January 5, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Madison, WI – A federal judge struck down part of Wisconsin’s law banning the union shop Dec. 27, ruling that workers can’t stop paying union dues until their contract authorizes it.
U.S. District Judge William M. Conley said that Section 9 of the state’s 2015 law, which lets workers cancel dues-checkoff authorizations with 30 days’ notice, conflicts with federal law. International Association of Machinists District 10 had challenged the law last February after a worker at the John Deere plant in Horicon complained to the state Department of Workforce Development that the union had continued collecting dues after she tried to withdraw. The union countered that under Machinists Lodge 873’s contract with John Deere, workers can only withdraw once a year, in a 15-day window just before the dues-checkoff authorization comes up for renewal. Citing a 1971 Supreme Court decision, Judge Conley held that the federal Labor Management Relations Act allows “irrevocable authorizations not to exceed one year.” He ordered the state not to enforce Section 9. Read more