August 5, 2020

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August 05, 2020

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August 03, 2020

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Dane County Judge: Wisconsin’s “Right to Work” law unconstitutional

In a decision issued April 8, 2016, Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Foust ruled that Wisconsin’s “Right to Work” law violates the Wisconsin Constitution because it takes union property without just compensation (i.e., it is an unlawful taking).

According to the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which played a leading role in seeking and attaining passage of the law, Judge Foust’s decision “is an act of blatant judicial activism that will not withstand appellate review.” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel also issued a statement expressing disappointment in the ruling and stating that he is “confident the law will be upheld on appeal.”

Judge Foust ruled that the law unconstitutionally takes union property by forcing a union to represent workers who are not members of the union and do not pay dues to the union. Judge Foust found the State’s argument that “neither federal law nor state law requires a union or other entity to become an exclusive bargaining representative” to be “disingenuous.” According to Judge Foust, the unions have no choice in representing all employees because, by law, their existence depends upon being the exclusive bargaining agent for any particular bargaining unit.

A copy of Judge Foust’s order is available here.

Stay tuned for additional developments regarding this case.

Copyright © 2020 Godfrey & Kahn S.C.National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 99

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About this Author

Rufino Gaytán, Labor & Employment Attorney, Godfrey Kahn Law Firm "
Associate

Rufino Gaytán is an associate member of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group in Milwaukee. Rufino assists private and public employers in addressing general human resource issues and counsels employers in every aspect of labor and employment law. In particular, Rufino provides assistance with discrimination claims, wage and hour issues and drafting and enforcing restrictive covenant agreements. Rufino also represents clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division.

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