Challenging the law: As Right-to-Work heads to court, Governor Walker says he’s confident it will be upheld

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MADISON (WITI) -- Another controversial Wisconsin law is headed to court. The Right-to-Work law has been challenged as unconstitutional -- one day after Governor Scott Walker signed it into law.

"It sends a powerful message across the country," Governor Walker said as he signed the bill into law.

Now, Wisconsin's Right-to-Work law is being challenged in the courts. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO, which led protests at the Capitol over Right-to-Work has joined a group of unions in filing a ten-page lawsuit seeking an injunction to block enforcement of the new law.

The union argument is that Right-to-Work is unconstitutional because federal labor law requires a "duty of fair representation" -- meaning unions have to bargain on behalf of all workers in the shop -- even those not in the union. That means workers who don't pay dues still receive union-negotiated benefits. Ultimately, the unions contend that means Right-to-Work takes their property without providing compensation.

Despite the outcry from labor unions, Governor Walker maintains the law will help the economy by attracting new businesses to Wisconsin.

"Freedom to work is so important," Governor Walker said during the bill signing.

In a statement, Governor Walker said: "We are confident Wisconsin's freedom-to-work law is constitutional and will be upheld as it has been in federal court."

Similar lawsuits have been defeated across the country -- including in Indiana and Michigan, where courts have upheld Right-to-Work laws.

Wisconsin unions have experienced a decade of decline, and the law's opponents say Right-to-Work could cripple the labor movement.

"It's a lot harder for workers to organize and  make sure that they have workplace protections," Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said.

A hearing on the lawsuit has been scheduled for March 19th in Dane County court.

Meanwhile, Governor Walker says the law will make Wisconsin more competitive.

"This is one more tool that will help grow good paying, family sustaining jobs in the state of Wisconsin," Governor Walker said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says he plans to defend the law. In a statement to FOX6 News, he said: "It is my job as Attorney General to defend the laws enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed into law. I am confident that 2015 Wisconsin Act 1 will be upheld, as have similar laws in other states."

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  • H. Mueller

    This is a good law for Wisconsin. I have read of several companies that have relocated or expanded, and have chosen other states over Wisconsin because the other states had right to work laws. This will make Wisconsin more attractive to business, bringing more jobs to our state.

    The laws that protect workers are on the books already. There are laws that govern work hours, lunches, breaks, worker safety, etc. The unions no longer have a say in these subjects, because there are already laws. The usefulness of the unions is past.

    What the unions have excelled at in recent years is taking workers hard earned wages in the form of union dues. The worker had no choice in this. Many millions of these dollars that were stolen from the workers is and has been used for political contributions to Democrats every year. Now the worker will have a choice.

    Another thing the unions have excelled in is the protection of drug users, alcohol abusers, and the making of everyone “equal”. This has caused many workers who excel, who are head and shoulders above others, to be held back, to cause their exceptional abilities and work ethic to be treated just like the lowest common denominator. They have been unable to be compensated for their exceptional work, because of union rules that everyone be paid the same. At the same time, the brown noses who typically are poor workers, have lower skills and abilities were treated at least as good as the exceptional worker because of the unions.

    This law will benefit everyone in Wisconsin, thank you Scott Walker for signing this law. Thank you, Republican legislators for bringing this law to Governor Walker to sign.

    • Mr. Bob

      I am in total agreement with what you are stating here H Mueller. As I reflect on what you have said it makes me think that the unions are really run like a communist country. The union brass takes their dues each month. They really don’t have a say in what the union does like in this situation the union will file the lawsuit which will not be successful and the attorneys have to be paid using union dues to pay them. The union workers cannot say no don’t file the frivolous lawsuit as they have no input on the decision. If a union worker wants to file a grievance, the union leaders can choose to pursue it or not. The worker has no recourse if the union doesn’t want to take up their grievance as the lost that right by becoming a union member. As much as the union leaders say they stand up for the workers they really don’t, they serve the union leaders best interests. All are considered equal in the union whether they are good workers or bad workers just like in a communist country where all people live in poverty. Yes you might consider unions commies!!!

  • Mr. Bob

    In a statement, Governor Walker said: “We are confident Wisconsin’s freedom-to-work law is constitutional and will be upheld as it has been in federal court.” Similar lawsuits have been defeated across the country — including in Indiana and Michigan, where courts have upheld Right-to-Work laws.
    So more of the same from the union leaders, take the dues from your sheep membership and plow that money into a frivolous lawsuit that did not hold up in Indiana or Michigan. When will the union sheep realize they don’t need to p*ss away their hard earned money on union dues?? Note to union sheep YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A MEMBER OF A UNION ANY LONGER. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!!!

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