Legislating from the Bench: Court Strikes Down Wisconsin Right-to-Work Law 

judge-my-cuz-vinny

Right-to-work laws prohibit businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues. Twenty-four other states have such laws.

Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he was mounting his run for president, was struck down Friday as violating the state constitution.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, also a Republican, promised to appeal the decision and said he was confident it would not stand. Schimel has not made a decision on whether to seek an immediate suspension of the ruling while the appeal is pending, spokesman Johnny Koremenos said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Associated Press

“We are confident Wisconsin’s freedom-to-work law is constitutional and will ultimately be upheld.”

Governor Scott Walker, on Twitter

Three unions filed the lawsuit last year shortly after Walker signed the bill into law. Right-to-work laws prohibit businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues. Twenty-four other states have such laws.

The unions argued that Wisconsin’s law was an unconstitutional seizure of union property since unions now must extend benefits to workers who don’t pay dues. Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust agreed.

“Once again, a liberal Dane County judge is trying to legislate from the bench. No one should be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.”

— Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester

He said the law amounts to an unconstitutional governmental taking of union funds without compensation since under the law unions must represent people who don’t pay dues. That presents an existential threat to unions, Foust wrote. Read the rest of this entry »


Scott Walker’s Righteous Victory in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Associated Press

The Editors, National Review: We are halfway there: On Friday, the state assembly of Wisconsin voted to make the state the 25th to pass right-to-work legislation, and Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill with some satisfaction. That’s 25 down, 25 to go. (Our optimism is not so unanchored as to consider the sorry case of the District of Columbia.)

[read the full text here, at National Review]

Right-to-work laws end the practice of union bosses’ enriching their organizations through a legal variety of extortion under which all workers are required to pay the equivalent of union dues, whether they wish to be represented by a particular union or do not. The traditional position of Democrats, toward whose campaign coffers a great deal of that money is destined, is that this practice is necessary to ensure “fairness” — that workers enjoy the unions’ protection whether they want it or not. But the correct term for an arrangement like that isn’t “fairness” — it is “protection racket,” and Governor Walker’s signature will put an end to this particular brand of racketeering.

laborAge

“The face of the American union member in 2015 is not a working man in a hardhat or Rosie the Riveter, but a bored DMV clerk twiddling his thumbs on a government-mandated break while a taxpayer waits six hours to renew a driver’s license.”

A great deal of attention is being paid, and will be paid, to what this means for the presidential aspirations of Wisconsin’s governor, who confronted and trounced entrenched public-sector interests and then trounced them again when they tried to recall him. Governor Walker is an impressive man offering a welcome infusion of ordinary good governance to the Republican presidential pageant, but the political concerns here are secondary. The most important consideration is the excision of a cancer from the American economy and the American body politic.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“Unions are not a mechanism by which the rights of ordinary workers are secured; they are a mechanism by which the enormous streams of taxpayers’ dollars shunted into inefficient and criminally wasteful bureaucracies are laundered into campaign donations and political muscle for Democrats.”

The prominent American labor unions mainly are in steep decline, but, because of certain legal privileges, they punch above their weight politically and economically; they are corrupt, sometimes in the formal legal sense and often the more general moral sense; they are an appendage of the Democratic party whose remarkably well-compensated bosses ransack their members’ paychecks in order to exchange political donations for political favors; and, perhaps most important, they are today a prominent presence mainly in the public sector… Read the rest of this entry »


When thuggery is OK

By: Rich Lowry
Via Politico December 12, 2012 11:29 PM EST

It was an ugly spectacle in Lansing the other day. A Republican lawmaker predicted blood on the streets. Profanity-spewing Chamber of Commerce goons went after union demonstrators. Anarcho-capitalists tried to push their way into a state building protected by the police.

The events chagrined editorialists around the country and Sunday show producers scrambled to book the most excruciatingly thoughtful guests they could find to hold forth at length about the importance of civility in politics.

(PHOTOS: Right-to-work protests in Michigan)

Of course, none of these things actually happened. The inflammatory rhetoric and small-time thuggery in Michigan were all the work of the left in response to a new right-to-work law and will surely pass all but unnoticed by the people who consider it their calling to tsk-tsk about “the tone” of political debate.

Civility is one of the most absurdly abused of our political values. It is always centrally important to our functioning as a democracy — right up until the time someone proposes crossing the unions. Then, it goes from “can’t we all get along?” to “nothing to see here.” Then, out come the Hitler signs, the accusations of dictatorship, the huge inflatable rats, the sit-ins, the threats and even the fists, and all anyone can think to say is, “Isn’t it a shame someone had to go and get the unions angry?”

State Rep. Douglas Geiss achieved his 15 minutes of notoriety by taking to the floor of the Michigan Legislature to warn “there will be blood” in response to the right-to-work law. He couched his prediction in terms of past corporate-union conflicts, namely the Battle of the Overpass in 1937, when Ford Motor Co. toughs assaulted United Auto Workers organizers.

But why would Michigan companies want to beat anyone up over a right-to-work law? Come to think of it, why would anyone consider a law allowing people hired at a unionized shop to decide freely whether or not to join a union an incitement to violence? No one is forced to join the Rotary Club, yet Rotarians peaceably go their way without any bloodshed.

Outside the Michigan Capitol, as the right-to-work law was debated, union protesters tore down the large organizational tent of the pro-right-to-work free-market group Americans for Prosperity and punched Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. This wasn’t exactly the Battle of the Overpass, when Walter Reuther got kicked down flights of stairs. Crowder sustained a chipped tooth and small cut on his forehead. But it was notable who was doing the punching.

At least it should have been…

Read the rest of this entry »