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AG Van Hollen: Statement on today’s opinion and order affecting 2011 Wisconsin Act 10

March 31, 2012

3/31/2012

Contact: Dana Brueck 608/266-1221

MADISON — Earlier today, Judge William Conley of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin issued an “Opinion and Order” in Wisconsin Education Association Council, et al. v. Walker, et al., Case No. 11 CV 428, which involved a challenge to certain provisions of 2011 Wis. Act 10, relating to distinctions between unions representing “public safety employees” and other “general employees.”

The Court rejected most of the Plaintiffs’ challenges, including claims that collective bargaining rights on non-wage issues must be restored. However, it also held that on Equal Protection and First Amendment grounds: (1) “general employee” unions cannot be required to recertify on an annual basis if “public safety employee” unions aren’t required to; and (2) members of “general employee” unions must be allowed to have union dues deducted from their paychecks if members of “public safety employee” unions are given that option.

Regarding the decision, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen stated: “This case started as a broad attack on all union-related aspects of Act 10. Plaintiffs have failed on all but two issues. If the ruling stands, unions representing non-“public safety employees” will no longer have to demonstrate member support through annual recertification and will have greater ability to take money out of employees’ paychecks. While this may give the unions more power over their members, it does nothing to benefit the public employees of this state.”

Van Hollen further commented, “Although we are still reviewing the adverse portions of the ruling and considering the options, we are confident that we would prevail in an appeal if we choose to go that direction.”

A copy of the Opinion and Order is available at the following link:

www.doj.state.wi.us\news\files\opinion-order-20120330.pdf

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