Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin’s Right-To-Work Law

Schimel Says He's Optimistic State's Appeal Will Be Successful

Breann Schossow/WPR

A Dane County judge has struck down the Wisconsin law that prohibits unions from collecting fees from non-members.

The DOJ announced Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Foust’s ruling on the so-called right-to-work law Friday afternoon. Shortly after the ruling was handed down, Attorney General Brad Schimel told conservative radio host Vicki Mckenna that he was optimistic that an appeal of the ruling would be successful, but that in the meantime, the law would not stay in effect.

“We’re no longer a right to work state until we get this stayed,” said Schimel. “So people who have been forced to be in a union will be forced to be in a union.”

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Schimel added that “there will be a great deal of chaos” as a result of the decision.

The law caused a major stir when it was proposed, with thousands of labor activists, union members, and others converging on the Capitol to protest the measure. The bill was fast-tracked through the Legislature, and was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker within weeks of it being proposed.

The challenge to the law was brought by a pair of local union groups in conjunction with the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.

Supporters of right to work say that the rule protects workers’ freedom to choose whether they want to support a union or not. Its opponents say that it’s simply an attempt to continue to weaken unions in the state.

Shortly after the news broke, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a right-to-work supporter, took to Twitter predicting the law would stand.

This story will be updated throughout the afternoon as WPR continues its coverage.