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Wisconsin Court Strikes Down So Called Right To Work Statute

2016-05-18

It’s pretty much common sense that the state should not be able to tell someone they have to work but not get any pay for working.  No one hits the line at Caterpillar or climbs on a machine at P.J. Hoerr without expecting a paycheck at the end of the week.  If we are going to Make America Great Again that common sense should apply everywhere.  

            Would you be surprised to find out your Union can be made to work for people who aren’t members and don’t pay any dues?  Not just made to work with the Union’s own employees, but forced to hire lawyers, pay arbitrators and other costs for the benefit of someone who doesn’t put a penny toward the cost?  It doesn’t seem like the American way, but that is exactly what happens when a state adopts a so-called “right to work” law.  You read it right.  Every Union that has a contract with an employer has to represent every person all the time – even when they are not a member and don’t pay a cent in dues. 

            Since 1947 when the Taft-Hartley Act was passed, every individual state has been allowed to pass a law that says no one can be required to pay Union dues even when their job is under a Union contract and they get Union representation every day at work.  A lot of states have jumped on the bandwagon and passed laws like this, but every once in a while a common state judge sees that the law allows free riders to steal from Union members who are paying the costs to protect their job. 

            Our neighbor, Wisconsin, that Governor Rauner holds up as a great example of what we should be, is one of those states that passed a right to work law a few years back.  The legislature and governor, who prattle about protecting the constitution every time it is convenient for them, just ignored the Wisconsin state constitution when it was convenient so they could pass another law to weaken Union representation for Wisconsin workers.  You might remember these are the same politicians who think that public employees forfeit the legal protections of collective bargaining, grievance procedures, and fair treatment just to get one of those "cushy" teaching jobs where they can be attacked by students every day, politicians weekly, and school administrators when they feel like it. 

            But, thanks to Judge William Foust in Dane County, Union workers get a little back.  He looked at the Wisconsin Constitution and read the part that says no one’s private property can be taken without just compensation.   He decided that means just what it says and ruled in April that the Wisconsin right to work statute that forces Union’s to work for nothing violates that part of the state constitution and is illegal.  Thanks to Judge Foust the paying Union members get a little back and don’t have to support the freeloaders who want the wage, pension and health benefits of a Union contract but don’t want to pay a penny to get it.  That’s what I call Making America Great Again.  Let’s get this common sense to spread everywhere.

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