Anti-Union Law Resurrected in Wisconsin

     WAUSAU, Wis. (CN) — An appeals court has let Wisconsin continue enforcing the Republican-supported “right-to-work” law that one judge struck down as unconstitutional.
     Right-to-work laws bar the collection of dues from employees who choose not to join the unions despite reaping the benefits of collective bargaining.
     Frederick Perrillo, an attorney for unions challenging the law, emphasized in a phone interview that the stay is only temporary. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals must hold oral arguments on the law, likely this summer, before it can issue a ruling on the merits, said Perrilllo, of the Previant Law firm in Milwaukee.
     Wisconsin is appealing after Judge William Foust struck down the law last month, finding that the state permitted an unconstitutional taking by forbidding unions from collecting “fair-share” payments from nonmembers who benefit from their services.
     Though Dane County Circuit Court refused to stay its ruling, District III of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals granted the stay late Tuesday night.
     The five-page order says Foust granted too much weight to the fact that a stay would harm the unions, considering how little the parties developed this assertion in the record.
     “Given the relative lack of harm shown to either party or the public interest, the presumption of constitutionality of this duly enacted statute and the preference under the law to maintain the status quo to avoid confusion,” the appellate judges said Wisconsin has shown enough likelihood of success on appeal to warrant a stay.
     News of the stay prompted applause from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, controlled by Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel.
     “We feel confident the law will ultimately be found constitutional, as it has been in more than half the States across the country,” the DOJ said in a statement.
     Wisconsin lawmakers passed the right-to-work law after a marathon 24-hour legislative session ending on March 6, 2015, Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the legislation shortly afterward, prompting the current lawsuit.

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