Federal judge rules Wisconsin's union reforms constitutional

MILWAUKEE, Sept 11 Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:57pm EDT

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MILWAUKEE, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Wisconsin's controversial collective bargaining reforms do not violate the free speech and equal protection rights of public sector union workers, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

The reforms, passed in 2011 by Republican lawmakers, severely limit the bargaining power of public sector unions while forcing most state workers to pay more for benefits such as health insurance and pensions. They also made payment of union dues voluntary and forced unions to be recertified every year.

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