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Wisconsin judge rules ‘Right To Work’ law unconstitutional

By Kas Schwerdtfeger

Speaking out against 'Right to Work' in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee, WI – One year after the so-called Right to Work law was imposed by the state government on Wisconsin workers, Dane County Judge William Foust overturned it April 8, stating it was unconstitutional.

Under this law, freeloaders in the workplace enjoy all the benefits of union organizing efforts for wages, health care, vacation and sick leave, job protection and retirement benefits without having to pay the dues that help make these things possible, like their coworkers do.

The bill became law last year amidst protests of tens of thousands in Madison, Milwaukee and other cities. Many came to the capitol rotunda to fight the anti-worker legislation in actions reminiscent of those in 2010, when Governor Scott Walker signed a bill into law that imposed extreme restrictions on public sector labor unions. In those whirlwind months, the capitol building was occupied and the state government was paralyzed as Democratic state senators responded to workers’ protests and fled the state to temporarily prevent a vote. That 2010 law, commonly called Act 10, devastated unions of school teachers, municipal workers and other public servants.

25 other states have similar laws that force unions to represent workers who refuse to pay their share of dues. Under intense corporate pressure, no other state’s courts have successfully overturned such a law.

Judge Foust found in his ruling that the forced union representation of freeloaders results in the government taking union funds without fairly compensating them.

The lawsuit was brought on by Machinists Local Lodge 1061 in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, and United Steelworkers District 2.

“We applaud the court's decision against the union-busting Right To Work law,” said Sean Orr, President of Milwaukee's United Workers Organization (UWO), “Nevertheless, the fight for workers’ rights and empowerment in the workplace will be won not in the courts, but on the shop floors we work and in the streets in which we live. We in the UWO will continue that fight and urge others to join us.”

The United Workers Organization runs the “Defeat Right to Work in Wisconsin” Facebook page that has been a major outlet for workers news and opinions in the state since the law passed. The page can be found here:

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