Contact: Grant Kros
Chicago, IL – National Right to Work Foundation Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys have filed a legal brief for six Wisconsin workers with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of Wisconsin’s Right to Work law. The brief was filed after union lawyers appealed a district court judge’s decision to dismiss a challenge by union officials to Wisconsin’s Right to Work law.
Union officials have asked that the lawsuit be heard before an en banc (full panel) of Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judges because a three judge panel on the same appeals court previously upheld Right to Work laws as constitutional in 2015 in a similar union boss challenge to Indiana’s Right to Work law. The attempt to have this en banc hearing is part of a nation-wide strategy by union officials to have Right to Work protections for workers struck down.
Union lawyers are claiming that Right to Work laws, which simply allow an individual to work without being forced to pay dues or fees to a union boss. First, union lawyers claim that they are constitutionally entitled to a portion of each worker’s paycheck. Second, union lawyers argue that despite decades of precedents to the contrary, section 14 (b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, which gives individual states the ability to pass Right to Work laws, was never intended to allow workers to stop paying union fees and should be completely reinterpreted.
Foundation staff attorneys argue in the workers’ brief that union bosses do not have a -‘constitutional right’- to a worker’s paycheck and that Section 14 (b) of the Taft-Hartley Act has been correctly interpreted for the past 70 years to allow states to pass Right to Work laws that prohibit any requirement that workers pay union fees as a condition of their employment. The brief further argues, to the extent that U.S. labor laws create an a “taking” it is union bosses using the forced unionism provisions in federal law to seize mandatory union fees from workers without Right to Work protections.
Additionally, Foundation staff attorneys point out that the National Labor Relations Act compensates unions by granting them immense workplace power to impose one-size-fits-all union contracts on all employees – union and nonunion alike – in a union-controlled bargaining units.
Right to Work laws have withstood intense legal scrutiny for over 60 years, having never been struck down by a federal court or state appellate court. Foundation staff attorneys have also defended newly-enacted Right to Work laws in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia from various union legal challenges.
National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix commented, “It is outrageous that union officials are once again advancing this dubious legal theory that Right to Work protections that give workers choice over handing over a portion of their payment to a union somehow constitute an ‘illegal taking’ of union resources. Workers in non-Right to Work states are the ones having something taken from them. The Seventh Circuit should uphold Right to Work as constitutional as it did in 2015 and toss out this legal challenge.”