Last Friday, I did a segment on Wisconsin Public Television's "Here and Now" regarding the law suit filed by the Madison teachers union and others raising state constitutional challenges to the collective bargaining bill. You can see it here.
The exchange gets a bit interesting at the end when I upped the ante a bit by referring to the argument that Act 10 interferes with public employees and rights of association as "Orwellian." I chose the word carefully. Mandatory dues or even fair share agreements force dissenters to support activities and political expression with which they disagree. ("Fair share" allocations generally turn out to support a lot of expressive conduct and many dissenters have an objection to collective bargaining per se.) Even forcing dissenters to "opt out" gives unions an enormous advantage over other expressive association.
Under Act 10, public employees remain free to associate for purposes of political expression. But the unions - as a potential vehicle for such association - are going to have to convince those employees that they ought to contribute to such expression and arrange to collect their voluntary contributions just as every other expressive association must.
Experience in other states tell us that vast numbers of public employees will decline to do so. That's not good for the unions but it seems like a vindication of associational and expressive rights which, of course, include the rights not to associate and not to speak.