WisBusiness: State, biz groups reach agreement on union meeting lawsuit

The state has reached an agreement with two business groups to drop enforcement of a Wisconsin statute barring employers from punishing workers who refuse to attend meetings on the pros and cons of joining a union.

The deal, which has not been signed by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Clevert, acknowledges the National Labor Relations Act trumps to the state statute. It also would require the state to pay $18,480 in attorney’s fees the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which sued to overturn the statute.

Under the NLRA, employers are allowed to compel employees to attend so-called captive audience meetings. The federal statutes, however, are silent on any possible punishment for refusing to do so.

Gov. Jim Doyle in 2009 signed off on a state law prohibiting employers from punishing workers who refuse to attend such meetings.

The stipulation says the law is pre-empted because it regulates activity covered by the NRLA and regulates conduct that Congress intended to be “unregulated and left to be controlled by the free play of economic forces.”’

Read the stipulation: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/Final_Stipulation.pdf