MADISON, Wis. — Audio surfaced from late September 2014 today in which Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke told the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce that “right to work is off the table, I believe, in the next session.” When asked by a reporter Thursday afternoon about the comments, Steineke claimed the Assembly was only taking action because the state Senate took the measure up this week.
Steineke’s comments, which can be heard here, were made at a candidate forum hosted by the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce on September 25, 2014. Steineke said, “Umm, glad this question came up. Right-to-work is off the table, I believe, in the next session. The Governor, as far as I understand, doesn’t support it. The Speaker of the Assembly has said that it’s not going to come up, and that’s my position as well. So I don’t think that’s something that we’ll be dealing with any time in the next session.”
Reacting to the audio and Steineke’s comments, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said, “It’s stunning the Republicans are rushing through legislation no one is willing to take authorship of and everyone said was not coming up this session. This is just another example showing the ‘Wrong for Wisconsin’ right to work scheme is about rewarding the out-of-state CEOs, billionaires and millionaires who put the Republicans in office, not the constituents they were elected to serve.”
Ross added, “I’m sure Robin Vos will be interested to learn his top lieutenant is telling people Scott Fitzgerald runs the Assembly.”
Ross noted Republicans refuse to say who spurred the sudden emergence of right to work legislation because of the overwhelming public opposition being expressed on the measure. In states with right to work laws the average family makes over $5,000 less per year, public school funding is over $3,300 per pupil lower and rates of uninsured are higher.
He concluded, “Wisconsin’s middle class has been under assault from the failed policies and the attacks of Gov. Walker. And now from his appalling comments yesterday at CPAC, the world now knows what Wisconsin knows: If you disagree with Scott Walker, he calls you a terrorist.”
According to One Wisconsin Now’s review of federal tax records, the Bradley Foundation doled out over $8 million in 2012 and 2013, the latest years for which information is available, to support the operations of a web of nearly three dozen groups promoting right to work laws and radical privatization policies that empower the wealthy and corporate CEOs at the expense of the middle class. The Bradley Foundation, which is headed by Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, has nearly half a billion dollars in assets and regularly hands out $30-40 million a year, making it perhaps the largest right wing funding foundation in America.