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Laborers Local 236, AFL-CIO, AFSCME Local 60, AFL-CIO v. Walker

1996 LRRM (BNA) 2869 (2013)

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Laborers Local 236, AFL-CIO, AFSCME Local 60, AFL-CIO v. Walker

United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

1996 LRRM (BNA) 2869 (2013)

Facts

In March 2011, the Wisconsin legislature passed 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (Act 10) as an amendment to the Municipal Employment Relations Act. Among other changes, the amendments of Act 10 (1) limited collectively bargained agreements to nonextendable one-year terms, (2) mandated that the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) conduct yearly representation elections that required an absolute majority for recertification, (3) prohibited bargaining between municipal employers and labor organizations on any subject except wages, (4) prohibited the automatic deduction of union dues, and (5) eliminated the payment requirement for nonunion employees. Laborers Local 236, AFL-CIO and AFSCME Local 60, AFL-CIO (the unions) (plaintiffs) sued Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (defendant) in district court. The unions claimed first that Act 10 violated the First Amendment right of association by preventing them from bargaining collectively with their employers. Second, the unions claimed that Act 10 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it limited wage increases for represented employees only, prohibited collective bargaining with employers on everything except wages while allowing individuals to negotiate on any subject, and prohibited automatic dues payments to unions but not to other organizations. As to the unions’ claim under the Equal Protection Clause, Walker argued that the differential treatment of union members survived rational-basis review because it would make employers’ budgets easier to work with. Walker claimed that negotiations with individual employees would allow employers to offset higher wage increases for better workers with lower wage increases for less-productive workers, as opposed to negotiating uniform wage increases for members of an entire bargaining unit. Walker moved for judgment on the pleadings as to both claims.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Conley, J.)

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