Minn. lawmaker to lure business foes of right-to-work from Wis.

Wis. lawmakers respond to letter sent to Janesville business

A Minnesota lawmaker is urging Wisconsin businesses to re-locate because of right-to-work legislation.

Republican Minnesota Rep. Pat Garofalo said in a letter Tuesday to Rock Road Cos. in Janesville that he welcomed Wisconsin companies to Minnesota where “Many Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature understand that ‘Right to Work’ significantly interferes with your right to set the terms and conditions of employment in your workplace.”

Last week the Wisconsin Senate passed a “right-to-work” bill, which would let workers opt out of paying mandatory dues. The bill is headed to the Republican-controlled state Assembly this week.

Garofalo was critical of the Wisconsin proposed bill on right-to-work, saying it’s a bad idea.

“As the chair of the jobs committee here in Minnesota, if there’s private sector businesses unhappy with their state government, I’m happy to offer the state of Minnesota as a better alternative,” Garofalo said Tuesday. “Right to work is a problem. What it does is it injects itself into private sector business transactions between the owner of a business and a service provider. And that’s what the Wisconsin legislation does.”

Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Jennifer Shilling said Tuesday that Garofalo’s letter shows Minnesota will capitalize off Wisconsin’s right-to-work legislation, and Wisconsin could stand to lose generations of businesses.

Wisconsin Republican and state Assemblyman Dean Knudson, who supports the right-to-work bill, said he doesn’t think the bill will cost Wisconsin business. Knudson said Tuesday that if Wisconsin businesses want to have unions, they can, and the bill is about the freedom of choice.

Garofalo said right-to-work legislation unfairly compares different unions, like the teachers union and the trade unions, and makes them one and the same. On his Twitter account Tuesday, Garofalo tweeted that comparing the teacher and construction unions is “comparing apples to hand grenades.”

The Wisconsin state Assembly will start debate on the right-to-work bill at 9 a.m. Thursday.