Coalition of Dane County Unions File Suit Claiming Collective Bargaining Bill Unconstitutional | Wis.Community

Coalition of Dane County Unions File Suit Claiming Collective Bargaining Bill Unconstitutional

This afternoon Dane County Firefighters, AFSCME Local 60 (Dane county workers), and Madison Laborers of their earlier lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the passage of the collective bargaining bill, with a broader attack on the unconstitutional substance of the collective bargaining bill.

The first argument raised in the ammended complaing, is that the bill violates the Wisconsin constitution on equal protection grounds, because union government employees are treated significantly different than non-union employees under the bill:

These provisions treat those employees who are represented by public sector labor organizations in ways that are different in significant respects from the ways in which they treat employees who are not represented by any labor organization; and they treat some limited number of public sector employees who are represented by labor organizations in ways that are different from the ways in which they treat most employees who are represented by public sector labor organizations, thereby creating unnecessary conflict among employees and divisions within and among public sector labor organizations.

The second argument is that the bill violates the Wisconsin Article 1 Sec 3: Free Speech, Article 1 Sec 4: Right to Assemble and Petition:

The provisions of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10... impose a substantial burden on the exercise by municipal of their constitutionally secured right to associate and assemble, and to express their views in concert with one another and petition their State and local governments regarding matters that are of mutual concern to them.

Keep in mind this is just the complaint phase of the lawsuit -- and that all these arguments will be fleshed-out in the future as the lawsuit progresses.

My first impression is that I'm really, really, really glad to learn that Wisconsin has a special section in their constitution entitled "Right to Assemble AND Petition."

Sounds like collective bargaining to me.

Disclosure: My lovely wife, Katy Lounsbury, is one of the attorneys that filed this suit and is a partner in the law firm of Ehlke, Bero-Lehman and Lounsbury, which is representing the unions.

 

Published

March 31, 2011 - 5:28pm

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