Challenging the law: As Right-to-Work heads to court, Governor Walker says he's confident it will be upheld

MADISON (WITI) -- Another controversial Wisconsin law is headed to court. The Right-to-Work law has been challenged as unconstitutional -- one day after Governor Scott Walker signed it into law.

"It sends a powerful message across the country," Governor Walker said as he signed the bill into law.

Now, Wisconsin's Right-to-Work law is being challenged in the courts. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO, which led protests at the Capitol over Right-to-Work has joined a group of unions in filing a ten-page lawsuit seeking an injunction to block enforcement of the new law.

The union argument is that Right-to-Work is unconstitutional because federal labor law requires a "duty of fair representation" -- meaning unions have to bargain on behalf of all workers in the shop -- even those not in the union. That means workers who don't pay dues still receive union-negotiated benefits. Ultimately, the unions contend that means Right-to-Work takes their property without providing compensation.

Despite the outcry from labor unions, Governor Walker maintains the law will help the economy by attracting new businesses to Wisconsin.

"Freedom to work is so important," Governor Walker said during the bill signing.

In a statement, Governor Walker said: "We are confident Wisconsin's freedom-to-work law is constitutional and will be upheld as it has been in federal court."

Similar lawsuits have been defeated across the country -- including in Indiana and Michigan, where courts have upheld Right-to-Work laws.

Wisconsin unions have experienced a decade of decline, and the law's opponents say Right-to-Work could cripple the labor movement.

"It's a lot harder for workers to organize and  make sure that they have workplace protections," Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said.

A hearing on the lawsuit has been scheduled for March 19th in Dane County court.

Meanwhile, Governor Walker says the law will make Wisconsin more competitive.

"This is one more tool that will help grow good paying, family sustaining jobs in the state of Wisconsin," Governor Walker said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says he plans to defend the law. In a statement to FOX6 News, he said: "It is my job as Attorney General to defend the laws enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed into law. I am confident that 2015 Wisconsin Act 1 will be upheld, as have similar laws in other states."

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