Right to Work supporters aren’t worried about its future in Wisconsin, yet.
Workers at Spartek in Sparta recently removed their union, the United Electrical Workers Local 1161, after a three-year wait according to National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens.
“To begin with, Spartek employee Carl Berg and his coworkers were trapped under a union-imposed ‘contract bar’ for roughly three years, during which they weren’t allowed to decertify the union. When Berg was finally able to submit the petition asking the NLRB for a decertification vote, it already contained signatures from the majority of his colleagues,” Semmens said. “That’s likely why the UE union disclaimed interest before a vote could even be scheduled: Union officials saw the support for the decertification vote and decided to disclaim interest in the unit as opposed to facing an embarrassing loss at the ballot box.”
Wisconsin lawmakers approved Right to Work in 2015, though it’s never been popular with Democrats and continues to be a target.
Simmons isn’t as worried about the future of Right to Work in Wisconsin as he is about proposed changes from the Biden administration.
“As long as the Foundation-backed 2020 reforms to the NLRB’s election rules remain in effect (collectively called the “Election Protection Rule”), workers have a 45-day window after an employer recognizes a union’s ‘card check’ claim of majority support in which to file a petition asking for a union decertification vote,” Semmens said. “Unfortunately, the Biden NLRB will release a rule any day now undoing the commonsense 2020 reforms. Additionally, the Biden NLRB has recently overturned decades of precedent to effectively mandate card check, and as a result, there will be numerous legal challenges in federal court on that issue.”
Simmons said other states where right to work has been rolled back have seen that done through the legislature and Wisconsin’s legislature continues to remain Republican-controlled.
“No state Right to Work law has ever been overturned in court, but union officials in Wisconsin have vast influence across the political system. National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys stand ready to defend Wisconsin workers’ Right to Work,” Semmens told The Center Square.
Spartek makes everything from fishing lures to vacuum-sealed cups to Injection molded plastics. It has been in business since the 1950s and recently added an italics division.