Wisconsin’s New Right-to-Work Law
On March 9th Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a right-to-work bill making Wisconsin the 25th state in the nation to adopt such a policy. Essentially, the right-to-work law bars businesses and unions from obtaining agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues.
Upon signing the bill, Governor Walker explained that Wisconsin “wants people to have the freedom to work, no matter where they work or what they do, and to give employers another compelling reason to consider expanding or moving their business to Wisconsin.”
While state and federal law already allows workers not to join unions; the new law takes it further by making it a crime to require payment of union fees by non-members as a condition of employment.
Supporters say the law will give employees the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. Opponents, however, believe it will weaken unions and lead to fewer employee rights.
Several labor groups sued to nullify the new right-to-work law, asserting that it forces them to represent non-union workers within unionized workplaces at no cost. However a judge quickly ruled that the labor groups failed to prove they would be permanently harmed by the new law and the law stands.