Wisconsin unions sue over new collective bargaining law

MADISON Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:38pm EDT

Protesters return to occupy the state Capitol, as the Wisconsin State Assembly takes up the budget bill that was proposed from Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, in Madison June 14, 2011. War.REUTERS/Darren Hauck

Protesters return to occupy the state Capitol, as the Wisconsin State Assembly takes up the budget bill that was proposed from Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, in Madison June 14, 2011. War.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Hauck

Related Topics

MADISON (Reuters) - Unions representing public workers in Wisconsin filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday to block the state's new curbs on collective bargaining, which were upheld by the state's Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, claims the controversial measure is unconstitutional because it creates two classes of public workers in the state -- those covered by the new rules and those exempt from them.

The law eliminates most collective bargaining rights for most Wisconsin teachers, road workers and other public employees and requires them to pay more for pensions and health coverage.

But certain public workers, including firefighters and other public safety workers, have been exempted from the new rules.

The suit argues that the differential treatment violates the constitutionally protected equal protection rights of the employees covered by the law.

The measure was passed in March by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Governor Scott Walker.

It triggered the largest public protests in Madison since the Vietnam War and prompted a national debate over unions.

(Writing by James B. Kelleher)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (24)
DrJJJJ wrote:
Those that loose tax payer funded lawsuits should get stuck with the bill! Ask what your state can do for you? We’re all going to have to take pay/benefit cuts, make the mental adjustment! You’re educated, do the math!

Jun 15, 2011 5:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
I think the unions are correct in this suit. Collective bargaining should not be available to any Federal, State, County or Local government employees, end of subject.

The reason: the unions are “bargaining” with POLITICIANS, who are totally incapable of defending the taxpayer’s rights and establishing reasonable pay and benefits for the public employees, which comes directly out of the taxpayers pocket.

Jun 15, 2011 5:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ajmg1 wrote:
Oh, you mean that the union people are now brought onto a level playing field with everyone else?

Why don’t the get their lazy a$$es to work and get out of the capitol building?

Jun 15, 2011 5:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.