Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s motto is that Wisconsin is “open for business,” and he means it. On March 9, 2015, Governor Walker signed into law Senate Bill 44, which made Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state in the country. With the surrounding Great Lakes states of Michigan and Indiana already enacting right to work laws (and Iowa already being a right-to-work state), the momentum in Wisconsin was to follow so it would not be at a competitive disadvantage in retaining and attracting new businesses and job growth.
The Wisconsin law tracks the Indiana law, which was found to be constitutional both by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court. The legislation was fast-tracked to avoid the disruptive protests that occurred when Wisconsin enacted similar reforms to its public sector labor law. In addition, there is no extended waiting period for the law to become effective.
The law prohibits the negotiating of “union security” or “closed shop” clauses in collective bargaining agreements that are renewed, modified or extended on or after the effective date of the bill, which is March 11, 2015.