MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Another federal court ruling Wednesday upheld Wisconsin's Act 10 -- which stripped virtually all collective bargaining powers from most state-and-local public employee unions.
Federal Judge William Conley of Madison struck down arguments made in one of several lawsuits filed against Act 10 -- this one from Madison and Dane County employees. They said the law violates their constitutional rights to assemble freely -- and it violates the equal protection clause because it slaps wage limits on union workers but not on non-union employees.
Conley says the 2011 package from Governor Scott Walker still allows union workers to assemble and speak -- but it does not require their employers to listen. Also, Conley said the equal protection clause does not apply.
The judge says it's legal for the government to treat union workers differently from those not in unions.
In a statement, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said, “This case proves, once again, that Act 10 is constitutional in all respects and that the challenges to the law are baseless. I appreciate decisions like this that follow the law, and I look forward to bringing the remaining state court challenges before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where we expect Act 10 to be upheld once again.”
A federal appeals court also upheld Act 10 in a different suit, but there's still a conflicting court decision on the books.
The state is still appealing a ruling last fall from Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas, which said the law did not apply to local government and public school employees. There's a question, though, as to whether it only affects the plaintiffs in that suit -- Madison teachers and one of Milwaukee's city employee unions.
The State Supreme Court agreed to take that case in June.