It’s often the little things more than the big ones that tell you where the world is going. Wisconsin being “the world” in this case, a little thing that’s nonetheless remarkable occurred in Dane County last week.
A big thing happened when the State Assembly and Senate adopted right-to-work legislation and Governor Walker signed it into law. That had been pretty much a certainty for several weeks. Then came the little thing.
Following standard practice with every major undertaking of the Walker administration, unions went to court in Madison petitioning to block implementation of the law. This time, a Dane County judge refused!
Let the record show that Judge William Foust is not, on paper at least, an outlier on the Dane County bench. His judicial career was preceded by a stint as Dane County’s elected Democrat district attorney.
The lawsuit proceeds and could of course go either way, but ample precedent indicates the union plaintiffs will eventually find—as if they didn’t already know—that they’ve been tossing their members’ dues money onto a bonfire. And the obligatory statement from the AFL-CIO unintentionally underscores the frivolity of the litigation by volunteering that right-to-work notwithstanding, the unions will continue doing what they do.
The Bloomberg News Service tried to stoke up some drama but succeeded mainly in illuminating just how undramatic right-to-work has become, with the percentage of private-sector union membership in the mid-single digits and states like Michigan—the original exporter of public-sector unionization to Wisconsin—having already taken the plunge before the idea was even seriously considered here.
The times, they are a’changin.