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Wisconsin Appeals Court Reinstates Right-To-Work Law

REUTERS/Tami Chappell

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The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reinstated the right-to-work law in the state Tuesday, putting a hold on a previous court ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

County judge William Foust ruled the state right-to-work law is unconstitutional in April, and rejected a request by the Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel to put his ruling on hold while it goes through the appeals process. Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Stark has overruled the rejection, deciding the state has sufficient reason to put a hold on the previous ruling.

“We conclude the State has established there is sufficient likelihood of success on appeal to warrant the grant of the stay, ” Stark wrote in her decision, obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Foust argued Wisconsin’s version of the law equates to the taking of private property, because unions are required to represent everyone in a workplace, not just members of their union.

Right-to-work outlaws mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment. They’ve been passed in 25 states and upheld over decades as a state right under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. Unions that get voted in as the exclusive representative for a workplace are required by law to represent all workers regardless of whether they pay dues or not. They can become member-only unions, but then they lose the right to have monopoly privileges over a workplace against other labor groups.

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Machinists Local Lodge 1061 and United Steelworkers District 2 brought forth the lawsuit. Labor unions generally disagree with right-to-work, claiming it prevents workers from coming together to demand workplace rights. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the policy into law in March, 2015, despite adamant opposition from the labor movement.

Labor unions launched numerous protests against Walker throughout the legislative debate. The law only escalated tensions between Walker and labor unions which first arose from a 2011 law known as Act 10. Act 10 allows state employees to choose whether they want to pay union dues. It also requires public unions to hold a renewal vote every couple of years.

Walker has defended the reforms as being beneficial to state residents. The two laws became huge issues for unions when Walker decided to run for president. Walker officially announced his run July 13 but eventually ended it Sept. 21. He proposed a plan Sept. 15 to rein in union power nationally, but unions claim the reforms caused his campaign to fail.

Foust declined a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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