Wis. Judge Strikes Down Right-to-Work Law

     MADISON, Wis. (CN) – A Wisconsin judge has struck down the state’s so-called “right to work” law, eliciting a vow from the Republican attorney general that an appeal is imminent.
     Dane County Circuit Court Judge William C. Foust issued the decision late Friday, according to a statement from the state Department of Justice.
     The law, which prevents unions from charging dues to nonmembers that may benefit from their services, is one of several like it passed in “over half” of U.S. states, according to the statement
     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 followed a day later.
     The unions who brought suit were unable to secure a temporary injunction that same month.
     Though Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel was quick to point out Friday that no such challenge has survived in any other state, Frederick Perillo of Milwaukee-based The Previant Law Firm argued at the March 2015 hearing that Wisconsin is different than at least one precedential decision.
     In a challenge to Indiana’s right-to-work law, the court found that the unions’ right to be the exclusive bargaining unit of employees was just compensation for forbidding forced payments from nonmembers.
     “That argument cannot be true in Wisconsin,” Perillo said of the Indiana case. “It would violate a specific Supreme Court decision.”
     In Wisconsin, Perillo said, Supreme Court precedent does not allow just compensation in any form but money.
     Both parties argued the case’s merits at a Feb. 25, 2016 hearing, according to online court records, but the unions prevailed – for now.
     “We are extremely disappointed that the Dane County Circuit Court struck down Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, but we are confident the law will be upheld on appeal,” Schimel said in a statement.

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