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Building Trades Pres: Businesses in “Right-to-Work” Wisconsin “May Not Be Able to Find Any Skilled Workers”

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In a brief letter to the editor of the New York Times, North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey explained that “Right-to-Work” results in a drop in skilled labor. He questions the idea of attracting businesses to Wisconsin by thwarting workers, suggesting, “Companies and whole industries from Texas to Florida are having to look North for the skilled craft professionals needed to get these projects done safely and efficiently, because the training infrastructure in that region has gone away.” The op-ed appears in its entirety below.

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NEW YORK TIMES, March 16th.

Gov. Scott Walker may think that his so-called right-to-work law will give employers “another compelling reason to consider expanding or moving their business to Wisconsin” (“Unions Suffer Latest Defeat in the Midwest,” front page, March 10). Unfortunately, they may not be able to find any skilled workers to staff their businesses.

Labor unions spend billions of dollars training the next generation of skilled tradespeople. My organization, North America’s Building Trades Unions, spends more than $1 billion a year on skilled-craft work force development in conjunction with our employer partners. But don’t take my word for it.

Look at the construction boom taking place in the right-to-work South. Companies and whole industries from Texas to Florida are having to look North for the skilled craft professionals needed to get these projects done safely and efficiently, because the training infrastructure in that region has gone away.

SEAN McGARVEY
Washington

The writer is president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, A.F.L.-C.I.O.

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