Parties in Wis. Gearing Up for New Union Fight

     MADISON, Wis. (CN) — The parties in the dispute over Wisconsin’s right-to-work law have not stopped to catch their breath since a judge declared the anti-union law unconstitutional.
     The plaintiffs who prevailed in their claim that a Republican-supported law preventing unions from charging non-members for representation is unlawful, filed a proposed order for final judgment on Tuesday.
     The state filed a motion in opposition to the proposed order the following day.
     Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Foust has yet to issue any type of injunction preventing the state from enforcing the law, known as Act 1, and in a statement, Republican attorney general Brad Schimel reiterated the state’s intention to appeal the judge’s April 8 ruling.
     “I continue to remain confident that—just like the twenty-five other states with right-to-work laws—Wisconsin’s law is constitutional and will be upheld on appeal,” Schimel said in a news release Wednesday.
     Wisconsin’s law was signed by Gov. Scott Walker after a 24-hour session in the Republican-controlled legislature ended on March 6, 2015. The lawsuit was filed a day later .
     The unions who brought suit were unable to secure a temporary injunction that same month.
     But Foust ultimately came down on their side, holding in his order that they had not been justly compensated for the taking of their property — so-called “fair share fees” from non-members who benefit from union representation, which has already cost several unions thousands of dollars, he wrote.
     “The duty of fair representation compels unions to provide at least some level of service to both union members and non-members; they have no other choice beyond ceasing to exist,” Foust wrote. “After Act 1, these unions may no longer request payment whatsoever for those services.”
     The Department of Justice is seeking a stay of the decision before, they believe, it is inevitably overturned.
     “The stay would prevent unions from attempting to leverage this decision to change the status quo, which could cause confusion and potentially harm both businesses and their employees,” the statement reads. “But if the law were enjoined by the trial court and then likely upheld by an appellate court, it would cause significant and unnecessary confusion during the interim.”
     Based on the pace of activity surrounding the litigation in the last week, the DOJ’s supposition that Foust will act “soon” seems likely.

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