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Latest “Right-to-Work” Challenge Fails in WI, One Case Remains Before Court of Appeals

Images of solidarity and protest in WI have been some of the millenium's most iconic

Images of solidarity and protest in WI have been some of this millenium’s most iconic

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A Wisconsin district court judge dismissed a challenge to the state’s “Right-to-work” law this week. The suit, filed by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Locals 139 and 420, will now move to a federal appeals court. The two unions contend that the law amounts to an illegal taking of property:

The plaintiff unions alleged that Act 1, which prohibits unions from requiring the payment of dues, fees, or assessments of any kind or amount by non-union workers as a condition of employment, conflicts with the National Labor Relations Act, according to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The unions also claimed that Act 1 constitutes an unlawful taking of property under the U.S. Constitution because, in the unions’ view, it requires the unions to represent non-union members, yet prohibits the unions from entering into collective bargaining agreements that would allow them to force non-union members to cover the costs expended by the unions in the course of their exclusive representation.

U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller of the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee was unmoved, citing a 7th Circuit Court ruling in favor of “Right-to-work” legislation in neighboring Indiana:

Federal Judge J.P. Stadtmueller dismissed International Union of Operating Engineers Locals 139 and 420 contention that allowing workers to opt out of union membership represents an illegal taking of property thereby violating the constitution. Stadtmueller said that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ Sweeney decision, which upheld right-to-work in neighboring Indiana, precluded him from striking down the Wisconsin law.

IUOE is not alone in challenging Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, however:

Five unions have filed suit in state court arguing that right-to-work violates the Wisconsin State Constitution. That case remains before the state Court of Appeals after a district court judge overturned the law.

The decision is a loss for labor unions in Wisconsin, but not a surprising one. Wisconsin’s courts are not only anti-labor, they’re as corrupt as ever!


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