U.S. appeals court rejects latest challenge to Wisconsin union law

WASHINGTON Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:09pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday rejected the latest challenge to a Wisconsin law that restricts the power of public-sector unions.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled against public employee unions that represent workers for the city of Madison and Dane County.

In January 2013, the same court ruled against other unions, including the Wisconsin Education Association Council, in another case that raised similar objections.

The controversial law, called Act 10, triggered an unsuccessful effort to recall the state's Republican Governor, Scott Walker. The legislation prevents public sector workers, known as "general employees," from collective bargaining on issues other than base wages, imposes tough recertification requirements and bars employers from automatically deducting union dues from paychecks.

The unions raised several constitutional objections, including that the law violates their right to petition the government and their right to free association under the First Amendment.

The court said there is no legal precedent saying the right to petition gives unions a constitutional right to collective bargaining. Likewise, Judge Joel Flaum wrote in the majority opinion, unions do not have a free association right to engage in negotiations.

"The unions cannot wield the First Amendment to force Wisconsin to engage in a dialogue or continue the state's previous policies," Flaum wrote.

The case is Laborers Local 236 v. Walker, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 13-3193.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (23)
lysergic wrote:
SCOTT WALKER HAS STOLEN SO MUCH FROM WISCONSIN TAXPAYERS AND GIVEN IT TO THE JOB CREATORS, HIS CONTRIBUTORS. HE REJECTED EVERY GOOD IDEA AND FOLLOWED HIS MASTERS, THE KOCH BROTHERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT HEARD THE FAKE PHONE CALL FROM DAVID KOCH TO WALKER, FIND IT ON YOUTUBE. IT TELLS YOU THE REAL STORY ON WALKER.

Apr 18, 2014 5:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Randy549 wrote:
Wisconsin taxpayers are in for a rebate this year, the first in many years. The state budget situation is much better than before, now running a surplus (which made the tax rebates possible). Far from stealing from Wisconsin taxpayers, Walker and his allies have returned money TO the taxpayers that was being stolen by various corrupt public employee unions.

Apr 18, 2014 5:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
4825 wrote:
@lysergic- You are shouting again so this must be a good ruling for the people of Wisconsin. Scott Walker has done a superb job taking his state forward and reducing the outrageous spending and budget deficits left him by the liberal Democrats. Kudos to Gov. Walker for his strength and willingness to stand up for his state. The winners are the people of Wisconsin and the country.

Apr 18, 2014 7:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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