NPR logo Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Signs Right-To-Work Bill

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Signs Right-To-Work Bill

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. Jim Young/Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Jim Young/Reuters /Landov

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday.

Jim Young/Reuters /Landov

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a right-to-work measure Monday that makes his state the 25th in the nation with such a law. That effectively means that mandatory union membership and dues are banned at privately owned businesses — a move strongly opposed by unions, which say it restricts collective bargaining.

Shawn Johnson of Wisconsin Public Radio reports: "Walker signed the bill at an invitation-only ceremony Monday morning at Badger Meter, north of Milwaukee. He was surrounded by company officials and others who supported the divisive proposal, including Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald."

Before the signing, Walker, a likely Republican presidential candidate for 2016, said the law "sends a powerful message across the country and around the world."

Shawn notes that Walker had previously said right-to-work legislation wasn't on his agenda.

"I have no interest in a right-to-work law in this state," Walker said in 2012. "We're not going to pursue that in the remainder of our term, and we're not going to pursue it in the future. The reason is private-sector unions are my partner in economic development."

But Walker has been more receptive since the state's Republican lawmakers announced they would send the measure, which passed the Legislature in less than two weeks, to the governor.

"We now have given one more big thing on that checklist to say that Wisconsin is open for business," he said recently.

Supporters of the measure say it will bring businesses to the state and keep them there; opponents say it will lower wages.

Monday's move comes four years after the governor signed a bill that all but ended collective-bargaining rights for most public sector unions. The right-to-work law goes into effect immediately.