Federal court upholds Wisconsin PEU reforms
posted at 5:40 pm on September 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Looks like the public-employee unions in Wisconsin had better get used to losing:
Wisconsin’s collective bargaining reforms, which prompted strong protests from organized labor, 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. …
The reforms, which do not apply to public safety workers, do not violate equal protection rights of workers because the government has the right to set wages and benefits for individual workers based on performance and skills, according to Conley.
That was their 14th Amendment argument. They also lost their First Amendment argument, as the judge pointed out that no one was curtailing their right to free speech or association. They can talk and hang out together all they want, but the state has the right to determine what their compensation structure should be, and on what terms they can organize for collective bargaining in public-sector work.
They’ll appeal it, of course … but it’s not going to get any better for them after the finding of fact here.