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Leading from Behind: How Years of Denials Got Scott Walker In Position to Approve Right-to-Work

The Wisconsin governor is ready to sign a bill he insisted he'd never get a chance to sign.
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker (C) gestures as he speaks during a meeting of the National Governors Association at the White House in Washington, DC, February 23, 2015.

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker (C) gestures as he speaks during a meeting of the National Governors Association at the White House in Washington, DC, February 23, 2015.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

In Washington and New York, the middle of February has been covered as a slack, gaffe-ridden period for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In Walker's home state, none of that's true—he's actually en route to a triumph. The state's Republican-run legislature is gearing up to pass right-to-work legislation, forbidding labor unions from requiring dues or membership as conditions for any private-sector employment. "If this bill makes it to his desk," gubernatorial spokeswoman Laurel Patrick told Bloomberg, "Governor Walker will sign it into law."

The state's labor unions are at Defcon 1, pondering the sort of mass protests that shut down Wisconsin's Capitol four years ago. Their deja vu is boundless: Now, as in 2011, they're trying to prevent Walker from doing something he gave voters no indication that he'd do. After he introduced a budget control act that ended collective bargaining for most Wisconsin public sector unions, Walker insisted that the electorate had given it the OK.