MADISON, Wis. - The nation's highest court has struck down a law that required nonunion workers to pay fees that go to collective bargaining, overturning a 1977 law that required employees to pay "fair share" fees.
Ryan Owens, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of political science and the director of the Tommy Thompson Center on Public Leadership, said the effects of the ruling were already felt in Wisconsin in 2011 after Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin Act 10 into law.
The exception, Owens said, was that firefighter and police unions were exempt under Act 10, and they would not be exempt under the ruling.
He said while the effects won't be as large in Wisconsin, the ruling will affect public sector unions nationwide.
"It's going to make life very difficult for public unions going forward in terms of raising revenue for them to do some of the things that they wanted to do in the past, to lobby, to bargain collectively, to get involved in public issues," Owens said.
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Professional Police Association confirmed to News 3 that its members would be affected by the ruling.
Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, Inc., released a statement saying, "This decision by the Supreme Court is another slap in the face to working men and women across this nation in the ongoing assault on workers’ rights. This assault began in Wisconsin with the passage of Act 10, that starved unions of resources and power at the negotiating table. Having built the best middle class in the world, unions level the playing field, and in the Trump/Walker anti-worker era, America needs them now more than ever."