2015-02-282352Protest 12 (copy)

On Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, protesters met at the Capitol in Madison to rally against a right-to-work bill.

STEVE APPS, STATE JOURNAL ARCHIVES

A federal appeals court panel has upheld Wisconsin’s right-to-work law.

The law prohibits businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers to pay union dues. Unions maintain the law enables nonunion members to receive free representation.

Two chapters of the International Union of Operating Engineers filed a lawsuit last year alleging that amounts to an unconstitutional taking.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller upheld the law in September, citing a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding Indiana’s nearly identical right-to-work law. A three-judge 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld Stadtmueller Wednesday.

The panel noted that the 7th Circuit has upheld Indiana’s law and the union didn’t show a reason to revisit that decision.

Scott Kronland, one of IUOE’s attorneys, says the unions are considering their next steps.

In a separate but related case, a state appeals court is yet to rule on a decision by a Dane County judge who struck down the right-to-work law as unconstitutional last year. The state District 3 Court of Appeals granted a stay of the decision by Circuit Judge William Foust, finding that the state had established a sufficient likelihood of success on its appeal of Foust’s ruling. In the case pending in state court, three unions argued that the law was an illegal “taking” of their services.

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