Courts Rule on First of Three Act 10 Law Suits: Restore Some Rights, Signal More To Come | WisCommunity

Courts Rule on First of Three Act 10 Law Suits: Restore Some Rights, Signal More To Come

Today’s decision places a PERMANENT injunction against imposing:

1.     A limit on dues deductions for “general” employees

2.     A requirement of annual recertification elections for “general” employees.

 Judge Conley found that there was not any rational basis for treating “general employees” and “public safety employees” differently with regard to these TWO impositions of Act 10.

Conley also found, however, that it is ok for Act 10 to deny broad collective bargaining rights (the right to bargain on conditions of employment) to general employees.

This means that Act 10’s worst aspect –that it denies unions the right to negotiate for meaningful contracts –is still in effect.

Both sides will surely appeal.

However, keep in mind that this is the first of three lawsuits.  Judge Conley suggests that the plaintifs left the best argument-- First Amendment infringments-- out of the claim when he says:

Even though plaintiffs do not assert a First Amendment claim with respect to this onerous, annual recertification for unions representing general employees and their members, focusing instead on the difficulty and expense of securing recertification in the context of their Equal Protection claim, the court would be remiss not to at least note the likely burden the annual recertification process imposes on members' speech and association rights.  Indeed, as it works a direct burden on general employee unions, its discriminatory application appears indefensible to a First Amendment challenge.

That is a very strong signal from Judge Conley that there is more to come, but because of the limitations in the arguments of plaintiff's complaints, this was all he could do at this time. 

The good news is that the other two lawsuits include arguments based on First Amendment infringements.



March 30, 2012 - 4:41pm