Wisconsin Court Strikes Blow Against Unions: Rules Right-To-Work Law Constitutional

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals dealt a strong blow against the state’s unions, unanimously ruling the state's right-to-work law is constitutional.

A coalition of the state's largest labor unions, including the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers District 2, and International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 10, along with IAM Lodge 1061, filed a lawsuit to block the 2015 law, called Act 1, which banned companies from making union membership compulsory as a condition of employment. The court stated, "Act 1 does not take property within the meaning of the Wisconsin Constitution. … The Unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of non-member employees.”

As Jazz Shaw explained at HotAir:

What made the unions’ claim in this case so remarkably outrageous was the way they framed their objection. The plaintiffs claimed that the law deprived them of property without compensation. In essence, what they were saying was that a portion of every worker’s paycheck was theirs by right and passing a law denying them their cut of the money was therefore unconstitutional.

On Monday, the West Virginia state supreme court also halted a preliminary injunction placed on West Virginia’s right-to-work law. The court ruled, “The unions have not directed us to any federal or state appellate court that, in over seven decades, has struck down such a law. The circuit court erred in granting the preliminary injunction.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1977’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that objectors to union membership or policy could not have their dues used for other ideological or political purposes. In Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson in 1986, the Court ruled that unions could collect fair share fees from nonmembers only if adequate safeguards were in place to protect their First Amendment rights not to fund activities with which they disagreed.


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