Federal Judge Voids Part of WI Collective Bargaining Reform

The Journal-Sentinel reports that a federal district court judge has struck down parts of the controversial Wisconsin law that limits the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions.

Seven major public employee unions had challenged the fact that Act 10 dramatically narrowed what could be bargained by general public employee unions, and required those unions to recertify every year by an absolute majority of membership while denying the same unions voluntary payroll deductions for dues.

The court sided with state officials in upholding limitations on what can be bargained, but found the two other provisions violated the union members’ equal protection and First Amendment rights, considering that the same rules did not apply to unions for public safety workers such as police and firefighters.

“So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights,” wrote U.S. District Judge William M. Conley.

The opinion is here.