Walker signs Wisconsin anti-union bill

Scott Walker, Conservatism, Mainstream Media, MSM
Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed legislation that will further gut unions' power in Wisconsin on Monday morning, his latest victory over labor as he moves toward a presidential run.

Walker signed "right to work" legislation that bans unions from collecting dues from any individual without his or her express permission, making Wisconsin the 25th state with such a law. States that have passed similar legislation have seen major drop-offs in the number of union workers and the power of organized labor.

The move is a big reversal for Walker, who had called such legislation a "distraction" in recent months during his hard-fought 2014 reelection.

"We're not going to do anything with right-to-work," he said in October.

The shift from last fall could raise questions about his consistency, though Walker has long been an enemy of union groups and supported right-to-work legislation back when he was in the Legislature. His high-profile fight to limit the power of public sector unions and his subsequent victory in a 2012 recall election made him a hero on the right and is a big part of why he's an early front-runner for the GOP nomination.

The governor laid out his rationale for backing right-to-work legislation in a Friday op-ed, though he made no mention of his shift from last fall.

"I've supported Freedom to Work for years, dating back to my time in the state legislature when I co-sponsored it. And now the people of Wisconsin have voiced their support through their state Senators and representatives," he said in the op-ed, published on conservative blog RedState.

He argued that the law is "pro-freedom and pro-work for Wisconsin."