A Dane County judge has denied a request to temporarily block Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, while he considers a legal challenge that seeks to strike down the measure.
Union groups were asking for a temporary injunction against the law, which prohibits contracts that require workers to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Machinists Local Lodge 1061, and United Steelworkers District 2 all argue the law amounts to an unconstitutional taking of their property, since it allows workers to benefit from union negotiations and protection without having to actually join or pay them.
The state contends workers will join a union if it has value, but union attorney Fredrick Perillo argued in Dane County court Thursday that’s unlikely. “Given the choice between paying 100 percent and zero percent, and receiving all of the services that they normally get, it’s obvious that people are going to choose the free service,” Perillo said.
Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust said in court that there’s a chance that union groups could succeed in their legal challenge against the law, but added there is not enough evidence to prove they will suffer “irreparable harm” if the law is allowed to take effect as planned. As a result, he rejected a request to issue an injunction while the case proceeds.
In a statement, Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt called the decision “another injustice for working people.”
The Republican controlled Legislature passed the right-to-work legislation earlier this month, and it was signed by Governor Scott Walker last week.