Unions file lawsuit against WI collective bargaining law in federal court

posted at 5:45 pm on June 15, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Observers said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s cost-cutting bill to limit collective bargaining would prompt a Waterloo — and they weren’t kidding. But it’s not still not clear who’s who in the fight. Yesterday, the state Supreme Court upheld the controversial bill. Today, unions representing public workers in the state filed a lawsuit in federal court. From the wires:

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.

It’s a completely different approach. Last time, collective bargaining fans made a procedural argument against the bill, saying the Republican majority in the state legislature passed it without granting out-of-state Democrats proper notice.

This argument might immediately sound more substantive, but it’s possibly more of a stretch. Wisconsin is not the first state to limit collective bargaining to some segments of public workers and not others, according to Heritage Foundation labor analyst James Sherk.

Sherk explains: In Indiana, for example, teachers enjoy collective bargaining privileges, but no other public workers do. Tennessee — before it abolished collective bargaining altogether — used to allow collective bargaining only for teachers. In Texas, police and firefighters may unionize, but no other government workers can.

Perhaps even more tellingly, labor law itself distinguishes among different types of workers. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 outlawed union shops in all industries except construction, Sherk said.

It’s hard to believe union leaders expect this argument to ultimately succeed. That makes this seem more like a delay tactic than anything else. If incessant lawsuits simply prevent the controversial bill from taking effect, the recall elections will be that much closer …


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If incessant lawsuits simply prevent the controversial bill from taking effect, the recall elections will be that much closer

On that topic, is this law in effect or does this latest lawsuit delay it yet again? I certainly hope it’s not the latter, otherwise they’ll just sue forever to block its implementation.

Doughboy on June 15, 2011 at 5:49 PM

I’m sure there are plenty of Americans who can fill those jobs if they want to keep whining.

RDE2010 on June 15, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Doughboy on June 15, 2011 at 5:49 PM

June 29th

RDE2010 on June 15, 2011 at 5:51 PM

And if this doesn’t work the unions will continue to file lawsuits alleging pretty much anything they can think of until they get what they want.

If the day comes when even that is exhausted, I suppose they will just have to start beating the crap out of their opponents and burning things down.

Bishop on June 15, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Doughboy on June 15, 2011 at 5:49 PM

That’s what I was wondering also.

Cindy Munford on June 15, 2011 at 5:52 PM

If the day comes when even that is exhausted, I suppose they will just have to start beating the crap out of their opponents and burning things down.

Bishop on June 15, 2011 at 5:52 PM

I think they’ve already started with the threats of that, such as strong-arming businesses about displaying anti-Walker signage and telling them “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

teke184 on June 15, 2011 at 5:54 PM

It’s hard to believe union leaders expect this argument to ultimately succeed.

Some courts and judges have bought into the argument that people doing nothing is “interstate commerce” and the State forcing people to buy something falls under “regulation”, so no decision would surprise me.

I’m more convinced than ever that the courts are 100% politicized and the legal arguments are nothing buy exercises in rationalization.

What’s the political make-up of that court? That’ll tell us how the “legal arguments” will be settled.

forest on June 15, 2011 at 5:54 PM

great analysis, Tina.

ted c on June 15, 2011 at 5:54 PM

It’s the 7th Circuit, which also covers Illinois and Indiana.

Only 3 of 10 seats at the circuit court of appeals level were appointed by Clinton or Obama, but there is 1 vacancy set to be filled next month and those states have trended blue over the years.

teke184 on June 15, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Different classes of employees can be treated differently. Consider exempt and non-exempt employees. They can have different benefits, different pay schedules, different evaluation standards, etc.

ladyingray on June 15, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Where’s crr to tell all of us ignorant goobers that the union will prevail!

Count it!

ladyingray on June 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM

At every turn the profession making money from all this nonsense are lawyers.

rickyricardo on June 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

And if this fails, the workers will rise up, like in Greece, and demand… what? Pay us, or we’ll work even less than we already do!

yubley on June 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

So they can stop the implementation of this law yet again?Walker needs to send out the pink slips now if this is the case.

sandee on June 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Gimme mah free Obama money!

John the Libertarian on June 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

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

The court should add the public safety workers in also. Treat them equally. Then send out for more popcorn.

pedestrian on June 15, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Well then, let’s keep it simple and do away with collective bargaining all together…is there anything more useless than a government employee?

repvoter on June 15, 2011 at 6:02 PM

rickyricardo on June 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I think Dems and unions are getting some decent fundraising off it too.

alwaysfiredup on June 15, 2011 at 6:02 PM

The lawsuit will fail miserably.

Equal protection claims fail if there is any rational basis at all for the distinction unless it is a suspect class (race, religion, etc.) Needless to day, government employees are not a suspect class. And the rational basis test could be restated as pretty much being any logical reason whatsoever.

I’d be surprised if this suit made it past the pleading stage.

Nessuno on June 15, 2011 at 6:04 PM

I guess the only legal option is to ban all public sector goons unions.

joeindc44 on June 15, 2011 at 6:06 PM

My Goodness That Was Quick! Do these people ever take no for an answer? Where do they get all the money they need to continually file these suits? Couldn’t that money be better spent feeding the children?

Tommy_G on June 15, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Keep going goons…

… Keep this topic alive.

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 6:10 PM

if they want to be treated equally as the rest of America fire them and let them taste unemployment.

clement on June 15, 2011 at 6:10 PM

I missed a real opportunity when my friend said I should invest in bongos but I passed on the chance. Stupid, stupid Bishop.

Bishop on June 15, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Why don’t they cut to the chase and file a grievance at the UN?

cthulhu on June 15, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Isn’t this a State matter and outside the Federal courts?

And what of WI democrat fleebagger recall? I seem to remember it didn’t make the deadline, or something.

Kini on June 15, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Absent a temporary injunction/restraining order, the law will take effect.

BD57 on June 15, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Unions representing ALL, or just some public employees effected by the law?

Time to divide and destroy the unions.

Roy Rogers on June 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM

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

Get bent, unions. That equal protection thing is a thing of the past. Where was the protection for those being harrassed by the New Black Panthers at the voting establishments? Oooooooooooooooh. Riiiiiiiiiight. If you’re with Obama you’re protected. If you’re not…touch noogies.

capejasmine on June 15, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Hey! I’m glad to see the unions spending money on this. That’s LESS money they’ll be able to give Obama for re-election.

GarandFan on June 15, 2011 at 6:19 PM

what a bunch of maroons….

cmsinaz on June 15, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Only 3 of 10 seats at the circuit court of appeals level were appointed by Clinton or Obama, but there is 1 vacancy set to be filled next month and those states have trended blue over the years.

teke184 on June 15, 2011 at 5:57 PM

“Good, more impartial Democrat Activist Judges are in the pipeline! Count It!”

/crr6

Del Dolemonte on June 15, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Wow, these unions are desperate to keep those mandatory dues flowing in. This is all about money now.

karenhasfreedom on June 15, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I’m subtly reminded of the old joke about the little boy with the crippled hand who prays “Please, Lord, make my hand just like the other one….”

PersonFromPorlock on June 15, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Hey! I’m glad to see the unions spending money on this. That’s LESS money they’ll be able to give Obama for re-election.

GarandFan on June 15, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Money their rank and file could use to buy food, clothing for their kids, gas for their cars, pay mortgages, put in savings accounts for their child’s education….

Why doesn’t the union leadership care about kids and middle class?

Chip on June 15, 2011 at 6:28 PM

This sounds like the perfect time to enact loser pays.

meci on June 15, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Toss in the fundamental difference of opinion over what the ruling means in terms of the act’s current state of applicability (the Department of Justice believes that it is in effect as of now and that Democrat Secretary of State Doug La Follette must publish the post-publication notification now as the act was published on March 25, La Follette believes it isn’t in effect until June 29, the day after he feels like designating the date of publication), and it is a three-ring circuis

Steve Eggleston on June 15, 2011 at 6:30 PM

The left is really against Democracy and almost at every turn they prove it.

CW on June 15, 2011 at 6:31 PM

The only point of this lawsuit is to keep the story in the news, and try and keep the old hippy protesters of Madison, Wisconsin busy, and ginned up, until they start canvassing for the Democrats prior to the 2012 elections. Someone is going to have to take ACORNS place. It’s difficult to sustain the kind of on going protest the Unions want, to make it look like they are gaining steam. They actually they have suffered loss after loss, and I predict, the recall of state senators will be awash too.

How do they keep people in their 50s and 60s, out in the public square, from now till November 2012?

Dr Evil on June 15, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Time for Gov. Walker to setup the Re-Education camps….

/s

WhoU4 on June 15, 2011 at 6:36 PM

How do they keep people in their 50s and 60s, out in the public square, from now till November 2012?

Dr Evil on June 15, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Tom toms, dope and free bongos.

BISHOP!!!

Roy Rogers on June 15, 2011 at 6:38 PM

And after the Supreme Court, they’ll go to the Netherlands to the Hagueand then to the UN and after that they have a judge paid off in Pago Pago.

Don L on June 15, 2011 at 6:39 PM

So they want the cops and the firefighters to be bound by this same new law? Superb. Give them what they want.

Rational Thought on June 15, 2011 at 6:44 PM

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

I agree. The only problem is that the only way to resolve this is to outlaw collective bargaining. Oh well, small price to pay for equality.

John Deaux on June 15, 2011 at 6:48 PM

The ferocity of the public employee unions’ opposition tells me that we have struck a death blow. This is where we have to keep hitting until they are totally defeated.

scrubjay on June 15, 2011 at 6:54 PM

The plan is to run these delaying actions until they can take back the Senate. Even then that might not be enough. If they get lucky with a prog judge on the way there, it’s a bonus.

slickwillie2001 on June 15, 2011 at 6:58 PM

The ferocity of the public employee unions’ opposition tells me that we have struck a death blow. This is where we have to keep hitting until they are totally defeated.

scrubjay on June 15, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Coup de grace, without the grace

Roy Rogers on June 15, 2011 at 6:59 PM

scrubjay on June 15, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Coup de grâce, sans la grâce

balanced

Roy Rogers on June 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM

If a federal court fell for this BS then states would not be able to treat recruits for the police different then people applying for the trash man. Here in florida cops will get different pay depending on the county they live in. Haven’t seen their union pitch a fit.

Zaggs on June 15, 2011 at 7:04 PM

If incessant lawsuits simply prevent the controversial bill from taking effect, the recall elections will be that much closer …

What is meant by this, exactly?

changer1701 on June 15, 2011 at 7:14 PM

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.

Well, I guess you guys will be giving back those Obamacare waivers then. We wouldn’t want two classes of workers now would we.

BacaDog on June 15, 2011 at 7:21 PM

So they want the cops and the firefighters to be bound by this same new law? Superb. Give them what they want.

Rational Thought on June 15, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Fine by me, especially since the firefighters were the reinforcements sent in to protest when the teachers finally had to go back to class.

Steve Eggleston on June 15, 2011 at 7:31 PM

The ferocity of the public employee unions’ opposition tells me that we have struck a death blow. This is where we have to keep hitting until they are totally defeated.

scrubjay on June 15, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Yep – and the lack of such ferocity at the national level, despite the unmasking of ACORN and other Democrat front groups also shows that the GOP/conservatives have as yet not turned the spigot off.

TheRightMan on June 15, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Tennessee — before it abolished collective bargaining altogether — used to allow collective bargaining only for teachers.

Love me some Tennessee!!!!!

ladyingray on June 15, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Where’s crr to tell all of us ignorant goobers that the union will prevail!

Count it!

ladyingray on June 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Naw, from what I can tell, this is a frivolous suit and it probably should get dismissed on the pleadings.

crr6 on June 15, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Why was the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin?
 
Is that court rife with leftist judges like Sumi and Kloppenberg?
 

ignatzk on June 15, 2011 at 7:59 PM

One of the people speaking for a union, either an attorney or union leader said this was an “affront to democracy”.

Who would have ever thought our country would go so far down the rabbit hole that people actually say voting on legislation is an affront to democracy.

ButterflyDragon on June 15, 2011 at 8:17 PM

One of the people speaking for a union, either an attorney or union leader said this was an “affront to democracy”.

Who would have ever thought our country would go so far down the rabbit hole that people actually say voting on legislation is an affront to democracy.

ButterflyDragon on June 15, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Any thoughts on this?

“Again, it has been said from the very beginning that ObamaCare is a crime against democracy.”

I’m sure it’s different somehow, right?

; )

crr6 on June 15, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Yesterday, the state Supreme Court upheld the controversial bill.

Tina, I don’t think the Court addressed the merits of the bill. They were too busy dealing with a judicious reprimand of the Hon. Judge Sumi who overstepped her authority enjoining a bill before it became a law by publication.

BigAlSouth on June 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Nullification! Whose business is it anyway? The State’s or the Federal Government’s? I can’t see where the Fed has any jurisdiction in this case. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has spoken. This is about State’s rights and a sacred compact.

tom0508 on June 15, 2011 at 9:01 PM

If the day comes when even that is exhausted, I suppose they will just have to start beating the crap out of their opponents and burning things down.

Bishop on June 15, 2011 at 5:52 PM

I think they’ve already started with the threats of that, such as strong-arming businesses about displaying anti-Walker signage and telling them “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

teke184 on June 15, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Gov. Walker signed into law a concealed-carry legislation. Perhaps the union thugs should consider that when deciding to strong-arm a business.

Yoop on June 15, 2011 at 9:10 PM

That makes this seem more like a delay tactic than anything else. If incessant lawsuits simply prevent the controversial bill from taking effect…

Why should lawsuits or judges rulings block a law from taking effect? 0bowmaoCare has been ruled unconstitutional, and that hasn’t slowed down the 0Stalin administration from proceeding full speed ahead to implement the law.

What’s good for the Dhimmicrat goose…

FlatlanderByTheLake on June 15, 2011 at 9:31 PM

I’m sure it’s different somehow, right?

; )

crr6 on June 15, 2011 at 8:21 PM

I don’t find anything about Obamacare “undemocratic”. I believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

But the act of passing Obamacare was not an affront to democracy in my opinion.

ButterflyDragon on June 15, 2011 at 10:04 PM

I don’t find anything about Obamacare “undemocratic”. I believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

But the act of passing Obamacare was not an affront to democracy in my opinion.

ButterflyDragon on June 15, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Eh, I think a lot of people here would disagree with that.

crr6 on June 15, 2011 at 10:29 PM

This ought to be fun! What standing do they claim, for starters?

MTF on June 15, 2011 at 11:18 PM

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.

You mean like Obamacare creates two classes of people–those covered by the new rules and those exempt from them?

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on June 16, 2011 at 3:23 AM

This argument might immediately sound more substantive, but it’s possibly more of a stretch. Wisconsin is not the first state to limit collective bargaining to some segments of public workers and not others, according to Heritage Foundation labor analyst James Sherk.

If that’s the case, then they should just say no one can force you to be in a union :)

jeffn21 on June 16, 2011 at 8:37 AM

1. Equal protection is a joke. There is no such thing as equal protection any longer because of all the different ways we are treated by the feds everyday. The progressive income tax rates, affirmative action, hate crimes laws, whether or not you are gay, et al. There is a hierarchy of groups and each is treated differently which is decidedly unequal.

2. I heard on the Roger Hedgecock show last night that this case has been pretty much rendered moot by the thugs in the unions and local governments. He said that most of the local districts have completed renegotiated their collective bargaining agreements while these stalling tactics by Judge Sumi kept the law from being enacted.

Sporty1946 on June 16, 2011 at 9:09 AM