State Rep. Peter Barca
Press Release

New Poll Shows Right to Work is Wrong Priority for Wisconsin

Republican Pollster Finds that Passing “Right to Work” and Repealing Prevailing Wage Are Unpopular, Fringe Issues in Wisconsin

By - Feb 2nd, 2015 01:04 pm

MADISON – Today, Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said that the results of a Public Opinion Strategies poll mirror what business leaders and residents from across the state believe – “Right to Work” and repealing the prevailing wage are wrong for Wisconsin. The poll was conducted by nationally known Republican pollster Gene Ulm.

“This poll confirms what we already know – Right to Work is wrong for Wisconsin,” Rep. Barca said. “Extreme policies like Right to Work and repealing the prevailing wage will not create jobs or help grow our economy. I hear from road builders, construction companies, small businesses, and residents of all political stripes who agree that these changes will take our state in the wrong direction. I am proud to stand on the side of private businesses, contractors and residents who agree that Wisconsin’s current system works for them.”

Key Findings of the Poll (Source: Ulm 1/29/15 Memo):
Right to Work is a Fringe Issue that Will Benefit Few

  • Only seven percent (7%) of the respondents believe passing right to work and eliminating prevailing wage laws should be the top priority of the state legislature.
  • Eighty-eight percent (88%) report that neither they nor anyone in their household would benefit from passing right-to-work laws in Wisconsin.

Support for Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage Law is Strong, Even Among Republicans and Independents

  • A strong majority (62%) supports Wisconsin’s current prevailing wage law; 26% oppose the law.
  • Support for prevailing wage laws cuts a broad path across the Wisconsin electorate – 49% of Republicans support the laws along with 64% of the independent voters.

The poll follows a recent academic study that found that “Right to Work” would have negative effects on Wisconsin wages and its economy. The study, conducted by Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, an esteemed professor of economics at Marquette University, found that so-called Right to Work policies would lead to lower incomes for Wisconsin workers and their families and other negative economic effects, including diminished worker training and apprenticeships. Chowdhury’s study found that Right to Work would provide “no discernible overall economic advantage to Wisconsin.”

The study also confirmed that Right to Work hurts union and nonunion workers in terms of wages. The Chowdhury study found that Wisconsin workers and families would face between $5.84 to $7.23 billion a year in direct and indirect income loss (Link to study: According to Labor Department data, private-sector employees in Right to Work states made $738 per week in the last 12 months (not including health care and other benefits), 9.8% less than workers in states without such laws.

“In Wisconsin, we don’t agree on everything, but it is clear there is strong consensus that these extreme policy proposals are not a high priority for the people of this state,” Rep. Barca added. “I hope that instead of focusing on this extreme fringe issue, we can work together on bipartisan solutions to create economic opportunity for the people of Wisconsin.”

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2 thoughts on “New Poll Shows Right to Work is Wrong Priority for Wisconsin”

  1. L. Williams says:

    This is not the turn of the century. Do we really have a need for protections from greedy, business owners. We have the the N.L.R.B. (National Labor Relations Board.) So I would have the opportunity to say yes or no I want, or dont want to be a part of a union. Well thats looks to be a win win. Given the fact that most employers pay a pretty decent wage minus union participation. So I dont get it why would I want to be represented when I could represent myself? It seems that the hey dey of the unions are outdated. Maybe they need to re-message? Supply some different reasons as to there relavancy. Who knows?

  2. Tim says:

    So your argument boils down to “I don’t want to pay for things, even if they help me”. What’s next, it’s optional you pay your taxes? Yeah, that’d be a great way to improve WI… go back to Kochistan and leave WI alone.

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