Contractors unite to fight right-to-work

More than 300 private businesses and private-sector skilled trade representatives from across Wisconsin have joined forces to support the newly formed Wisconsin Contractor Coalition and oppose so-called right-to-work legislation.

The WCC is a bipartisan advocate for legislative, regulatory and public policies affecting the construction industry in the new legislative session.

Steve Lyons, who has nearly 20 years of experience in government affairs, communications and public relations, will serve as WCC spokesman. Lyons works in the Madison law office of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek.

The WCC’s immediate focus is “aggressive opposition” to the proposed right-to-work legislation.

“Wisconsin construction companies have a strong partnership with private-sector trade groups to build infrastructure that helps our economy grow. WCC believes so-called right-to-work legislation would seriously diminish what is very beneficial for all parties involved,” Lyons said. “We are working with Republicans and Democrats alike to protect this important partnership.”

Wisconsin has a skills shortage, not a jobs shortage, Lyons said.

“So-called right-to-work puts Wisconsin’s historic business model at risk. Construction trade workers come to work ‘job ready’ with all the necessary training; training paid with private money. It’s a winning formula for private sector construction companies that should be maintained,” Lyons said.

Hundreds of Wisconsin businesses, including large local contractors such as J.F. Ahern Co., Lemberg Electric Co. Inc., M.A. Mortenson-Wisconsin, Miron Construction Co. Inc., Payne & Dolan Inc. and Pieper Electric Inc., are supporting the coalition against right-to-work.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said he plans to urge the Legislature to quickly enact a right-to-work bill in January.

Gov. Scott Walker has called a right-to-work bill a “distraction” from his agenda. However, Walker has not indicated he would veto such a bill if it came to his desk.

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