session Senate Bill 44. SB 44, or Freedom to Work, eliminates any requirement that employees pay union dues as a condition of employment, while maintaining the option to choose union membership.
“This legislation puts 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,” Governor Walker said. “This also gives Wisconsin one more tool to encourage job creators, like those here at Badger Meter, 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.”
Badger Meter has eight production facilities, including four in the U.S. With the passage of Freedom to Work, Badger Meter President and CEO Rich Meeusen says the company will move forward with production expansion plans, and the creation of 30-50 new manufacturing jobs in Brown Deer.
“Today represents a turning point for Badger Meter, as we start adding jobs in a Freedom to Work state,” Meeusen said. “Today also represents a turning point for our employees as they now have a choice regarding union membership. I applaud members of the State Legislature and Governor Walker for their leadership in making Wisconsin more competitive to attract new employers and new jobs, to our state.”
Meeusen says there will be no reduction in pay or benefits to union or non-union employees at Badger Meter.
About Freedom to Work
SB44 prohibits, as a condition of employment, membership in a labor organization, and required payments to a labor organization, and provides a penalty. Freedom to Work promotes individual freedom in the workforce, offering employees the right to freely associate or not associate with a union. Workers maintain the right to contribute to unions, however, this contribution is a voluntary, noncompulsory act. Workers have the right to designate how their hard-earned paycheck will be spent.
Governor Walker thanked Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), Representatives Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), Dave Craig (R-Big Bend), Dan Knodl (R-Germantown), and Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) and Senators Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) for their leadership on the bill. Freedom to Work passed the Assembly by a vote of 62-35, and passed the Senate 17-15. The law becomes effective Wednesday, March 11, 2015.
About Badger Meter:
Founded in 1905, Badger Meter is a global leader in flow measurement and control products, serving water utilities, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers worldwide. The company’s products measure water, oil, chemicals, and other fluids, and are known for accuracy, long-lasting durability and for providing valuable and timely measurement data. Badger Meter is a publicly-owned company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BMI.
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Andrew Jones is a partner in the Milwaukee office of Husch Blackwell LLP.
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