Proposed order: Right-to-work law unconstitutional statewide

MADISON — Unions that won a ruling striking down Wisconsin's right-to-work law have submitted a proposed order finalizing the decision that would declare the law is unconstitutional statewide.

Dane County Judge William Foust found the law amounts to an unconstitutional taking of union services on Friday, April 8th as part of a lawsuit the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Machinists Local Lodge 1061 and United Steelworkers District 2 filed last year.

The unions hailed the ruling but state Attorney General Brad Schimel has said it's unclear whether the ruling applies beyond the three organizations.

The unions submitted a proposed final order for Foust's approval on Tuesday, April 12th. The order would declare that right-to-work is void and can't be enforced against any employer or unions in the state.

State attorneys were expected to file their response Wednesday, April 13th.

Schimel has issued this statement:

Attorney General Brad Schimel objected to a proposed final order prepared by the unions in the Right-to-Work litigation, and further notified the Court that he will seek a stay of any final ruling pending appeal.  It is important to note that until Judge Foust enters a final order, the law remains in effect throughout Wisconsin.

Last week, Judge Foust issued an opinion concluding that Wisconsin’s Right-to-Work Law (2015 Wisconsin Act 1) constituted an unconstitutional taking of the unions’ property without just compensation. Tuesday, at Judge Foust’s request, the unions filed a proposed final order seeking to enjoin the law and declare it unconstitutional.  As noted above, however, Judge Foust has yet to issue a final order in this case or any injunction against state officials concerning this law.

“I continue to remain confident that—just like the twenty-five other states with right-to-work laws—Wisconsin’s law is constitutional and will be upheld on appeal,” said Attorney General Schimel. “And so I will ask Judge Foust stay any final decision until the conclusion of all appeals.”

According to Schimel, a stay will allow the law to remain in effect during any appeal.  The stay would prevent unions from attempting to leverage this decision to change the status quo, which could cause confusion and potentially harm both businesses and their employees.  But if the law were enjoined by the trial court and then likely upheld by an appellate court, it would cause significant and unnecessary confusion during the interim.

A decision by Judge Foust on whether to grant the unions’ proposed order or whether to stay his opinion on appeal is expected soon.